New York Yankees Close In On Star Lefty Pitcher Patrick Corbin – Deal Update

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees struggled in 2018 with their pitching rotation; lacking consistency and efficiency when going into their starting depth. Moving forward, they will look to bolster the unit exponentially through free agency. The Yanks have already added James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners for top prospect Justus Sheffield. They are now pursuing star pitcher Patrick Corbin aggressively, with reports stating they are closing in on a six-year deal worth around $115 million.

If the Yankees can secure the lefty they will be in a good position next season with the retention of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia. Corbin visited Yankee Stadium on Thursday; his introduction was displayed and he was treated like royalty. As most free agents say, “it’s a dream to wear the Yankee Pinstripes.”

Patrick Corbin: LHP

2018 Stats (ARZ):

11-7, 3.15 ERA, 33 Starts, 246 SO, 200.0 IP, 1.050 WHIP, 4.8 WAR

Corbin had a strong year in 2018, posting a career-best in both ERA and Strikeouts. Now facing free agency for the first time, the two-time all-star is looking to take his talents to a team that could make a deep postseason run.

Since April, Corbin has been connected to the Yankees when he commented about his desire to play in the Bronx. A New York native, he grew up in a household of Yankee fans. The bombers could undoubtedly use a man of Corbin’s caliber to upgrade their starting rotation. Having already acquired Mariners ace James Paxton, adding Corbin would give the Yankees another arm to compliment ace Luis Severino.  Paxton finished the year with an 11.7 K/9, with Corbin not far behind at 11.1, a career high for him.

A question would be if Corbin can at least pitch competently in Yankee Stadium. In his six-year career, the only home he has ever known was Chase Field, which like the Stadium, is a very hitter-friendly ballpark, especially when the roof is open.

Contract Prediction: 5 years, $90-$100 million

What Should The New York Giants Do If They Miss Out On Justin Herbert?

New York Giants, Justin Herbert

With the general assumption that New York Giants‘ veteran quarterback Eli Manning will take his talents into retirement at the end of the 2018 season, it’s only fair to begin looking into potential passer options for 2019. One of the more talented prospects is Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

Herbert has been compared to Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen, but significantly more accurate with the football in his hands. His ability to buy time and find open receivers is special, and he would offer a shiny new toy for head coach Pat Shurmur. An already talented quarterback that he can mold and develop to his liking.

But, this begs the questions: 

What if the New York Giants miss out on Justin Herbert all-together?

The NFL Draft is like a game of chess. You only know your move, but your opposition can counter your expected action based on where your pieces are and the resources you have on the board. Think of it like this: The game is the draft, the pieces are the draft picks, and the player is the war room.

If the Giants fail to land the top QB prospect, they might be better off skipping out on a passer overall. Putting their faith in current rookie Kyle Lauletta might not be the best move, but bringing on a veteran like Teddy Bridgewater could be an acceptable alternative. We will likely see Lauletta perform toward the end of the season which should give us an idea on if he can be the future of the Giants.

Who could the Giants look to if they decide against taking a quarterback in the 2019 NFL draft?

With the expectancy that the Giants will land in the top 5 picks overall, they should certainly consider going with either and offensive or a defensive lineman. Players like Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver offer immense quality and All-Pro potential. Nick is supposedly an even better prospect than his older brother Joey Bosa.

Nick Bosa (Ohio State) profile:

The Ohio State standout has immense size, standing at 6-foot-4, 263 pounds. Believe it or not, Bosa has room for growth, and his speed off the line won’t be affected. His strength is unparalleled despite a core muscle injury that forced him to leave the Buckeye’s defense and prepare for the NFL draft.

He racked up 17.5 sacks in two years at Ohio, proving to be extremely productive in his time as a starter. His older brother, Joey, stated that Nick is far ahead of where he was at that stage of his career. Bosa would offer the Giants a premier pass-rusher that would revolutionize a defensive line that lacks pass-rushing capabilities. He’s also stellar in the run game and would immediately influence a unit that has struggled consistently this season.

Max Sharping (Northern Illinois) profile:

One of the lesser talked about prospects is offensive tackle Max Scharping. If the Giants decided to take a flier on the tackle, they would offer their future quarterback better protection and more time in the pocket. Scharping ranking third in pass-blocking in 2015 (97.1), first in 2016 (98.9), and first again in 2017, according to PFF.

Over 459 snaps in ’17, Scharping allowed just four pressures in pass-protection. Throughout his entire career, he’s allowed just 21 QB pressures across 1,377 pass-blocking snaps. If you aren’t convinced he can be a stellar player in the NFL, he hasn’t allowed a sack since 2015 in the Huskies bowl game against Boise State. If the Giants aren’t keen on signing a player like Carolina Panthers’ Daryl Williams in free agency, Scharping would be one hell of an upgrade at the right tackle position.

 

Big Ten: The Freshman And Receiver Of The Year Is Rondale Moore

Purdue isn’t always the school that you would expect award-winning players to come from, but this year, they can lay claim to having both the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Receiver of the Year awards. Both of these titles will go to Rondale Moore, who racked up more than a thousand yards receiving in his first season with the Boilermakers and greatly helped their offense with 12 touchdowns over the air and one on the ground.

With the regular season practically over at this point, Moore’s 103 receptions also lead the nation across all conferences and barely edge out other players such as UMass receiver Andy Isabella, who finished the year with 101. Moore’s 1,164 yards put him at tenth in all conferences, but first in the Big Ten, above Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson and his 1,112 yards.

Moore’s influence has been felt in Purdue’s season. While they did finish their regular season 5-4 in the Big Ten Conference, they’re currently on par with both Iowa and Wisconsin in a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten West standings. They also defeated Ohio State in a nationally televised home game, back when the Buckeyes were ranked number two in the nation.

During that game, Moore had one of his most productive nights and finished with 12 receptions and 170 yards, tying his highest number of catches and setting a career high in yards. In the season finale win against rivals Indiana, Moore tied that total of 12 catches and finished the game with 141 yards and 2 touchdowns.

It’s certainly a well deserved award, and going into next season, Moore will definitely be one of the national players to watch. Especially when Purdue has a better idea of their starting quarterback situation going into the start of the season, unlike this year.

Why The New York Jets Should Keep Head Coach Todd Bowles

Todd Bowles has been on the hot seat this season, and for good reason. The New York Jets are 3-8 and the Messiah at quarterback has been walking around practice in a boot for the past few weeks. A good head coach will always take the blame for a team’s failures, and is credited when the team has success. Unfortunately for Bowles, with a record of 23-36 as coach of the Jets, he deserves a lot of blame.

There’s Plenty of Blame to Go Around For The New York Jets:

Despite his lack of success, Todd Bowles should not be fired. Not immediately, anyway. The Jets should whether the storm with Bowles for the rest of the season. I am never a fan of changing head coaches in the middle of the season, excluding egregious cases e.g. the Cleveland Browns. It leaves the organization lacking leadership and rarely does it do much to improve the overall trajectory of the season.

While Bowles is supposed to be a great defensive mind, the results on the field are nowhere to be found. The Jets are currently allowing the 19th most points-per-game, and 21st most yards-per-game this season. With all of the first-round picks and millions of dollars spent on that side of the ball, those statistics are unacceptable.

So Why Not Fire Him Now?

The case for keeping Bowles until December 31st is simple. Who are you going to replace him with in the interim? Unfortunately, the way the league works amounts to the necessity of promoting from within. While the league is suited for offensive minded head coaches to have success, Jeremy Bates is not up to the job.

Did those defensive rankings sound bad? Well the offensive rankings are worse. The Jets are 26th in points-scored and 29th in yards-per-game. They are 29th in passing yards, and 22nd in rushing yards. We can attribute the lack of yards through the air to the combination of a rookie and journeyman at quarterback.

The lack of a rushing attack is unexplainable. Yes, Bilal Powell went down with a gruesome injury in week 7. However, Elijah McGuire has shown promise and Isaiah Crowell has been a consistently productive back for the last several years.

What Should the Jets Do?

Clean house on black Monday and let Maccagnan bring in his own offensively-minded guy to develop Sam Darnold. They can always hire Bowles or even Rex Ryan back as defensive coordinator. There are not that many Sean McVay’s or Kyle Shanahan’s out there. The Jets need to find a coach that can effectively run an offense, and develop the young talent they have on both sides of the ball.

New York Giants Get Lucky With QB Matchup Against Bears

The New York Giants will have to worry about plenty of players on the Chicago Bears, including Khalil Mack, but they might get lucky at one important position. That position is quarterback, the one that is frequently called the most important position of all. Bears quarterback Mitch Trubusky is recovering from an injury, and it appears the Bears may not risk a setback by starting him in Sunday’s game.

It means the Giants would avoid facing the 2017 number two overall draft pick, who has helped the Bears return not just to relevance but to first place in the NFC North. Trubisky last played when the Giants defeated the Vikings by a score of 25-20. In that game, he had 31 attempts but only one touchdown compared to two interceptions, to go along with 165 passing yards. It was a much lower total than his 355 yards and three touchdowns in the prior game.

Trubisky didn’t play against the Lions on Thanksgiving and was replaced by Chase Daniel, who according to Mike Garafolo, is the planned starter for Sunday’s game against the Giants. Daniel, who is on his 4th team after entering the league undrafted, managed a good game against the Lions with a pair of touchdowns and 230 passing yards.

But despite Daniel having a good game, most New York Giants fans would rather see the Giants face him than Trubisky, who is in the upper half of the league in the touchdown standings despite missing a game.

The Giants are going with their usual starter. It’s already been confirmed that Eli Manning will start the game, despite the playoff hopes of the team being all but dead at this point. There won’t be any magic turnaround in the second half of the season. The only thing the team can hope for is a win that offers some entertainment for the fans that have stuck around, or a loss that improves their position in the draft.

Embiid, Redick too much as Knicks get routed in Philly

New York Knicks point guard, Emmanuel Mudiay.

Coming off a bad loss in Detroit, the Knicks were hoping to bounce back on the road in Philadelphia, who is now 11-1 at home. The first six minutes were solid, Mario Hesonja was hitting some shots and the game was pretty much even, but then, it was all downhill from there.

Hezonja and Enes Kanter both let the team with 17 points, the latter with 6 board. While Hezonja took 15 shots, this may have been his best game since joining New York.

On the other side of the court, JJ Redick was scorching hot scoring 24 points on 10-14 shooting, going 4-6 from deep. Early MVP candidate, Joel Embiid was his dominant self piling up 26-14-7 stat line in just 30 minutes. The Knicks just simply did not have the answer.

What turned into a big blowout by halftime, there was some progress made. Damyean Dotson finally started to get some minutes again. Granted, the game was out of hand, however, he somehow had the only positive on the team being a +5. He scored 16 points on 6-11 shooting while playing so solid defense as usual. Kevin Knox showed some signs as well, scoring 9 and grabbing 7 boards.

What is the next step?

Knicks fans have different outlooks on how to develop this team. Some will say to build a culture of winning, some will say to play the players who deserve the minutes.

This is an extremely young and raw team. Its compiled of former lottery busts and talented rookies and second year players who are still learning the game. If the Knicks were a .500 team, on the cusp of a playoff birth, it would maybe behoove them to play the players who are performing best, however, at 7-15, in a rebuilding year, its time to give the real youngsters so serious run time.

Is this the proper way to develop young talent?

Depends on who you ask. This isn’t an NFL QB, where it takes time to learn and system, call audibles, read defenses etc. In the NBA, players need to play and they need to play to their strengths.

Frank Ntilikina is not a Small Forward or a Shooting Guard. What make him potentially special is his ability to lock down other Point Guards and not demand the ball on offense. From the SF position, you would like some scoring and play-making, same goes for SG. Playing along side Trey Burke and Allonzo Trier does not help him develop any real aspect of his game as evidenced by his recent donuts.

Mitchell Robinson is athletic, talented and young. He’ll block some shots but he’ll also foul a ton. This project will take time and for someone who did not play organized ball last year, he is doing just fine.

Kevin Knox showed some signs last night going 3-9. He needs to become more of a focal point in this offense. It can’t just be that when he is on the court with Trey Burke, Knox watches him play. Let him shoot through his struggle and learn to take good shots.

Who’s next?

Next up, the Greek Freak come into town. They had a tough time with him last time they faced off. From one Eastern juggernaut to another.

How The New York Giants Can Fix Their Tight End Problem

New York Giants, Rhett Ellison

After reading the title of this precarious article you will probably assume it revolves around the New York Giants‘ struggles with containing opposing tight ends on defense. On the contrary, they have controversy and objections on both sides of the ball, but I want to focus on the offense and where the tight end position currently sits.

How have the New York Giants used their tight ends in 2018?

At the current stage of a 3-8 season, the Giants have tried to utilize former first-round pick Evan Engram in a majority of packages. The problem seems to be his catching ability, or lack there of. Engram was drafted to be a threat down the middle of the field, also referred to as the “seam.” Head coach Pat Shurmur just doesn’t seem to take advantage of the second-year tight end’s supposed skill-set. In fact, he’s on managed 257 yards through 12 weeks compared to a 722 yard rookie campaign.

It’s fair to mention that Engram was thrusted into the top receiving option for Eli Manning after Odell Beckham Jr.’s season-ending injury. His stats are a bit padded, especially with his ugly eight dropped passes. My argument, though, seems to take me away from Engram and towards Rhett Ellison.

I believe that Ellison is simply the better option at tight end and should be utilized more frequently. Why, you might ask? Because he can catch the ball just as efficiently, but he can also block well. When Ellison joined the Giants in 2017, his primary assignment was to be a blocker. We have seen him evolve into more than that, and it should earn him more playing time than the struggling Engram.

Ellison has 212 yards and one touchdown this season, just a tad less than Engram, but he offers far more in the running game. Last week, he amassed 77 yards on four catches. His impact on the game was significant and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Evan Engram Vs. Rhett Ellison:

Given the fact that Engram was drafted for his catching ability, it’s only fair to compare his catch-rate to Ellison’s. To some surprise, he falls far below that of the veteran, landing at 55.7% in 2017 and 69.7% in ’18. Ellison on the other hand caught 75% of balls in 2017 and 76% in ’18 (so far). Someone please explain to me why Jerry Reese felt it was necessary to draft a glorified wide receiver in the first round while having Beckham and Sterling Shepard on the roster…

Another argument you could make would be: Engram is far more productive in the deep passing game. You would be wrong; Ellison and Engram both average 11.2 yards per-reception. The most underwhelming part behind these statistics; Engram earns double the amount of receptions per-game (3.3) and Ellison has still managed to keep up with him in regard to overall receiving yards and yards-per-catch.

What do you think? Should the Giants continue to use Ellison in a more prominent role? He can block after all.

Knicks snap 3 game win streak against Pistons, look ahead to 76ers

New York Kicks, Allonzo Trier

The New York Knicks visited Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons in an Eastern Conference stinker, that finished in a 115-108 blowout win for the Pistons. You read that right, this game was a blowout for Detroit despite the seven point final result.

For the first time in my lifetime, I look forward to the New York Knicks Head Coach press conference because David Fizdale is not shy about being blunt with the fans and media, who of course are ready to pounce with every misstep. He put it perfectly last night, stating that the Knicks played well for about 17 points… and that was pretty much it.

The New York Knicks looked as awful as they have all season and the box score does not tell the full story of the game. The game was tied at 17-17, when Trier and Knox check into the game, as the first wave off the bench, to try and hold the Pistons who were rallying back in the 1st quarter, but to no avail. The Pistons stormed out of the first quarter with momentum from a 17-4 run and never looked back. Although the 1st quarter ended at 24-19, the Knicks were shooting a putrid 26% from the field. But of course it did not stop there, the Knicks ended the game shooting under 40%… yikes.

The most frustrating aspect of this game was not only that Andre Drummond had 2 fouls and was on the bench in foul trouble mid-way through the 1st quarter, the All-Star center was a non-factor, besides on the boards, for most of the game. Still, that was not enough for the Knicks to capitalize, as they were never close in this game (outside of the 1st quarter) until their signature almost comeback comeback in the 4th quarter. The signature almost comeback comeback is what I like to call that 8 minute stretch in the 4th quarter where the Knicks communicate on defense, make high basketball IQ decisions, and make their baskets… and just as you feel that momentum on the Knicks side stemming from overcoming a typical 3rd quarter deficit… three or four bad plays cost the Knicks the game and you’re going back to looking at NBA Lottery odds and looking forward to March Madness. Poetically, the Duke matchup vs. Indiana tipped off just as this dud of an NBA game came to a close, where the basketball gods once again send that glimmer of hope into the eyes of every Knicks fan across the world in the image of Zion, Barrett, and Reddish.

Allonzo Trier with 24 points and Trey Burke getting to the free throw line at key points were sparks off the bench for the New York Knicks offensively. If you love free-throws, this was the game for you, as there were 77 free throws attempted by both teams combined. Hard to watch.

Yes… I buried the lead… because the most important thing everyone learned after last game is Damyean Dotson needs minutes. The second round pick from Houston showed that he’s a professional and belongs in the NBA, as Dot came off the bench and put up 17 points on 3 for 3 from three point land and shot 6 for 8 from the field, in a slow game where the Knicks ended shooting under 40%… I know I said that already. But… 39.6% is unacceptable and that is with a 4th quarter rally to cushion that percentage.

We also learned that Mitchell Robinson is still a raw basketball player going for pump fakes and fouling out in the 3rd quarter after playing just 16 minutes, but there is also some positives with the young rookie showing his presence in the paint with four 1st quarter rebounds. Two starters Vonleh, who continues to show his versatility on the court, and Hezonja, also fouled out of this game. The Knicks must communicate better on defense and use their feet get to defender’s spot before they do.

Preview verses Philly

Although the odds are stacked against the Knicks (literally, they’re twelve point underdogs and if you put $100 on them to win, can net you +755), New York has no excuse not to make this game competitive. The 76ers have won 10 out of their last 11 home games, however, they are ranked 26th in defensive rating since Jimmy Butler joined the team. The Knicks must keep pace with the 76ers who love to run-and-gun down the court, whereas the Knicks are near the bottom of the league in the analytical pace statistic.

Knicks have won only one out of their four back-back matchups this season; lost by 2 to Celtics (home) , Lost by 1 to the Bulls in OT (home), Blown out by Magic (home), however the Knicks beat the Boston Celtics by 4 on road. For the most part, the Knicks are competitive on the second half of their back-to-backs, and that is certainly an accomplishment for the youngest team in the NBA– with credit going to Coach Fizdale.

The 76ers are 5-2 with Butler, including games that came down to the wire with the Nets, Suns, Pelicans, and Jazz, and losses coming against the Cavaliers and Magic. I expect the Knicks to revel in their underdog role and keep the game competitive against the 76ers. I would not be surprised if the Knicks pull out a gritty win against the I-95 rivals, which does not bode well for the TankCity Knicks fans. To them I say, do not worry, historically the Knicks stop playing NBA basketball after the Christmas game.

New York Giants: Kyle Lauletta Isn’t The Guaranteed QB2 Just Yet

Everyone expects rookie New York Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta to play if for whatever reason Eli Manning heads to the bench this season. The general idea is that the Giants will eventually further evaluate Lauletta with some regular season playing time after taking him in the fourth round of the draft earlier this year, but even as the team gets further and further away from realistically challenging for the playoffs, that hasn’t happened yet.

Manning has already been named the starter for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Beyond that one, there’s four games left in the season and just about everyone is wondering when, or if, the rookie from Richmond will play. It seemed before, after all, like the Chicago game would be a good time to make a switch at quarterback because it’s the first game since the Giants lost their chance at running the table through the end of the season.

At three games back, their playoff chances are all but dead in the water after the Philadelphia loss.

But if there is a change at quarterback, there’s no hard guarantee that it will be Lauletta who moves into the starting spot. Not if Pat Shurmur’s comments on Monday mean anything, anyway.

“Why are you jumping over Tanney? I think what you try to do is win each game. You make a decision based on winning the game. And you make your decisions based on putting the best team on the field that gives you a chance to win the game,” Shurmur said.

Alex Tanney is typically considered the third string quarterback, and the 31-year-old is in his first season with the Giants after stints with a number of other teams. Tanney spent much of his time on practice squads but managed to stay on the Titans from 2015 to 2017 before making the Giants roster in early September.

Tanney hasn’t played in the regular season this year and is largely inexperienced overall when it comes to getting time in games. It’s the reason why it seems unlikely that he actually starts, and more likely that this is Pat Shurmur giving a generic question to the media members who continue to ask about the starting quarterback situation and the chances of Lauletta playing.

Of course, the expectation that Lauletta will start this season may be unrealistic in itself. Lauletta wasn’t drafted high enough to have these kinds of expectations and there is a very real chance that it’s Manning who finishes out the year as the starter. In what could be his farewell season as starter, it’s not a certainty that the coaching staff will bench him for a mid round draft pick that looked good but not great during the preseason.

Whatever the case, we’ll have to wait to find out who ends the season as starter. It’s already confirmed that Manning will play against Chicago, for better or worse coming off of a decent game in the loss to Philadelphia last Sunday.

The Most Glaring Positive From A Lost New York Giants Season

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

We could discuss the royalty that New York Giants‘ Saquon Barkley has become among the fan-base and media world, but despite the silver lining that he is, the most positive aspect of the season isn’t physical, but rather imaginative. Barkley has already surpassed the 1,000 all-purpose yards mark, and we could make the educated guess that he leads the race for Rookie of The Year.

At the end of an all too regularly depressing day following a Giants loss, the only positive thought that crosses my mind is potential. Potential to turn the organization around and establish a direction and ideology that connects the players and coaches. Finding a seamless method of communication to help establish trust and perspective.

These points are usually tasked to the leaders on the team; players like Alec Ogletree, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley… But, not Eli Manning.

Manning is a humble sort, patiently waiting for an opportunity to show his leadership through example, but not words. The issue is, the examples he’s shown have been inconsistent, messy, and often lack mental processing. This is in regard to his performance so far in 2018, of course. His off-the-field demeanor is world class, even exemplary for any professional in the NFL.

In this day and age, a team would rather have a personality like Baker Mayfield’s than one of Manning’s. If you can manage to secure a player that’s outspoken and humble, then you’re one of the few lucky ones.

The primary positive for the New York Giants:

Now, I didn’t intent for this to be a Manning rant, but I just keep coming back to the same conclusion. One of the weakest positions on the Giants is at quarterback, and it cannot be avoided any longer. Whether it be 4th round pick Kyle Lauletta who comes to the rescue, or Alex Tanney, a player that head coach Pat Shurmur believes shouldn’t be slept on, somebody has to right the ship.

Every passing loss is painful and frustrating, but if it gets New York a player like Oregon’s QB Justin Herbert, or even Ohio States’ DE Nick Bosa, we have won the battle. The war is a lifetime event, but every battle won is a step closer to planting your flag on the hill above 31 other teams. While having a high pick in the draft is never a good thing, all it takes is one player to change the course of a franchise, and the Giants have already found their conductor in Saquon Barkley.