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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/10/24

Balkovec to lead Marlins’ player development; Cubs to sign Imanaga; Yanks talk pitching strategy; Hader looking for record contract

Syndication: Sarasota Herald-Tribune THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE / USA TODAY NETWORK

MLB.com | Christina De Nicola: After making history becoming the first woman in major league history to be a full-time manager, hitting coach, and strength and conditioning coach, Yankees Low-A skipper Rachel Balkovec is taking a top position with Miami as their Director of Player Development. Her resume and accomplishments are as extensive as anybody in the game, and the now-former Tampa Tarpons manager will she will look to overhaul a system that has produced little offensive talent in the last decade.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: Another potential starting pitching target is reportedly off the market, as Bob Nightengale and Jon Morosi are reporting that Shōta Imanaga of the NPB will sign with the Cubs (pending a physical). The specifics of the contract aren’t known yet, but it’s believed to be a $15M AAV. Imanaga had been on the Yankees’ radar, but they were never particularly in on him.

NJ.com | Randy Miller: Maybe the Yankees lost access to their Zoom account, or maybe they’re afraid of the cold and wind in New York, but their decision-making brass met at the complex in Tampa on Monday to talk strategy. I hope they’ve been doing this anyways during the offseason, but since this one is being reported on, it must be serious. With top pitchers like Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Dylan Cease still floating on the free agent and trade market just over a month out from spring training, the team plans on heating up their pursuit.

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: While the Yankees may not be seriously pursuing Josh Hader at the moment, he remains an option for them if all else fails in the starting pitching market. However, his pursuit of a record-breaking closer contract might leave the two as a bad fit. the Yankees’ recent history in giving out big reliever contract has not been great, and it ended up hamstringing the team from making other moves. While Hader is certainly one of the top closers in the game, a contract north of $20 million in AAV for a reliever might not be conducive for the Yanks. Even so, the reasons that Axisa laid out to justify Hader’s ask are all reasonable.