New York Giants: Pat Shurmur Mismanaging Another Major Injury

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants have definitely had injury trouble this season and not all of those injuries have been handled in the best way.

It’s looking more and more like Saquon Barkley should have been placed on the bench for the rest of the season, with nothing left to play for and struggling performances since picking up a high ankle sprain, but that’s not the choice that head coach Pat Shurmur made. And now with the Giants at another crossroads when it comes to whether or not they’ll keep a player around or shut him down for the rest of the season, it looks like the team is leaning to the former option.

The player in question this time is safety Jabrill Peppers and his injury is more than just the basic hip injury that some imagined it was initially – in fact, it’s not really a hip injury at all but rather a transverse process fracture, an injury related to the spine area. It might seem like the logical move would be to sit a player that’s dealing with such an injury, but Peppers hasn’t been ruled out just yet by Pat Shurmur.

“My understanding, his too, in terms of the evaluation of it, as I knew yesterday he had a sore back. I guess he can return, it’s kind of relative to pain tolerance. We don’t practice until Wednesday, so we’ll just have to see what the week brings,” Shurmur told reporters.

Describing a transverse process fracture as just a sore back isn’t a good look for the head coach, and while Shurmur likely isn’t well versed in these types of unusual injuries, there’s surely other staff on the Giants’ staff who should inform the head coach of the specifics of situations like this.

Shurmur has shown multiple times this season that his preference is for getting players back out quickly and giving in to their demands to get back on the field rather than considering long term health – whether or not that will come back to bite the Giants during the final stretch of meaningless games remains to be seen.

But if this results in a worse injury being picked up by Peppers, or alternatively by Barkley or Sterling Shepard, Shurmur may just find it held against him when trying to convince ownership to keep him around for at least one more season.

New York Yankees Only Need To Sign One Starting Pitcher

Will the New York Yankees pursue Gerrit Cole this offseason?

Once again, there are high expectations for the New York Yankees in free agency. Fans want the team to sign both Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole. However, the Yankees only really need to sign one of them. Zack Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner could be potential options of the team can’t sign Strasburg or Cole.

Why Only One?

There are two main factors why the Yankees should only sign one starting pitcher, and they are roster space and money.

The Yankees have four definitive starters in James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, and JA Happ. Jordan Montgomery could come into play, but he will likely become the long reliever. I guess you could throw Domingo German into the mix, but it’s unclear if and when he will play again due to his suspension for domestic abuse.

Since a team only needs five starters, you keep the four listed above and sign Cole or Strasburg. It doesn’t matter to me on which they sign, since both are righties in the prime of their career. Montgomery could be the “sixth starter” when there are injuries, and be the long reliever otherwise. The team could look into trading Domingo German if and when he is reinstated.

The other factor is the cost.

If the Yankees signed Cole and Strasburg, they would have little to no money left and would risk exceeding into the luxury tax to fulfill other needs.

The team could pursue Anthony Rendon and Mike Moustakas in free agency, along with a few middle relievers. The team wants to fill all needs and have some money left over for in-season signings and for emergencies.

It would be better off if the yankees only signed one starting pitcher to save money and to continue to use current resources.

Is Tyler Wade the outfield answer for the Yankees in 2020?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

With the expectation being Clint Frazier could be traded during the 2020 offseason, the Yankees will have to find value elsewhere in the outfield to supplement injuries. Center fielder Aaron Hicks is already scheduled to miss time after having Tommy John surgery, which will put the unit at a disadvantage entering the season.

The Yankees, however, have several options to choose from, including re-signing Brett Gardner to play his usual utility role in the outfield. Alternatively, they have Mike Tauchman, who emerged as a reliable player, hitting .277 with 13 homers over 280 at-bats.

The third option is Tyler Wade, who didn’t spend a ton of time at the Major League level last season, but did show defensive versatility, base running prowess, and was consistently average at the plate. Combine those three successes, and you have a player ready to take a small step in the coming season.

Wade won’t be a starting player for the Yankees, but he can undoubtedly be a consistent reserve option, similar to the role Cameron Maybin and Tauchman played in 2019.

2019 Statistics: 43 games, 108 plate appearances, .245/.330/.362, 2 home runs, 16 runs, 7/7 stolen bases, 88 wRC+, 0.3 WAR

One of the more attractive attributes Wade possesses is his grit. After being left behind in Scranton for Tauchman, Wade was “very pissed” about the decision. He joined the Yankees five games into the season, but he was sent back to Scranton after 18 games at the top-level. He appeared once at five different positions during that span — shortstop, third base, left field, right field, and second base.

The value Wade holds is enormous, considering his ability to play in the outfield and infield. He can be the ultimate utility option behind DJ LeMahieu, who’s best suited at second and first base.

One optimistic fact to consider was that Wade was included in the ALDS roster, despite not playing a single second. Manager Aaron Boone values him in case of injuries. If he can continue to build upon his past production, he could find himself as a prioritized utility player when the injury bug inevitably hits.

How Good has the New York Jets Defense Been?

New York Jets, Gregg Williams

Don’t let the Jets scoring defense fool you. This team’s defense is among the best in the NFL.

The New York Jets are 20th in the NFL in points allowed per game with 23.5. If you just looked at that stat you would think the Jets had a below average defense. They aren’t stopping the other team from scoring so they must not be that good, that’s what many fans think of the Jets defense.

That’s simply not the case. The Jets have one of the elite defenses in the league. After holding a potent Raiders offense to just three points on Sunday they should the league how good they can be.

They now rank fifth in the NFL in total defense DVOA, 17th in passing defense DVOA, and second in run defense DVOA. Those are incredible numbers, especially that passing defense. The Jets starting CBs right now are rookie sixth-round pic Bless Austin and undrafted 3rd-year Arthur Maulet. The two of them, along with slot CB Brian Poole, held the Raiders to under 150 yards of passing offense. The Raiders came into the game last week with the seventh-best passing offense DVOA.

This was not a bottom of the barrel passing attack, this was one of the best in the NFL and the Jets shut it down. Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams deserves a world of credit for the work he’s put in this season. He has taken a battered and bruised defense to the top of the league.

This Jets defense traded Leonard Williams, hasn’t had either of their starting LBers for all but one game this season, is down to practice squad players at CB, and doesn’t have an edge rusher with more than five sacks this year. Gregg Williams doesn’t care about any of that. He has whipped this defense into shape no matter what the obstacle is.

So why are the Jets allowing so many points? They have the worst average starting field position in the NFL by a wide margin. Teams don’t need to move the ball that well at all to score points against them. The sad fact is that the Jets offense has been so bad that it puts their defense in a position to fail.

Yet, each and every week they go out and play at a high level. It truly is a testament to the work that Gregg Williams has done this season. It’s absolutely unbelievable that the Jets have a top-5 defense in the NFL, yet here we are.

It’s entirely possible that Gregg Williams will win the NFL’s coordinator of the year award. If he does it’s likely that he will find a head coaching job next season. The award has only existed since 2014, but four of the five winners of the ward went on to get head coach jobs in the next season. The only one who didn’t was Wade Phillips who had multiple failed head coaching runs already.

Hopefully, Gregg Williams is here next year to help lead the New York Jets defense into the future.  He’s certainly earned the right to do so.

New York Giants: Giant Hearts, Thanksgiving Edition

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday members of the New York Giants took time out of their busy schedules to help those less fortunate and spread joy during the season.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here are some of the heartwarming stories from this week:

The New York Giants hosted members of United Rentals military veterans for a day of watching practice and interacting with the players.

Members of the New York Giants attended the Muscular Dystrophy Association of the United States of America #MuscleTeam Gala to find life-changing treatments for MDA, bring awareness to this disease and other associated neuro-muscular diseases and ultimately find a cure to help those afflicted.

Former New York Giant Jonathan Casillas worked with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for local families.  Furniture for the newly constructed homes was generously provided by Bob’s Discount Furniture.

Members of the New York Giants  along with Hackensack Meridian Health of New Jersey, handed out turkeys that were kindly donated by Stop and Shop, at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, a member of Feeding America, whose goal is to help eradicate hunger by providing not only food, but hope to those who need it most.  New York Giants Markus Golden, Garrett Dickerson, Grant Haley, B.J. Hill, and Sean Chandler were at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to help make the days of all involved!

New York Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree handed out 1,000 turkeys at his alma mater Newnan High School to those in need in the local community.

Former New York Giant Jameel McClain was able to feed over 2,000 families at his annual Thanksgiving dinner.  For 10 years, McClain along with his 53 Families Foundation has helped countless families have a bountiful Thanksgiving and brighten their holidays!

New York Giants offensive lineman Chad Slade, Will Hernandez, Eric Smith, Mike Remmers, Spencer Pulley, Evan Brown, Nate Solder, Nick Gates and Kevin Zeitler went to the Food Bank in Harlem, New York to help make and serve meals for Thanksgiving!

New York Giants Antonio Hamilton and Sean Chandler provided 135 kids at the YMCA’s residential shelter in Newark, New Jersey with brand new coats to stay warm for the upcoming Winter.

With the Thanksgiving season upon us, it is nice to see the wonderful things the members of the New York Giants did to help make the season a little better!  This season is a time to give thanks and show gratitude and these great guys really made a difference no matter how big or small in the lives of those less fortunate and gave them something to appreciate!

These are just some of the good things that happened this week in the Giants community, stay tuned for next week’s edition!  Wishing you all a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving!

New York Mets to Hire Jeremy Hefner as Pitching Coach

New York Mets hire Jeremy Hefner as pitching coach.

The New York Mets have once again turned to a former player to fill out their coaching staff. This time it’s former pitcher Jeremy Hefner.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Mets are set to hire Twins assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner as their new pitching coach.

Jeremy Hefner and the Mets have a long history together. The Mets drafted Hefner twice, but he did not sign with the team either team. Key Mets executive Omar Minaya was the GM during 2005, the second time the Mets drafted Hefner.

In 2009 Hefner was drafted by the Padres. He remained in their minor league system through 2011. In the offseason prior to the 2012 season, the Mets claimed Hefner off waivers. He would make his MLB debut for the team later that year.

Hefner spent his entire major league career with the Mets. He played with the team in 2012 and 2013. He made 36 starts and pitched in 50 games. Hefner wasn’t an effective pitcher, but he did have his stretches. Most notably a stretch from June through the all-star break in 2013 where Hefner had an ERA under 2.

However, as Hefner looked to finally be finding his footing in the MLB he tore his UCL. He had Tommy John surgery, but never returned to the majors. He retired after spending the entire 2016 season in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.

Since retiring Hefner has thrown himself into analytics. He has become one of the leaders of analytic pitching in all of baseball. That led to Hefner being hired as an advance scout with the Minnesota Twins in 2018.

After an impressive year in that role, the Mets tried to poach Hefner for the 2019 season. They wanted to bring him on as the bullpen coach to replace longtime coach Ricky Bones. AS has happened many times before Hefner declined the Mets offer and stayed with the Twins. He was given a promotion to assistant pitching coach for 2019.

Hefner again impressed in his role. The Twins who were one of the worst pitching staffs in the AL in 2018 were a top-five staff in the AL in 2019. He became a hot candidate for the pitching coach jobs around the league, with one GM telling Andy Martino of SNY that he wanted to hire Hefner, but that he failed to bring him on board. That GM speculated it was because Hefner would be returning to the New York Mets to become their pitching coach.

That GM’s suspicions have been confirmed. The Mets were said to be looking for a young, analytically driven, rising star pitching coach. They certainly followed through with that having interviewed three individuals who fit the mold. None fit it better then Hefner does though. It also helps that Hefner has connections in the Mets’ front office in the Wilpons and Omar Minaya.

Jeremy Hefner joins Carlos Beltran as a former Met who has returned to the team to coach this year. This seems to be a theme with the team. They seem to prefer prior familiarity with their candidates in this hiring cycle.

Hopefully, all these returning faces live up to their hype. If they do it could be a special year in Queens.

Have the New York Jets Finally Figured it Out?

Remember when the New York Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins? The season was over. The Dolphins, at that point, were winless, and the only win the Jets recorded was against the THEN 3-2 Dallas Cowboys. 1-7 at week 9 in the season, all was lost, and everyone was calling for coach Adam Gase’s head.

Then they beat the New York Giants, in a game that was dubbed the “poop” bowl. Then, they beat the Washington Redskins, who scored their first touchdown as a team in… well, it was over a season. Both games weren’t really considered “quality wins” when you look at the teams. The Giants are in the same boat the Jets are in, getting a newbie quarterback acclimated to playing pro football. And the Redskins are just a hot mess. Duane Haskins spent HOW LONG trying to learn the offensive system before the Redskins front office said: “START HIM!”

Now, in their first real challenge from a good team since Dallas, the Jets beat a team with a winning record. Going into yesterday’s game, the Raiders were 6-4. That’s the second team the Jets beat with a winning record this season. With a nice, and pretty, 3 game win streak, have the Jets truly figured it out? I think the answer is a resounding yes.

How Do You Measure Success?

Mathematically, the Jets have a slim chance of making a Wild Card berth for the playoffs this year. You read that right, they have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs as a Wild Card team. How realistic is it though?

The Bills are sitting pretty as the top Wild Card team at 7-3. The Raiders are 6-5, tied with the Colts. The Colts are not only tied with the Raiders for the second Wild Card team, but they’re also only 1 game behind division leader, the Houston Texans. The Jets, still have to face the Bills and the Ravens down the stretch, not to mention they’re playing Miami again, a team they’ve already lost too. Way too much have to go the Jets way in order to nab that second Wild Card spot, like a beyond epic collapse from the Bills, on top of beating the Bills on the seasons last day.

So you shouldn’t measure the success of this season by the Jets making it to the playoffs. 

Considering the Jets going through just HOW MANY?!?! quarterbacks in the first 4 games of the season, a .500 season, or even a 7-9 season should be viewed as a success for the team. You can’t predict or prepare for your starting quarterback going down with mono. And while Darnold can still improve as a quarterback, Darnold has looked impressive during the Jets current 3 game win streak. 

So I think, yes, I think if the Jets finish within a game of .500, you can count this season as a success. If we’re talking 2 games below .500, it’s borderline. Anything below .500, considering how the Jets streak of a new coach having a winning record is going to be broken with Gase this season, and you can consider the season a failure for the still-developing Sam Darnold and the Jets.

New York Knicks Denounced Richard Jefferson’s Joke Instead of Ignoring It

Members within the New York Knicks organization seemed to misunderstand a simple “troll”. On Sunday, November 24th, during a terrible loss at MSG by the Knicks at the hand of the short-handed Brooklyn Nets, former NBA player Richard Jefferson got bored and decides to troll the Knicks live during a broadcast. Richard Jefferson stated the following during the broadcast:

“I refused to play for the Knicks. Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin — they don’t really care. Me — I was the one person that said, ‘Knicks? No. I’ll retire.’ That’s why I retired. They were the one team that offered me a job, and I decided to retire. It’s true. I decided to retire instead of playing for the Knicks. … I just knew it was time. When the Knicks were looking for me to play for them, I knew my time in this league was over.”

Richard Jefferson was having a good time poking at the New York Knicks organization.

No big deal right? As for the Knicks, they’ll just ignore the troll, especially since what was said by Jefferson wasn’t true right? Nope, of course, members within the New York Knicks organization, or should I say, James Dolan, decided to denounce the joke made by Jefferson during the broadcast.

The Official Knicks Public Relations twitter page decides to make an effort to clarify a joke that has no truth to it instead of just ignoring it altogether. Trying to clarify the joke actually did more harm than good. Others are now laughing at an organization that currently seems equivalently focused on correcting jokes and getting victories. LeBron James even got a laugh out of the situation on Twitter.

James Dolan did not have to correct a troll. It’s a simple joke. Were the Knicks correct when clarifying Jefferson’s joke? Technically yes, however, the franchise looked extremely petty and this doesn’t bode well in terms of gaining respect around the league under James Dolan’s watch.

Is it almost time to root for a New York Knicks tank?

New York Knicks

New York Knicks fans might be getting to their breaking point, if they haven’t already.  The Knicks are 4-13 and currently dead last in the Eastern Conference.

Any regular basketball team wouldn’t even begin to think about next year’s draft or tanking 17 games into the season, but the Knicks are.  After all the talk players did this off-season, their play hasn’t backed it up.  All the optimism the players and fans had for this season has quickly vanished.

Is it time to root for a tank?

Last season, the Knicks did their best to tank to Zion Williamson without saying they were actually tanking.  Look how that turned out.  However, RJ Barrett has been a great consolation prize and shows that he could be someone special.

Knicks players will say that they’re going to continue to battle and there will be no talk about a tank.  Coach David Fizdale addressed the tanking last season and should be ready for those questions again as the season is getting to that point already.

Wayne Ellington and Taj Gibson also spoke on trying to turn the season around.  Players will say all the necessary stuff to please the media but let’s be realistic.  This team seems like they get down on themselves too much.  The idea of ‘tanking’ will be in the back of some players mind.  It will definitely be in the minds of Knicks fans.

Yes, it’s way-too-early to talk about tanking.  But with the New York Knicks, it’s constantly brought up each season.  This feels like it was brought up extremely early as compared to last season.  The Knicks aren’t a team that can turn around despite what the players say.  They’re a team that will give fans a few exciting victories in front of the Garden faithful to appease them and that’s about it.  The way it’s looking currently, the Knicks might lose 60+ games again.

Dave Gettleman has one more offseason to turn Giants around

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

It’s only sensible to give a general manager three offseasons to point his team in the right direction after taking over. That rule of thumb should not be any different for Dave Gettleman of the New York Giants.

Gettleman has made a slew of changes since taking the job in December of 2017 including hiring a new coaching staff and installing a new franchise quarterback. He still has a long way to go as the Giants have gotten worse since he’s taken over, not better.

That could be due to a number of reasons. The Giants have an extremely young football team. Gettleman’s idea of flipping his roster begins with the NFL Draft and he’s got 27 players on the active roster with less than three years of NFL experience, including 11 rookies.

So, what is the course of action Gettleman must take as he heads into his crucial third offseason? Very simple. He’s got to make sure that Pat Shurmur is man who can lead his football team out of the wilderness. Thus far, Shurmur has not shown the ability to a) win football games, b) make the proper in-game adjustments and c) develop players. Those are three main characteristics of a head coach and he has been poor at all three.

If Shurmur stays, then Gettleman must upgrade the personnel. He’s gotta do that no matter what. He still needs upgrades all over the roster, even though he’s spun his wheels trying to fill holes and build the past two years.

The Giants may have found their franchise QB in Daniel Jones, but the cinderblock of moves he dropped on his secondary has been a bust so far. His offensive line is still below average. His star running back has come crashing back to Earth. The pass rush is better but still not good enough.  The linebacker core needs a bopper (or two) in the middle and so on and so on…

It looks like the Giants will have a Top 5 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Unless they are staring at a game-changing talent such as Ohio State’s Chase Young, they need to trade that pick for trove of picks. They are still eons away from being competitive, so one guy isn’t going to cut it.

Since Gettleman foolishly dealt his third round pick to the Jets for defensive lineman Leonard Williams, he’ll need to recoup that pick via a trade. I won’t get into how nonsensical the Williams trade was, but it has to be Gettleman’s last folly. He has to have all hits going forward for the Giants to stand a chance at turning this around.

The Giants only have two picks in the first 100 in the upcoming draft. They will have three if the league compensates them with a third rounder for losing Landon Collins in free agency. They need more. Trading down out of the Top 5 is a key. Gettleman should have done this two years ago instead of taking Saquon Barkley. Now, he’s paying the price as Barkley is hobbled and the Giants are sinking like a stone. He may never duplicate his rookie season.

This is Gettleman’ last stand. He better make it count.