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

Where to look next for starting pitching; comparing the Yankees’ offer to the Dodgers; Jonathan Papelbon blasts Alex Verdugo, provides ringing endorsement for Yankees fans

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World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Athletic | Brendan Kuty and New York Post | Dan Martin: From the front offices to the beat writers to the blogs, the entire Yankees Universe was asking the same question after Yoshinobu Yamamoto agreed to a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers: “Now what?” With the Yankees still needing pitching, they could turn to Yamamoto’s fellow countryman, the left-handed Shōta Imanaga, who is expected to receive a much smaller contract than Yamamoto and whom the Yankees expressed interest in as a fallback option. Might they pursue a reunion with former Yankee and 2023 postseason star Jordan Montgomery, or Frankie Montas, who spent almost all 2023 on the shelf? Only time will tell.

The Athletic | Ken Rosenthal: (subscription required) Speaking of Yamamoto, Ken Rosenthal compared his deal with the Dodgers (12 years, $325 million with opt outs after 2029 and 2031) to those offered by the Mets (identical to the Dodgers) and the Yankees (ten years, $300 million, with an opt-out after five and frontloaded salaries). From this information, Rosenthal concludes that what ultimately won out for Yamamoto was a desire to join Shohei Ohtani in Los Angeles — and it’s hard to argue with that conclusion.

NBC Sports Boston | Nick Goss: Earlier this week, new Yankees outfielder Alex Verdugo held his introductory press conference via Zoom. In his comments, he took an apparent shot at Red Sox manager Alex Cora as he praised Aaron Boone for “the way he’s had his players’ backs.” Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon took to Twitter in defense of the manager he never played for, calling Verdugo some names not fit for print and advocating violence: “I’m drilling this [guy], just saying.” This is perfectly in character for the world class jerk, who was suspended three times in less than twelve months for making obscene gestures at fans, throwing at Manny Machado, and attacking teammate Bryce Harper. Given Papelbon’s unpopularity in New York, he just provided a ringing endorsement to Yankee fans uncomfortable with Verdugo.