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Around the Empire: New York Yankees News - 2/15/15

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Baseball inequality, spring training battles, and the Yankees' quiet offseason.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Players' Tribune | Andrew McCutchen: Plenty of sports writers scoffed at Derek Jeter's retirement plan to create a blog where players could speak directly to fans. But if they produce work that's half the quality of Andrew McCutchen's piece on the economic inequalities of American amateur baseball, then it'll be a very successful venture. If you read nothing else today, read this.

LoHud Yankees Blog | Chad Jennings: A look at the Yankees bullpen, and a preview of the roster battles set to start next week.

Just a Bit Outside | Jeff Sullivan: Sullivan tackles the anecdote that hitting big league pitching has gotten harder on rookies. A very interesting read that helps put some of the hype and hope around Yankee prospects like Refsnyder and Judge and Bird. Hadn't you heard? The average for rookies is well below league average. Maybe a gamble on Stephen Drew really is less than a gamble on a rookie with fewer than 400 ABs in Triple-A who's still learning to play second base.

Fangraphs | Miles Wray: The Yankees have had a quiet offseason. Or have they? Wray explores ways that this year is more in line with recent years than their big splurges like last year or the 2008-09 offseason. And in the non-splurge years, he finds that the Yankees have gotten great value out of their investments.

Editor's note: Google searches for "Yankees" and "best shape of his life" or "great shape" aren't turning up any strong returns yet, but with spring training around the corner it's only a matter of time. Which outlet do you think will be the first to publish an article that (unironically) uses "best shape of his life" or a similar phrase?