New York Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury’s New Injury Is Ridiculous

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury

Well what do ya know, New York Yankees oft-injured outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is injured…again! Didn’t see that one coming. Seriously, we are going to witness another season where Ellsbury barely plays and sits on the bench collecting a pay-check. On the bright side, the Yankees have insurance on his contract.

Ellsbury is suffering through a deadly injury called plantar fasciitis. About 83% of active adults between the ages of 25-65 suffer from this ailment. I have it too, but it’s never stopped me from playing sports…let alone baseball where your running is kept to a minimum.

This deadly disease can be cured by a simple change of shoes, or a specialized in-sole to help support your arch. That’s what fixed it for me and I’m sure Ellsbury can afford his own Gucci branded in-sole with the money he continues to steal from the Yankees.

New York Yankees head coach Aaron Boone commented on Ellsbury’s injury:

“Obviously, he had hip surgery late in the year and we expected him to be here as an active player from the start [of spring training], but just some issues he’s had with his plantar fascia kind of crept up as he went through his rehab this winter. It slowed him a little bit.”

The 35-year-old still has two-year, $42 million on his deal, plus a $5 million buyout. The Yankees really shot themselves in the foot with this absurd contract. He missed all of last season with hip and foot injuries which forced him into surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Ellsbury will not report to Tampa while he rehabs from his latest issue. With an outfield consisting of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Clint Frazier, there doesn’t seem to be much room for him in the unit.

Brian Cashman further stated in regards to Jacoby:

“It didn’t make sense for him to come out here at this point,’’ said Cashman, who added the plantar fasciitis popped up again “four or five weeks ago.”

Ellsbury cannot run, which clearly limits his usage in spring training. Getting him back to 100% will be the primary goal, just as it has been since 2015.

 

 

 

 

New York Giants Shouldn’t Think About Trading For Case Keenum

By now, everyone should be aware that the Baltimore Ravens have traded Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos for a mid-round draft pick, in an unsurprising move to commit to second year quarterback Lamar Jackson. The trade has some implications for quarterback-needy teams because it means that Broncos quarterback Case Keenum is likely to move on before the season starts, now that Denver has their man for at least the next few years.

The New York Giants are one of those teams, but that doesn’t mean they should consider Keenum as a legitimate option. It’s not that Keenum is the worst quarterback in the league or that he can’t win some games with the Giants if a move was made, but at this point, there’s other things that the Giants should focus on.

Keenum was actually pretty decent last season. An 11-3 record as a starter, after all, is better than what the Giants were able to get out of their starter this season, and Keenum threw 3,890 yards and 18 touchdowns during that span. But if you asked people whether or not you could win a Super Bowl with Case Keenum, how many of them would say yes? Those numbers are good enough, but the Giants don’t need someone that’s good enough right now.

The Giants have won Super Bowls through having a franchise quarterback, Eli Manning, and the recent success of the Patriots should further show the value of a franchise quarterback. Stopgap quarterbacks have their place, yes, but the Giants aren’t in a position right now where they have to rely on a player who will likely be off the team in two to three years. They still have Manning on the roster, and a chance to draft a successor that can last for a longer time as a starter, and who can lead the team back to the playoffs.

That’s not to say that Dwayne Haskins Jr. or Kyler Murray are definitely the players that will lead the team in the future, but the point is that we don’t know yet. The Giants can either think of the future and they can bank on a rookie succeeding after spending some time learning under Eli Manning, or they can settle for a player that is good enough but is never going to be recognized as great. Some teams have to settle for players like that because they don’t have the options.

The Giants, though, have a choice on what to focus on. And it would be disappointing if they passed on a very promising player and instead settled for a player that is considered mid-level but not a player who will stick around as a long-term solution to the team’s quarterback problems.

New Draft System Does Not Favor The New York Knicks

The New York Knicks could draft Zion Williamson if they win out in the NBA lottery.

The New York Knicks still have the worst record in the NBA at 10-47.  But, this does not guarantee that they will get the top pick in this upcoming draft.

The way the new system is set up, the top 3 teams have a 14% chance at the top pick.  This system does not favor the Knicks.  The one year they might have the worst record, they won’t get the first overall pick.

Even if the Knicks end up having in the top 3, they could still fall out of the top 3 as well.  The lowest they’ll fall is to the 5th pick and that will be devastating.  A top 3 pick is needed, badly.

It should be, if you have the worst record, you get the top pick.  Simple.  However, that isn’t the case.  This draft is the most Knicks thing ever.  They are putting all of their eggs in the draft and Kevin Durant and they will end up striking out on everyone.

I call it the ‘Knicks’ factor.  Things just don’t go the way we want.  There has been so much hype around the Knicks in this upcoming draft and free agency, that it won’t work out in our favor.

Call me superstitious, but the more Knicks fans talk about getting Zion Williamson and Durant, the more we jinx it.  With that being said, I have been preparing myself to strike out entirely this offseason.

It’s very possible that the Knicks can miss out on Zion, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Ja Morant.  The same goes for free agency with Durant and Kyrie Irving.  Prepare yourself to be let down because that seems to be how it goes anymore.

New York Giants: Options For The Giants If They Trade Back In the 2019 NFL Draft

The New York Giants hold the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Everyone is waiting to see wether or not the Giants will finally attempt to draft Eli Manning‘s successor. However, nothing is set in stone.

This year’s draft class only has a couple of quarterbacks that are worthy of a first-round pick. If the Giants want to take one, they might even have to trade up. However, if they are not in love with one of the quarterback prospects, their best course of action might be to trade back.

Who Might Be Looking To Trade Up?

A few quarterback-needy teams could try to move into the top 10 to get their franchise signal-caller. The Giants could potentially go all-in on Eli Manning, trade back to accumulate draft picks, and build the team around the 38 year old veteran.

That is an unlikely, and probably unwise scenario. A more likely scenario would be if a team jumped in front of the Giants and took the quarterback they want. Thus would then cause the Giants to move back in the draft to get more picks. There are multiple teams who could potentially try to trade with the Giants.

One team that stands out is the Denver Broncos. The Broncos’ general manager, John Elway, has been rumored to view quarterback prospect Drew Lock as his guy. If the Giants do not share the same opinion, they could move back to the Broncos’ 10th spot.

The Miami Dolphins is another team to look out for in the 2019 NFL Draft. They are another quarterback-needy team picking outside of the top ten. They currently hold the 13th pick, which could end up being too far back to select a franchise quarterback. So if there is someone in this draft they want to select, trading up to the 6th pick would not be a bad idea.

The Giants could consider trading the 6th pick to a division rival. The Washington Redskins are going to be without Alex Smith this year due to a gruesome injury. This could possibly mean Smith’s retirement. They need to draft a quarterback to secure their future. With the 15th pick, Washington could look to trade up inside the top 10 and get themselves a quarterback.

What Could The Giants Get For The 6th Pick?

The 6th pick has a value of 1,600 points while the 10th pick has a value of 1,300. In order to add the 300 points of value, the Broncos could throw in a 2nd round pick. The Broncos’ second rounder is the 41st pick, which is worth 490 points, but that is likely fair enough compensation considering the Broncos would be selecting a quarterback.

The 13th pick is worth 1,150 points. In addition to the 13th pick, the Dolphins could trade the 48th pick from round 2 (worth 420 points) and the 141st pick from round 5 (worth 35.5 points) to make this trade. The Giants would then have plenty of draft capital necessary to add depth to their roster.

Washington’s 15th overall pick is worth 1,050 points. With the 15th pick already included, if the Redskins threw in their round 2, 46th overall pick (worth 440 points), and their 3rd round pick, 77th overall (worth 205 points), to total a package worth 1,695 points. The extra 95 points would likely make up for the fact that this is an in-division trade.

Who Could The Giants Draft If They Trade Back?

Trading back into the pick 10-20 of the first round could be of great value for the Giants. On top of the extra 2nd and mid round picks they would receive, they would have the ability to draft a defensive playmaker, or a great offensive linemen. Cody Ford is a player that has been mocked to the Giants and would likely be available if they traded back.

The draft class is filled with talented playmakers on defense. Cornerbacks and edge rushers are abundant. If one of the top-end players slides due to the high volume of playmakers on defense, the Giants could get a draft-day steal.

Edge rusher is one of the Giants’ top needs heading into the 2019 offseason. Montez Sweat is a player that has been mocked within picks 10-20 in recent mock drafts.

Cody Ford, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

In 2018, Cody Ford played right tackle for the Oklahoma Sooners. He is listed at 6’4″ and 338 pounds. Do not let his large stature fool you. Ford is an agile tackle with the ability to pass protect speed rushers.

Cody Ford is a gritty Hog Molly who loves to finish the play strong. Dave Gettleman loves strong, aggressive linemen, and Ford would fit right in with his mold of what an offensive lineman should be.

The Giants are in desperate need of a right tackle. Ford would be an instant upgrade at that position. And after a few years, Ford could move to the left side once Nate Solder moves on to retirement.

Montez Sweat, Edge Rusher, Mississippi State

Montez Sweat is a freakish 6’6″ 245 pound edge rusher out of Mississippi State. He was very productive in his junior and senior years. He totaled 10.5 sacks as a  junior and 12 sacks as a senior.

Sweat’s bull rush is excellent. He has the ability to push linemen and collapse the pocket. He is also able to plug holes in run support with his strength and ability to move the line.

https://twitter.com/DLineVids/status/1040192709347012608

However, Sweat is not a perfect prospect. Montez could improve his bend and flexibility on the outside. He does not have a ton of pass-rush moves, mainly just the bull rush, plus an occasional swim. If he adds another move or counter-move or two, he could be a great player. Check out Sweat’s bullrush on full display at the Senior Bowl:

He might take some time to develop, but Montez Sweat has the potential to be a great player at the next level. He could be a draft day steal if the Giants decide to trade back in the 2019 NFL Draft.

 

New York Yankees: What The Starting Pitching Rotation Could Look Like

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees starting pitching rotation will take a few weeks to shake out, as the acquisition of James Paxton forced the team to reconsider their 2018 unit. My biggest question going into spring training is who will be the No.3 pitcher.

Undoubtedly, J.A. Happ and Luis Severino will act as the No.1 and No.2 pitchers. I would assume Happ emerges as the top option and Severino close behind. But, does Masahiro Tanaka or Paxton deserve the No.3 spot?

Tanaka had a stellar 2018. He struggled in the first inning of games but improved as the game progressed. He finished the year with a 3.75 ERA, 159 strikeouts, and 12 wins. His performance certainly earns him the advantage, especially since he has experience in Yankee Stadium.

Paxton is coming off a solid year as well — 3.76 ERA, 208 strikeouts, and 11 wins. His performance was arguably just as impressive as Tanaka’s. Both have the merit to be the No.3 but I would give the advantage to Tanaka, simply due to his experience in New York and dominance in the Bronx.

I do love Paxton’s velocity and strikeout rate, but batters seem to hit his pitches hard when they do make contact. Staying healthy will be his major priority in 2019, as he’s extremely productive when on the mound. Tanaka, on the other hand, has two deadly pitches — splitter and slider. He heavily relies on his splitter to increase his K%. He arguably has the best splitter in baseball, and if that pitch is moving he’s one of the better options on the team.

Predicting the starting pitching rotation for the New York Yankees:

1.) J.A. Happ

2.) Luis Severino

3.) Masahiro Tanaka

4.) James Paxton

5.) CC Sabathia

This rotation could change as the season goes on. I would anticipate Severino making the jump to No.1 and Paxton could rotate with Tanaka between No.3 and 4. Nonetheless, the Yankees have a ton of talent on the unit but don’t have a true “ace.”

 

New York Giants: How Saquon Barkley Will Make Odell Beckham Jr. Better

New York Giants, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants will once again feature two of the most polarizing players in the NFL next season — Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. The latter was formerly the face of the franchise, whether it be due to his antics or magical one-handed catches. A new face has since made his presence known, a young running back that proved to not only be a quality athlete but a magnificent leader.

Taking the negative attention away from Beckham Jr. and turning it into jaw-dropping plays every game has been the best thing to ever happen to the once-troubled receiver. Last season was different that the others…no punching kicking nets, no angry sideline rants, and no off the field issues. The Giants have turned a page with their star receiver, and it can be credited to Barkley to some degree.

The attention has turned to the Offensive Rookie of the Year and his extreme abilities. Achieving goals left and right, becoming one of three rookies to ever eclipse the 2,000 all-purpose yards mark, and setting the record for most catches by a running back in Giants history. Barkley is a walking accolade and he’s only going into his second professional season.

How does Saquon Barkley make Odell Beckham Jr. better?

In Beckham’s rookie season, he recorded 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games. Teams soon figured out he was the Giants’ top weapon, and while they simply couldn’t stop him, they knew they could infuriate him to a point where he would self-destruct.

Barkley offers relief on Beckham, because it forces opposing teams to find a way to compensate for both. It lessens the pressure from fans and most importantly himself every time he steps on the field. It helps him contain his emotions and have a friend/teammate to rely on.

What should we expect from the duo in 2019?

I am anticipating a massive offensive year for the Giants in the season ahead. With both healthy and productive, we could see a team land in the top 10 in scoring.

Now, it all inevitably comes down to the offensive line, as Eli Manning needs an unusual amount of time to make plays, but we know he still can. If the protection is there, Barkley and Beckham could set historic numbers.

 

New York Yankees’ Adam Ottavino Could Have Best Season Yet In 2019

The New York Yankees featured one of the more dominant bullpens in the MLB in 2018, but that didn’t stop them from improving it even further. The Bombers acquired reliever Adam Ottavino on a three-year, $27 million deal, replacing the departed David Robertson.

Last season, Ottavino finished with a 2.43 ERA and six wins (four losses).  With Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Zack Britton, and Ottavino making up the bullpen, every option seems to have “ace” reliever potential.

Can we trust Ottavino to be an elite option for the Yankees?

Now, it’s important to be cognizant of Ottavino’s past in regard to statistical success. The 33-year-old righty has only had one truly elite season, which was in 2018. Striking out 13 per nine innings, Ottavino raised his game to another level, and the Yankees are hoping he can continue to provide quality performances for the remainder of his contract. They will need him at the top of his game to make a run at a potential World Series.

My biggest concern is his inconsistency by year, as in 2017 he boasted an ERA over five. He averaged over six walks per nine innings and has only two winning seasons in eight years. While that doesn’t necessarily reflect his pitching, it’s certainly bothersome.

How did Ottavino fuel a stellar 2018?

The Yankees’ new reliever actually decreased his velocity and saw improvement after a troubling 2017. According to  Baseball Savant, the velocity on Ottavino’s sinker actually fell, from 94.2 mph in 2017 to 93.8 mph in 2018. His fastball dropped from 94.4 mph to 94.2 mph. While these are incremental drops, they tell a story.

Ottavino managed to improve his pitching by actually reducing his speed and focusing primarily on his slider. It was his No.1 pitch while his sinker was his No.2. With a bullpen stocked full of different skill-sets, I would expect head coach Aaron Boone to utilize his pitchers tactically against specific hitters and teams. Ottavino will likely be a stellar addition for the Yanks and make a significant impact on the season ahead.

New York Yankees: How Luis Severino is Training to Emerge as an Ace in 2019

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees have a solid starting pitching rotation, but the primary issue is that none of the options seem to be the clear-cut ace. Both J.A. Happ and Luis Severino have performed extremely well at times, but an ace is a pitcher that, when called upon, provides stellar performances on a consistent basis.

The key word is consistency, and Severino lost his touch in the second half of 2018, sending his once impressive numbers into a tail-spin. Some believe he was tipping pitches, while others think his dropoff might have been due to an injury. The latter has proven to be false.

What is Luis Severino doing to take his game to the next level with the Yankees?

The predicted No.1 pitcher has tweaked his diet and offseason program in an attempt to eradicate any flaws in his game. Severino lost 12-15 pounds this winter with the help of the Yankees’ nutritionist. The plan is to lower his body weight and increase his stamina to help avoid fatigue towards the end of the season.

The program has included a lot more stretching and cardio with a decrease in weights. His strength is certainly not the issue, as he throws a consistent 96-98 mph fastball. Maintaining his current strength and refining his fundamentals with technique drills will likely be his focus this offseason.

Last season, he finished with a 3.39 ERA – recording 220 strikeouts and allowing 72 earned runs and 19 homers. His numbers saw a major dip after the All-Star break, but there’s no doubt Severino has Cy Young award potential after a phenomenal first half of the campagin.

The Yankees and Severino are still working on an extension:

The two parties have taken the player’s contract talks into arbitration. The meeting date has not been scheduled yet, but both sides have spoken about a potential multi-year deal. The talks are in the preliminary stages but it seems as if the Bombers are keen on keeping him in the Bronx.