The Reason The New York Giants Haven’t Found Their Coach

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

The New York Giants haven’t found their long term coach.

Of course, there’s still some time for a miracle turnaround from Pat Shurmur, but at this point, the odds of Shurmur staying around for the offseason and next season seem slim to none – if the Giants don’t get rid of Shurmur as soon as this season is over, the long term outlook for him is still bleak unless there’s a massive turnaround that sees the team go from bottom of the barrel to contending for the division once again.

However, once the team ownership is looking for a coach again, there’s a chance that they don’t find their long term man on this hire either unless they change one major thing with their policies.

That’s the issue of control. The Giants don’t give full control over the roster to their head coaches, and that’s limited the number of candidates that they can sign for the position.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, it was control that was the reason the Giants cancelled an interview with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who at the time was a rival of Pat Shurmur for the head coaching job. Of course, the Giants ended up going with Shurmur instead, a decision that hasn’t panned out the way most hoped it would when the decision was first made.

But Schwartz has been a harder sell. He was set to meet with the New York Giants two offseasons ago, but the interview was canceled because the Giants came to learn that he would want some personnel authority, two NFL sources said.

The structure of having a General Manager and a head coach with different roles has worked for the Giants in the past, but the current era with Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur has largely proved to be a disaster – the team has only been sliding further downhill since their last playoff appearance, and Gettleman and Shurmur look further from getting the Giants back to the playoffs than they looked in the last year of the Reese regime.

That’s not to say that the Giants should have stuck with Jerry Reese, but that the current front office hasn’t performed much better.

The failure of the current regime to turn the team around could possibly serve as an awakening call that it’s time to make some adjustments to the hiring policies and maybe think about giving more control to a head coach for once. Having a dedicated GM with full control over the roster hasn’t helped the Giants so far after all, and other teams have had more success trying out different systems.

New England, for example, would never have gotten to where they are now without giving a great amount of control to head coach Bill Belichick to shape his own roster according to his preferred strategies. If Belichick were to somehow become available, would the Giants turn down a chance to sign the coach because they’d prefer to have a General Manager running the roster instead? Based on their last coaching search, it seems like the answer may be yes.

Fans can only hope that the team has learned from that, and that if they end up with another coaching search on their hands soon, they come into it with a more open mind and don’t turn down a potentially long term option for head coach just because they may have to stray from their traditional front office structure.

New York Yankees: Make Early Movement

Could the Yankees pursue Gerrit Cole this offseason?

There are a handful of big free agents on the market this winter, and many of them that the New York Yankees would love to sign.

Instead of waiting to the later part of winter to make moves, the Yankees should start taking serious action NOW. With everybody wrapped up in the Astros cheating allegations, there is no better time to recruit free agents and give them offers in pretty lowkey way.

They could try to keep as quiet as possible, but if information leaks out about them making early moves, then it would quickly put pressure on other teams to match and exceed the Yankees offers.

The first order of business would be retaining Brett Gardner and figuring out the whole outfield situation. If they have interest in resigning Cameron Maybin, they could probably hold off a bit on him. He likely won’t sign a contract until February.

Once they get Gardner locked up, it would be time to decide who they are going to offer on. I would love to see them get Anthony Rendon, but the likelihood of him leaving the Nationals is slim to none. So, they should try and make quick offers on Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

I hope that Brian Cashman doesn’t try to be cheap again and lowball them. He needs to offer both pitchers solid contracts early into free agency. It puts so much pressure on other teams to match, and it would be very tempting for them to sign when they see a huge offer.

All I’m saying is that if the Yankees start making offers early into the offseason, they may have a better chance to sign the top free agents.

New York Giants: Evan Engram Injury Update

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants were without their dynamic tight end Evan Engram in their Week 10 matchup against the New York Jets. Engram is dealing with a sprained foot that he suffered at the end of the Giants’ Week 9 rivalry-game with the Dallas Cowboys.

Week 10 was Evan Engram’s second time this season being inactive with an injury. He was also ruled out for the Giants’ Week 6 Thursday Night loss to the Patriots in New England. Evan’s current injury has kept him out for one game so far but has the potential to keep him out even longer.

Engram Still Not Practicing

Evan had some time to recover during the Giants’ Week 11 bye week. However, the recovery time might not have been enough. The Giants got back to practice on Monday, but Evan Engram was not a participant. Evan’s foot is still bothering him, and he is not yet ready to resume football activities.

Reason For Optimism

There is still reason for optimism regarding Evan Engram’s game status for this Sunday. Evan Engram did not practice on Monday, but he is out of his walking boot. A positive sign that Evan’s foot is recovering according to schedule.

When asked about his injury on Monday, Evan Engram stated that he was given a “2-4 week recovery time.” It has been two weeks since Engram suffered the injury, so he should be close to returning to action. Evan also mentioned that playing Sunday is “definitely possible.”

Evan Engram is ahead of schedule for his injury’s recovery time. He and head coach Pat Shurmur have not yet ruled out Evan playing on Sunday. The Giants will play the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The Bears have a stout defense, so they will need all the offensive weapons that they could get. But they also need to be careful to keep Engram from further injuring himself in a season that is lost at 2-8.

New York Mets: Carlos Gomez Year in Review

The New York Mets reunited with Carlos Gomez, who was also a New York Met in 2007 with Jason Vargas. While the reunion was not successful, Gomez still supplied some memorable moments for the Mets.

Gomez signed a minor league contract before spring training and was hitting .270 with six home runs in triple-A before the Mets called him up. The Mets called Gomez up after designating Keon Broxton for assignment. Gomez is known as one of the brighter personalities across baseball, and his “YE YE YE” became infections in the clubhouse.

Not the Same Gomez

The Mets hoped Gomez would return to his 2015 form when he almost became a Met. Unfortunately, he was not an upgrade from Broxton. He was 17-for-86 (.198) with three home runs and 10 RBIs. Since 2015, his average has been at .255 or lower as he hit a quick decline in talent. Gomez was still a threat on the bases as he had four in five attempts.

He fit with the theme of average to below-average defense in the Mets outfield. At age 33, it was hard to expect him to play the same defense from his gold glove days but still was an excellent veteran presence on the field. His time as a Met was cut short when he was on July 3. In his last 39 at-bats, he had seven hits, and his final days with the team were spent as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner.

A significant regression and Gomez being 34 next season will probably force him to latch on to another minor league contract for 2020. It was a good story to have him back in Queens, but unfortunately never lived up to the hype.

Grades:

Hitting For Average: F, .198, not much else to say

Hitting For Power: D-, Three home runs, but one saved him from getting an F

Fielding: C, Does not move as well as he used to but still has a cannon

Speed/Baserunning: B-, One of the rare guys who had speed this season. Probably would have had more stolen bases if he played more

Intangibles: A+, YE, YE, YE

Overall: D-, If he were signed to a major league contract it would be an F, but the expectations were meager

New York Mets: Joey Cora a Strong Candidate for Bench Coach

Joey Cora, New York Mets

The New York Mets seem to have zeroed in on Joey Cora to fill their Bench Coach opening.

According to Jon Heyman, Pirates Third Base Coach Joey Cora has emerged as a strong candidate to become Carlos Beltran‘s Bench Coach.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. While Cora had only been on the periphery of the search he has too many connections to the team to ignore.

Cora got his first managerial job with the Mets. He managed the Kingsport Mets from 2001-2002, and the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2003.

In 2004 Cora left the Mets organization to become the White Sox Third Base Coach, and eventually the Bench Coach.  He remained in that role until Ozzie Guillen resigned as White Sox manager and brought Cora with him to the Marlins. Cora’s lone experience as a major league manager came during a five-game stretch when Guillen was suspended in 2012.

Following the 2012 season, Cora was brought on as an analyst for MLB Network. A position he held until 2016 when he joined the Pirates organization as manager of their AA affiliate Altoona Curve.  Since 2017 Cora has been the Pirates Third Base coach.

Cora is considered by some in baseball to be a rising coach and a future manager. He was a finalist for the Brewers managerial job in 2010, a job that eventually went to Ron Roenicke. Cora is still under consideration for the Pirates managerial opening, but the prevailing thought is they want to go out of the organization to fill the role. They want to completely clean house after firing the manager, GM, and president.

Cora and Beltran do have a connection in Joey’s younger brother Alex. Alex Cora was the bench coach on the 2017 World Champion Astros that Carlos Beltran played for.

Cora is less experienced than the other Bench Coach candidates mentioned, Fredi Gonzalez and Jerry Narron, but more experienced than Luis Rojas. So, if the Mets are looking for a mentor for Beltran Cora wouldn’t seem to be the best fit for the job.

However, the thing that really matters is communication. The manager and Bench Coach need to be on the same page and working as a unit. If Beltran felt comfortable around Cora and feels they could work well together that might be all it takes.

The Mets love to sign former players and coaches, it looks like Joey Cora could just be the next guy to make the homecoming.

The New York Jets Run Defense is on Fire

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The New York Jets young defensive line has proven them right for trading Leonard Williams.

The Jets traded Leonard Williams to the Giants for a third and a conditional fifth prior to their game against the Dolphins. At that point in the year, the Jets had been allowing 94.9 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry.

That’s good, it’s one of the best in football, but it wasn’t as good as it could be. Since the Jets traded Leonard Williams they have played three games. In those games, the Jets are allowing just 42.3 rushing yards per game and 2.1 yards per carry.

That’s an insanely good rush defense. That hasn’t come against easy rushing attacks either. The Jets went up against Saquon Barkley and Adrian Peterson in the last two weeks. The two of them combined for just 26 rushing yards.

What really stands out about this though, is who is leading the charge. Obviously, the big name is Jamal Adams who has been outstanding the last three games, but he isn’t the only one. Nathan Shepherd has four TFL, James Burgess has three TFL, Henry Anderson has two TFL, Quinnen Williams has one TFL, Foley Fatukasi has one TFL, and Kyle Phillips has one TFL.

Everyone is chipping in, especially the young guys. The way the young players have stepped up since Leonard Williams has been traded is phenomenal. This should tell Jets fans two things.

First, Leonard Williams isn’t the same player he was the first four years of his career. He was having the worst year of his carer and double teams weren’t a part of it. Leonard Williams didn’t have a single sack or TFL with the Jets this year, and since the trade he has zero sacks and zero TFL. Williams just isn’t a good player right now.

Second, this defense is for real and here to stay. All of the players listed above are under contract for multiple years after this one. Most of them are under cost-controlled rookie contracts as well. That should scare the rest of the league.

The Jets are on the verge of having an elite defense. They are just two pieces away, a CB and an Edge rusher. Those are the two hardest things in the NFL to find, but the Jets don’t elite players at the position. They just need competent players who can be relied on.

The Jets run defense will be tested again next week when the Raiders come to town. Josh Jacobs has had a phenomenal rookie year, rushing for 923 yards and seven TDs so far this year. He is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He is the focus of the Raiders offense. If the Jets’ defense can continue to stop the run like they have the last three weeks the Raiders will be in serious trouble.

New York Jets: Matt Rhule, What Could Have Been

NEW YORK JETSMatt Rhule has a storied coaching career with experience galore. In 2013 that earned him the job as the head coach of Temple. Although there was familiarity with the team (he had coached there in various positions from 2006-2011) it was a new program from the one he left behind.

In the one year absence where he was an assistant offensive line coach for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, Temple was going through a drastic change. They just lost another head coach and the culture was in disarray. Matt Rhule was named the head coach and in his first season, they had a 2-10 record and were 1-7 in AAC play. He was determined to show progress in year 2. He did just that, the team finished the season with the Temple Owls holding a grasp on 6th in the AAC and a 6-6 record with a 4-4 record in AAC play. His third year was his “prove it” year, he had shown progress but now it had to be sustainable. Well, they went above and beyond in the next two seasons. They had a combined record of 20-8 over the two-year span, a 14-2 record in AAC play over the span and two conference championship appearances and one conference title. Matt Rhule built a successful program so it was time to look for what was next.

In lieu of some misconduct at the university, I don’t want to get into, the football program was in a disastrous state. The team needed to be led out of the dark and in came Matt Rhule. Matt started his first season with Baylor with a team full of guys he hadn’t even gotten a lot of time to look at. No cream of the crop guys, just guys who loved the game. They struggled mightily early with a 1-11 record in his first season as the head coach. They showed toughness and resilience. This made him an attractive head coaching interview and the Colts gave him a shot but ultimately Waco would remain his home. That paid off last season with a 7-6 record and a Texas Bowl appearance, which they won. Matt Rhule then received Jets interviews and was practically handed the job but only with the agreement that the front office got to pick his staff. Rhule ultimately returned to Waco to continue coaching the Baylor Bears. Gase was hired and people seemed satisfied. Matt Rhule has led the Baylor Bears to a 9-1 record at this point. Although they lost a heartbreaker to the Sooners the other night, this team is set up for a potential New Year Six Bowl game still. That’s a drastic revitalization of a program with no clear direction at all.

That level of revitalization is exactly what the New York Jets could have used. No matter how Adam Gase continues to do with the Jets, I believe Matt Rhule is going to be an excellent head coach in the NFL at some point and I think deep down the Jets may think about what could’ve been.

Will the New York Yankees re-sign both Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner?

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner

While free agents like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg will plaster the headlines during the offseason for the New York Yankees, we cannot devalue options like Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner.

Both veterans for the Bombers played significant roles in reaching the ALCS against the Houston Astros, and reports have indicated that the team will pursue both in free agency, despite Cashman rejecting the qualifying offer for the shortstop.

General manager Brian Cashman commented on the potential of bringing back Didi:

“I can’t tell you ‘less likely, more likely,’ he said. “I can just tell you Didi was a great player for us. He’s a free agent now, so there’s gonna be competition for his services. We will continue to engage and see if it leads to continuing a relationship or not. But up to this point we’ve been very fortunate and happy to have him as a member of our franchise. Maybe we’ll be able to say that for a couple of years as well — or not — but that remains to be seen. I can’t predict.”

Gregorius is not only a reliable defender and a lefty bat, but he’s a staple in the locker-room. There will be competition to bring back Didi, with the Cincinnati Reds expected to pursue him, but the Yankees undoubtedly have the advantage if they’re willing to part with at least $10 million in cap space.

Batting .238 and hitting 16 homers last season doesn’t scream efficiency, but the Bombers have preferred high homerun totals in place of a lousy batting average. Similar to Didi, Brett Gardner saw his long-ball totals sky-rocket in his 12th season in the MLB. Logging 28 homers over 141 games, Gardner a career-high in the category — timely for a Yankees team struggling with injuries.

Bringing Gardner back should be a priority for Cashman this offseason, considering his likeness and leadership. He’s also a valuable defender and can fill every outfield position if needed. While he did count $7.5 million against the cap last season, if the Yanks can bringing him back on a deal under $4 million, they would be adding a consistent starting-quality player that understands the Yankee way and what their mentality is heading into 2020.

The New York Yankees could move on from Didi Gregorius:

Didi will undoubtedly be asking for more of an investment than the Yankees, and they could quickly move on from him in favor of Gleyber Torres. The 22-year-old is primed to take over at shortstop with DJ LaMehiu’s preferred position being second-base. The switch has to made eventually, and expediting the process makes sense for the Bombers in 2020.

A 10 Part Breakdown of the New York Yankees Depth. Part 2: Third Base

New York Yankees, Giovanny Urshela

Any New York Yankees fan can tell you that Gio Urshela was a godsend this 2019 campaign. He was what you needed at third base, a brick wall. He, more often than not, would make MLB networks Web Gems segment with his stellar defense. Many universally agree he’s better defensively than Miguel Andujar, even Brian Cashman proclaiming “third is Urshela’s to lose”. Which is fair.

But the contest may be closer than people want to accept.

Wait… you’re saying Andujar is a better defensive third baseman?!

Numbers don’t lie here people. While it’s a small sample size, let’s look solely at Andujar’s 2018 and compare it to Urshela’s 2019.

I think fielding percentage is the best metric, but we will look at advanced metrics. In 2018, Andujar sported a .948 fielding percentage over 136 games. That’s 15 errors committed. Not great, but also not terrible for a kid who made it to the majors earlier than the team anticipated. In 2019, Urshela sported a .954 fielding percentage over 123 games played at third. That’s 13 errors. If Urshela played as many games as Andujar did in 2018 for the 2019 season, it’s a no brainer that Urshela would have committed as many errors as Andujar, who was benched in the playoffs over his “shaky defense”. Urshela has been a known commodity at third for far longer than Andujar has been, so why are we as quick to defend Urshela and his defense in The Bronx, as we are to condemn Andujar’s “rocky at best defense”?

Now let’s look at the advanced defensive metrics.

Urshela has been up and down in the majors since 2015, compared to Andujar’s single year in the bigs. So, obviously, Urshela’s advanced metrics are more skewed. But, again, for a “defensive whiz kid” Urshela is touted as, Andujar isn’t that far off.

Urshela’s range factor per 9 innings sits at 2.43. Miguel Andujar’s sits at 2.08. Urshela’s range factor per game is 2.07, Andujar’s is 1.97. Yes, for their career, Andujar’s defensive runs saved above average is going to be pretty heavily skewed to reflect his “poor defense” for 2018 and the brief time he played third during the 2019 campaign, which is a staggering -27. Gio Urshela still has cost his team runs, and has a career defensive runs saved above average in the negatives as well (-4). Yes, I know -27 is a larger number than -4, but the way everyone raves about Urshela’s defense, you’d expect it to be in the positives.

Remember, 2019 was the first time since Urshela got called up he played a complete season in the bigs. 2018 was the first time Andujar played a complete season. And Urshela was TOUTED as a defensive whiz kid. And when you isolate the first full season either of these guys had, they were remarkably similar, with the numbers skewed more toward Urshela as he has a larger body of work compared to Andujar (273 games for Urshela to 143 for Andujar. baseball-reference.com)

But Urshela was a BEAST offensively!

And who’s to say that was an abnormal year? Remember, Andujar finished in 2nd place for the 2018 Rookie of the Year voting to the first dual-threat player since Babe Ruth (Shohei Ohtani). Andujar is a better-known commodity at this point offensively because it’s far more likely that what we saw in 2018 is what Andujar is capable of producing on a year to year basis.

Gio Urshela was a liability offensively prior to 2019.

Before this season, Gio never hit above .235. Before this season, his career WAR was in the negatives. Before this season, Miguel Andujar had a career WAR of 2.4, which was higher than where Urshela’s WAR is now! I say that because Andujar’s -1 WAR for 2019 brought his career war down to 1.5 (somehow, because that’s wrong math) whereas Gio’s total WAR, after his 2019 campaign, sits at 2.3.

Also, in one season, Andujar almost matched the number of home runs Urshela hit for his career, is one double behind Urshela, has hit more triples than Urshela has hit in his career, and has a better career batting average than Urshela has. And when we isolate the first full season each man had with the team, Andujar scored more runs than Urshela did, drove in more runs than Urshela did, convincingly got more hits than Urshela did, and matched Urshela in walks.

Remember when Yasiel Puig lit up the National League his rookie season? He’s now been wallowing in mediocrity, now on his third team in two seasons. Should Urshela get the nod over Andujar now? Yes. But once Miggy shows he’s healthy and recovered from his labrum tear, Urshela’s days at third are more than likely going to become limited. Especially if he can’t hide behind as many web gems to cover how many errors he’s committing.

And Then There’s the Field

Remember, DJ LeMahieu is a full infield utility player. He’s won a Gold Glove all around the horn (well, except catcher). If Gio or Miggy aren’t bringing it out of the gate, there’s a more real than the real probability that Boone starts DJ at third consistently.

This opens the door for Tyler Wade to get regular playing time at either short or second. Thairo Estrada also could crack the 26 man roster for 2020, but he still has options. Tyler Wade is running out (if not already out) of options. Why lose a player to waivers when you could trade him? Wade’s trade value seems to be higher now than Frazier’s (according to reports). Wade was also starting to FINALLY show some life at the plate this season, something that’s been sorely lacking in his major league appearances. Perhaps he’s about to turn the same corner Gio turned. Perhaps he AND Gio will return to the mediocre offensive performances they’ve been known for prior to 2019. And perhaps Andujar will regress offensively while showing little to no signs of improvement defensively.

So Who Get’s The Job?

The likelihood that LeMahieu starts regularly at third is laughable. As much as I think it would be a mistake, the plan seems to move Torres over to short, and let DJ start at second (more on that later in this series). Wade and Estrada will be Eduardo Nunez types. They’ll get playing time at third, but they’ll also get playing time all over the field (to give guys a day of rest). They’re not going to be you’re everyday starting third baseman.

Based on the small sample size that we have of Gio Urshela playing in New York, as well as Andujar’s, defensively the two are much closer together than people want to accept. Last year was the first year Urshela played a complete season. A lot will depend on how Urshela is going to be able to continue that moving forward. Andujar will have his own problems as he has to overcome the labrum surgery that derailed his 2019, on top of showing his defense has improved. But, again, Andujar committed 15 errors in 2018, Urshela committed 13 in 2019. Numbers don’t lie. If Andujar fixed his throwing motion problems that hurt him so much defensively at third in 2018, this is a much tighter race for the starting third baseman job than Brian Cashman wants to accept.

Jets’ Jamal Adams has become a prolific sack artist

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Jamal Adams, the New York Jets’ star safety, is reaching his vast potential this season and there is no doubt that he is one of the NFL’s premier defensive players.

Adams is just a few weeks removed from being trade fodder for a Jets team that was teetering on the notion that a fire sale could be in the works. But two wins over the fractured Giants and the sorry Redskins have given the Jets (3-7) some hope that they could be headed in the right direction.

Adams has stepped up his game considerably since the report that GM Joe Douglas had spoken to the Dallas Cowboys about Adams’ availability.

From the NY Post:

The Pro Bowl safety anchored a dominant defensive performance Sunday with three sacks in a 34-17 victory at FedEx Field.

 

With just two career interceptions on the back end, Adams now has six sacks in the three games since his public trade-deadline spat with the Jets front office. That’s more sacks than he had in his first two NFL seasons combined (5.5).

 

“The picks are not coming my way,” Adams said, “so I thought I’d do something different.”

Adams’ six sacks leads all NFL defensive backs. He also has a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown this season.

Adams was the sixth overall selection out of LSU in the 2017 NFL Draft and made an immediate impact for the Jets as a rookie. In 2018, he made the Pro Bowl. His outspokenness has irritated some fans at times but his latest burst of production has won most of them over.

Against the Giants last week, Adams had two strip sacks of Giants’ rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He also stonewalled Jones on a 4th down quarterback sneak. The performance earned Adams AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

“It’s big, man. That’s just the goals that I set myself to go out and achieve because I just work each and every day to try and get better,” Adams said after the Redskins game. “I just want to do more, man. I feel like I’m scraping the surface. The sky is the limit. I really feel like that.”