New York Yankees Information: Phil Niekro dies aged 81

ESPN | ESPN News Services: Hall of Fame knuckle baller Phil Niekro died Saturday night after a long battle with cancer at the age of 81. Nicknamed “Knucksie,” Niekro played 24 seasons in the Major League, including two – his 45- and 46-year-olds – with the New York Yankees. During that time, he scored 318 wins and 3,342 strikeouts, both of which were the most ankle-ballers in baseball history, leading to his election to the 1997 Hall of Fame class. Niekro celebrated his 300th career win with the Yankees in 1985.

It’s been a tough year for Hall of Famers: with Niekro’s death in 2020, seven (Lou Brock, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan and Tom Seaver) died, most in one calendar year.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: In an off-season that can be described as “slow”, “sluggish”, or just “boring”, there are still a few things possible to shimmer from inactivity. Kuty lists seven things he’s noticed so far this winter, including how the negotiations with DJ LeMahieu seem like a game of chickens, Domingo Germán struggled in the winter leagues while Miguel Andújar excelled, and that Brett Gardner was outstanding in his opinion should be back. Most importantly, however, Kuty notes that the off-season will continue to be slow until we have a schedule for the start of the regular season and what the season will be like (e.g. attendance guidelines) as neither teams nor players are encouraged to do so Offers until those details are in and a semblance of the 2021 baseball landscape can be seen.

New York Post | Dan Martin: Many have been concerned about Brian Cashman’s statements that he is ready to lose free agents while waiting for LeMahieu’s decisions about free agents, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Regardless of how the LeMahieu saga goes, the Yankees would almost certainly not be players for top players like Trevor Bauer, JT Realmuto and George Springer, the only players guaranteed to get good contracts this winter. The second and third levels of the market – which is where Brett Gardner and Masahiro Tanaka are based along with possible shortstop destinations like Andrelton Simmons, Marcus Semien and Didi Gregorius – are likely to get caught up in the wind as the teams try to track payroll alleged losses in the 2020 season. With the markets not performing due to the uncertainty, patience may be the way to go this winter.

MLB trade rumors | Mark Polishuk: Mark Polishuk lists the Front Office managers and executives with contracts that expire after the 2021 season, including Yankees skipper Aaron Boone. Despite assurances from Brian Cashman and Boone’s success in his first three seasons, in which he set a record of 236-148 with two over 100 winning campaigns, the lack of news of an extension will draw media attention to Boone’s current status as a Steer Lame-Duck.

Twitter | Jeff Passan: A late night addition to our news links last night, the Tampa Bay Rays traded ace Blake Snell for the best pitching prospects Luis Patiño, catcher Francisco Mejía, pitcher pitcher Cole Wilcox and catcher Blake for the San Diego Padres Hunt. This will definitely make the Rays a weaker team in 2021, but how this will affect them in the long run remains to be seen.

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