MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Watch HOF announcement coverage live, 5 ET today

Watch HOF announcement coverage live, 5 ET today

NEW YORK -- Wednesday is the big day. The National Baseball Hall of Fame announces its Class of 2017, selected in a vote last month by the eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

As many as five candidates -- and possibly six -- could be elected according to the public ballots amassed online, with Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell looking all but certain, plus Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman hovering around the 75 percent threshold. Even Edgar Martinez has made huge gains from last year and is within reach of election.

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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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Sheffield among top LHP prospects

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

Sheffield among top LHP prospects

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.

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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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.

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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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.

Yanks, Betances may be heading for arbitration

Yanks, Betances may be heading for arbitration

NEW YORK -- Dellin Betances and the Yankees could be heading for an arbitration proceeding, as the right-handed reliever prepares to bring home a sizable raise over his league minimum salary from a year ago.

Betances was the lone holdout among the Yanks' arbitration-eligible players on Friday, standing $2 million apart in his negotiations with the club. Betances filed at $5 million, and the Yankees countered at $3 million.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Reloading, not rebuilding: Yanks still dangerous

Bronx Bombers haven't finished below .500 since 1992

Reloading, not rebuilding: Yanks still dangerous

The New York Yankees are supposedly rebuilding. And in a sense, they are. They didn't make the playoffs last season, and they haven't reached the American League Division Series since 2012. The Yankees started the offseason by trading the guy who had been their starting catcher for the past three seasons, Brian McCann, to Houston.

On the other hand, the Yanks have never dropped below .500, and you have to go all the way back to 1992 to find the last time they finished a season below .500. They've never been the truly bad team that one now commonly associates with a teardown. In addition, they spent some money in free agency, on Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday. These are not the types of players/deals -- closers, short-term deal for an aging superstar -- that teams who are far from contention typically sign.

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Yanks want Severino focused on flexibility

Club advises righty to decrease focus on bulk after sophomore slump, believes in his ability as starter

Yanks want Severino focused on flexibility

NEW YORK -- The Yankees are wondering if Luis Severino's increased reps in the weight room may have contributed to his sophomore slump, and they have advised the right-hander to focus more on increasing his flexibility this offseason.

Severino appeared to have put on a considerable amount of muscle following his impressive debut campaign in 2015, when he went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. Essentially guaranteed a spot in the rotation for '16, Severino responded by going 0-8 with an 8.50 ERA in 11 starts.

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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.

Cashman: Gardner likely to remain with NY

'Nothing's active at all,' GM says of talks involving position players

Cashman: Gardner likely to remain with NY

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner appears to have once again outlasted the rumor mill, as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Tuesday that he does not anticipate any moves involving a position player before Opening Day.

"I don't have anything active going on Brett right now," Cashman said. "I don't see anything happening trade-wise the rest of the way, and I have no live talks on any of my everyday position players, whether it's [Chase] Headley or Gardner. Nothing's active at all."

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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.

Yankees could make bold play for top pitcher

Top prospects may be high asking price to bolster rotation

Yankees could make bold play for top pitcher

NEW YORK -- The Yankees are a team in transition, straddling the line between promoting their young talent and remaining competitive in the American League East. Their biggest weakness resides in the starting rotation, the most interesting area where they could pull off a bold move before Opening Day.

Blessed with one of the league's top farm systems, thanks in part to last July's selloff of veterans Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, the Yankees are guarding the necessary chips to bring down a star like left-hander Jose Quintana of the White Sox.

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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.

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs. 

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Inbox: What position will Torres play for Yanks?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers fans' questions

Inbox: What position will Torres play for Yanks?

With Gleyber Torres destined to be in pinstripes no later than 2018, does the possibility exist that Didi Gregorius or Starlin Castro could move to third base? Or could Torres be moved to second or third base?
-- Jerome V., Simi Valley, Calif.

The Yanks' recent focus on adding young and athletic talent will afford them a few options with the up-and-coming Torres, who played mostly shortstop in the Minors following last year's trade and then dabbled at second base and third base in the Arizona Fall League. The club still see Torres as a shortstop, but he picked up at-bats at other positions because the Yanks had already declared Miguel Andujar as an AFL third baseman before the Cubs trade.

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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.

Around the Horn: Phenom fills backstop role

Sanchez secures Yanks' everyday catching job after historic rookie season

Around the Horn: Phenom fills backstop role

With the start of Spring Training approaching, anticipation is building for the 2017 season. MLB.com will go around the horn to break down each area of the Yankees' roster, and as Casey Stengel once said, "You've got to have a catcher or you're going to have a lot of passed balls."

Far be it for us to argue with the Ol' Perfesser, so we begin with the men behind the plate.

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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.

A-Rod to take on advisor role at Yanks camp

A-Rod to take on advisor role at Yanks camp

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez plans to wear a baseball uniform again this spring, but he will be doing so as a special advisor and not as an active player.

"Alex is enjoying his time off and looking forward to heading to Spring Training to work with the young guys, as he has said all along," Ron Berkowitz, A-Rod's spokesman, told the New York Daily News.

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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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez among Munson Award honorees

Sanchez among Munson Award honorees

NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez's historic slugging performance cemented his status as the Yankees' catcher of the future, and as he prepares for an encore performance in 2017, he will be honored with an award bearing the name of one of the team's all-time great backstops.

Sanchez, who electrified the league by slugging 20 home runs with 42 RBIs in 53 games last season, has been announced among the honorees for the 37th annual Thurman Munson Awards dinner. The event is scheduled to be held on Feb. 7 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York.

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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.

Inbox: How does Judge measure up?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers fans' questions

Inbox: How does Judge measure up?

How worried should we be about Aaron Judge's Major League performance? Do you have any comparisons between how he did in his first 80-plus at-bats and other players who struggled similarly?
-- Binyamin G., Beit Shemesh, Israel

The most concerning part of Judge's 2016 season was his high strikeout rate, as he fanned 42 times in 84 at-bats (95 plate appearances) while hitting .179 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. No non-pitcher in Major League history has had more strikeouts in fewer at-bats or plate appearances during a 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.

Yanks feel prepared, but staying 'engaged' in pitching market

New York willing to go to Spring Training with what it has, but recognizes potential benefit of adding starter

Yanks feel prepared, but staying 'engaged' in pitching market

NEW YORK -- There is a chance that Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday comprised the majority of the Yankees' heavy lifting for this offseason, with their signings helping to reload a roster that manager Joe Girardi expects to be prepared to compete in the American League East.

Yet the Yanks' continued dialogue with the White Sox regarding left-hander Jose Quintana, among other targets on the trade market, suggests that general manager Brian Cashman might still have a big move up his sleeve before pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 14.

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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

Pipeline poll: Torres grabs spot among MLB's best prospects

In survey, Benintendi edges Moncada, Reyes runs away with top-hurler tag

Pipeline poll: Torres grabs spot among MLB's best prospects

A year ago, MLBPipeline.com introduced the Pipeline Poll, where general managers and scouting executives were asked to choose the game's top prospects. In that edition, Corey Seager was the clear-cut winner as the overwhelming choice for top overall prospect, and that seemed to work out pretty well.

The 22-year-old was an All-Star, won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, finished third in the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting and set a slew of franchise records, including most homers, hits, doubles and total bases by a Dodgers rookie shortstop.

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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.

Gregorius' mother's intense parachute routine

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Gregorius' mother's intense parachute routine

It's 2017, and if you're like most folks you probably have a workout plan in mind for the new year. Losing that holiday weight, joining a gym, and so forth. Good luck!

If you're Didi Gregorius' mother, Sheritsa Stroop (a former Dutch national softball team player), though, you are your own gym. And, in your own gym, you blaze through the streets with a parachute because resistance isn't anything other than another obstacle to overcome.

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