NYY NEWS: A Surprise Second Place Finish….

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: Kiké Hernandez finalized a deal to return to the Dodgers this week after LA managed to move Manuel Margot’s contract to the Twins, and it was the destination he clearly wanted to go to all along. What was surprising, however, was who came in as the runner-up: the Yankees. New York hadn’t been mentioned as a potential suitor for Hernandez at all, but apparently were in the bidding and in it ‘till the end when the Dodgers finally freed up the budget to get their guy back. Perhaps this means that the Yankees are still uneasy about their bench situation with the infield, or perhaps this was just an opportunity to nab a quality backup option that they just missed out on.

NY Post | Greg Joyce: The Yankees have a new face for their analytical data, or at least a new guy parsing it down for the players. Aaron Leanhardt, a former MIT physicist and Michigan professor who left teaching academically to pursue a dream as a coach in baseball, was promoted into an analyst role with the major league team filtering in the data that the team is gathering and making it more palatable for the players to have several key points to focus on. The change was inspired by suggestions from the two biggest figures in the clubhouse, captain Aaron Judge and ace Gerrit Cole, who both felt that the way players were getting fed information was becoming a hindrance more than it was helping. It’s still the early going, but the clubhouse seems to love the change, so hopefully the results follow suit.

NY Daily News | Gary Phillips: Cody Poteet is competing for a spot in the Yankees’ bullpen, eager to showcase his skills after a rocky start health-wise to his MLB career. He’s got a familiar figure to lean on for support, with his current teammate Cole being a fellow alumni at UCLA that visited back when he was still in college. The two left an impression on each other, with Cole praising Poteet’s work ethic and potential while Poteet hopes to pick the staff ace’s brain a bit as the season goes on.

NJ.com | Manny Gómez: Aroldis Chapman has been out of New York for a year now, but he nearly returned to play for the cross-town team. Chapman reportedly was in discussions with the Mets on a deal before the Pirates came in and eclipsed their offer, landing the reliever fresh off of a World Series run with the Rangers. Chapman’s second exit from New York was a lot rockier than his original one, to say the least, and while he seemed to have a solid season in 2023 Chapman’s volatile results over the past few seasons led to most teams letting the Pirates take the chance on him.

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