New York Giants: Things Keep Getting Worse For DeAndre Baker

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

One would think that being drafted in the first round by the New York Giants, who traded up for him, would mean things would go well for DeAndre Baker this year, but that largely hasn’t been the case.

Baker has quickly become one of the most maligned players on the team for his failures at the cornerback position, even if those failures can’t entirely be blamed on him – the Giants are thin at the position meaning Baker has been thrown into a starting position immediately and expected to keep up, playing entire games at the number two corner spot and being the obvious target for opposing offenses and quarterbacks.

Things have only gotten worse for Baker however as criticism has picked up, not just for his bad play in an impossible situation, but for his attitude and hustle, or lack thereof in the case of the latter. After all, while Baker can’t control the situation, his own level of hustle is something that is in his own hands.

Former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes is among the critics for the rookie corner, as shown by his Twitter reply to one of Baker’s plays.

It’s a bit of a stretch to say that Baker will end up cut by the team but it is a reality for a number of first round draft picks who have lacked some of the things that coaches care about the most besides raw talent – namely effort and commitment to improvement and learning. On the subject of learning, it’s been a problem for Baker, who admitted nearly halfway into the season that he’s still learning the team’s playbook.

It remains to be seen whether that fact is the fault of Baker or the coaching staff, both of which haven’t performed up to expectations this season, but Tynes wasn’t the only former Giant to chime in on the overall situation.

Will we see improvement from Baker as the second half of the season continues? That question is unresolved as competition from Sam Beal mounts, but it’s clear that regardless of the answer, Baker has a thing or two to work out if he wants to remain in his starting position.

Mets’ Jacob deGrom wins second consecutive NL Cy Young Award

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

For the second consecutive season, New York Mets’ ace right-hander Jacob deGrom has been named the National League’s  Cy Young Award winner by the BBWAA.

deGrom bested the other two finalists, Washington’s Max Scherzer and Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers, receiving 29 of the 30 first place votes.

“The deGrominator” became just the sixth National League pitcher to win the award in consecutive seasons. Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux are the others.

The award is the seventh won by a Mets pitcher: Tom Seaver won three (1969, 1972, 1975) followed by Dwight Gooden (1985), R.A. Dickey (2012) and deGrom (2018).

“deGrom led the National League in strikeouts, ranked second in ERA and third in innings, making him the only pitcher to finish even in the top seven in all of those categories. He also led the league in both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs’ valuations of pitcher WAR, while finishing second in WHIP and third in ERA+” –  (mets.com)

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, deGrom ended the year with a 23.0 scoreless inning streak, the longest by a Met to end a season in franchise history. The previous best was 15.0 scoreless innings by Rob Gardner (1965), Terry Leach (1982) and Noah Syndergaard (2018).

Van Wagenen being coy about Mets’ bullpen plans

The MLB General Manager meetings are being held in Scottsdale, Arizona this week and one very popular GM is the New York Mets’ Brodie Van Wagenen.

BVW, as he is known to some, is coming off a season where his team won 86 games. Not enough to shake things up (even though manager Mickey Callaway was fired after the season) but also not good enough to qualify for the postseason.

One area Van Wagenen knows he has a bullpen issue and is hoping to solve it by adding some new names this offseason. But he’s still confident his signings from last winter are going to play off.

“I think the combination of Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia and Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson, we’ve got four guys that have closed games on the major league level,” Van Wagenen told Mike Puma of the NY Post.

Last week, BVW suggested that Lugo could end up in the starting rotation, a concession that he has no intention on bidding for Zach Wheeler in free agency next month.

With a rotation that is headed by Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz, it doesn’t appear that the Mets are shopping for a starter at the moment. That means they could be looking to snare a big name for the bullpen.

The Mets’ bullpen, particularly Diaz, was downright awful from most of the season with a save percentage of 58% and 27 blown saves that hurt the team’s bottom line. Many of those games were key losses.

The Mets missed the playoffs by three games.

Should the New York Giants have claimed Vernon Hargreaves off waivers?

Will the New York Giants claim Vernon Hargreaves off waivers?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem to have a more disciplined approach to the game of football than the New York Giants, and their releasing of a former first-round pick, Vernon Hargreaves, tells the story.

Hargreaves, who was released after failing to hustle on a specific play, hit waivers on Monday morning but has yet to be claimed. The Giants, on the other hand, have seen multiple players lack effort, one of whom has been DeAndre Baker on several occasions.

The New York Giants continue to make simple mistakes:

The Giants aren’t going to cut the first-round pick from 2019, but benching him and teaching him a valuable lesson would have done the trick. However, the Giants aren’t a disciplined team, and making examples of players doesn’t seem to be head coach Pat Shurmur’s preferred way of doing things.

In a locker room of grown men, Shurmur must have the confidence to do what’s necessary if he’s keen on keeping his job for the long-haul. That brings us to our question — should Big Blue have taken a flier on Vernon Hargreaves?

My answer, no. Aside from Hargreaves undoubtedly wanting to stay far away from New York, considering they’re 2-8 on the season, the Giants couldn’t trust him to remain active for the remainder of the season. Tack on his $9 million cap hit this season, and he becomes an afterthought.

While Hargreaves was a talented corner in college, being drafted one slot after the infamous Eli Apple, who has become a starter for the New Orleans Saints, he’s not in a position of leverage. His quality has dropped off significantly at the NFL level, and taking his talents to a worse team won’t motivate him to reach his potential.

Alternatively, if he were to land on a competitive team, that might give him the incentive to fight for a future contract. Overall, the Giants didn’t need his overpriced services at this point. Hargreaves was claimed by the Houston Texans.

New York Mets: Chili Davis Returning as Hitting Coach

The New York Mets have secured their first member of new manager Carlos Beltran’s coaching staff. They are retaining Chili Davis as hitting coach on a multi-year deal. Davis is a holdover from the Mickey Callaway regime and was a key part of the Mets offensive successes in 2019.

Davis was also the favorite to land the hitting coach position for the Philadelphia Phillies under Joe Girardi. Throughout the offseason, Davis said he wanted to remain in New York, but wanted a multi-year deal. The Mets and Davis were able to agree on a two-year deal to keep him with the Mets.

Davis Influence

Davis helped guide an offense which finished second in the National League in wRC+ (104) and fifth with 242 home runs. He was not alone as he had Tom Slater as his assistant hitting coach as well. The Mets will bring back Slater on a two-year deal to secure Beltran’s hitting coaches.

Their influence also played a major role for young hitters like Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario. All three players had good to amazing seasons and bought into the idea of using the entire field. Michael Conforto and Wilson Ramos were two other members of the Mets offense who had solid seasons under Davis.

Davis’ expertise as a hitter has translated well to his coaching ability. He hit .274 with 350 home runs over his 19 years in the big leagues and was a feared DH in the prime of his career. All the players in the clubhouse respected and gravitated towards him.

With Davis and Slater back in their roles, the Mets only have two key positions left to fill. Jeremy Hefner is rumored to be the favorite for Mets pitching coach, while names like Fredi Gonzalez and Ron Wotus have been rumored for the bench coach position.

 

New York Yankees: Consider An Andujar Trade If Didi Resigns

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees will be forced to make a decision on third baseman Miguel Andujar knowing that he will be healthy for the start of the 2020 season. Gio Urshela had a great year at third and deserves the starting spot. But, I don’t think that Miggy should necessarily go to first base. The Yankees should strongly consider trading him, and weather Didi Gregorius resigns or not has a part of it.

If Didi Signs:

Didi Gregorius resigning with the Yankees would mean that Gleyber Torres plays everyday second base again, shifting DJ LeMahieu back to first. Luke Voit and Mike Ford are proven over there, and they should keep one, if not both. I’d rather they keep Ford for lefty power.

Gio Urshela would play everyday at third as planned. They could keep Andujar to back up the corners, but that might be too much corner depth and not enough middle infield depth. Tyler Wade or Thairo Estrada would likely get a spot for the middle infield.

If Didi Doesn’t Sign

If Didi Gregorius and the Yankees can’t strike a deal, you absolutely keep Andujar.

Torres would shift to everyday short and DJ to everyday second. First base could be Andujar, Ford, or Voit with Andujar backing up third. They would have to decide on Ford or Voit, but it probably wouldn’t be feasible to keep both.

Unless, what if Gio Urshela was to learn shortstop and second? He could still primarily play third, but it could make him more versatile and be able to carry both Voit and Ford instead of one of them and a primary middle infielder.

The only thing with that is that Wade and Estrada can both play outfield when necessary, and that is a thing the team would seriously have to consider when making roster cuts.

The Yankees have a decision to make on Miguel Andujar, and a lot of the decision comes from weather Didi Gregorius resigns or not.

Should the New York Mets trade JD Davis?

New York Mets, J.D. Davis

JD Davis had a breakout 2019 season offensively, but his poor defense might make him the perfect trade chip for the New York Mets.

JD Davis was the one big success story for the Mets 2018 offseason. He was the lone great acquisition that GM Brodie Van Wagenen made. Yet, his position on the team isn’t secure.

For all his offensive capabilities Davis is an awful defender. He was worth -16 DRS across both third base and left field in 2019. For a Mets team that was 31st in baseball in DRS, and had the second-worst DRS of any team over .500 since the stat has been recorded, he doesn’t fit long term.

There just doesn’t seem to be a spot for Davis to play for the Mets in 2020. He’s too good to be a bench bat, but his defense is too much of a liability for him to play every day. That makes him an ideal trade chip.

Unlike the Mets, many teams around MLB can hide a poor defender. In the AL he would fit perfectly as a DH. Not to mention that his value is at an all-time high coming off his 2019 season.

First, JD Davis is likely not a starter on the 2020 Mets. Brodie Van Wagenen has been adamant about playing Jeff McNeil at third base and has made it clear the Mets plan to upgrade at center field this year.

If that’s the case Davis would be a bench bat for the majority of the season sitting behind McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto. So, instead of letting a valuable resource like Davis sit on the bench wouldn’t it make more sense to trade him in an effort to get the best possible replacement for Zack Wheeler or the best upgrade in center field.

For example, centering a trade for Starling Marte around JD Davis would immediately improve the Mets defense and still give them a top-end bat at the position.

Maybe the Mets prefer to target a starting pitcher and trade JD Davis for a pitcher like Matthew Boyd to replace Zack Wheeler.

These are moves that can only happen because JD Davis’ value is at an all-time high. It opens up so many more avenues to make the team better as a whole.

Would it suck to lose a young cost-controlled player like Davis, absolutely. However, when a team is cash strapped as the Mets are sometimes you have to sacrifice to gain.

New York Giants make Pro Bowl

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Each year the NFL host a Pro Bowl which showcases the best of the best in the league from all 32 teams.  This year, a few familiar names to New York Giants fans have made the Pro Bowl Ballot.

A few shining stars this year on the New York Giants have been nominated for a chance to be in the 2020 Pro Bowl:

OFFENSE:

At the quarterback position: Rookie Daniel Jones with 17 touchdowns (so far), 1,984 yards

At the running back position: The extremely adept Saquon Barkley whose had 3 touchdowns, fighting for every last yard and the powerful Elijhaa Penny who has made it his mission to be the best he can be

At the wide receiver position: Rookie Darius Slayton, who has been nothing short of absolutely stellar in just his debut with 5 stunning touchdowns earning him a slew of very well-deserved accolades and Veteran Cody Latimer who has given it his all showcasing his skills and adroitness when it comes to making receptions

At the tight end position:  Rhett Ellison who has proved to be an asset to the team and Evan Engram who showcases his talents each and every time he steps out on the field

At the tackle position: Mike Remmers and Nate Solder who demonstrated their steadfastness to the team

At the guard position: Will Hernandez who showed his loyalty for his teammates both on and off the filed and Kevin Zeitler who exhibited a dedication to the team and the game of football

At the center position: Jon Halapio who made it his goal to be unwavering

DEFENSE:

At the defensive end position: Rookie Dexter Lawrence whose staunch and ardent abilities made him a shining star already

At the defensive tackle position: Dalvin Tomlinson whose fervor and wit made him a truly skilled player and newcomer Leonard Williams who vowed to be nothing short of passionate when it comes to making plays

At the inside linebacker position: Alec Ogletree who became a powerful tackle machine

At the outside linebacker position: Lorenzo Carter a fierce and fiery player who made intense plays and Markus Golden who is truly an utterly keen, dependable play-maker who became an asset to the team in every sense of the word and has been purely GOLDEN to the Giants and the game of football

At the cornerback position: Rookie DeAndre Baker who has proven to be a great pick and Janoris Jenkins whose allegiance has made him a trustworthy player

At the strong safety position: Jabrill Peppers who has lived up to his jobs name being ever so powerful and strong both physically and mentally

At the free safety position: Antoine Bethea whose steady experience and seasoned plays have helped the defense

SPECIAL TEAMS:

At the kicker position: Aldrick Rosas whose rigor have added points to the board

At the punter position: Riley Dixon whose precision and exactitude have been an assistant to the team

At the special teamers position: Michael Thomas whose been an absolute gift to the Giants, rallying the team, being a leader both on and off the field and an all-around great guy

Be sure to vote for your favorite New York Giants players so you can see them in the 2020 Pro Bowl!  Sure the season may not have gone the way we all had hoped, but we still did have some amazing plays and wonderful players!

New York Giants: The Three Main Ways To Fix Daniel Jones

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones has been on a hot streak as of late. He’s thrown 9 touchdowns and just 1 interception in the last 3 games for the New York Giants. His arm-talent that was once under much scrutiny during the draft process hasn’t stopped him from pushing the ball down the field.

With that said, Daniel Jones has some flaws that look like they could get in his way of being a franchise quarterback. Here are the 3 main issues Daniel Jones needs to fix:

Pocket Awareness

Daniel Jones is as daring as they come at the quarterback position. He almost never sees the pass rush surrounding him because he wants to give his receivers and his team a chance to win.

Ironically, the team would have a better shot at winning if he would quit on some plays a little earlier. The rookie quarterback has been strip-sacked 8 times in 8 starts. There were 3 sacks that most quarterbacks would’ve coughed up because he genuinely couldn’t have seen the rusher coming so quickly. On the other 5 strip-sacks, he was standing in the pocket without re-evaluating his surroundings during the play.

Internal Clock

Daniel Jones doesn’t have a great offensive line around him. They’re rated 26th in pass-protection. He also has one of the lowest-rated groups of wide receivers in terms of separation created per route. That sounds like the perfect combination to face pressure often, especially when pass-catchers need another second or two.

One of Daniel’s approaches to compensating for his receivers has been a willingness to stand in the pocket until someone eventually gets open, or until he gets sacked. Daniel doesn’t mean to concede to these sacks but he usually doesn’t expect them at one point or another either.

There doesn’t seem to be an internal-clock ticking for the pocket while his eyes are down the field. He should be counting to 3 in his head at most while he scans the field. When he gets to 3 he should either be rolling out or throwing the ball away. Chances are, someone is getting to the quarterback after 3 seconds, and it’s happened quite frequently.

Ball-Security

Daniel Jones hasn’t received much help from his offensive line but he hasn’t done well holding onto the football either. His 13 fumbles in 9 total games are partially on the offensive line but he’s lost 4 fumbles outside of the pocket as a ball-carrier. That’s far too many on just 32 rushing attempts, currently fumbling on 12.5% of carries.

Part of this issue has to do with his fearless football mindset. Much like the way he’s not scared of getting hit in the pocket, he invites contact in the open field far too often. This has led to fumbles against the Cowboys in both games, although the week 1 matchup was already decided.

Daniel Jones should also make sure he has adequately strengthened wrists and forearms. It doesn’t take a fitness coach to know he’s a slenderly built kid. Not to say he should bulk up but a certain amount of strengthening might be necessary if he physically can’t control the ball in traffic. Spending the offseason working on his lower-arm and wrist strength could only help the issue.

What about Decision-Making?

Daniel Jones has taken some chances and thrown 50/50 balls up, but he isn’t in much trouble as far as interceptions. He’s currently good for 1 interception per game, a lesser rate than Andrew Luck as a rookie. That also counts his 3 interception game against the Patriots defense who have intercepted 19 passes in 9 games. Throwing 5 interceptions in the other 7 games is respectable. Any rookie is going to make some poor decisions through the air, it hasn’t nearly been as much of an issue as fumbling.

Final Thoughts

It’s a rare situation to have a rookie quarterback throw the ball as successfully as Daniel Jones with legitimate doubts still circulating. Having nearly a 2:1 ratio for Pass-TD: INT is so impressive as a rookie, but 10 fumbles since week 7 are maybe even more mind-blowing.

On the bright side, coaches would rather teach a quarterback to be more conservative overall than work on his passing.

New York Jets Will Not Fire Adam Gase After the Season

New York Jets head coach, Adam Gase.

Despite an awful 2-7 start to the season, Adam Gase has been told by Jets’ CEO Chris Johnson that he will not be fired after the season.

According to multiple reports, Jets’ CEO Chris Johnson told reporters at practice today that Adam Gase will return for the 2020 season. This comes despite an awful start to the 2019 season that has seen many fans and members of the media call for Gase’s dismissal.

This decision is surprising, to say the least. Adam Gase was brought to New York for three reasons, make Sam Darnold better, make the offense better, and win football games now. Gase has failed at all three objectives.

The Jets’ offense is currently ranked 32nd in offensive DVOA, 30th in scoring offense, 32nd in yards per game, and 28th in turnovers. There is not a single good thing that can be said about the Jets offense.

The Jets have been so bad on offense that even Lev Bell has been held to under 100 all-purpose yards in all but two games this year. Bell came into the season averaging 129 all-purpose yards per game for his career. A mark he’s met just once this season.

Under Gase Sam Darnold has regressed this season. Darnold’s QBR and passer rating are both lower than last season. His yards per attempt is lower than last year. His INT% is also up this year. All under Adam Gase’s watch.

Lastly, Adam Gase is also on pace to finish this year under .500. If he does, he would be the first head coach hired by the Johnson family to finish his first year with the team with a record under .500.

Over his career, Adam Gase has more losses by double digits than total career wins. As a head coach his offenses have ranked 18th, 27th, 27th, and now 32nd in the NFL in offensive DVOA. There is nothing to suggest that Adam Gase is a good head coach.

In fact, most of the evidence points the complete opposite. It says that Adam Gase has been one of the worst head coaches in the NFL since he was hired by the Dolphins in 2016.

Yet, the Jets are guaranteeing his job safety half-way through one of the worst seasons in the team’s history. This is a shocking and baffling move by Chris Johnson that could have long-reaching consequences.