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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/22/23

Yamamoto on his way to LA; MLB announces more rules changes; RSN uncertainty lingers over offseason; Former Yankee righty signs with Reds; Yanks add more minor league outfield depth; RIP Arlene Howard

Chiba Lotte Marines v Orix Buffaloes - Pacific League Climax Series Final Game 1 Photo by Sports Nippon/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: After a quiet few days on the Yoshinobu Yamamoto front, it appears the chase is over: Jack Curry reports the NPB star will cross the Pacific to join the Dodgers. It’s a massive coup for LA, which has dominated the offseason by securing the services of the two most sought after players on the market. If Yamamoto puts pen to paper with the Dodgers, the Yankees will be forced to lick their wounds and regroup, with a rotation that still needs fixing and their top target pledged to play elsewhere. We’ll have more for you on the topic in the days to come. | Anthony Castrovince: MLB announced another suite of rules changes yesterday. Many of them pertained to pace of play. The pitch clock with runners on will be reduced from 20 seconds to 18 seconds, teams will be limited to four mound visits instead of four, and any pitcher that is sent out to warm up must now face at least one batter. The Runner’s Lane will also now include the area between the foul line and the infield grass. For even more on the changes, check out Estevão’s rundown from yesterday.

ESPN | Alden Gonzalez: A story that’s bubbled beneath (and sometimes at) the surface over the last year has been the collapse of Diamond Sports Group, the company that had television rights for 14 MLB teams and declared bankruptcy this year. Gonzalez quotes many league execs who fear an era of “haves and have-nots” wrought by the uncertainty surrounding local media rights. Seattle, for example, has reportedly used the issues surrounding TV revenue as an explanation for their cost-cutting this winter:

Executives and agents who have dealt with the Mariners have said they’ve blamed local media uncertainty as the primary reason for their compromised budget

Yet a team like Kansas City, which faces the same uncertainty as Seattle, has been among the league’s most aggressive this year. The league is ultimately optimistic about the long-term value of live baseball, putting to question all the teams that are using this (potential) short-term as an excuse to cut payroll.

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams: Here’s an edition of Remembering Yankees Legends; Brooks Kriske has signed a minor league deal with the Reds. The right-hander made 12 appearances for the Yankees across 2020 and 2021, and has an eye-watering 11.22 ERA for his career over 21.2 innings. Unfortunately, Kriske is most known for occupying a 40-man roster spot at the same time the Yankees lost Garrett Whitlock to the rival Red Sox via the Rule 5 Draft, as well as a historically wild appearance during an extra-innings game at Fenway.

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have signed Luis González to a minor league deal (no, not the Luis Gonzalez who broke our hearts back in 2001). The 28-year-old got a fair bit of run in the San Francisco outfield back in 2022, managing a respectable 95 OPS+ while appearing in 98 games, but he’s struggled with back injuries since late 2022 and didn’t appear in a major league game in 2023.

For the second time in three days, we must end the news with a somber note regarding the widow of a Yankees legend. In addition to formally announcing the loss of the late Joan Ford, the Yankees revealed that Arlene Howard had passed away as well.

Arlene married Elston Howard in 1954, the year before the iconic catcher broke the Yankees’ color barrier. They were together for 26 years until the former MVP sadly died young in 1980, but Arlene remained very close with the Yankees’ family for the rest of her life. It was rare for an Old-Timers’ Day to pass without an appearance from her, and like Joan Ford, she was close with the Berra family.

Rest in peace, Arlene Howard.