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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/11/19

Aaron Boone says team had “really good” meeting with Cole; Yankees’ latest Cole offer exceeds Strasburg record; Plan going forward without Gregorius; Gardner still wants to rejoin for 2020

MLB: Winter Meetings Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports | Brendan Kuty: Aaron Boone has been fully involved in the Yankees free agent pursuit of Gerrit Cole, and the skipper talked to the media on Tuesday about the process so far. Boone said that the meeting between the team and Cole went well, and that the two sides sat down to get to know each other and exchange any questions they had. Boone also remarked that he thinks Cole could “absolutely” work out in New York.

ESPN: In line with the manager’s thoughts, the Yankees have topped their reported initial offer for Cole. There were claims that the Yankees had floated a seven-year, $245 million deal Cole’s way, but then fellow free agent Stephen Strasburg signed for that amount returning to the Washington Nationals. Now the Yankees have reportedly made an offer that tops Strasburg’s deal, which was to be expected considering Cole has been considered the better free agent from the start of things.

New York Post | Joel Sherman: Unfortunately, while the team is in hot pursuit of the top arm on the market they’ve lost out on the chance to return one of their own free agents. Didi Gregorius signed a one-year deal with the Phillies, reuniting with former manager Joe Girardi and looking to build back up value after an injury-shortened 2019. The Yankees didn’t offer Gregorius a qualifying offer, likely because they thought he could accept it and wanting that money available while they court Cole, but now they’ll have to scope the market for infield options either to replace Gregorius or to backup Gleyber Torres.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The Yankees still have a couple of free agents floating in the market, but fortunately it seems that one of them is still focused on returning to the team. Brett Gardner has been getting interest from some clubs, but the impression that the outfielder has left on interested parties is that Gardner is waiting until he can hash things out with Brian Cashman & Co.