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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/25/22

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Yankees, Mets had understanding on Chávez; MLB & MLBPA make progress in talks; Fastballs down the middle pretty darn effective

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Texas Rangers v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Associated Press | Jake Seiner: Despite some tabloids’ implications, there was nothing nefarious afoot when the Mets hired Eric Chávez away from his planned Yankees assistant hitting coach position to take over the primary hitting coach gig in Queens. Mets GM Billy Eppler told reporters that he was in contact with former mentor Brian Cashman about Chávez before the former slugger was officially announced by the Yankees, and there was always an “understanding” that if the Mets did want Chávez for the main job, then the Yankees would yield. It makes sense, as it’s not good practice in the industry to deny employees a chance to take a better job elsewhere.

New York Times | James Wagner: For the first time in quite awhile, it feels like MLB and the MLB Players Association have made some progress in their talks over the new CBA. Former Yankees reliever Andrew Miller was actually one of the few people in the room for the Monday meeting. Here are some details of the MLBPA’s counterproposal, which came in response to MLB’s January 13th offering:

The union dropped, for the first time, its bid to allow some players (those with five years of service) to reach free agency based on age (30 ½ years and later 29 ½) rather than on service time alone, as has been done for decades. The union also tweaked its previous proposal to reduce some revenue sharing among teams.

Per Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the MLBPA still seemingly has the goal of getting players to arbitration after two years rather than three. The two sides have planned another tête-à-tête today to continue the discussions, where MLB is expected to make another proposal (though they are reportedly not afraid to cancel games).

FanGraphs | Justin Choi: You know that fan in the stands who always screams “JUST THROW THE BALL OVER THE PLATE” at pitchers when they lose the strike zone? That fan is probably more correct than they realize. In this fascinating FanGraphs study, batters were found to hit worse on fastballs down the heart of the plate in 2021 than at any other point from 2015 onward (when Statcast data became public). Why might that be? Choi came up with some pretty good answers.