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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/7/22

Cone to join ESPN Sunday Night booth; Mets lure Chavez away from Yankees to be hitting coach; Correa may take a short-term, high AAV deal with opt-out; scouting report on top prospect Roderick Arias; Kyle Schwarber in pinstripes?

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2019 David Cone Celebrity Charity Golf Classic Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images

New York Post | Andrew Marchand: ESPN seems to have figured out their Sunday Night Baseball plans for 2022, and some current Yankees announcers will be involved. Matt Vasgergian left the production back in October, and Alex Rodriguez will no longer be on the regular broadcast. Instead, he’s slated to do a “Manningcast”-style secondary edition with lead YES play-by-play man Michael Kay that will air eight times per season (compared to the standard SNB docket of about 25).

As for the regular booth? Popular former pitcher David Cone will be on that alongside color commentator Eduardo Pérez and play-by-play man Karl Ravech. That one should actually be a pretty solid watch, particularly considering how good Cone has been in the YES booth. Both Cone and Kay will reportedly continue to do plenty of Yankees games.

NY Post | Mike Puma: Just when it seemed like Eric Chavez would join the Yankees as an assistant hitting coach, the Mets swooped in and offered him their top hitting coach position, which he reportedly accepted. Chavez is a friend of the crosstown rivals’ new general manager, Billy Eppler, as they know each other from their days within the Yankees and Angels’ organizations. It will be Chavez’s first experience as a hitting coach in the big leagues, where he spent 17 seasons as a player and had 260 homers and a 113 wRC+.

The Athletic | Jim Bowden: MLB insider and former general manager Jim Bowden wrote a piece (subscription required) about the best 25 free agents available in the market, with their best potential fits. He says shortstop Carlos Correa “might be willing to sign a shorter deal with a higher average annual value if it includes an opt-out after a couple of years” and that he would cherish a reunion with the Astros, but “don’t be surprised if the Yankees swoop in at the last minute and land him.”

Bowden also noted that, besides shortstop, the Yankees need a first baseman and they are interested in Freddie Freeman. If they fail to land him, however, he sees them pivoting to Anthony Rizzo.

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller: The international signing period will begin on January 15th, and the Yankees look like the favorites to land one of the top talents available: 17-year-old shortstop Roderick Arias.

The team will have $5,179,700 in international bonus pool money available, and most of it is expected to be offered to Arias, “an extraordinary talent” according to MLB Pipeline’s scouting report from August. Here is the report:

“The top prospect in the class, Arias has plus-arm potential. His throws are accurate and effortless, and he’s always in a position to make them. He also shows good footwork with soft hands and above-average range (…) At the plate, he exhibits above-average bat-to-ball skills and strike-zone awareness. He shows good plate discipline and doesn’t swing and miss often. He shows power from both sides of the plate, especially the right side. There’s good opposite-field power from the left side, and the overall package could develop into a plus-plus hitter. The Yankees are the favorites to sign him.” | Pat Ragazzo: The Yankees are in need of an offensive shakeup after finishing 19th last year in runs scored with 711. It already started, with new hitting coach Dillon Lawson expected to provide a fresh look in the big league team.

But Ragazzo suggests the team should take a long look at signing Kyle Schwarber. The Red Sox deadline acquisition would slot nicely in the lineup with his potent left-handed bat (which yielded a .928 OPS in 2021), and while it’s not an ideal fit on the field, Ragazzo suggests a timeshare between left field and the DH spot with Giancarlo Stanton.