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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/12/24

Yankees bolster rotation with Stroman; Weaver back on a one-year, major league deal; Former Yanks trying to get back on track across town; Wells is aiming high for 2024

Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

ESPN | Jeff Passan: The Yankees have made a splash in the starting pitching market, inking right-hander Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37-million deal with a vesting player option for 2026. The 33-year-old is coming off an uneven, but overall good, 2023 season, and has a sharp 122 ERA+ to his name over the last three years. Although it’s a big comedown from the Yoshinobu Yamamoto pursuit, Stroman fits nicely into the middle of the Yankee rotation. (Check out Peter’s breakdown for more.)

New York had been rumored to be playing at the top of the pitching market, and reportedly even made an official offer to Blake Snell yesterday. However, Bob Nightengale tweets that the Yankees didn’t sense that they were going to end up being able to bridge the financial gap between them and Snell, so Stroman’s deal presumably takes them out of the Snell sweepstakes, at least for now. For the optimistic folks out there, Joel Sherman did say that his sources were not so disqualifying of another pursuit. We’ll see.

New York Daily News | Gary Phillips: The Yankees made a minor “major” splash too by signing Luke Weaver to a major league contract. The one-year deal comes with a $2 million base salary and a team option on a second year, with performance bonuses that could push Weaver’s total earnings to $8.25 million over the next two seasons. Pitching coach Matt Blake has praised Weaver’s pitch mix in the past, noting that the right-hander has added a cutter, and that “[his] changeup’s always been really good,”

Beyond Stroman and Weaver, the Yankees also came to terms with all 10 of their arbitration-eligible players, with Juan Soto leading the way on a record $31.5-million deal. Check out Andrew’s roundup yesterday for the rest of the figures.

MLB | Bill Ladson: Austin Wells, fresh off his September 2023 cup of coffee, is aiming for a breakout 2024 season. He will likely come into spring as the backup to Jose Trevino, but he wants to battle and earn a starting position, stating in an interview:

If you are trying to be a backup, you are in the wrong sport... Going in trying to be the starter, believing you should be the starter and working to be a starter is really the only mindset and choice that you can have if you are a baseball player.

Wells is aware of holes in his game, and is working actively to fix them. He spoke of a weakness to breaking balls early in the count, something major league pitchers exploited when he was promoted, as well as his desire to continue to improve his work behind the plate.

New York Post | Mike Puma: A couple of former Yankees crossed town this winter, with Harrison Bader and Luis Severino inking one-year deals with the Mets. The newest Mets had their introductory Zoom calls this week, and both looked to put miserable final years in the Bronx behind them. Bader discussed the myriad injuries he suffered last year, and how he was focusing on conditioning right now in an effort to put together a healthy 2024. Severino said he had consulted a sleep doctor this offseason to try to improve his sleep. Will the Mets be the team that finds a way to keep these players healthy?