Yoenis Cespedes Done for the Season, Maybe More

On Wednesday, the New York Mets announced slugger Yoenis Cespedes will miss the rest of the season to get surgery on both of his heels. This came as no surprise after he broke the news of surgery possibly needed to heal the lingering pain he has dealt with. Cespedes missed over two months with the injury this season and only returned for one game before landing on the DL again.

Maybe Cespedes Should Have Rested

Cespedes barely made it through one game as a designated hitter before feeling soreness the next day. When trying to score on a single from second base, he was not running well and could not slide as well. The surgery on his heels will take 8-10 months to recover from and could take even longer. The surgery will be done in two segments with each heel being done at separate times.

If the Mets were still in contention it would make sense to try to get Cespedes back into the lineup even if he was not 100 percent. After spending two months on the shelf the Mets quickly fell out of contention and the pain continued to linger. The combination of Cespedes keeping quiet and the Mets rush to get him back for just one game makes the last two months look like a waste of time.

How Much Did The Organization Know?

Things would likely be different if the organization had a grasp of how severe the injury to Cespedes was. They could have opted for surgery at the end of May and potentially have Cespedes ready for Opening Day in 2019. Opting for surgery now puts Cespedes at a May/June return at best. This makes for an interesting shake up if Jay Bruce, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are all producing in 2019.

For the time being, the Cespedes contract is comparable to the David Wright contract as Cespedes has only played 119 games over the last two seasons. Cespedes will definitely miss more time to start the 2019 season and will have to be healthy for the last two seasons of his huge contract to prove his worth. The Mets will always be a better team when he is in the lineup and it will be interesting to see how the Mets approach the start of 2019 without him.

New York Knicks: Can Tim Hardaway Jr. Live Up To His Potential?

Despite averaging the most minutes in his five-year career, Tim Hardaway Jr. didn’t seem to excel on the court nor live up to the expectations set out for him in 2017. The shooting guard struggled to maintain his consistency over long stretches and failed to liven a New York Knicks offense that was bottled up for the majority of the 29-53 season.

Hardaway will be expected to perform at a higher quality in 2018, but we shouldn’t expect him to. He finished last season shooting 32% from the three-point line and 52% from two. Going into his sixth year, Tim has been referred to as a sharp shooter, but hasn’t made a name from himself in the NBA, despite earning a returning contract to the Knicks that locked him up for four-years, $71 million.

While Tim was a career 35.2# three-point shooter coming to the Knicks, he consistently los confidence and floundered last season. Former head coach, Jeff Hornacek, allowed Hardaway Jr. to attempt over seven three per game, averaging 2.3 off the dribble, shooting an abysmal 28%. There’s no doubt it was an off season for the veteran, but this is unacceptable.

Is there hope for Tim Hardaway Jr. on the Knicks?

With Kristaps Porzingis out for a majority of the 2018 campaign, and rookies in Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson taking the court, Hardaway Jr. will have his hands full. He will be expected to provide a decent chunk of the offense as Knox learns his role and adapts to the speed and power of a professional game.

In other words, it’s redemption time. For a proclaimed shooter to have the issues Hardaway suffered through in 2017, it’s can only mean one thing…It can’t get any worse. He’s a better secondary offensive weapon than primary, which is what Knox will promote and the return of Porzingis will support. Having a young, dynamic player in Knox will open up the floor for Hardaway, which should ultimately provide him with better shots and less defenders to distract him throughout the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Ten Media Days: What Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Had To Say

New York Jets, Jim Harbaugh

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is one of the figures that everyone was looking forward to hearing from during Big Ten Media Days, but after speaking on the first day, Harbaugh left fans without any of the controversial or bold statements that the coach has become known for.

Still, Harbaugh shined some insight on the state of the Wolverines program headed into the last month and a half or so before the season starts, speaking about his team’s offense as well as other matters such as the coaching staff this year and whether or not college football should expand further to an eight team playoff system.

“I always think of Karan [Higdon] and Chris Evans as both being really great players. Both have come into leadership roles on our team as the way it’s developed over the last nine months,” Harbaugh said about the team’s running backs. “You see them working with the younger backs, we’ve got some talented younger backs. Chris Evans in particular, grabs guys and goes over pass protections with them.”

Going into the season, though, it’s the quarterback situation that Michigan fans are more concerned with. Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson is the clear cut favorite to be the started when the season rolls around, but Harbaugh didn’t commit to Patterson one way or another and pointed out that the team’s other quarterbacks were improving.

“He went through all of spring practice with our team and got great work in there, played really well,” he said about Patterson. But he also had good things to say about the rest of the quarterbacks in the starting competition. “Brandon Peters was also improved this spring. Dylan McCaffrey probably made the most improvement of any quarterback on our roster.”

Brandon Peters’ improvement is the most intriguing, as Peters was the favorite to win the starting job before Patterson arrived on the scene and was ruled eligible to play this season by the NCAA.

When asked about what the team needed to be successful, Harbaugh chose not to go into details and instead went for a more simple explanation, one that he would repeat almost word for word when asked about the lack of success against Michigan’s biggest rivals.

“We need to improve. That’ll lead to success and that’ll lead to championships. It’s that simple.”

New York Giants: Is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie The Answer After Beal’s Injury?

The New York Giants improved a lot over the offseason, but the one spot that still needs more depth is cornerback. More than any other position, if you compare the Giants’ position groups from top to bottom. After supplemental draftee Sam Beal was signed to a four year contract, some thought that he would be the one to impress and win a spot in the cornerback rotation.

Those hopes were dashed when Beal sustained a season ending injury just before the start of training camp. It was a weird an unlucky injury, one that came only a little more than a full week after Beal joined the Giants. Now, the team is left looking for a cornerback to sign. Again.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wasn’t brought back for another season in New York, but he’s in the conversation once again after going unsigned with the rest of the league. Cromartie played from 2014 to 2017 with the Giants but was released in March in a move that saved six and a half million dollars in cap space.

The cap situation is a problem that hasn’t gone away, especially after the Giants spent to bring in veteran pass rusher Connor Barwin. The estimated numbers give the Giants less than two million to spend on more additions, and it’s going to be very hard or impossible to get Cromartie back on the team with numbers like that.

Of course, Cromartie might get desperate. He wasn’t able to find another team, and if he wants to play in the NFL again this season, the Giants could be a way to do that. We don’t have the details of the offers that Cromartie received from other teams, so it’s impossible to tell just what his value is right now, and how low he would be willing to go.

Cromartie did tweet that he missed his teammates with the Giants. But just how badly does he want to return to New York? Any deal that can be made within the current cap situation would force Cromartie to take a contract that would be on par with someone of the team’s rookies and second year players such as Dalvin Tomlinson.

Really, it looks unlikely that the Giants will be able to pull the trigger on a deal to bring back DRC, even if it’s what the team would like because of their past experience with the player. Former Steelers corner William Gay was signed in mid April, and it’s more likely that Gay is given the nod in the rotation rather than DRC or Beal, with the latter being out of the race because of his injury.

Cromartie being signed by the Giants is a move that everyone would like. But after the addition of Connor Barwin took up some more of the little cap space that the team has left, it’s just not one that looks feasible given the fact that Cromartie didn’t take a pay cut to stay with the Giants in the first place.

New York Yankees Flashback: The First Gleyber Day

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees pulled off the first of two blockbuster deals that would alter the direction of their franchise in a positive direction on July 25, 2016, when they traded lefty closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for righthander Adam Warren, shortstop Gleyber Torres, right fielder Billy McKinney, and outfielder Rashad Crawford.

Al Downing fell behind the Twins in the first 1-0 on the strength of a Harmon “Killer” Killebrew home run on July 25, 1967. Twins starter Jim Kaat held the Yankees scoreless until, with two outs in the ninth, Mickey Mantle went yard on a 457-foot shot, and the game was rained out with the score, 1-1. The replay was won by the Yankees on August 18, 1-0.

Rookie Jordan Montgomery had one of his best games in a 4-2 win over visiting Cincinnati on July 25, 2017. The southpaw allowed just two hits and a walk in 6.67 frames while striking out six.

July 25, 1961, just one more stop on the M&M trail. Roger Maris went yard for the 37th, 38th, 39th, and 40th times on the season during a doubleheader sweep over the White Sox, 5-1 and 12-0. Mickey Mantle hit his 38th home run off Frank Baumann in the first game.

Two booming bombs by Jose Bautista had the Yanks down to the Blue Jays 3-0 in the first and 4-2 in the third of a July 25, 2014, contest in Yankee Stadium, but the Yanks rallied against southpaw Mark Buehrle. Carlos Beltran homered to make it close, and two batters later, Ichiro Suzuki chipped in with his only long ball of the season, a three-run shot that forged the final score, 6-4 Yanks. Hiroki Kuroda survived the Bautista blasts to get the win.

New York Yankees Acquire Zach Britton From The Orioles For 3 Prospects

The New York Yankees have finalized a deal to acquire closer Zach Britton from the Orioles in exchange for Rhp’s Dillon Tate Cody Carroll and  Left- hander Josh Rogers.

The key pieces to get the deal done for the New York Yankees:

Dillon Tate was the headliner in this deal and the  Yankees No.9 ranked prospect by MLB.com he was the fourth overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. The Yankees acquired him from Texas in the Carlos Beltran trade in the summer of  2016.

Britton will be another top tier arm added to an already impressive Yankees bullpen.  The Yankees bullpen currently has the lowest era as a staff  in the Major Leagues with a 2.75 and adding Britton To a relief corps that includes Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson and Dellin Betances will only help solidify their chances at making a Deep playoff run.

Britton, who came back last month after recovering from Achilles surgery that kept him sidelined since the beginning of the season was pitching to a 3.45 era through 16 appearances in Baltimore. In 2016 he had one of the best seasons of all time for a relief pitcher. Pitching to a 0.54 era and recording 47 saves, Britton is set to be a free agent at the end of this season.

 

 

New York Giants: 3 Must Watch Position Battles During Training Camp

As the New York Giants prepare for their first full team practice on Thursday, multiple positions are in dire need of depth and security. Training camp and the pre-season will be the determining factor for starters on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. But in this article we will focus on three very influential position battles that will ultimately help form the team as a whole once the regular season begins.

1.) Safeties

The Giants have a glaring hole at the safety position, as both Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams aren’t exactly starting quality. Both have shown signs of life with Adams being the more productive player. Thompson missed his rookie season due to a foot ailment that sent him to the IR list, and his sophomore year didn’t prove to be very encouraging. He missed tackles and blew coverages regularly, forcing the defensive line to compensate for the lack of support in the secondary.

Adams played well, sparingly. He recorded two passes defended and 28 total tackles over four games started. He regularly subbed in throughout games, but wasn’t the primary starter.

This will certainly be a good battle to watch during camp, as the winner will start the season as the free safety alongside Landon Collins.

2.) Center

Both Brett Jones and Jon Halapio had decent seasons in 2017 as reserve lineman. Jones stepped in to fill the shoes of Weston Richburg, who succumbed to a concussion. The third-year lineman proved to be a valiant plug and play option, as he stood his ground and was a shimmer of light on a struggling offensive line.

Halapio on the other hand played more at guard. He struggled at times but showed progress in his development and optimism for 2018. So far, it’s thought that Halapio is actually in the lead to secure the vacant center position, ahead of Jones. Obviously, this position is very influential on the offense and holds a lot of expectation. It’s not an ideal scenario, but both players are capable of holding their own on game-day.

3.) Right Tackle

This is one of the bigger position battles to watch out for in camp. Ereck Flowers is the expected starter at right tackle, especially when considering his previous experience on the Giants’ line. The issue is, he sucked at left tackle, so why would he be good at right tackle?

A former pro said to me, “switching sides is like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, it doesn’t work.” Not encouraging in regard to Flowers making the transition, but it doesn’t seem like the Giants have any other options.

Unless, Chad Wheeler can make a run at the job. Wheeler has shown flashes of power and ability, but with only one season and limited action under his belt, he seems like a long-shot. Personally, I can’t imagine Flowers being above average, so it’s safe to say the starting job is open for the taking.