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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/5/22

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ZiPS projections released for Yankees players; The case for prioritizing Freddie Freeman once the lockout ends; Hall of Fame candidate matchups.

Wild Card Round - New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

FanGraphs | Dan Szymborski: The annual ZiPS projections are rolling out, and the Yankees’ numbers are one of the latest teams to be announced. ZiPS projects strong numbers for the Yankees’ top hitter and pitcher, with Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole accruing 5.7 and 5.8 zWAR respectively. Additionally, Jameson Taillon and Luis Severino earned cautiously optimistic marks while the low points centered around the oft-discussed catcher and center field positions.

Sports Illustrated | Pat Ragazzo: While Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are still available and awaiting the end of the lockout to find a new team, it appears unlikely at best that the Yankees will go after them. The plan seems to be wrapped around finding a stopgap solution to shortstop, and budgeting for an Aaron Judge extension. But could the Yankees pair that with a pursuit of a different superstar — Freddie Freeman? If the reported six-year, $180 million deal he’s seeking from Atlanta is valid for other locations, it may just be doable.

MLB.com | Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru: The Hall of Fame ballots are flying around, and as is usual there’s a lot of conversation about the candidacy of each player up for enshrinement. What’s not often discussed is the potential Hall players’ performance against each other, but Sepe-Chepuru dives into the interesting cases. There’s the not-so-good Andy Pettitte vs. Manny Ramirez case and the extremely good Alex Rodriguez vs. Joe Nathan sample size for Yankees representation, as well as Roger Clemens’ complete dominance of Torii Hunter.