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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/20/23

Judge red hot after Jays series; the heart of the Funky Bunch; Vargas raises eyebrows; Jeter, Giannis, and failure; Yanks acquire Allen again.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK | Bryan Hoch: Aaron Judge didn’t beat the Blue Jays all by himself, or at least, not quite. The Yankee captain hammered four home runs in four games up in Toronto. In a rather chesty series, Judge’s bat did most of the speaking for the club, and he continued his hot streak in Cincinnati with a first-inning home run. When Judge is this locked in, he’s the best hitter in the game, and as the Yankees continue to climb the division table now’s a great time to see this side of him.

New York Daily News | Gary Phillips: Ryan Weber was one of the stars of the Yankees’ Thursday night win over the Jays, pitching himself in and out of trouble with a 3-1 lead. With most of the top-end relievers unavailable, Weber was the standard bearer of the so-called Funky Bunch, the guys that have to go out and make it work without the high end stuff Michael King and others might feature. For one night at least, he did just that. | Bridget Hyland: Even though the Yankees have promoted a trio of infielders to the major leagues this season, there’s still plenty to look forward to in the MiLB system. Cuban shortstop Alexander Vargas, 21, has impressed brass with his speed and defensive acumen, and while his bat hasn’t quite popped at High-A, some tweaks to his on-base approach could significantly boost his future in the org.

ESPN | Howard Bryant: “World Series or bust” has been a defining ethos for Yankee fans, and indeed some Yankee players, for a quarter-century. For Derek Jeter, any season that didn’t end with a championship was a failure. Contrast that against the recent comments made by former NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and we see the differing philosophies, whether generational or otherwise, between great athletes on what success means.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: The Yankees pulled off a depth deal for Greg Allen, re-acquiring the outfielder from the Red Sox. Allen will need a 40-man spot, likely Carlos Rodón being transferred to the 60-day IL. Allen played 15 games for the Yankees back in 2021.