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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/16/23

Montas to undergo surgery; LeMahieu’s health a major spring training storyline; Cole, underrated ace; ESPN announces multi-part documentary “The Yankees Win”; Yanks still in touch on left field trades?

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports | Dayn Perry: In case you missed it, the worst-case scenario for Frankie Montas has all but come to pass, as the right-hander will undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder next week. Montas will at best return late in the year, and it’s possible he won’t pitch at all in 2023. It’s not even March, and the Yankees’ pitching depth is already set to be tested. | Mike Rosenstein: The Yankees enter camp with Aaron Hicks the internal favorite for the left field job, but there’s been some buzz picking back up lately about the Yankees upgrading at the position. Andy Martino tweets the Yankees are still “in trade conversations” regarding left field, and that Gleyber Torres could be involved as the team tries to improve their outfield, solve their infield glut, all while not raising payroll. This was echoed a few days ago in The Athletic’s (subscription required) Yankees spring training preview, as Chris Kirschner noted the Yankees were still in touch on a few outfield targets, such as the Twins’ Max Kepler.

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens: Here we have a solid rumination on Gerrit Cole’s 2022 and his status among the game’s premier pitchers. The author argues Cole has become underrated due to his gopher-ball problem last year, an idea I sympathize with. Clemens presents compelling data that shows that Cole was unusually punished for his mistakes, illustrating that he surrendered a large number of homers on middle-middle fastballs, despite having an excellent fastball and actually throwing far fewer middle-middle pitches than most hurlers. If Clemens is right, a strong 2023 rebound is in the offing for Cole.

New York Post | Greg Joyce: Another day, another post looking at the big question marks the Yankees face entering spring training. One that sticks out to me here is that of DJ LeMahieu. Joyce reminds us that the veteran never got surgery on the foot problem that derailed his 2022 campaign, instead opting to rest and recover through the winter. LeMahieu reportedly looks physically fine as camp begins, but how he fares through the next month is an important storyline, as is how the Yankees decide to ease him back.

ESPN Press Room | Isabelle Lopez: ESPN Films announced yesterday a multi-part documentary titled “The Yankees Win”, which will tell the story of every aspect of the most famous franchise in American sports. ESPN’s press release states:

Produced in partnership with Major League Baseball, with extensive access to the league’s unparalleled archives, the series will feature players, managers, coaches, executives, writers, commentators, and fans in candid interviews and some never-before-seen footage.