New York Giants: Saquon Barkley Will Go Back To Roots To Get Back In Form

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, Darius Slayton

It’s been a rough season for New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley – a decent enough start to the season was cut short by a high ankle sprain against Tampa, and ever since then, Barkley has been fighting with the injury either directly or indirectly. Not only did it keep him out for a number of games, but Barkley had some of his worst performances after coming back and appeared to still be dealing with the injury despite playing.

It brought heat on the Giants staff for not simply shutting Barkley down, and thus risking the team’s best player just to get some more appearances out of him during a lost season where the team is already firmly out of the playoff hunt, but Barkley himself was the most adamant about his desire to come back.

One by week’s worth of rest later, and Barkley has stood by that.

“I”m just going to go back to having fun. There’s a reason I’m one of the best running backs in the league, and I’m just going to go out there and do what I do,” Barkley said this Thursday. He also claims that watching film of himself brought him away from his usual style. “That’s what I’m getting back to this week. I’m going to go out there and ball and have fun.”

Barkley would reaffirm again that this isn’t the first time others have tried to change his running style – a style which has been mentioned by some as a possible concern due to Barkley’s aggressive and hard running nature, which could make him more injury prone than others.

“That’s the message my Dad told me my whole life. When people tried to change my running style in high school, so I’m just going to have fun. That’s the biggest thing, have fun and play like you’re a little kid.”

The game against the Bears might be the main deciding factor for just how much the Giants play Barkley. If it’s another struggling performance, it seems likely that the star running back could find himself on the bench more, to give him a better chance to recover before next season.

If Barkley has a big performance, however, and returns to his usual self, the Giants may just be able to say they made the right choice in granting his wish to not sit for the rest of the year to heal.

New York Jets’ CB Brian Poole has been Elite in 2019

New York Jets, Brian Poole

Brian Poole has been by far the New York Jets best free-agent acquisition this season.

When Brian Poole signed with the Jets for just $3 million in March no much attention was paid to the move. The attention that the move did get came from angry Jets fans. They didn’t understand how the Jets could sign Poole to play slot CB when players like Bryce Callahan were available. It felt like the team was cheaping out at one of the most important positions in the league.

Poole has quickly proven everybody wrong. He’s become one of the premier slot CBs in the NFL in 2019. Poole has allowed just 378 yards this season, which is 27th in the league. He’s allowing just 10.8 yards per receptions, which is 12th in the league. He’s also allowing just 6.5 yards per target, which is 17th in the league. Poole is fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per coverage snap at just 0.66 yards per snap. His 60.3% catch rate allowed is 32nd in the league.

What’s most impressive about Poole’s turnaround this season tough is his discipline. Poole was among the league leaders in penalties among CBs in 2018 with eight called against him and five accepted. In 2019 Poole has just three penalties called against him and one accepted. That turn around is a huge reason why he’s been one of the elite slot CBs in the league.

These numbers may not stand up to the elite numbers put up by CBs like Stephon Gilmore or Richard Sherman, but they are impressive. They make him one of the best slot CBs in the NFL. Getting a player of that caliber in free agency for just $3 million dollars is as good as it gets.

The issue is that Poole is set to hit free agency at the end of the season. So, the Jets are going to have to re-sign him if they want him back. With the value of slot CBs on the rise, it could be costly. The best comparison for a contract would be Bryce Callahan who signed a three-year $21 million contract with $10 million guaranteed.

With the cap increasing Poole should expect to at least match that contract. Will new Jets’ GM Joe Douglas be willing to shell out seven or eight million on a slot CB? That’s a question that is going to need to be answered in the coming weeks.

If Poole does walk it will mean that the Jets have yet another hole in the roster that they’ll need to fill in 2020.

New York Mets Sign Chasen Shreve

New York Mets sign Chasen Shreve.

The New York Mets have made their first move of the offseason. They have signed Chasen Shreve to a minor league deal.

The Mets have signed a former Yankee to help their bullpen, according to Jon Heyman.

Shreve began his career with the Atlanta Braves, where his first manager was Mets’ bench coach candidate Fredi Gonzalez. In his rookie year, Shreve pitched to a 0.73 ERA and 1.43 FIP.

It’s been mostly downhill for Shreve since that moment. He was traded to the Yankees after his rookie deal for Manny Banuelos. He played for the Yankees from 2015 until the trade deadline in 2018. During that time Shreve had a 3.85 ERA, 5.03 FIP,  1.8 HR/9, 10.3 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9.

Shreve has found a way to succeed while being a true three outcome pitcher. Meaning the most likely outcome in any at-bat with Shreve on the mound is a strikeout, walk, or a home run.

Shreve pitched in only two innings for the Cardinals in 2019. He allowed two runs in those two innings. He spent the rest of the year in AAA where he was himself. He pitched to a 3.45 ERA, 4.28 FIP, .9 HR/9, 10.2 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9.

Shreve mostly uses two pitches, his fastball and his splitter. He throws those two pitches 86.5% of the time over his career. The issue is that Shreve lost two MPH on both pitches in 2019. That’s not a great indication that he could be due for a bounce-back year.

There is good news for Shreve though. For his career, he’s allowing just a 30.7% hard-hit rate. That’s very good, and would have been tied for second on the team in 2019 with Justin Wilson, the only one better was Luis Avilan who is now a free agent. That’s reason to believe that if Shreve can throw strikes that he could succeed as a major league reliever again.

The bad news is that since 2017 Shreve has become a fly ball pitcher. With home runs flying out of the park at a record rate Shreve’s fly ball tendencies should scare fans. The hope is likely that since Citi Field is a pitcher’s park and Shreve doesn’t tend to give up hard-hit balls the ball will stay in the park. That thinking might work, but it’s far from certain.

The last thing to know about Shreve is that he is not a LOOGY. Shreve is better versus righties (.223/.317/.433) than he is against lefties (.247/.337/.441).

This is the first move in a long offseason for the Mets. It’s good to see that the first move addresses the bullpen, but it’s not a move that should instill faith that the team is seriously looking to improve the embattled unit.

The New York Yankees are losing hope in one of their top prospects

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

The Yankees have had significant success developing young talent into starting level players. Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, and Gary Sanchez account for a good portion of the team’s overall efficiency.

One of the Bombers’ top prospects, Estevan Florial, was/is expected to develop into a bonafide starter. His elite base-running, speed, defense, and bat make him a well-rounded player, but he has been unable to get out of his own way in recent seasons.

The 21-year-old Dominican born outfielder ranked as the No. 38 prospect in all of baseball in 2018, and last season he was 2nd with the Yankees only behind Deivi Garcia, a player who rose through the minor league system from top to bottom in three months.

The New York Yankees have plenty of youth players to work with:

There’s no question the Yankees have numerous prospects who are destined for greatness in the MLB, but when it comes to Florial, he must find ways to stay healthy if he wants to reach his overall potential.

After suffering a broken wrist in spring ball before the start of the regular season, Florial returned to hit .237 with eight home runs and 38RBIs, stealing nine bases and logging a .680 OPS with High-A Tampa. Those numbers are decent, but his batting average is not high enough to convince the Yankees brass he can perform at the top level. If he was smacking 25 homers per season, they might be able to overlook his lack of consistent hitting, but that’s not the case.

Two freak injuries have undoubtedly hampered his ability to develop and show consistency. If he can remain healthy and begin to work on his craft, Florial can be the player the Yankees expect him to be. His raw tools and attributes scream efficiency. He must now harness them an take full advantage of the resources readily available.

New York Yankees: Was Aroldis Chapman the Right man for an Extension?

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

The New York Yankees have come to depend upon the Cuban Missle, Aroldis Chapman, since they first acquired him in 2016, traded him to the Cubs that year for Gleyber Torres, then got him back for the 2017 campaign. He’s had his moments of worrisome inconsistency since his return, but he still remains one of the top relievers in baseball.

Inking a new contract with the New York Yankees, Chapman now has a full no-trade clause (it was limited under the previous contract), an extra $1 million in annual salary (up to $16 million) over the next 2 seasons, and gave him another season at $18 million in salary. I think it was quite obvious that Chapman wanted to stay a Yankee, and the Yankees wanted to keep him.

But Was It the Right Call?

There was a stretch in 2017 when Aroldis Chapman was so bad he lost the closer spot. It took a few weeks, closer to a month for him to get it back. This isn’t what you get from a guy who had just won the World Series and still had one of the best fastballs in baseball. Chapman chalked up a lot of his inconsistency in 2017 to overuse by Joe Madden in the Cubs championship run.

But isn’t that what you do? You go the extra mile in the last games of the year to ensure that you’re the team has the best chance of winning?

In 2016, his combined totals for the year were 58.0 innings pitched, 90 K’s, 36 saves, an ERA of 1.55, and a whopping 32 hits given up. In the postseason, Chapman threw 15.2 innings, 21 K’s, but his postseason ERA was doubled was his regular season ended. Is it possible that Chapman, by sheer luck, got through the most difficult time a relief pitcher can go through by sheer luck?

Chapman’s Postseason Stats

In total, his career postseason ERA is still 2.45, which is good, but not great when you’re job is to keep the other team from scoring in the 9th inning. In 32 postseason appearances, he has a paltry 9 saves. His ERA in the postseason as a Yankee is 6.75 in the 2017 and 2019 ALCS against the Astros. He’s given up 10 earned runs out of 13 total runs. He still has more strikeouts than innings pitched, but it’s not as stark a difference as in the regular season (Chapman has 54 strikeouts to 36.2 innings pitched in the postseason, compared to an average of 109 strikeouts to 66 innings pitched.) (baseball-reference.com)

Now, let’s look at Zack Britton.

Britton has a career postseason average of 3.03, notably higher than Chapman. However, he posted a 0.00 ERA against the Astros in 2019. He has 15 K’s to 17.2 innings pitched in the postseason. He averages 77 K’s over 93 innings pitched during the regular season (since he came up in 2011, to the tune of a 3.07 ERA. This includes the 1.5 years he spent recovering from a serious injury. Unlike Chapman, Britton has actually lead the league in saves at one point in his career.

Does Britton Deserve More Attention?

Britton is the same age as Chapman. The biggest difference between Chapman and Britton is Chapman is on the downside of his career. Which is a weird thing to say about a pitcher who can still throw a fastball at 98 MPH? But the fact remains, Chapman was all about a 101 MPH fastball, which leads to him utilize that slider more this season, which cost the Yankees game 6 of the ALCS. Come to think of it, Britton is the more consistent of the two, with a better postseason record over the last 2 playoff appearances from the Yankees.

Yea… Chapman, a 2016 World Series champion, didn’t deserve the money the Yankees gave him. That’s money we could have given our prospective new ace.

Former New York Giant Corey Webster a True Family Man

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

Former New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster abides by the saying “Once A Giant Always A Giant”.  Webster was originally drafted by the New York Giants in the 2005 NFL draft and would remain a Giant until 2013.  Having been with only one team for his entire professional football career, Webster’s loyalty lies with the New York Giants whole-heartedly.   Webster fondly reflects on memorable plays and times he spent as a part of the New York Giants defense and reminisces with fellow former teammates all of the time.

Webster may be retired but he still trains and works out daily to be the best he could possibly be both physically and mentally.  On Webster’s Instagram page @iamcweb you will find a multitude of quotes that are full of heart and inspiration.  Webster also posts videos providing followers with his “2-cents” and letting everyone know that we all should spread positivity!

Webster is a loving husband and devoted father to his three sons.  Webster and his wife serve as role models for their sons through both their words and their actions.  Webster and his wife lead by example and instill in their son’s good values and what it means to be an honorable person.  The Websters truly cherish every moment they spend together and value their loved ones over everything and it shows.  Webster’s wife and kids are his truest blessings and he serves each and every day with the mission to make them proud!

Football may have been a love of Webster’s, but what he holds dear and cherishes above all else, first and foremost is his family!

 

New York Mets: Drew Gagnon DFA’d

The New York Mets made a handful of roster moves over the last couple of days to bolster their 40-man roster. The most notable move was designating Drew Gagnon for assignment to make room for some of their young prospects. The move created space for four prospects to avoid the rule-5 draft in December.

Rumors said Gagnon was working out a deal to play in Korea, but there was no truth to that. There was never even a discussion with the KBO for a contract. Gagnon started strong in 2019, with a 3.21 ERA in his first 14 innings pitched. The following 9.2 innings, over four months, were brutal, he allowed ten home runs and had a 15.83 ERA.

The Mets have a week to decide if they want to trade him, place him on release waivers or attempt to pass him through outright waivers.

Who Are the Saved Prospects?

The Mets added Shortstop Andres Gimenez, pitcher Jordan Humphreys, catcher Ali Sanchez, and pitcher Thomas Szapucki to the 40-man roster. They are saved from potentially being taken in the rule-5 draft and it allows the Mets to call them up in 2020.

Gimenez is the most promising of the four prospects. At 20-years old, he slashed .250/.309/.387, which is not anything amazing, but his game elevated in the Arizona Fall League. He slashed .371/.413/.586 with two home runs and 15 RBIs. His .999 OPS was the highest of anyone in the AFL. Amed Rosario has emerged as a quality shortstop, which gives the Mets time to develop Gimenez instead of rushing him to the big leagues.

Other Mets who will be eligible for selection are pitcher Corey Taylor, first Base/catcher Patrick Mazeika and outfielder Desmond Lindsay.

The Yankees have a $34 million dollar question, and his name is JA Happ

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

JA Happ was an enigma for the New York Yankees this season. By and large, the 2020 season for Happ was an exercise in mediocrity. 34 home runs, over 161.1 innings pitched, 140 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.91. Sure, he “figured it out” down the stretch, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that he was demoted to bullpen work in the playoffs.

But, the Yankees have a question that needs answering. The starting rotation is in shambles. You have Tanaka, Severino, and Paxton as your obvious front 3 based off last season. Sabathia retired, and no one is sure about Domingo German. Paxton is still under contract for the next 2 seasons, with a guaranteed option kicking in for 2021 if he makes 27 starts and pitches 165 innings. So what do you do with Happ? (mlb.com)

Do you start him?

The New York Yankees need to sign one, if not two, front line pitchers. During a free agency with Cole, Strasburg, Bumgartner, and Ryu on the market, you have to sign one of them. Yes, you can’t have 5 pitchers with all-star seasons, but could you imagine 4 straight starts with Severino, Paxton, Tanaka and one of those 4 I listed in a row? How can you NOT salivate?

The problem in retaining Happ is that a bad season this late in his career will ultimately lead to more bad seasons. The guy is 39 years old, scheduled to pitch till he’s 41, He’s averaged a 14-10 record over the length of his career with an ERA just under 4.00. And if the Domingo German situation resolves in such a way that he comes back to start, German is UNQUESTIONABLY the 5th guy on the totem pole. He had 153 strikeouts, 39 walks, gave up 69 runs on 125 hits over 143 innings. Oh, yea, and an 18-4 record. He’s a number 3 or number 4 starter. Happ is truly expendable, but who will take him for $34 million?

Trade options.

Mike Fires is probably one of the better trade options the Yankees could get. Should the A’s agree to pick up most of the rest of Happ’s contract, Fires is owed a meager $8.1 million for 2020. That’ll be the end of his contract. He’ll be 35 years old, and has been averaging a 14-6 record, 175 innings pitched, a 3.75 ERA, 130 K’s, and 40 walks over the last two seasons. He’s also averaging about 30 home runs a season over that span, but Happ also gave up 35 home runs over last year. So… you’re upgrading with Fires, as well as saving about half of what you’d pay Happ next year.

It’s unquestionable that Happ is the odd man out in the Yankees rotation next season. Trading him makes the most sense. If we don’t nab one of the big-name free agents, we can package Happ for the young prospective pitcher, by packaging Happ with someone like Nestor Cortes Jr., Luis Cesa, or even Jordan Montgomery. Other trade options exist, but Fires is the one I think makes the most sense.

This was just another prime example of the Yankees paying lip service. “Oh, we want to stay under the luxury tax, but we’re going to field a championships quality team.” You don’t field a championships caliber team by giving $50 million dollars to a 38-year-old with a career ERA of 3.99, a 121-90 record, and averaging 3.2 K’s per 9 innings.

A competitive loss for the New York Knicks was a positive

The New York Knicks began their tough end of November schedule in Philadelphia.  To be honest, the Knicks were not suppose to be as competitive as they were last evening.  The Knicks fell to the Sixers 109-104 but they battled.

The Knicks kept it together aa team for the entire first half.  They were able to hold their own against one of the best overall teams in the Eastern Conference.  The Knicks did not back down from their opponent and took it to them, for the most part.

Usually, as all fans know, the Knicks have a big let down in the third quarter.  But not this night.  The Knicks came out on the second half like a team on fire.  There was energy on both sides of the ball and they were hitting all their shots.

A few weeks ago, it was the Bobby Portis game in the Garden.  Last night, it was the Taj Gibson and Frank Ntilikina game.  Ntilikina played by far the best game he’s ever played as a New York Knick.  He had 17 points on 6-8 shooting and had stellar defense throughout the game.  It was by far the best shooting performance of his young career and the confidence was oozing outta him.

Taj Gibson helped provide more great defense for the Knicks and was also everywhere on the court.  He also made Joel Embiid dance has he added 11 points on 5-6 shooting.  Gibson and Ntilikina’s defense also sparked the Knicks offense as they couldn’t miss in the 3rd, jumping out to a quick 17-point lead.  Despite the losses, Gibson is making the starting lineup more consistent.

However, as Knicks fans are always aware, a let down is constantly lingering.  Once coach David Fizdale subbed out Ntilikina late in the third, the Sixers went on their run.  The defense simply couldn’t keep up in transition and the Sixers were hitting every shot as compared to the Knicks, who weren’t.

The game was lost down the stretch, once again, by Julius Randle and Marcus Morris.  Those two are both good and bad for the Knicks.  They always want the ball in crunch time and take contested shots at the wrong time.  There were multiple occasions where Morris and Randle took bad shots when the ball needs to be moved for a better shot.

However, despite the loss, the New York Knicks needs to leave Philadelphia with their heads held high and remain positive.  That game was a positive step in the progression of this team.  The Knicks are still far from a playoff team but being competitive against a good, young Sixers team is good for the, also, young team.  If any loss was a good loss, this was it.  Knicks face the San Antonio Spurs this Saturday at 7:30 at the Garden.

New York Yankees: Jordan Montgomery can make a big impact next season

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

After having Tommy John surgery during the 2018 season, Jordan Montgomery returned during the 2019 season for the New York Yankees where he only appeared in two games. He only pitched a total of two innings in each outing where he allowed three earned runs while fanning five.

The last time he’s had a full season was during 2017, where he started 29 games and finished with a 9-7 record. Despite the mediocre record, he was credited to a solid 3.88 ERA.

Montgomery has dealt with a lot of adversity during his three years in the Major Leagues however shows high promise. He pitches backward, highlighting a curveball at 82mph and a sinker at 92mph. Montgomery also works in a four-seam fastball sitting around 92mph and a changeup at 83mph.

The 2019 Yankee rotation consisted of JA Happ, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, and Domingo German. Sabathia retired, and it’s unclear on what will happen with German, so there may be an opening for Montgomery. It’s also possible that the Yankees could use him as a utility guy, pitching both as a starter and out of the bullpen.

However, if the New York Yankees add another arm from the free-agent market, Montgomery could be buried behind someone especially if it’s a big name like Gerrit Cole.

But remember, it wasn’t expected that Montgomery was going to be in the rotation for the 2017 season. He won that spot from performing well. “Jordan Montgomery won a rotation spot, he wasn’t even on a competition list that anybody was talking about going into the spring,” said general manager Brian Cashman. “He wasn’t part of the depth chart, and he leapfrogged everybody and the coaches were pounding the table for him.”