New York Yankees Are On The Hook For Massive Payout For Useless Outfielder

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury

The last time New York Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had a batting average over .265 was in 2014, four years in the past when he originally signed with the Yankees.

Ellsbury spent the first seven-years of his career with the Boston Red Sox, earning two All-Star appearances during his time with the Yankees’ rival. Since his signing with New York, he’s played ‘satisfactory’ in four of five seasons, despite seeing his effectiveness drop off considerably.

Jacoby missed the entirety of 2018 with an injury, allowing several other players to supplant him and theoretically make him useless. He will likely play a rotational role in 2019 if he isn’t traded – I wouldn’t expect any team to pick up his $21 million per-season contract. He has three years remaining on his deal.

The Yankees have a team option in 2021, which he will be owed $21 million. Expect the team to pay the $5 million buy-out and move on from the inconsistent outfielder.

Who do the New York Yankees have in the outfield currently?

The Bombers currently feature Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks in the outfield. Those three players will likely be the starters come next season, with Ellsbury rotating in to keep the lineup healthy.

If Ellsbury can somehow maintain his health, nobody really knows what type of player he is at this point in his career. He was sub-par between 2015-17, recording 1.1, 1.6, and 1.7 fWAR each season. His defense was solid, but his hitting was lackluster and his base running was decent.

At 35 years-old, Jacoby hasn’t faced live pitching in an entire year, and it will undoubtedly take time for him to regain his form. The Yankees are on the hook for serious cap-hit, but also have Clint Frazier on the roster to assist in helping the outfield maintain their quality.

What are the options?

Getting rid of Ellsbury seems nearly impossible, as nobody is going to pick up his contract for the quality his provides. The Yankees are just going to have to wait this one out.

 

 

Three Good Things From The 2018 New York Giants Season

New York Giants

The New York Giants aren’t going to go down as having a good season this year. Yes, they still have two games left and could potentially win both, but the bad start to the season ensured that they didn’t seriously contend for the playoffs despite rebuilding the offensive line completely and gaining a new offensive star with the second overall pick in the draft.

But with the new year approaching, this is a good time to look back and see what went right for the Giants. The season as a whole was bad, but there were some bright spots that made it bearable.

The rise of Saquon Barkley

This is the most obvious one, so it’s the first thing listed here. When the Giants spent the number two overall pick on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, there was a lot of concern that a quarterback would have been a better selection. Some believed that running backs aren’t valuable enough to draft that high, and that Barkley wouldn’t add enough to the offense to justify picking him rather than Sam Darnold.

Now, a lot of those concerns have been alleviated by Barkley’s meteoric rise, which has made him one of the best running backs in the league despite not even having a full season under his belt yet. Barkley all but has third place in the rushing standings wrapped up at this point, with two games to go. Only Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurley have more yards in the entire league, and both players are more experienced.

Elliot and Gurley also don’t have to play behind the much maligned Giants offensive line, which has stabilized a bit but still isn’t at the standard that would be expected of it after the overhaul during last offseason. If there’s one thing Giants fans should be glad for, it’s the fact that Saquon Barkley gives the team a versatile star to build around next year and in the future. Most likely, that rebuild process will involve changing up the offensive line some more, and giving Barkley better blocking to work with going forward.

Second half turnaround

It would have been easy for New York Giants fans to completely check out at the halfway mark of the season. The Giants only managed one win in he first half of the season and they had some very demoralizing losses that killed enthusiasm around the team.

The offense looked horrible against Dallas in week two, the season opener set the tone for later games when the offensive line practically didn’t show up to play, and a 34-13 loss to the Eagles caused the team’s record to drop to 1-5 and made even some of the most optimistic fans lose hope.

However, the second half of the season has been an improvement from this, giving the fans a better product to watch even if the team’s playoff hopes mostly died with the 1-7 start. So far, with two games left, the Giants have won four games and lost two during the season’s second half, and have a chance to add two more wins to their total by beating the Colts and the Cowboys.

Whether they win those games or not, recent weeks have been a drastic improvement over the earlier part of the season.

Building for the future

While the results haven’t always been the best, the Giants have laid some foundations this year for more success in the future. Saquon Barkley being drafted is an obvious example but there’s been other smart moves, too. Odell Beckham Jr. received a big extension to make sure that he’ll be a New York Giant for years to come. The midseason move for Jamon Brown paid off, helping the Giants solve their problem at right guard.

On defense, the Giants have also found players that can play a bigger role going forward. Defensive back Grant Haley came into the league undrafted and had to join the active roster from the practice squad, but has really proven why the Giants were smart to sign him following the draft. His small size hasn’t kept him from playing regularly during the later part of the season and making an impact, and it looks like he’ll have more of a role after gaining more experience.

The trade of Damon Harrison put more pressure on rookie B.J. Hill, but the third round draft pick has given the Giants first round value and is already one of the top tacklers on the team. The team’s third leading tackler is Curtis Riley, who is in his first year with the Giants after playing two years for the Titans. Riley’s performances have improved since joining the Giants, and Riley has also played in more games.

All of these players will have a greater future impact both next season and in the coming years, and while this season overall wasn’t a good one, certain players stepping up in their performances gives the Giants some hope for the future. They’re better than some of the NFL’s other rebuilding teams, after all.

New York Giants: Previewing Week 16 Matchup Vs. Indianapolis

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley

It is week 16 of the 2018-2019 NFL season. The New York Giants are already eliminated from the playoffs with a disappointing 5-9 season, but they still have to play two more games.

This week they will travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Giants may be eliminated from the playoffs, but the Colts are not. They are very much in the hunt and will look at Sunday’s matchup against the Giants as a crucial game.

Taking A Look At The Colts

The Colts started the season at 1-5. Since then, they have won seven of their last eight games to improve to an 8-6 record. This team has been white hot, being lead by quarterback Andrew Luck and his stellar offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, the Colts’ offensive line has been the 6th best unit in the league this season. Rookie offensive guard Quenton Nelson had a slow start to the season, but he is now PFF’s eight highest-graded guard in the NFL. This will certainly give the Giants’ front seven some trouble. The Colts’ backfield features Marlon Mack. This season, Mack has averaged 4.8 yards per carry as he has powered his way to 755 yards and seven touchdowns. The Giants have been surrendering 128.4 rushing yards per game (fifth worst in the NFL), so expect the Colts’ game plan to feature a heavy dose of Marlon Mack. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Colts are being lead by rookie linebacker Darius Leonard. The rookie has totaled a league-leading 146 tackles this season, as well as seven sacks and four forced fumbles. He has been incredibly productive for the Colts and is a strong defensive rookie of the year candidate. The Colts have also been a good team at defending the run, eight best in the league at 103.6 yards per game. However, it should still be expected that the Giants continue to lean on Saquon Barkley, even though the Colts are a good run defending team.

Injury Report

The Giants will be without two of their best players this week. Super star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss his third game this season as he continues to deal with his bruised quad. Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree will also miss this game with a concussion. Along with Beckham Jr. and Ogletree, the Giants have also ruled out wide receiver Russell Shepard and center Spencer Pulley. Defensive lineman Kerry Wynn is also questionable.

The Colts have ruled out safety Clayton Gathers with a knee injury, and have declared five other players questionable. Those players include star receiver T.Y. Hilton, guard Mark Glowinski, safety Mike Mitchell, safety George Odum, and linebacker Anthony Walker.

The Giants’ Game Plan

The Giants have been leaning heavily on Saquon Barkley the past few weeks, and that is not expected to change against the Colts, despite their stout run defense. With Odell Beckham Jr. out, along with a starting offensive lineman in Spencer Pulley, the Giants are not likely to attack the Colts through the air. Eli Manning struggled greatly last week against the Titans due to a lack of a run game, so in order for the Giants to win, they will need to be efficient running the football.

New York Giants Miss Out On Great Kick Return Man In Waivers

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Los Angeles Rams had waived their return man, Pharoh Cooper. Cooper was an all-Pro special teams player in 2017, but he was injured earlier this season. The 11-3 Rams waived Cooper in order to sign C.J. Anderson to add depth to their backfield. Multiple teams put waiver claims on Cooper, and the Giants were one of them.

Who Was Awarded Cooper?

On Wednesday, it was announced that the Cardinals had claimed Pharoh Cooper. The former all-Pro has gone from an 11-3 super bowl contender to a 3-11 first overall pick contender. Three other teams put in a claim for Cooper, including the Jaguars, Titans, and Giants. The Cardinals were awarded Cooper because they have the worst record.

What Does This Mean For The Giants?

The Giants putting in a claim for Cooper should not come as much of a surprise. General manager Dave Gettleman has been active on the waiver wire this season. The Giants also have room for improvement regarding their kick returners. Corey Coleman has been productive on kick return, but there still has not been much improvement on punt returns since the beginning of the season. Jawill Davis is currently averaging only 8.1 yards per return this season.

The Giants front office has certainly noticed this lack of production on special teams. Cooper could have been the solution for the Giants, but instead he will field kicks in the desert with the Cardinals.

New York Yankees: Manny Machado To Decide On Team After New Years

The New York Yankees will learn the fate of star free agent Manny Machado after the New Year reports have indicated. Machado spent time visiting the Chicago White Sox, Phildelphia Phillies, and Yankees this week, in which each team had an opportunity to “wow” the prized infielder.

Can the New York Yankees utilize Manny Machado at short-stop?

While the fan-base is split on whether to land Machado or not, there’s no question that he would make the Yankees a more well-rounded team. His hitting is superb – .282 career batting average – and he’s a two-time Gold Glove winning third-baseman with the ability to play short-stop.

That’s where I’m most intrigued – his ability to fill-in for Didi Gregorius at short-stop. The benefit of having him is that they can test him out at a position other than third-base; if he succeed, Miguel Andujar can remain at third and lead the youth movement.

Andujar needs time to develop his defensive abilities, but his hitting was fantastic in 2018 — .300, 27 homers and .328 OBS. He committed 15 errors in the field which was the highest among the team.

Can Manny Machado be swayed for less money?

The final decision from the former Dodger will ultimately come down to the monetary value of the deals offered. If the Yankees can get in the ballpark of what he wants, he will likely sign with them, considering they seem to be the favorite at this point in time.

If the Phillies and White Sox blow him out of the water with a contract worth upward of $300 million, he might go that route. Philadelphia is in a better position to contend than the White Sox, so it really will come down to the Phillies and Yankees at the end of the day.

New York Yankees Already Have Place-Filler For Didi Gregorius On Roster

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

With New York Yankees regular short-stop Didi Gregorius out and rehabing from Tommy John surgery, the team will need to find a place-filler in the infield.

Several options, including star free agent Manny Machado, could be options to fill the void until his return. The cost will ultimately be the primary concern, and it might be more efficient to utilize talent that’s already on the roster than to sign a player looks for a 10-year, $300 million deal.

Machado would ultimately be signed to be the long-term solution at third-base, which would be a price-tag on the head of Miguel Andujar, which has been shopped for a potential starting pitcher.

Who should the New York Yankees consider at short-stop?

I believe the best option the Yankees have at SS is Gleyber Torres, who played the position in Triple A. He was being groomed to be the short-stop of the future, but was subsequently moved to second-base where he naturally thrives. Nonetheless, he has experience at the position and could fill in until Gregorius returns.

The only issue is, Didi is a free agent next winter, which puts the Yankees in an odd position.

A solution to the madness:

While some fans might not like this solution, it makes sense for all parties. Didi is the scape-goat in this circumstance, since he will be a free agent in 2019.

If the Yankees sign Machado, who naturally plays short-stop, Miguel Andujar can remain at third-base and develop his defensive skills. This would allow the Bombers to retain the corner-stone youth player and still solve their problem at short-stop. We simply cannot expect Gregorius to return and pick up right where he left off after a significant injury to his throwing arm– 27 homers with a hit line of .268/.335/.829 in 2018.

Unfortunately, this move forces the Yankees to separate from a fan-favorite, but the long-term effects will be more beneficial.

What do you think the Yankees should do at short-stop? Comment below!

New York Yankees: Thoughts on Zach Britton, Manny Machado and Adam Ottavino

New York Yankees, Zach Britton

Christian of NYYSportstalk wrote on Saturday:

While I would agree that the Yankees need to pivot their attention to relief pitching now that they’ve courted Manny Machado, I don’t agree with Christian that acquiring Machado would be a luxury, whereas Zach Britton, relief pitcher extraordinaire, would be vital to the Yankees’ success in 2019.

Machado’s role with the Yankees would presumably include at the very least a stint at shortstop while Didi Gregorius is on the disabled list and beyond Gregorius’ return, a possible return to third base where he was a Platinum Glove winner in 2013.

The Yankees need to improve their infield defense from a year ago. While Machado had a poor season defensively at shortstop for the Orioles, he improved a bit with the Dodgers.

The optimal scenario would be to slide Machado over to third base once Gregorius returns, which of course leaves the question of where to play Miguel Anduar – or trade him at the deadline – but that’s fodder for another article, as are other possible acquisitions and scenarios to bolster the infield.

Britton, Adam Ottavino and David Robertson have all been on the Yankees’ radar this offseason.  Rather than Britton, I am hoping the Yankees acquire Ottavino, formerly of the Colorado Rockies.

Ottavino put up stellar numbers in ’18: 2.43 ERA in 75 games with 6 saves, 112 strikeouts and a 0.991 WHIP.  Britton, on the other hand, pitched to a 3.10 ERA in 41 games with 7 saves, 34 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP.

Although Ottavino’s career statistics are “uninspiring” (17-20, 3.68 ERA), according to MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, “Ottavino was one of the five best regular relievers in the game in 2018.”  For the Yankees and other teams vying for his services in ’19:

It’s not entirely about what he’s done; it’s about what teams think he might be able to do. That is, no team cares about Ottavino’s 4.56 ERA in 2012 at this point. What can he offer in ’19, ’20 and ’21?

Do not be surprised to see the Yankees acquire this up and coming star, who’s hails from Manhattan and grew up in Brooklyn.  Ottavino has said about the Yankees:

“I grew up as a Yankee fan, and it’s always been something that would be nice (to play there),” Ottavino said. “So it would be cool…”

However, he went on to say that he wouldn’t allow this affinity to determine where he would ultimately choose to play.  The Yankees need to step up and make Ottavino a Yankee.