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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/25/23

Mets and Yankees among teams paying CBT penalties; Cole’s looming opt-out; Hader on the radar

Aaron Judge Press Conference Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

A very Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today!

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: Eight teams exceeded at least one of MLB’s Competitive Balance Tax in 2023, with the Mets, Padres, and Yankees atop the table. The good New York team shelled out $32.4 million in penalties, but that was less than a third of the check Steve Cohen had to write. The boys in Queens set the new record for highest CBT bill at over $100 million, a possible cause for the relatively quiet offseason the Mets have had so far.

Forbes | Daniel Epstein: The reigning Cy Young Award winner could hit the free agency market next season, as Gerrit Cole may choose to exercise his opt-out clause at the close of the 2024 season. Fortunately, the Yankees can, and almost certainly will, void that opt-out by tacking on a tenth year at $36 million to the 9/$324 million contract Cole signed all the way back in December 2019.

Sports Illustrated | Pat McAvoy: After missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the Dodgers, the Yankees will have to pivot to other potential arms, not all of whom are going to be starters. Should the team choose to rebuild around the bullpen, one of the best relief pitchers is available for cash. Josh Hader is a free agent coming off a couple strong seasons in San Diego, and if New York wants to pay for a closer, he’s hard to beat.