According to Shaun O’Hara, New York Giants Shouldn’t Take A Quarterback

When it comes to predicting who the New York Giants will take with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft, a quarterback is the most popular answer, but not everyone agrees with that line of thinking. Some think that the Giants need to go with a defensive pick to actually take a step forward this season, and one of those people is former Giants center Shaun O’Hara, who played with the team from 2004 to 2010 and was on the Super Bowl XLII squad.

“You heard what Dave Gettleman said after the season. ‘We scored more points than any other team in our division, and yet we didn’t win the division,'” O’Hara told Good Morning Football. “This team needs to get better on the other side of the ball as well.”

It is true that there were some games this season where the Giants offense performed at a level that could have brought a victory, but the team was dragged down by a defense that couldn’t stop the opponent. The team suffered a number of close losses, losing to Dallas and Indianapolis by a point, and Philadelphia and Atlanta by three in the second half of the season. Had the Giants defense been able to perform just a little bit better, the narrative this offseason might be a little bit different.

“When you’re sitting at the sixth pick, and you’re the general manager, you can’t just look at it and say, ‘We’re just going to take a quarterback because everybody thinks we should take one.’ I don’t think you can make that decision based on just that,” continued O’Hara.

There certainly is outside pressure on the Giants to take a quarterback this year, both from fans and from the media. But there’s been plenty of cases in the past of teams completely defying the expectations with their draft picks. The Giants might just become one of those teams this year, if they make any selection other than the most expected one, a quarterback. After all, making tough decisions like that is what general manager Dave Gettleman has been paid to do, and it’s something Gettleman has done a good job with so far.

New York Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury Could Be Headed Toward Injury List

The New York Yankees can’t catch a break with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. From his hip injury to plantar fasciitis, his issues seem to continue piling. While the outfield is stacked full of potential starters, it’s always nice to have more than less.

Ellsbury missed the entire 2018 season due to hip surgery. He’s in his sixth of a seven-year contract that paid him $153 million. In just four active seasons, Ellsbury is slashing .264/.330/.386. An abysmal showing of what was expected to be generational numbers.

GM Brian Cashman commented on his latest problem:

“At the earliest he could be here is mid-to-late March, so we’re probably looking at a start on the DL,” Cashman said. “That doesn’t mean we are (looking at the IL to start) yet, but just in terms of timing it could be.”

Fans and analysts alike have torn the veteran apart for missing so much time. Personally, I perceive him as a money grabber. I know a ton of people that suffer from Plantar fasciitis but none that have struggled to run without simply changing their shoes and upgrading their in-sole.

“I believe when he is healthy, he’ll be back and show us what he is capable of doing,” Cashman said. “I have been told by doctors, that that’s the case and that we should see the player we are used to seeing.

When Ellsbury returns, he will enter a position battle in the outfield, specifically in left/right field with Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Giancarlo Stanton. He will be so far behind I don’t expect him to make a significant contribution to the team, but rather collect a paycheck. On the bring side, the Yankees can earn insurance on his contract if he doesn’t play a majority of 2019.

Why are the New York Yankees, and all of MLB, sitting out free agency?

We have all seen the headlines “cold stove”, “when will they sign?”, “will there be a labor stoppage?” etc. The gist of most of the articles is that it’s some type of outrage that there haven’t been 10 year/400 million dollar contracts for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, or that Craig “the greatest closer in history” Kimbrel remains unsigned. The reality is it’s THEIR Fault, not the owners. A “cheap” New York Yankees team has emerged as the biggest spenders.

Where are the issues stemming from?

I know when it comes to labor issues we all become part of the proletariat and unite, but at what point does banking on others stupidity as the baseline for your contract become your fault? The pendulum for the power in contracts is swinging back towards equilibrium in baseball and it’s freaking the MLBPA and agents out.

Is anyone enjoying watching Albert Pujols decompose in Anaheim while eating up a huge chunk of the team’s payroll, and that Josh Hamilton deal worked out great too right? Are the Red Sox still paying Carl Crawford and Pablo Sandoval? How’d the last few years of Arod’s deal work out? Finally, there’s the ghost of Jacoby Ellsbury, may he rest in trainers tape. With those and countless other terrible contracts, I’m confused as to why there’s a mystery as to why teams aren’t interested in long-term big money deals.

Money is earned through consistency:

I know what you want to say “but Manny and Bryce are in their mid-twenties, they’ll produce for the life of their deals” Harper hasn’t consistently had great years the first seven years of his career, do you want to bet 30 million a year on his age 35-37 seasons? Do you want your team paying that much to anyone at that age? As analytics have swept through front offices they’ve finally realized “oh we don’t have to pay superstar salaries to watch these guys circle the drain.” This isn’t collusion, it’s a market correction.

Obviously, prior to free agency, the owners had all the power. Thanks to the reserve clause players were treated, as the great Coop Cooper of the Milwaukee Beers put it, like indentured servants. Then Marvin Miller flipped the script, owners lost their minds and George Steinbrenner of the 1980s happened.

Eventually, though the contracts got out of control and created a small market vs large market issue that threatened competitive balance and the viability of some franchises. Gradually teams started to look for ways to compete on tighter budgets (money ball era A’s, Ray’s earlier in the 2000s etc.) and after seeing their success the smart large market teams began to follow their blueprints. It quickly dried up inefficiencies for teams to exploit but has brought us where we are now.

Why the players are frustrated:

So while I see why players are upset, their arguments sound pretty stupid to me. “Guys that have put up the numbers and produced the way that they have should get long-term deals. I think that’s the way the game always has been. I’m not an analyst; I’m a player. I want players to succeed and get what they deserve.” That’s a quote from Walker Buehler (who hasn’t even had one full good season).  Essentially in the past players would expect a long-term deal based on prior performance, long past when they would still be at that level.  I don’t see how anyone could abide that logic. If you went into your boss and said you wanted a raise, that would be in effect for 10 years but you’d only work at your current level for 3 or 4 they’d think you were insane, but that’s what the MLBPA thinks is right.

I’m sure these players could get the money they want on a 5-year deal, but right now they’re refusing to accept that reality. If they really want to be paid based on the prior season they could sign a one year deal every year but none would do that for fear of injury. That’s what the trade-off has always been, you sacrifice dollars for security. Now the players want both and teams aren’t biting. Do you blame them?

I’m curious to see what deals these players get, and what shape free agency continues to take in the future. I know there are threats from the union about striking over this, it’s hard to see how the public would side with “give us millions while we atrophy over the next decade”. Until then I heard Manny Machado and the Padres had a second meeting, so clearly it’s about winning and not the most money for the longest amount of time.

New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman Losing Speed Due To Injury

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

The New York Yankees addressed their bullpen efficiently this offseason, bringing in Adam Ottavino and retaining Zack Britton. The rotation will be used tactically throughout the season against specific teams and batters, but the same closer will feature – Aroldis Chapman.

The heat-seeker is known as one of the league’s fastest pitchers, hitting over 100 mph regularly. His power is generated from his explosive follow-through and lower half. Utilizing his legs to propel forward is how he manages to produce such speed, but it leaves him vulnerable to injury.

Chapman has had knee issues which have slowed him down in recent years – specifically, in 2018. In the second half of the season, his fastball which usually ranges from 99-101 mph fell to 96-97. His entire game is built on power and intimidation. If his speed drops, so does his efficiency.

Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman commented on the ailment:

“I want to say no, but you never know,’’ Chapman said through an interpreter when asked if the knee would be a concern this season. “I don’t think it will be. I finished all the rehab they recommended and was able to keep working out.”

The tendinitis in his knee forced him to sit out games in July and August, but he was able to finish the season. The Yankees will need to manage him carefully in 2019, as to not fatigue him to a point where he will struggle in the post-season.

What happens if Chapman goes down?

I would anticipate that manager Aaron Boone could utilize Ottavino, Britton, and Betances to close out games if Chapman succumbs to injury. The bullpen was solid last year, but this time around it has the potential to be the best in baseball. Having capable options will allow the Yankees a firm security blanket if the dominant closer needs assistance throughout the year.

New York Yankees: CC Sabathia To Call It Quits After 2019

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia

The New York Yankees will be losing their rock at the end of the 2019 season – CC Sabathia and his illustrious career will depart towards retirement after his 19th MLB campaign.

At 38-years-old, Sabathia knows his time is coming to an end, and after heart surgery that put the upcoming season into question, the decision to call it quits might be an intelligent one. But, CC isn’t done yet, as the Yankees have built a high-quality squad that has the ability to reach a World Series and potentially walk away with a 28th ring.

A long time coming:

It was expected that Sabathia would retire after 2019, but his recent ailment guaranteed it. He finished 2018 with a 3.65 ERA, earning 140 strikeouts in a 9-7 season. Overall, his performance wasn’t what it once was, but he played well enough to lead the Yankees to another playoff run.

Yankees head coach Aaron Boone commented on Sabathia’s status – MLB.com:

“Obviously he had the issue with the heart and had the stent put in,” Boone said. “I’m happy to say that is all going really well, but it also slowed down his workout routine, coming off the knee surgery. We’ll be careful with him here in the early days and slow-play him the first couple of weeks.”

“He’s doing well, but we’ll make sure that his body and conditioning, he feels really good about when we start to ramp him up on the mound.”

The Yankees re-signed the veteran to a one-year, $8 million deal last November, locking him in for one more season. In his final game of 2018 he took the loss in the ALDS to the Boston Red Sox, and we can imagine what that must feel like for a perennial Yankee. Going out on those terms was never a possibility, which is why he will seek revenge next fall.

 

 

New York Giants: Should Sterling Shepard Be Extended Beyond 2019?

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants have one of the most intimidating receiving units in the NFL on paper, but they’ve struggled to reach expectation in recent years. When former Oklahoma star Sterling Shepard was drafted in 2016, it was expected that he would be the perfect compliment to Odell Beckham Jr.

The slot receiver hasn’t broken the 1,000 yard-mark once in his career, reaching a career-high 872 yards last season. He also has 14 career scores, compared to Beckham’s 44 in five seasons (35 in first three seasons). The value of the 26-year-old might not add to up to his price tag after he becomes a free agent in 2020.

Should the New York Giants extend Shepard?

The Giants can likely replace the production of Shepard with a much cheaper, secondary option. He could be a draft pick or a free agent pick up, but I would expect Shepard to earn around $8 million on the open market. Picking him up would be a pure complimentary choice, as he performed at an average level in the No.1 role after Beckham broke his ankle in 2017.

Personally, I’m content with the Giants moving on from him after the upcoming season. His efficiency can be matched at a far less price and his influence on the success of the team isn’t at a level that warrants a big contract.

An alternative could be a player like Tampa Bay slot receiver Adam Humphries – he recorded 816 yards and five touchdowns in 2018.