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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/21/23

Stanton working on gaining back his athleticism; looking back at the best pitches of the year; Yamamoto updates; Sheffield’s Hall of Fame problems

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Tampa Bay Devil Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: Everyone knows the kind of power that Giancarlo Stanton possesses and what he can bring to the Yankees lineup. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but watching him mash baseballs into the second deck of the left and right field stands or way back into center field never gets old. However, with the Yankees lineup changing and Stanton wanting to make himself more of an asset in other parts of the game, he’s looking to restore his athleticism this offseason and get back into prime physical shape. He knows that his production last season wasn’t good enough, and improving it involves “trimming his 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame,” as Hoch puts it.

The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): As the new year approaches, it’s customary to look back on the 365 (sometimes 366) days that have passed and gloss over the fond memories and the hard times that we experienced. For baseball, that means looking back at some of the awesome pitches we witnessed over the course of the 2023 season. From the simple four-seam fastball to the now popularized sweeper, Sarris gives out gold, silver, and bronze awards for pitchers across MLB who threw certain pitches the best.

NJ.com | Bridget Hyland: In his final year of Hall of Fame eligibility, Gary Sheffield is still defending his honor after his reputation was tarnished by the steroid area and the BALCO scandal. Much like he did the other day at MLB.com, he claims that he “didn’t know what it was,” and in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today, he said to “not question his character.” He will need 75 percent of the vote to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he received just 55 percent of the vote last year.

The Athletic ($): As the offseason moves along, the Yoshinobu Yamamoto stove continues to get hot. Updates feel as if they could happen at any minute, so The Athletic staff decided to put in a primer about who is in the market for the 25-year-old right-handed hurler. The Yankees, as it has been reported by multiple sources, are still very much in the mix, and some might consider them the frontrunners.