New York Giants: It’s Getting Harder To Blame The Players

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

It’s getting harder and harder to say that the faults of the New York Giants are all because of their players.

The Dallas Cowboys might be in the lead in the division, but their three losses coming into their matchup with the Giants on Monday Night Football showed that they aren’t an invincible team by any means. In the first half, the Giants were competitive with them and went into halftime with the lead. Or at least, the team would have went into halftime with the lead if it wasn’t for a sudden collapse that allowed the Cowboys to score about ten points in a minute to jump in front.

Likewise, the Giants were competitive with the Cowboys for a time in the second half before the other team was able to pull away, only taking advantage further in situations where there were fumbles, blown coverage leading to a wide open touchdown, and other such moments – all things that are largely more preventable than simply running into a more talented team and being defeated on that fact alone.

No, the Giants have plenty of talent, but failed to capitalize on it enough to hang with the Cowboys through the whole game and maybe even get out of the rivalry matchup with a win.

The blame has to start falling on coaching at some point, especially when the team flashes potential and momentum that, under a better coach, might be carried further into the game to give them a better shot at coming away with the victory. In the case of Pat Shurmur, it’s a matter of whether or not the blame will keep falling on coaching – Shurmur has already received plenty of blame in some of the team’s previous losses.

The Giants have shown that they aren’t afraid to make big moves during the season, over the past couple of years. Damon Harrison was traded during the season last year, Daniel Jones replaced Eli Manning only a few weeks into this season, and the team recently completed their first ever trade with the Jets to bring Leonard Williams onto the team at the season’s halfway mark.

With that context in mind, it’s not entirely out of the question to ask the Giants to do something about their coaching problem, to allow for the coaching search to begin earlier and for the team to play out the rest of the season under a different head coach, something that has injected life into other teams in similar situations at times.

Will the front office make the move?

That’s impossible to say without insider knowledge. But it’s easy to say that until a change is made, the Giants will likely have plenty more games like this – ones where they flash their potential but ultimately fall after failing to fully take advantage of their talent, instead making preventable mistakes and allowing the game to get away from them.

This isn’t, after all, the first or the last game this year to go that way.

The New York Giants Are Getting Their Kick Returner Back

New York Giants, Corey Ballentine

The New York Giants‘ special teams unit has been one of the team’s few bright spots in 2019. The Giants are sitting at a disappointing 2-6, but that is not the fault of their third unit. The Giants’ defense is mainly to blame since they are allowing an average of 386.8 yards per game, ranked fifth-worse in the league.

New York’s special teams unit, however, ranks much higher in comparison with the rest of the league. Their average of 23.5 yards per kickoff return is ninth-best in the NFL. This impressive average is mainly thanks to rookie defensive back Corey Ballentine.

Corey Ballentine Is An Improvement As A Kick Returner

In the first six games of the season, Corey Ballentine served as the Giants’ primary kick returner. Ballentine returned nine kickoffs for 237 yards, an average of 26.3 yards per return, including an impressive season-long return of 52 yards.

Since taking over as the lead kick returner, Darius Slayton also fielded nine total kickoffs. However, he was much less efficient on the same number of kick returns. Slayton totaled 189 return yards, an average of 21 yards per return. His longest return was only 30 yards — a clear drop-off in production and efficiency.

The Lions took advantage of Ballentine’s absence in week eight. Detroit kicked off to Darius Slayton and strategically left the ball short of the end zone. This made it easier for Detroit to pin the Giants’ offense up against their own end zone since Slayton was not a threat to return the ball for more than 20 yards.

The Giants were without Corey Ballentine for the last two games due to a concussion he suffered in week six. But Ballentine has now cleared concussion protocol and will be back returning kicks for the Giants against the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

New York Yankees: Gregorius doesn’t receive a qualifying offer

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees didn’t extend a qualifying offer to shortstop Didi Gregorius officially making him a free agent. The club had until today at 5:00 PM on Monday to extend a $17.7 million offer to Gregorius. If the Yankees had offered him and he declined, they would’ve been given a draft pick compensation.

This isn’t a shocking move by the Yankees, as it was believed that Gregorius might be on his way out this offseason. Gleyber Torres proved this season that he can play shortstop and will most likely be the franchise’s shortstop for the next several years.

The 29-year-old didn’t have his best year, slashing .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 runs batted in. There’s a case that maybe he never found a rhythm after coming back from his injury, but regardless his drought had an impact on the Yankees especially in the postseason.

Except for a grand slam against the Minnesota Twins in Game 2 of the ALDS, Gregorius didn’t do much in the playoffs. In the ALCS against the Houston Astros, he went 5-23 putting him at a .217 batting average.

Even though the Yankees didn’t offer him an extension, that doesn’t mean Gregorius can’t end up back in pinstripes. It’s possible that they could offer him a new contract, but it’s very unlikely since they had the chance to already keep him,

At 29 years of age, Gregorius will most likely be offered a 2-4 year deal for roughly $15-25 million. A left-handed hitting shortstop with great defense, he’ll find his place on a major league roster.

New York Mets: Zack Wheeler Given Qualifying Offer

New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

It was all but guaranteed that the New York Mets would offer Zack Wheeler the qualifying offer before free agency starts. Ironically, the man who he was traded for, Carlos Beltran, ran the Mets news cycle for the day. Wheeler is going to be offered the one-year, $17.8 million deal prior to Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

Wheeler has until November 14 to either accept or decline the Mets offer. At age 29, he is in the prime of his free agnecy years and it would be the first time in his career he is experiencing free agency. Behind Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, Wheeler is one of the prime pitchers in this offseason’s free agency class.

Consistency is Key

Over the last two seasons Wheeler has made 60 starts and has 374 strikeouts in 377.2 innings pitched. He has been even better in the second half with a 2.26 ERA over the last two seasons. Wheeler is also coming off a career high 195.1 innings pitched and is drawing interest from multiple contenders.

Wheeler has emerged into the pitcher he was projected to be and is drawing interest from teams like the Astros, Dodgers and Twins. Should he decline the qualifying offer, will likely earn anywhere from $20-$23 million per year from whichever team signs him.

Wheeler Era in NY Will Not End Quickly

Should Wheeler decline the offer, the Mets will still heavily pursue him. Noah Syndergaard is a major question mark heading into 2020 as the Mets number two. Wheeler stepped in as the Mets second best starter after Jacob deGrom. He is still getting better, in the middle of his prime years and the Mets should do anything they can to bring him back.

Mets News: Van Wagenen on Girardi, Cespedes and the starting rotation

Simeon Woods-Richardson

New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was proud to introduce Carlos Beltran as the team’s new manager on Monday, but he knew there’d be more than just questions about Beltran.

For instance, like why he passed on Joe Girardi, the man who seemed to be the most natural fit for the job.

“There were a lot of qualified candidates that brought different things to the table,” Van Wagenen said. “I thought that we considered all of those candidates and their strengths and ultimately it was Carlos’ strengths that won the day. It was less about where other candidates fell short and much more specifically about what Carlos’ leadership brings to our team, what his leadership brings to the organization and we had a great deal of confidence in that.”

The truth is he wanted a first-time manager and not one he inherited, such as Mickey Callaway.  He wanted his own. Beltran has other qualities that won him the job, but still, Met fans are leery. He will have earn their trust.

Cespedes’ Return Still Unknown

Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is still a Met. Maybe you forgot. No one can blame you for that. Cespedes has not played since July 20, 2018 when it was decided that he needed surgery on both heels. That surgery was successful but his comeback last was then thwarted by an ankle fracture he suffered on his ranch in May. That’s the Mets’ story and their sticking to it.

Van Wagenen was asked on Monday what Cespedes’ status was. He wasn’t sure. I believe him.

Since Cespedes signed a four-year, $110 million extension with the Mets (with a no-trade clause) in November of 2016, he’s played in just 119 games. 2020 will be his last year under contract at a salary of $29.5 million.

Lugo, Gsellman could be starters again

With Zack Wheeler headed for free agency and a longshot to be re-signed by the Mets, the starting rotation will take on a different look in 2020. BVW did mention that the Mets would make a qualifying off to Wheeler, but the general consensus is that Wheeler will opt for free agency.

Jacob deGrom, Markus Stroman, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard – providing the team doesn’t trade him – will all be back but extra arms will be needed and Van Wagenen isn’t ruling out two players already on the staff that have started in the past in Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.

Is this a subtle hint that BVW will be looking to futz with the bullpen again this offseason? You can almost bet on that he will. He is likely in the market for a closer and a setup man from each side of the mound. In short, he’s back to where he started from.

New York Jets: Jets vs Dolphins Predictions Week 9

New York Jets

Week 9 of the NFL season is going to feature the New York Jets vs the Miami Dolphins, a game so bad that it might be good. The Miami Dolphins have been so bad that it looks like they’re trying to lose on purpose. The Jets have been so bad that wearing the team jersey would’ve made you win best clown costume at a Halloween party last week. Tuning into this game is going to be the equivalent of watching two turtles run the Boston Marathon, slow painful torture for the eyes. However, if you’re rooting for the better draft position this is going to be a key game for the Jets. Whichever way you slice it this game is going to be a mess.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have looked decent by their standards with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB the last 3 weeks. If they can continue coming out hot, especially with a Jets defense that has trouble stopping teams in the first half, then they might be able to take an easy victory against a division rival. If the Dolphins want to win, they must find a way to stop Le’Veon Bell and get pressure on Sam Darnold. It would be a huge morale booster for the Dolphins to win this game because they’ll be playing for revenge against their ex-head coach Adam Gase who is on the Jets sideline now.

New York Jets

Adam Gase must win this game. That’s it, that’s all I have to say to him. If Adam Gase losses against his ex-team who also happen to be the worst team in the league, then the Jets should make him walk back to New Jersey and fire him when he finally reaches One Jets Drive. A loss against the Dolphins would be catastrophic in every sense for the Jets. An already disgruntled locker room will become as toxic as Chernobyl if they lose to the Dolphins.

Prediction

Unfortunately, I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that the New York Jets will win this game against the Miami Dolphins. This game could go either way I can see either team winning, it but I’ll give the Jets the advantage in this one. I think that the Jets will go down to the south beach and take care of business with a 21-7 win over the Dolphins. As a Jet fan, I’m hoping they lose against the Dolphins as it’ll be the best thing for the franchise moving forward in terms of getting rid of Gase, but as always, the Jets will let me down when it matters most.

Yankees could join Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes in free agency

Could the New York Yankees pursue Stephen Strasburg this offseason?

With Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole preparing to enter free agency as the best pitcher in baseball, the New York Yankees will have to make a decision. Is signing a top-level starting pitcher worth the monetary investment?

Considering they were without Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery for a majority of the 2019 season, it’s fair to argue they don’t need to inject more talent into the rotation. Losing CC Sabathia, however, will require replacement, but supplementing his loss with Cole might be excessive and expensive.

However, the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman could enter the Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes after he opted out of his contract with $100 million on the table. He will look to increase his earnings this offseason, and earning upwards of $25 million is possible given the price-tag currently sitting on Cole’s head.

The biggest concern regarding Strasburg is his health. Staying on the field has been difficult for the dominant pitcher, but his stellar 2019 campaign where he earned a 3.32 ERA over 209 innings pitched, the most in his career, proves he can handle a full workload. At 31 years old, there is still a ton of tread left on his tires, so if the Bombers are keen on bringing in a bonafide ace, Strasburg fits the fit.

The issue boils down to money, and Cashman has been hesitant to invest in big-money pitchers in recent years. If the difference between signing Cole and Strasburg is $7-10 million, I imagine they would go for Cole, considering his excellent health and dominance in every facet of the game.

The New York Yankees would gain a postseason god in Strasburg:

Playoff Strasburg is even better than regular season Strasburg, which could be a huge advantage in pursuing the Nationals ace. This past postseason, Stephen threw 28 innings, striking out 40 batters, and walked just two, one of which was intentional. His 1.96 ERA  and 1.93 FIP shined bright over is opponents, and he rightfully earned the applause. His FIP ranks as one of the best in history with pitchers starting at least three games and pitching 25 innings, per Fangraphs.

While it’s a long shot, the Yankees sign either Strasburg or Cole, it’s important to highlight their strengths and understand why either would fit in the Bronx.

New York Giants to hold Canned Food Drive

New York Giants, Will Hernandez, Nate Solder

The New York Giants have done great work for those less fortunate during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

In conjunction with the Food Bank for New York City, the New York Giants will be hosting a food drive this Monday, November 4th, 2019.  The Giants will be taking on the Dallas Cowboys at home in a Monday night football showdown.

The organization is encouraging those who are attending the game to bring a canned food item to donate.  The items will go to a great cause and help alleviate hunger to those who need it most throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

To bring awareness to this year’s initiative to end hunger, Will Hernandez, guard for the New York Giants, went to a Stop and Shop in Staten Island, New York and collected donations.  He also met with fans and signed autographs and posed for pictures, all while brightening the days of those he met and those that will receive the donated food items.

For nearly forty years, the Food Bank for New York City has worked to stomp out hunger and has made it their mission to eradicate poverty.  The New York Giants organization has done their part too, by hosting food drives during our home games each season during the Thanksgiving holiday.

You can do your part too.  The New York Giants are hoping you do more than just root for them!  If you are attending Monday nights home game against the Dallas Cowboys, be sure to bring a canned food item to donate.  The littlest of gestures can truly make a difference in someone’s life!

The New York Giants are looking to tackle the offense of the Dallas Cowboys, but more importantly, are hoping to tackle hunger!

Hopeful Mets introduce Carlos Beltran as manager

New York Mets to interview Carlos Beltran.

The guy behind one of the New York Mets’ most deflating and disappointing moments is now being counted on to lead them to their next championship.

Carlos Beltran, the five-tool player who donned the orange and blue (and black, yuck) from 2005-2011, was introduced as the 22nd manager of the Mets on Monday morning at a press conference at CitiField.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen who reminded the throng of reporters on hand that the club went through an extensive hiring process, went into his best sales pitch before introducing Beltran saying he has a high “baseball IQ” and rattled off Beltran’s massive resume that includes his postseason successes.

The GM outlined the five things that won them over about Beltran, who had a strained relationship with the club after this playing days. Van Wagenen said Beltran was “poised” and “trustworthy” with a “growth mindset” who is “committed to beating his opponent” and has an “unrivaled understanding and appreciation of players.”

“Carlos will be a player’s manager,” Van Wagenen said. (Where have he heard that before?)

Beltran said all the right things up on the podium speaking in both English and Spanish. His bilingualism will be a huge help to him as will his experience and reputation.

“I can’t wait to rewrite our story” Beltran said, right after stating,”Baseball is a rollercoaster, guys.”

Met fans know that more than any fan base. Mostly the dips.

From the Mets:

The 42 year-old Beltran spent the past year as a special advisor for the New York Yankees. He last played in the majors in 2017, winning the World Series with the Houston Astros. During his 20-year major league career, he was a nine-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove Award winner, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and was named the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year.

 

Beltrán played with the Mets from 2005-2011. He ranks sixth on the club’s all-time list in the following categories: home runs (149), RBI (559), extra-base hits (374), on-base percentage (.369) and slugging percentage (.500).

Beltran was named to the NL All-Star squad five times as a Met with his best season coming in 226 when he smashed 41 HRs, tying the franchise record with Todd Hundley and Mike Piazza.

That was also the season Beltran became the face of Met frustration when he struck out looking with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the NLCS versus the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2008, Beltran hit the final home run by a Mets player at Shea Stadium. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants on July 28, 2011 in exchange for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.

Now, Beltran is back and Wheeler is headed for free agency.

This New York Knicks team is not who we thought they were

New York Knicks, David Fizdale, Julius Randle

The New York Knicks have started the 2019-20 NBA season 1-6.  There was a lot of optimism surrounding this squad at begin the season.  They made moves to help them compete and continue developing their young talent this year.

However, fans were hopeful that those players, Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, etc., were going to help the Knicks compete.  It’s even crazy to believe that some thought the Knicks could be a playoff team.  Yes, myself included, believed that if the Knicks played to their potential they could sneak into the playoffs.

The new Knicks players did a lot of talking this off-season about being ‘dogs’ and ‘picking up their man for 94-feet’.  Despite, all of that talk, they went back to being the same old Knicks.

The old Knicks get down on themselves way-too-easily.  They take bad shots in crunch time, have careless fouls and passes and get dominated rebounding.  A lot of that has to do with coaching.

Head coach David Fizdale is now coaching for his job.  He mentioned after last night’s blowout to the Sacramento Kings that some players are “doing too much.”  On the contrary,  Fizdale is the one doing too much.  He continues to have head-scratching coaching decisions that make fans want to pull their hair out.

Fizdale think players are “doing too much” because that is now how he coaches the New York Knicks.  He created that culture around this team.  They played together like a team for a few games then go back to isolation and one-on-one basketball.

He also has unnecessary substitutions in times that don’t require them.  Case-in-point, the Orlando Magic game.  Kevin Knox had the hot hand in the second half as the Knicks were back in the game.  Fizdale decides to sub Morris in for Knox and basically lost the game.  That was the tipping point already.

A coaching change could come soon.  This Knicks team was suppose to be complete different and competitive, they are anything but that.  These games have been unwatchable at points.  Something needs to change already in this young 2019-20 season for the Knicks and it starts with the head coach.