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Around the Empire: New York Yankee News 1/19/15

Expansion, free agents and A-Rod

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Jennings | LoHud Yankees Blog: Jennings takes a look at the position players left on the market. I don't know that there's a player left out there I'd consider an upgrade over the Yankees' current lineup and bench.

Benjamin Hoffman | New York Times: Speaking of unsigned players, Max Scherzer and James Shields have entered uncharted territory. No American free agent pitcher has ever signed a nine-figure contract this late in the offseason. This is certain to be the first time, but it'll be very interesting to see which team changes its tune after basically every major suitor has said Scherzer is asking too much. (Update: It's the Nationals, who gave Scherzer a seven-year, $180 million contract.)

Ken Davidoff | New York Post: At the bottom of Davidoff's article is an interesting note on Alex Rodriguez–he thinks it would be "out of character" for A-Rod to try to force his way into the lineup over new third baseman Chase Headley. I hope he's right and A-Rod can manage to put the team first.

Jeff Zimmerman | Hardball Times: Zimmerman offers an interesting argument for MLB expansion. I disagree, since while the US population in total is rising, interest in baseball has not exactly been skyrocketing. On the other hand, baseball is the most regional of the major sports. It's possible that additional franchises, particularly in the warm weather markets predicted to grow most over the next 10-15 years, might help infuse the sport with some much needed interest.