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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/4/23

Updates on the latest Soto developments; Giants seen as slight favorites for Yamamoto; Piniella misses out on Hall by a single vote as Leyland enters

San Diego Padres v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Nick Deeds: Sunday continued the ongoing developments in the Juan Soto rumors, or the lack thereof if you’re focusing on the Yankees’ pursuit of the superstar. The gap between the two teams remains real, though varying sources have split hairs over the size of the prospect pool that San Diego is asking for. Either way, it’s a tall order and one that has reasonably caused the front office to balk at for now, though for their part the Yankees seem stubborn in holding onto both of their top pitchers named in the discussions, that being current major leaguer Michael King and upcoming prospect Drew Thorpe.

The real development has been in Toronto’s entrance into the dance, with reports of their interest being very real and that they are set on trying to get one of either Soto or Shohei Ohtani. The Padres reportedly asked about Alek Manoah in conversations with the Blue Jays, which, after the year he’s had would seem like a blessing in disguise for the Jays to turn him into Soto. Hopefully the ask remains steep beyond that, or else these are two uneven discussions going on. San Diego is currently walking a tightrope around whether or not to accelerate talks before or after Ohtani makes his decision in free agency, but his time is also reportedly drawing closer. One way or another, we’ll see things continue to progress over the next few days.

CBS Sports | Dayn Perry and Mike Axisa: The other major name that plenty of teams are vying for, including the Yankees, is Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and like Ohtani he’s available for just cash. Yamamoto won’t be in attendance at the Winter Meetings, but he’s scheduled to begin talking to teams after the meetings wrap up, and the Giants are seen as slight favorites here. San Francisco struck out hard last offseason in a winter that they clearly signaled that they wanted to reload, so it’s clear that they’re trying to double down and not get burned again. The Yankees have reportedly shown a very similar amount of attention to Yamamoto’s availability as they have Soto’s, so perhaps they’ll swipe a major target out of San Fran’s grasp for the second offseason in a row.

NY Daily News | Peter Sblendorio (subscription required): Lou Piniella’s name was on the Hall of Fame ballot, but not the one that the BBWAA is currently collecting votes on. The Contemporary Era Non-Players Committee convened to potentially enshrine looked over managerial and front office candidates from past decades of the game, and they nearly pushed the ‘80s Yankees skipper/’70s outfielder into the Hall but came just one vote short of enshrining “Sweet Lou.” (Former Yankees announcer-turned-NL president Bill White also narrowly fell short.) This is the second time that Piniella has fallen short of the honor, last getting considered in 2019 and missing by a single vote then as well.

The Committee did, however, vote in manager Jim Leyland, the only candidate from this year’s list to make it. Leyland first came to prominence leading the early-’90s Pirates of Barry Bonds and co. before winning a World Series with the Marlins in 1997 and two more pennants with the Tigers from 2006-13 — ousting the Yankees in the playoffs on three separate occasions.