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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/11/23

Former Yankees prospect gets a deal; Opening Day lineup talk; rival Astros extend Javier; Yanks’ shortstop situation keeps developing as spring training nears

Seattle Mariners vs New York Yankees Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images | Bryan Hoch: Spring training is very close, and pitchers and catchers are reporting soon, which means that the baseball coverage is picking up as well. In Hoch’s recent piece at, he predicts the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup. The position that most Yankees fans have their eye on (which I will touch on later) is shortstop, and top prospect Anthony Volpe did not make Hoch’s cut. We will just have to wait and see whether spring training helps him move up the totem pole and into a starting spot, or if the organization believes that it would be best if he went down to Triple-A and tore it up some more in Scranton. (My colleague John will have more on Volpe’s chances later today.)

Another piece to this puzzle is the fifth pitcher in the starting rotation. With Frankie Montas out, Hoch has Domingo Germán listed in that position but also notes that Clarke Schmidt will be competing for that spot as well (though the Yankees may like the latter more in the ‘pen). That’s another interesting battle to look forward to as the season approaches.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: A former Yankees prospect, Caleb Smith, was signed by the Pirates to a minor league deal. The southpaw was originally selected by the Yankees in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB Draft and debuted with them across nine games in 2017. Dealt to the Marlins alongside Garrett Cooper for now-key reliever Michael King after that campaign, Smith has posted 4.41 ERA and 94 ERA+ in five seasons since then, though he’s now a reliever. He wanted a chance to keep his career going, and he’s got one in Pittsburgh. | Brian McTaggart: The Houston Astros announced that they extended pitcher Cristian Javier through the 2027 season, and per Mark Feinsand, we are told that he will be earning a total of $64 million over five years. The 25-year-old right-hander was one of the most effective pitchers in the American League last season, pitching to the tune of a 2.54 ERA and 3.4 WAR.

Javier dazzled the Yankees in particular in 2022, helping combine on a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium back on June 25th. That outing presaged both his ALCS dominance of New York and the World Series combined no-no in Philly that upended the Fall Classic en route to a title. The big rivals retaining a player of Javier’s caliber means that the pitching matchup between these two teams is going to be as important as ever. | Mike Rosenstein: This article from Rosenstein explains what I mentioned earlier about the shortstop position. According to his piece, it appears the Yankees have an idea of where they want everything to sort out as spring training commences and the regular season approaches. They would like Oswald Peraza to take over as the starter, giving Isiah Kiner-Falefa the freedom to play in a utility role and be slotted in where manager Aaron Boone feels he fits best. That also gives Volpe more time to take on the competition in Triple-A and allows him to develop more before making the jump.

The article also mentions that if everything goes right in the minors, he could be in contention for a midseason call-up. Another PSA co-writer of mine, Andrés, discussed this possibility as well back in January.