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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/18/23

Josh Donaldson’s season in jeopardy; Dylan Carlson a real trade target; Boone snaps at “championship-caliber” questions; Tracking Gerrit Cole’s developing Hall-of-Fame case mid-career

New York Yankees v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: We’ve got more clarity on the prognosis for Josh Donaldson, and it’s not looking good for the veteran third baseman. Donaldson appears to have a pretty severe calf strain, either Grade 2+ or Grade 3. In layman’s terms, it means that Donaldson will likely be down weeks, and whether he can even make it back this season “depends on how it heals”. If this spells the end of Donaldson’s tenure in New York, it’s not one that fans will look back on too fondly, with the 37-year-old sporting a 92 OPS+ and 2.2 rWAR in 166 games as a Yankee.

Yahoo Sports | Garrett Stepien: Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill just came off the injured list, and he’ll reportedly retake his job as the starting left fielder. That means another outfielder on St. Louis’ roster, Dylan Carlson, will take a seat, and Carlson makes some sense as a Yankees’ trade target. Indeed, there’s been some rumblings connecting the two sides; we’ll see if New York and the Cards can consummate a major trade for a second consecutive summer.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: Ever the Hall-of-Fame expert, Jaffe looks at active players whose Hall cases are progressing. He tackles the subject of Shohei Ohtani and how voters may one day view the two-way superstar, and also analyzes Gerrit Cole, who has one of the stronger cases among current pitchers. Once you get past the late-career veterans (e.g. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw) who have all but sown up a plaque, Cole appears to be on one of the very strongest Hall trajectories of any pitcher who hasn’t already basically punched his ticket.

New York Daily News | Gary Phillips: With the Yankees’ struggles continuing, it appears even they are starting to realize that can’t keep trumpeting the “championship-caliber” line, and that it’s just about time to put-up or shut-up. It was a frustrated team in the clubhouse after the terrible loss Sunday to Colorado, with Aaron Boone snapping “Save it with that question. We got two and a half months to put ourselves in a position to be championship-caliber. We got to go. It’s on us.” Tensions appear to be running higher, but at the same time, the players insist they remain upbeat. “If we just want to put our heads down and feel bad for ourselves, that’s never a key for success. So we’ll get on a plane, we’ll talk amongst each other, and it’s all good stuff” said Anthony Rizzo.

Baseball Prospectus | Daniel R. Epstein: (subscription required) Epstein does a deep dive on Aaron Hicks, who’s been on a tear since getting cut by the Yankees. He settles on an improved overall approach as the main contributor to Hicks’ rebound. Hicks’ core competency at the plate for years now has been his ability to generate walks and limit strikeouts, something he’s done much better this year as a member of the Orioles. It also seems as though he’s made better swing decisions, leading to some better contact. In all, Hicks’ improvement since leaving the Bronx ranks as another small demerit to the work of Dillon Lawson and Boone.