New York Giants: Daniel Jones Not Yet Shut Down For Season

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

It was probably easy to see coming, due to the way the New York Giants have handled other injuries this year, but Daniel Jones hasn’t yet been shut down by the team despite picking up a ankle injury in the late part of the season that will put him out with only four games to go.

Pat Shurmur has shown a stubborn insistence all year on keeping all of the team’s players on the field even when it might be better for the long term health of those players to not have them come back as soon as possible in largely meaningless games, and with the Giants sitting at two wins with four games to go, this might be the best example of one of those times.

“Oh sure, absolutely. I don’t know that. We’ll have to see. But I’m optimistic that he could,” Shurmur said when asked about whether or not Jones could return from the injury this season.

One would think that the Giants would simply allow Daniel Jones to ride the bench for the last games of the season while Eli Manning potentially closes out his career with one last run of starting games. But that would go against the coaching style of Shurmur, who also sent Saquon Barkley back out this season, despite the running back clearly looking still hurt in the first couple of games after his return from injury.

Shurmur even refused to rule out Jabrill Peppers, shortly after he picked up his recent spinal injury. That’s not counting Sterling Shepard taking the field again not long after his first concussion of the year and quickly picking up another concussion in the weeks following, which put him on the bench for longer.

It’s a continuing trend for the Giants to keep pushing their players even when there’s nothing at stake at this point and a legitimate risk is presented by continuing to keep these players on the field. It looks like a practice that might continue until it backfires with a player like Jones or Barkley actually getting hurt again because of it, or otherwise suffering in the long term.

Until something like that happens, though, fans can expect to maybe see a Daniel Jones comeback this year – even if it’s one that would be rushed for the end of the season rather than allowing Eli Manning to close out the year as the starter one more time.

New York Mets’ Free Agent Profile Kevin Gausman

New York Mets, Kevin Gausman

The New York Mets are in need of both bullpen and rotation help. Luck for them free agent pitcher Kevin Gausman can fill either spot.

With Zack Wheeler leaving for the Phillies and the bullpen being the mess it is the New York Mets need a lot of pitching help. They need a fifth starter who doesn’t remind fans of Jason Vargas and they need any bullpen help they can get. Kevin Gausman can fill either role for the Mets.

Gausman started his career with the Baltimore Orioles. He made his major league debut in 2013 as a long man. He made 20 appearances and fives starts. Gausman didn’t adapt to the role well. He struggled mightily in his rookie year.

In 2014 he was moved into the rotation full time. Gausman excelled in 2014 with a 3.57 ERA and 3.42 FIP. Gausman looked like he was ready to take the MLB by storm as one of the games best young pitchers. That never happened though.

Gausman has been up and down his whole career. Over his first five seasons, Gausman had a 4.18 ERA and 4.08 FIP. He was a decent back-end starter but nothing more than that. He continued that trend in 2018 with the Orioles, but at the deadline, the Braves made a move to get Gausman.

Gausman pitched some of the best baseball he has in his career. He made 10 starts with the Braves and pitched to a 2.87 ERA and 3.78 FIP. It looked like leaving Baltimore got him going. Then 2019 ad the juiced ball came.

Gausman was a victim of one of the worst ERA and FIP differences in all of baseball in 2019. Gausman started the year as a starter with the Braves. He made 16 starts and had a horrendous 6.19 ERA, but his FIP was 4.20. That seems to indicate Gausman was still the same back-end of the rotation starter he’s been most of his career.

That wasn’t enough for the Braves though. They designated Gausman for assignment in August. The Reds claimed Gausman and immediately stuck the mercurial starter in the bullpen. Gausman’s found a groove in the Reds’ bullpen.

Gausman had a 3.10 ERA as a reliever. He struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings ad only walked 2.7 batters per nine. Both of those numbers were career bests for Gausman. He found new life as a reliever and pitched as well as he’s ever pitched. The only issue is that this is an incredibly small sample size.

The Reds non-tendered Gausman after the season deciding that he wasn’t worth the over $10 he was going to get in arbitration.

Whether the Mets want to try Gausman as a starter or stick him the bullpen long term Gausman seems an ideal fit. He’ll likely come on a cheap one-year deal and help this team out in multiple ways. There may not be a better fit for the Mets to gamble on this year than Kevin Gausman.

Former New York Jets’ WR Terrelle Pryor Hospitalized After Stabbing

Ex-New York Jets‘ WR Terrelle Pryor was in critical condition after an argument with his girlfriend turned violent.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, former New York Jets’ wide receiver Terrelle Pryor has been hospitalized after being stabbed.

Pryor played for the Jets during the 2018 season. He played in six games and put up 14 receptions for 235 yards and 2 TDs. His stay with the Jets was short but impactful.

Pryor wasn’t able to land on a team for 2019 and has returned home to Pittsburgh. He lives in Heinz Lofts the Strip District of Pittsburgh. The Strip District has a crime rate that’s 45% lower than the national average. It’s a very good neighborhood where the wealthy in Pittsburgh tend to live.

Pryor lived with his girlfriend Shalaya Briston. When the incident occurred both Briston and Pryor were placed under arrest. Pryor had stab wounds in his chest and shoulders. The police were called by a neighbor who was concerned that an argument would escalate, it did.

The Neighbor claims the ex-Jet would often hit Briston and was worried about the girl’s safety. The neighbor claimed Briston would often have bruises all over her body. Briston did not have any bruises when she as looked at once at the hospital.

Pryor, on the other hand, was in critical condition. Pryor is now stable and is expected to make a full recovery.

The argument began when Briston went out to a club that night with three friends, while Pryor stayed at home. When she returned home Pryor was angry. He grabbed Briston and yelled at her in front of her two friends. She reacted and stabbed Pryor.

The district attorney is charging Briston with aggravated assault and attempted homicide. Briston had her bail trial today. The judge ruled that no bail would be set for Briston.

 

Yankees: Why Tommy Kahnle should be Dellin Betances’ replacement

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

The New York Yankees’ “Bullpen of Doom” is seen by most as one of the most dominant bullpens in the game today. With all the electrifying arms that the Yankees utilize, like Ottavino — who throws a slider that swoops across the plate like a David Beckham free-kick outside the eighteen — Zack Britton, who throws a 95 MPH sinker and only a few years ago was one of the most dominant bullpen arms in all of baseball, and of course both flamethrowers — Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances.

Mix that in with Chad Green, who has one of the liveliest fastballs in all of the league, and has seen a steady improvement in his average fastball velocity, across the last four seasons. Yet, one of the names that seems to get continuously lost is Tommy Kahnle. Yankee fans are not the only eyes that have looked beyond his skill-set; the entire league has overlooked his talents.

As the 2019-2020 Free Agency market has begun to churn its gears and with Winter Meetings just around the corner, the Relief Pitcher market is starting to grow thinner and thinner by the day. With players like Will Smith, Drew Pomeranz, and even Carl Edwards Jr. getting signed over the last couple of weeks. Dellin Betances still sits on the market, which leads me to believe that perhaps the Yankees aren’t as positive about his injury-riddled past two seasons and that he may not be coming back to New York. With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one bites on Betances. Cashman and co would like to bring him back on a one or two year deal for a discount price. A question that is on the minds of all Yankees fans, and covered in a previous article by John Zarnowski, is: Who could fill the role that Betances held? 

There have been rumors and chatter of the Yankees possibly pursuing Josh Hader, however seeing as to how the Brewers have torn apart their team over the last month, I imagine they would want a king’s ransom and then some. I think the best option lies within the organization, and it’s Tommy Kahnle. 

Kahnle’s time with the New York Yankees up to this season

Acquired as an add-on in the deal that brought Houdini, David Robertson, back to New York in the summer of 2017 in exchange for — at the time — prized prospect, Blake Rutherford, Kahnle never really saw himself in conversations as one of the better arms out of the pen in the AL, let alone the entire league, so there were question marks around his name. However, there was some argument that in the 2017 season, Kahnle was as good as, if not better than Robertson. 

Tommy ended the 2017 season between the White Sox & Yankees with a K/BB ratio of 96/17 across 62.2 IP. That’s nearly a 6/1 ratio, coming off a season where his K/BB ratio in 2016 was 25/20 across a much smaller sample size in 26.1 IP. Robertson posted a 98/23 K/BB ratio that year, good for roughly a 4/1 ratio. Their 2017 seasons as a whole, across the board, were some of the most comparably dominant seasons that a reliever saw that year. While there were definite worries and question marks with Kahnle, nobody saw his horrendous 2018 season coming. 

In 2018, the Yankees had one more year of Robertson before he hit FA, so he was a lock in the pen, and the general belief around the Yankees clubhouse was that Tommy Kahnle, a cheap and team controlled MLB ready reliever, was going to be featured a lot that season. However, injuries and overall lack of confidence, oomph, and control, all played into what ended up being a horrid season for Kahnle. He saw his previous career year completely disregarded after only pitching 23.1 IP across the entire year, and having to spend a fair majority of the season in the minors as well. Everything that could’ve gone wrong for him did go wrong. Being demoted in May, and only accumulating 9.1 IP across the entire first half of the season led many to believe that Kahnle was just one-and-done, and indeed wasn’t this elite arm that everyone had begun to believe.

For Kahnle, his fastball was his best pitch, similar to Green’s, but Kahnle’s could hurl 97-98 MPH consistently in 2017. It was electrifying, and few hitters could hit it, which is why Kahnle threw it 67% of the time, mixing in his changeup only 22% of the time. In 2018 however, when his velocity was down to 94-95 MPH, his fastball wasn’t nearly as valuable or used as much, as seen by the average velocity game log from 2017-2019 (via Fangraphs):

There were times in 2018 where Tommy Kahnle would toss pitches at 93 MPH, dipping down from his 2017 high of 101. Due to that dip, he threw his changeup a considerably more substantial amount, but having relied so heavily on his fastball showed. His Changeup usage % was 41% in 2018, yet it didn’t have the movement or wasn’t nearly as valuable of a pitch due to his loss in velocity and confidence in his fastball. In 2019 however, Tommy regained some of that velocity and saw himself consistently pitching mid-to-high 90’s. Yet, he also threw his changeup far more often. His FB Usage % was down to 44%, and his changeup usage percentage was up to 52%. With that, Tommy saw the strikeouts return, and the walks limited far more than his previous year. He regained confidence and was a solid man out of the pen for the entirety of that year. 

Kahnle’s new approach was seemingly utilized by another player, needing a change as well

It’s as if Kahnle did what everyone’s applauding Drew Pomeranz for figuring out the last month of the year, but did it for that whole season. While Pomeranz’s change is different in the fact that he transitioned from starting role to relief, and immediately saw results, the overall concept is almost the same in its entirety. For Pomeranz, he upped his FB% from 48% when in the rotation, to an astonishing 72.6% when used out of Milwaukee’s pen. However, what made that pitch so lethal is that Pomeranz, who like Kahnle refound his velocity and restructured his approach, is that he also has — and only uses — one secondary pitch, his knuckle curve. Pomeranz’s time as a reliever, across 28.1 IP, was otherworldly for someone thought to have been washed up, as he racked up 50 strikeouts, and only yielded eight walks. That fantastic stretch earned him a four year deal worth $34,000,000 from the Padres.

Pomeranz’s and Kahnle’s styles may seem vastly different, in that Pomeranz uses his fastball far more. Yet, the secondary pitch that complements the primary pitch is almost just as important. Pomeranz realized he needed to throw only two pitches, as did Kahnle. Kahnle’s changeup is one of the most dominant in the league, and being able to throw it wisely and timely mix it in with his fastball, showed signs of becoming a lethal one-two punch. 

He has the tools necessary to be that set-up man to Aroldis

Kahnle was far from perfect in 2019, and he has things that still need to be put together, as suggested by his Road splits (4.94 ERA / 4.08 FIP). With that being said, there was still a massive improvement and signs shown that he has what it takes to be elite. Tommy Kahnle also wasn’t trusted enough last year, despite the fact that Kahnle was increasingly better when called upon in a more direct and defined role, and given the opportunities:

Low Leverage Situations Medium Leverage Situations High Leverage Situations
IP 25.2  26.1 9.1
K/BB  2.92  6.50 7.00
WHIP 1.36 0.87 0.75
xFIP 3.05 2.48 2.25

While it may not be a large sample size, the point is that as Tommy was given more significant tasks and more challenging appearances, he performed better. As with many players, if the team places their trust in them, then that player will likely return the favor by performing to expectations, if not exceeding them. That was the case with Kahnle, as the more comfortable he got throughout the year, he was used in more intense situations. While he did yield nearly double the HR/9 in High Leverage Situations (1.98 to 1.05 in LLS), that can be attributed to more than not bad luck, and the small sample size. The tools are there, and Tommy looks set to continue on the positive track he set last year, and bring the heat come 2020, and possibly, if needed, take the place of longtime Yankee, Dellin Betances.

The list of BP arms if Betances doesn’t return could look like this (* = potential RP/SP split role):

  • Jordan Montgomery*
  • Deivi Garcia*
  • Michael King*
  • Jonathan Loiasaga*
  • Ben Heller
  • Chad Green
  • Zack Britton
  • Adam Ottavino
  • Tommy Kahnle
  • Aroldis Chapman

With the Yankees’ pitchers and catchers set to report to camp on February 11th, all eyes should be on Tommy Kahnle, and what further improvements he may have made on the heels of a resurrection of a season last year. It’ll be interesting to see what approach the Yankees take regarding their bullpen. Will they decide to bring back Betances on a team-friendly deal if he’s still around, look for other options like Blake Treinen on the market, or perhaps use what they have — and the Yankees have a good one in Tommy Kahnle. 

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole is changing Hal Steinbrenner’s mind in free agency

New York Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner

When the 2019 regular season came to a close, New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner was quick to blame a lack of run-production from his hitters for his team’s early exit from the playoffs. For the tenth consecutive season, the Bombers didn’t reach the World Series, but they have a great chance to pluck premium talent off the free-agent market to increase their probability of making it in 2020.

Steinbrenner stated before his team dove into the deep end of the free-agent pool:

“If the 2020 season was to start tomorrow, I would feel considerably more confident than I did a year ago at this time,’’ Steinbrenner said. “We will have both Severino and Montgomery back. We now know that [Domingo] German can pitch effectively at this level. And we know [James] Paxton can be the guy that we were hoping for when we made that trade. We have [Masahiro] Tanaka, [J.A.] Happ, [Jonathan] Loaisiga, and perhaps [Deivi] Garcia at some point. A very good rotation.’’

Initially, this indicated that his team would stay pat with their starting rotation, as he mentioned the return of both Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery in a full-capacity.

After a few weeks of mulling over the idea of pursuing Gerrit Cole, his entire mentality changed.

“We’re going to be active in the free agent market. I like our rotation right now. As of now, I like our 2020 rotation better than I liked our 2019 rotation…

(Mentioned Paxton, Tanaka , Sevy, Monty, Happ, and Loasigia)

“However, starting pitching is my focus.”

The starters last season were all inconsistent, and the loss of Domingo German significantly hurt the team down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Is New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner wrong?

The reality is, Steinbrenner isn’t wrong, his starting rotation has many quality arms that he can rely on, but adding a talent like Cole instantly makes them one of the best in baseball and increases the Yankees chance of winning a World Series 10-fold.

His answer above is almost counter-intuitive. He mentions that he’s happy with the rotation but that his focus is also on the rotation. This translates to – the starters are good, but not great, and if we want to win a World Series, they need to be lights out.

A four-man rotation of Cole, Severino, Paxton, and Tanaka in the postseason would be virtually unstoppable. It would allow them to mitigate fatigue and push forward without worry. Those pesky Game 6s and 7s when the bullpen is called into action are where a team can slip up, as we saw in the ALCS in Game 6 against the Houston Astros.

The game of baseball is becoming all about probability, and with a ton of resources having already been allocated towards power-hitting, it’s time to steer in a different direction.

Marisnick trade paves way for Mets’ quest to acquire Josh Hader

New York Yankees, Josha Hader

Heading into this offseason, two of the New York Mets’ major objectives were to find an everyday centerfielder and to work on fortifying their leaky bullpen.

Today, by adding CF Jake Marisnick in a trade with the Houston Astros for prospects they won’t miss, they’ve covered both needs. If Marisnick is going to be the primary centerfielder for the Mets in 2020, it means Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo will strictly be corner outfielders and J.D. Davis will likely be the odd man out.

That also clouds Jeff McNeil’s status as an outfielder. He will likely be a rover, playing outfield, second base and some third base which is nothing new to McNeil.

The addition of Marisnick gives the Mets the latitude and ammunition to trade for Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Josh Hader, a former client of Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen during his days as an agent for CAA. Davis could be the piece that tilts the deal in the Mets’ favor.

The Mets will miss Davis but Marisnick gives them more of what they need in terms of being a total player plus, in Hader, the steady bullpen star they hoped they were getting with Edwin Diaz.  The 25-year old Hader has a 2.52 ERA over the past two seasons with 281 strikeouts over 157 innings.

It will likely take more than Davis to land Hader, however, but that won’t deter BVW. He has no qualms with trading away any of the Mets’ prospects who the previous regime invested in. He is building the organization with his own people od which Hader is one.

New York Yankees: Do the Yankees have a true ace in their pitching rotation?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

Lacking consistent quality starting pitching was a real burden for the New York Yankees last season. Even though the offense was the reason why the Yankees went down in the postseason, having dominant starting pitching would have helped tremendously.

Last season I think there was no clear ace. There were two guys, James Paxton and Domingo German, who had their streaks of several strong outings, and were the studs of the staff. But there was really no clear cut starter like a Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander, that every time they went out you knew the team had a very good shot at winning.

Luis Severino is the ace of the Yankee starting pitching. He has been ever since the 2017 season and if it wasn’t for several injuries that hindered him last season, he would’ve been considered the ace again. I expect Severino to make a full comeback next season and put up great numbers like he’s used to doing.

There’s also an argument that James Paxton could be an ace next year. After having a rough start to the beginning of last season, he really turned it around and finished with a 15-6 record with a 3.82 ERA during the regular season.

Another possibility could be Domingo German, given that he avoids suspension from his domestic violence case that prevented him from playing in the playoffs last season. German was having a fantastic season with the Yankees before his removal from the roster, holding a 18-4 record with a 4.03 ERA. If he returns for next season there’s a case that he could lead the rotation.

I would love to add Masahiro Tanaka due to his absolute dominance in the postseason, but he’s just too inconsistent during the regular season. You never really know when he’s going to have a great outing or last 2.1 innings.

Of course, New York Yankee fans would love to see a Gerrit Cole or Stephan Strasburg signing during the offseason to immediately know they are getting an ace. However, if this doesn’t happen, I have full confidence in Luis Severino coming back and returning to his ace role.

How the New York Knicks roster is constructed this season

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have talent on their roster.  However, David Fizdale needs to find a way to properly use it on the court because it has yet to be seen.  Fans have seen that the talent is there but the execution is not.

Their roster was something to get excited about this off-season.  With 10 new players, there is a good balance between young and veteran players.  But, each player likes to stick to what’s comfortable for them and shy away from the team aspect.

Here’s how the Knicks roster is constructed this season.

The Knicks don’t have an offensive scheme.  It’s all isolation, despite what anyone says.  The main culprits are Julius Randle, Marcus Morris and Allonzo Trier.  These three players always try to take the game into their own hands and away from the team.  Randle and Morris, especially, ruin the flow of the game, most of the time, trying to take their man one-on-one.

Randle tried to take Giannis Antetokounmpo one-on-one early in their last game and that didn’t go well.  That bully isolation isn’t going to work, this isn’t pick up.  Giannis came back taking Randle one-on-one and bullying him.

When it comes to playmakers, there’s a few.  Frank Ntilikina is the one stand outs when it comes to that.  He is always looking to make something happen on both sides of the floor.  Ntilikina is sort of one as sometimes he goes missing on the floor.  Elfrid Payton was one until he got hurt.  He likes to push the pace in transition but there hasn’t been much since his injury.  In time, RJ Barrett will be an even better playmaker as he remains aggressive and attacks the rim.  He and Ntilikina are the lone bright spots in the first 21 games.

Some would say that Randle and Morris could be playmakers.  But they try to do that too much and hurt the team more as compared to helping them.

The one thing the New York Knicks do have is a rim protector in Mitchell Robinson.  The only thing is he needs to stay out of foul trouble.  When Robinson can be consistent, he’ll be a problem.  Taj Gibson had a good stretch at setting the defensive tempo since being inserted into the starting lineup but he’s older and not as quick as he was.

Finally, the Knicks don’t have a go-to shooter.  Daymean Dotson and Kevin Know try to be shooters but you can’t rely on them.  Both are inconsistent, especially Knox, and Dotson needs more minutes.  Again, Randle and Morris try to be shooter but they do too much and turn into gunners when they think ‘they’re feeling it’.

The main thing is that there’s too much isolation.  The Knicks aren’t that good of a team to continuously try one-on-ones.  There needs to be more pick-n-rolls and ball movement because it has worked when they utilized it this season.  It all comes down to being consistent and finding their rhythm, which has yet to be found.

New York Mets acquire center fielder Jake Marisnick from the Astros

New York Mets trade for Jake Marisknick

The New York Mets have acquired center fielder Jake Marisnick via a trade with the Houston Astros. Reporter Anthony DiComo revealed the news via his Twitter account, and later the team confirmed it.

The Mets are sending a couple of prospects to the Astros. They are 24-year-old left-handed reliever Blake Taylor and 19-year-old outfielder Kenedy Corona.

Marisnick mostly played against lefties and as a defensive specialist in late innings under Astros manager A.J. Hinch. He will presumably play in a similar role with the Mets‘ this time around.

Strenghtening the Mets‘ defense

Marisnick is widely regarded as a very strong defensive outfielder, and the numbers mostly back that up. According to Fangraphs, he had +4.0 fielding runs in 2019 after registering +4.3 in 2018.

Both UZR and DRS are huge Marisnick fans: he put 4.0 and 3.4 UZR in 2018 and 2019, respectively, with +12 and +5 DRS in center field.

Offensively, he doesn’t bring an overly exciting profile, as he owns a .224/.283/.406 batting line in 553 plate appearances in the last two years. Against lefties, he has hit for a triple slash line of .234/.291/.410 (90 wRC+) whereas he has a .223/.273/.363 (73 wRC+) versus right-handed pitchers in his career.

He is 28 years old and figures to be an asset with the glove at least for a couple more seasons.

Future plans

It is unclear if the New York Mets will look for another outfielder via free agency or the trade market, but Marisnick’s acquisition will at least guarantee that the team maintains above-average defensive performance in a key position after Juan Lagares left via free agency.

Just a few days ago, Pittsburgh’s starting center fielder Starling Marte said he wanted to be traded to a contender and he would be honored to play with the Mets, sparking speculation about a potential deal.

Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith complete the Mets‘ outfield corps, with Yoenis Cespedes’ return date still in question.

New York Mets: Interest in Rick Porcello

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The New York Mets lost the Zack Wheeler sweepstakes, but they are moving quickly on finding his replacement. The Mets have mutual interest with free agent Rick Porcello, who would slot in the five spot in the current Mets rotation.

Porcello was the 2016 AL Cy Young winner but has had a fall from grace since then. He has a 4.79 ERA over the last three seasons and has also seen a decline in the amount of innings he has pitched. Porcello’s 2019 ERA was the highest of his career, and he allowed 31 home runs.

Is This the Answer?

Even though the Mets are trying to fill the five spot in their rotation, there are still better options available. Dallas Keuchel, Julio Teheran, and Aaron Sanchez are all equal or better options than Porcello. Injuries can quickly move the fifth starter to the fourth starter and beyond, so the Mets should be looking for the best options instead of cheaper ones.

Porcello is not a bad option, but he is not the best. Outside their potential top five starters, there is no depth following them. This can leave the Mets in a very vulnerable state should anyone suffer a long term injury.