El Duque invaluable during Yanks' dominant run

Free agent Hernandez helped Bronx Bombers to three straight World Series titles

El Duque invaluable during Yanks' dominant run

Before bidding adieu to the Hot Stove season, we asked our 30 beat reporters to look back at their club's past and answer the following question: Who is the best free-agent signing in the team's history?

We narrowed the choices with the following parameters: The signings had to be multiyear contracts, to exclude fluky one-year deals and to focus on players who got real commitments. And contract extensions don't count. Only instances when every team in the league had a chance to bid on the player were allowed, including international free agents who received Major League contracts.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Andujar among MLB Pipeline's top 3B prospects

Red Sox's Devers king of hot corner, Reds' Senzel, Blue Jays' Vlad Jr. follow

Andujar among MLB Pipeline's top 3B prospects

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Third base is definitely an offensive position. MLBPipeline's Top 10 Third Base Prospects list starts with two of the game's top power prospects (the Red Sox's Rafael Devers, the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) and two of the best pure hitters in the Minors (the Reds' Nick Senzel, the Giants' Christian Arroyo).

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tanaka to skip World Baseball Classic

Tanaka to skip World Baseball Classic

NEW YORK -- Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka said on Monday that he has decided not to participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Tanaka spoke with reporters, including The Associated Press, following a workout in Tokyo, where the right-hander is preparing for the upcoming season.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inaugural 'Winter Warm-Up' proves big success

Inaugural 'Winter Warm-Up' proves big success

NEW YORK -- The concept of the first Yankees "Winter Warm-Up" was to introduce the next wave of players to New York City, franchise history and the fan base with the help of several veteran players.

Judging by the turnout at events held throughout the city and the positive reactions from players involved, the idea proved to be a success, and one that the organization will consider continuing in future offseasons.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lindsay Berra

For new Yankee Holliday, no time for time off

Veteran training for haul of long season with Yankees

For new Yankee Holliday, no time for time off

Matt Holliday was wearing a navy blue Yankees baseball T-shirt as he warmed up with an empty barbell on a wooden Olympic lifting platform at the Central Institute for Human Performance in Jupiter, Fla.

After eight seasons in Cardinals red, Holliday signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Yankees on Dec. 7. He will serve as their designated hitter and part-time first baseman and outfielder. Now Holliday, who turned 37 on Jan.15, is preparing for his new role -- and hoping to slow down the aging process -- with a series of exercises geared toward increasing his explosive strength and power from the ground up.

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Lindsay Berra has covered a variety of sports, from baseball and hockey to tennis and the Olympics, since 1999. She joined MLB.com in 2013. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'No Runs DMC' trio honored by NY writers

'No Runs DMC' trio honored by NY writers

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' dominant "No Runs DMC" relief trio was honored one final time on Saturday, as Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller were recognized with the "Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award" by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Betances, Chapman and Miller comprised a powerful force, combining for 41 saves and a 2.35 ERA over 148 appearances. They registered a 41.8 percent strikeout ratio, and the Yankees were 19-2 when all three relievers appeared in the same game.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball world mourns Ventura, Marte

Baseball world mourns Ventura, Marte

The baseball world mourned the unexpected deaths of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and third baseman Andy Marte on Sunday.

Ventura, 25, died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Marte, 33, also died in a separate car crash Sunday in the Dominican Republic.

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Jesse Sanchez has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Around the Horn: Yanks strong up the middle

Around the Horn: Yanks strong up the middle

With the start of Spring Training approaching, anticipation is building for the 2017 season. MLB.com is going around the horn to break down each area of the Yankees' roster, continuing this week with the middle-infield spots.

There was a historical performance in the middle of the diamond last year for the Yankees, where Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius accomplished something that bold-faced names from the past like Derek Jeter, Willie Randolph, Tony Lazzeri and Phil Rizzuto never could.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eliminating catcher's interferences could be key for Ellsbury

Hitting coach Cockrell believes moving outfielder's contact out a few inches would improve production

Eliminating catcher's interferences could be key for Ellsbury

NEW YORK -- Jacoby Ellsbury set a Major League record for catcher's interferences in a single season last year. Though it seemed to be an unorthodox way to get on base, Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell believes that eliminating those could be key to unlocking better performance from the veteran outfielder.

Ellsbury's swing clipped a catcher's glove 12 times in 2016, surpassing Roberto Kelly's eight in 1992 for the most in a single season. While opponents took note of Ellsbury's tendencies, warning their backstops to set up slightly deeper, Cockrell sees it as a warning sign of a larger issue.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Steinbrenners stress commitment to Yankees

'I hope we own the team for eternity,' Steinbrenner Swindal tells New York Post

Steinbrenners stress commitment to Yankees

NEW YORK -- The Steinbrenner family intends to continue owning the New York Yankees franchise for "eternity," managing general partner and vice chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal told the New York Post.

"We're all in," Swindal said. "I hope we own the team for eternity. You never know what life will bring, but we're in it for the long haul."

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Betances heading to arbitration hearing

Righty reliever, Yankees $2 million apart in contract discussions

Betances heading to arbitration hearing

NEW YORK -- Dellin Betances and the Yankees are $2 million apart in their contract discussions, and they will have the matter settled in an arbitration hearing next month, general manager Brian Cashman said on Thursday.

The right-handed reliever is in line for a sizable raise over his league-minimum salary from a year ago. Betances filed at $5 million, and New York countered at $3 million. Cashman said they will be unable to find common ground without an arbitrator.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks' youth movement gathering more steam

Young pitchers Kaprielian, Adams among next wave of prospects with sights on bigs

Yanks' youth movement gathering more steam

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' accelerated youth movement was the talk of Major League Baseball over the final eight weeks of the regular season, as Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin stepped into the lineup and showed what they could do at the game's highest level.

James Kaprielian expects that he and a few of the Yanks' promising pitchers will comprise the next wave to make a lasting impression in The Bronx. Flanked by touted arms like those belonging to Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield, Kaprielian believes that could happen as soon as this season.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mussina, Clemens see boost in Hall voting

Award-laden careers provide strong cases for former Yankees pitchers

Mussina, Clemens see boost in Hall voting

NEW YORK -- On an evening when a pair of former Yankees received telephone calls trumpeting their upcoming induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina each continued their respective climbs toward a possible date in Cooperstown.

The right-handers each enjoyed their best showings yet on ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America as they seek the 75 percent needed for induction. Clemens appeared on 54.1 percent (239 votes) in his fifth try, while Mussina was close behind at 51.8 percent (229 votes) in his fourth attempt.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Raines, Pudge, Bagwell elected to Hall of Fame

Astros slugger makes it on 7th try, leadoff man enters in final year, backstop in 1st year

Raines, Pudge, Bagwell elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK -- For Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, a long wait has ended. For Ivan Rodriguez, there was no wait at all.

Those three players will be part of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2017, taking their place alongside the game's legends in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30, with Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz, who were elected last month by the 16-member Today's Game Committee. The news arrived on Wednesday evening, when Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson announced the Baseball Writers' Association of America's results live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. Andrew Simon, who is a research analyst for MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Posada drops off HOF ballot after one year

Yankees' longtime catcher unable to draw 5 percent of votes needed for 2nd chance

Posada drops off HOF ballot after one year

NEW YORK -- A former Yankees catcher was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, but it was not Jorge Posada, who dropped off the ballot after just one appearance.

Unlike Ivan Rodriguez, who played 33 games for the Yankees in 2008 and appeared on 336 ballots (76 percent) to gain entry to Cooperstown in his first try, Posada was unable to register the necessary 5 percent needed to remain on the ballot. He picked up just 17 votes (3.8 percent) from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, who elected Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines alongside Rodriguez.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Sheffield No. 8 on Pipeline's Top 10 LHP Prospects list

Hader leaps from No. 6 to top of list, Groome slides into No. 2 spot

Sheffield No. 8 on Pipeline's Top 10 LHP Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Exactly half of last year's Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects list graduated off of prospect lists during the 2016 season. The top three -- Julio Urias, Blake Snell and Steven Matz -- all had large impacts, with Urias even pitching in the postseason. Four of the other five are still on the list, including new No. 1 Josh Hader.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castro looks to improve, serve as mentor in '17

Castro looks to improve, serve as mentor in '17

NEW YORK -- Starlin Castro said that he experienced some mixed emotions on the evening of Nov. 2, watching on television as Kris Bryant threw across the Progressive Field diamond, the ball landing in Anthony Rizzo's glove to clinch the Cubs' first World Series title since 1908.

After spending the first six seasons of his career on Chicago's North Side, Castro said that it was "awesome" to see the Cubs celebrate an achievement that many once thought would be impossible, especially after enduring the franchise's most recent run of lean years.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yankees' future bright with Frazier, Torres

Yankees' future bright with Frazier, Torres

NEW YORK -- Compared to their half-season living in the shadows on the other side of the Trade Deadline's biggest blockbusters, the hype that accompanies life as the Yankees' best prospects could wind up being a cakewalk for Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres.

The Yankees' top two prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline.com, Frazier and Torres stood side by side on Tuesday as the organization's inaugural Winter Warm-Up entered its second day, with the promising players joined by Starlin Castro and fellow prospects Chance Adams and James Kaprielian.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The end of Raines' career was noteworthy, too

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The end of Raines' career was noteworthy, too

By now, you probably know all the reasons why Tim Raines deserves to be in the Hall of Fame: He was arguably the greatest leadoff hitter this side of Rickey Henderson. He stole over 800 bases at an absurd 85 percent success rate. And, while he came 400 hits shy of 3,000, he has nearly the same on-base percentage as first-ballot Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

Beyond being a walk machine and a constant threat to steal bases -- like Henderson -- Raines' career went well into his 40s and included a tour through the independent leagues -- also like Henderson.

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Yankees add depth at first base with Choi

New York expects Bird, Austin to be primary contenders for position

Yankees add depth at first base with Choi

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have added some depth to their upcoming first-base competition, signing Ji-Man Choi to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The Yanks have not officially announced the signing.

Choi, who turns 26 in May, batted .170 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 54 games for the Angels last season. He was designated for assignment in December and opted for free agency.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Catcher and the rye? Yankee delights at deli

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Catcher and the rye? Yankee delights at deli

Gary Sanchez is a man of many talents -- most of them involving the crushing of various dingers. He hit 20 last season ... in just 53 games. But there is more to a man than just his home runs, and on Monday afternoon, Sanchez got to show off one of his other special skills: making sandwiches.

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Alex Rodriguez set to host 'Back in the Game' show

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Alex Rodriguez set to host 'Back in the Game' show

Alex Rodriguez has found plenty to do since his playing career ended back in August. He's played baseball with his daughter (his ERA rocketing up in the process), become a #TBT hero and, now, made the move to television.

As was shared to the Twittersphere by Politico's Alex Weprin on Tuesday, Rodriguez (who knows how to host a program) has apparently been tapped to be the host of a new CNBC program titled "Back in the Game." With executive producer/fellow former pro athlete Michael Strahan in tow, this should be a big deal: 

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Holder named Pipeline's top defender at shortstop

Padres' Margot garners most votes for best defensive prospect

Holder named Pipeline's top defender at shortstop

These days, there may be more value placed on defense and certainly more time spent on evaluating and quantifying it than ever before. When MLBPipeline.com surveyed front-office officials as to which prospects stood out most for their glovework, there was no shortage of candidates.

In fact, there were so many talented defenders that among the 18 votes we received, no player garnered more than Padres outfielder Manuel Margot's three and a half. Thirteen players received at least a half a vote -- we allowed executives to split their picks -- and another five were brought up as worthy of discussion.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez serves sandwiches at Bronx deli

Yankees slugger also surprises fans as part of Winter Warm-Up

Sanchez serves sandwiches at Bronx deli

NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez is beginning the new year as arguably the most recognizable player in the Yankees' lineup, which is why the lunchtime crowd at a Bronx bodega seemed so surprised to see the slugging catcher helping out with their sandwich orders on Monday.

Sanchez helped kick off the Yankees' "Winter Warm-Up 2017" with a visit to the Bullpen Deli across the street from Yankee Stadium, where he donned a pinstriped jersey and grabbed a shift behind the counter, serving up equal helpings of cold cuts and autographs to thrilled customers.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks avoid arbitration with Didi, Pineda, Romine

New York also agrees to terms with Hicks, Layne, Warren

Yanks avoid arbitration with Didi, Pineda, Romine

The Yankees agreed to terms with shortstop Didi Gregorius, right-hander Michael Pineda and catcher Austin Romine on Friday, avoiding arbitration, according to reports from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Gregorius settled for $5.1 million, Pineda settled for $7.4 million and Romine settled for $805,000, per Heyman. The club has not confirmed the reports.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Impressive offseason brings Majors dream closer for Torres

Yankees' No. 2 prospect, 20, wins MVP after pacing AFL in hitting

Impressive offseason brings Majors dream closer for Torres

NEW YORK -- Once Gleyber Torres gets his call to the Majors, any dates with the Mariners figure to be prominently circled on the calendar. The Yankees' touted prospect says that he wants a piece of King Felix.

"I'd like to face Felix Hernandez," Torres told MLB.com in Spanish. "He and I are friends, and we train together. When we work out, he always tells me that he's going to strike me out and I tell him no, my first home run is going to be off him. We have a good relationship, so that's the pitcher I'd like to face when I get to the big leagues."

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Around the Horn: Yanks have 1B competition looming

Bird, Austin to try to fill Teixeira's shoes; Headley set at third base

Around the Horn: Yanks have 1B competition looming

With the start of Spring Training approaching, anticipation is building for the 2017 season. MLB.com is going around the horn to break down each area of the Yankees' roster, continuing this week with the corner-infield spots.

Greg Bird was the top-rated position player in the Yankees' farm system two years ago, when he smashed 11 home runs over the season's final seven weeks. The Yanks are hopeful he is ready to bounce back from right labrum surgery and provide a similar impact in the heart of their lineup.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.