New York Giants: Coaching Prospect Ron Rivera Wants Winning Team

It’s no secret that former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is on the shortlist of coaches that could end up in control of the New York Giants if the team’s ownership decides that Pat Shurmur should be shown the door during the offseason, but the Giants may or may not have everything that Rivera wants. In particular, the missing thing might just be winning potential.

The Giants haven’t won much this season, with only two wins to their name up to this point in the year, and it looks like their roster is set to be blown up in the offseason – players like Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, and Nate Solder are expected to be moved and there’s no guarantee that Leonard Williams will stay and sign a new deal after the Giants traded for him. The defense might have a new look with a high draft pick such as Chase Young leading the way, while the offense is still finding its way under quarterback Daniel Jones.

Point is, the Giants might have to do a lot of losing before they can be a winning team, and that doesn’t seem to be what Rivera wants to sign up for.

“There’s a lot of reclamation programs that’ll probably be in play. There’ll also be some teams I think that they’re a good draft away, a couple free agents away from being a really, really good team. That’s what I want. Because when I come back, I want to come back to win. I’m not taking a job to take a job. I’m taking a job because I believe we have a chance to win football games. And that’s what I want,” Rivera told Adam Schefter on his podcast, when speaking about what he wants out of his next job.

Of course, there’s no telling yet how Rivera actually rates the Giants. He could see potential in the team, but at this point it seems unlikely based on their results this season. It will take a lot of changes to get the team winning again, and with this, it’s becoming less clear which coach will end up taking the team forward to do that.

What Michael Wacha brings to the New York Mets

New York Mets, Michael Wacha

The New York Mets are about to secure the services of a starting pitcher. Several outlets reported on Wednesday that right-hander Michael Wacha will sign a one-year deal to pitch in Flushing.

Jon Heyman reported that Wacha will make $3 million guaranteed, with the chance to take the number to $10 million through incentives.

Buster Olney of ESPN stated that the righty needs to take a physical before any deal can be announced. The truth is that his signing is around the corner.

The Mets currently boast a formidable top four in the rotation. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz will take the ball every fifth day, and Wacha will presumably be the fifth starter unless Brodie Van Wagenen, the General Manager, makes additional moves, which is entirely possible.

What does he bring to the table for the New York Mets?

It certainly seems like Wacha has been around forever, but he is still 28 years old. In his rookie year, he was named the National League Championship Series’ MVP. That happened in 2013.

Five years later, injuries have taken a toll on him and his right arm isn’t quite the same. However, he can still contribute to a Major League rotation.

If anything, he will bring playoff pedigree to a Mets team that can certainly use it. His 2019 season ended on a sour note with a right shoulder strain, and he finished with a 4.76 ERA, 104/55 K/BB ratio and 1.56 WHIP in 126 2/3 innings for St. Louis Cardinals.

Let’s not forget, however, that he was quite effective in limited action in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

In 2018, he started 15 games with the Cardinals and posted a 3.20 ERA (4.22 FIP) in 84.1 frames. The 2017 season was much better: he managed to throw 165.2 innings in 30 starts, with a 4.13 ERA (3.63 FIP) and 8.58 K/9. That year, he accrued a very good 3.1 fWAR. The Mets sure can use that.

The 2016 season was a down year that saw him register a 5.09 ERA, but with a decent 3.91 FIP. However, he was good in 2014 (3.20 ERA) and 2015 (3.38 ERA.)

Health and opportunity

Wacha is certainly capable of registering a sub-4.00 season with the New York Mets, but it will all depend on health and opportunity. The most likely scenario is that the team signs another hurler or two to compete with Wacha for the fifth starter job, but he is more than capable of coming out on top.

If his right arm treats him well, the Mets may have found a bargain. But keep in mind that over the years, Wacha has missed time with right shoulder issues, oblique strains, and knee tendinitis, among other ailments.

The bottom line is that while he has had his fair share of injuries, it’s not fair to dismiss him as a devaluated asset while being only 28 years old. There is talent in his arm, and the New York Mets are betting on that talent.

Yankees: What does Gerrit Cole signing mean for Brett Gardner?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

YANKEES: General manager Brian Cashman cleared the pathway and opened the golden gates for pitcher Gerrit Cole in free agency, pushing aside all minuscule deals that challenged the nine-year, $324 million contract he ultimately offered.

Cole instantly becomes the top gun for the Yankees and gives them one of the best rotations in baseball, especially with a healthy Luis Severino and Jordon Montgomery in 2020. However, Cashman put veteran free agent outfielder Brett Gardner on hold due to the intensity of the Cole deal, but he will finally have time to backtrack after a strenuous process occurring during the Winter Meetings.

The Yankees will have to fend off a few teams interested in their captain if they wish to retain his services after a very productive 2019 season.

Gardner earned $7.5 million on a one-year deal last season, and after producing 28 homers and 74 RBIs, both career highs, he could earn even more. The Yankees will be struggling to find available cap space after the Cole deal, but bringing back a stape of the organization and a leader for the younger players is a necessity. Consider his everlasting factor and the ability to supplement injuries, and his value is apparent.

Could the Yankees offer him a multi-year deal?

Cashman may elect to ink Gardner on a two-year deal, prolonging his inevitable retirement. Going into his 13th season in 2020, Gardner saved his deterioration by adding a power factor to his hitting. If he can replicate his 28 homers next season, the Yankees will be in great shape moving forward.

With Aaron Hicks scheduled to miss 8-10 months after Tommy John surgery, the Yankees can either bring Gardner back or feature Mike Tauchman in centerfield. Some believe Tauchman is the better option here, considering his youth and expected influence in the outfield. He could very well be the next Brett Gardner for the Yankees, holding down the fort as a reserve option over the next few seasons. He would cost next to nothing compared to Gardy.

The Mets’ McNeil and the Yankees’ LeMahieu vye for New York’s “best hitter” crown

New York Yankees, New York Mets

The New York Mets and the New York Yankees share one of the country’s biggest baseball cities and markets. They both have extremely talented players in their respective rosters.

And, as far as a pure hitters go, they each have one elite representative. The Yankees‘ DJ LeMahieu, and the Mets’ Jeff McNeil are both excellent, but who’s the king of New York?

The case for Jeff McNeil, the New York Mets‘ sparkplug

As Fangraphs’ Jay Jaffe explained, Jeff McNeil is kind of a throwback. He is a contact-oriented batter with very few strikeouts and not a lot of homers, although he just hit 23 with the Mets in 2019 after clubbing 22 at three levels in 2018.

In his first three professional seasons, he achieved high batting averages but very low home runs outputs. After he reached Double-A, he needed surgeries to take care of a sports hernia and a torn labrum. That took away all but three games of his 2016, and a groin ailment erased his 2017 (he only played 48 games.)

By the time the 2018 season rolled, he had added 40 pounds of muscle and proceeded to tear up Double-A (182 wRC+) Triple-A (165 wRC+) and even the bigs in 248 plate appearances (137 wRC­.)

For those who were wondering, he was able to maintain that performance level in 2019 and then some. He hit .318/.384/.531 in 567 plate appearances, with 23 homers, 83 runs, 75 RBI, and a 143 wRC+. All of that accounted for 4.6 fWAR. He finished fourth in the National League’s race for the batting title.

The one red flag, at least when it comes to predicting future performance, is his Statcast profile. Although he was in the 88th percentile in expected batting average, he was below-average in hard-hit rate (37th percentile) and average exit velocity (38th percentile.)

However, as a pure hitter, he was among the best. He drew his fair share of walks (6.2%) while maintaining an extremely low strikeout percentage (13.2.) His healthy line-drive rate (22.1%) is a proof of his bat-to-ball skills. McNeil was arguably the best batter of the New York Mets. His 143 wRC+ was tied to Peter Alonso for the team’s lead.

The case for DJ LeMahieu, the New York Yankees‘ offensive force

If the Mets have their all-around batting star, the Yankees have one to counter. DJ LeMahieu finished a 2019 for the ages in which he was fourth in the MVP race. He also accrued a team-leading 5.4 fWAR.

He had a .327/.375/.518 line with a 136 wRC+, the highest of his career. He achieved another career-best: 26 home runs. And while it is true that the “juiced” ball may have inflated LeMahieu’s stats a bit, the same could be said about McNeil.

LeMahieu’s career includes four .300+ seasons and a .302 average in 4454 plate appearances. It has been established over the years that, as far as contact hitters go, he is among the league’s best.

DJ’s 85.5 contact percentage was better than McNeil’s 81.4 in 2019, and he also won the race in 2018, 87.5 to 85.1.

The at-bat against Roberto Osuna in the American League Championship Series in Game 6 is the full representation of LeMahieu as a hitter. He fouled off great pitches, worked the count full, and then unloaded a game-tying home run in the ninth inning.

LeMahieu established a difference in his Statcast profile. Unlike McNeil, he truly mashed the ball, as evidenced by his elite rates in exit velocity (92nd percentile) hard-hit percentage (90th percentile) expected wOBA (90th percentile) expected batting average (99th percentile) and expected slugging (88th percentile.)

Verdict

Right now, DJ LeMahieu’s Statcast profile fully validates his successful season, and he has a fairly longer track record of being a prolific pure hitter than Jeff McNeil.

The Mets‘ McNeil may not be a young prospect anymore at 27, but in two or three years, he may be able to overtake LeMahieu as New York’s best pure hitter if the latter starts to decline, which is a possibility since he would be 33 or 34.

Of course, both teams may or may not add other talented batters in that proposed timeframe, but for the purposes of this exercise, I am taking the Yankees‘ LeMahieu today, and the Mets‘ McNeil for the future as New York’s best pure hitter.

A Life that’s Gone, but a Beautiful Soul Lives On: Michael Thomas Honors Sister

New York Giants free safety Michael Thomas is the classiest guy you will ever find and the epitome of kindness and all of the good in the world.  Thomas gives back in any way he can and is dedicated to helping others, especially those near and dear to his heart.

Thomas’ sister NnZinga sadly lost her battle with breast cancer this past year.  Thomas makes sure every day that her beautiful spirit will live on.  On his Aldine Sports Association Youth Shop, people can purchase gear that honors his lovely sister and raises awareness for breast cancer.  NnZinga wanted to provide housing for women afflicted with breast cancer traveling to Houston, Texas to receive treatment so she created Pink Hope Homes LLC. to do so.  Thomas created this wonderful apparel to keep her dreams alive and help achieve her goal of helping women stricken with breast cancer.

Individuals can also customize the gear to honor their family, friends and other loved ones with their names, number and anything else they wish. ALL proceeds from the sales will be donated to his sister’s Pink Hope Homes LLC. and the American Cancer Society.  

Thomas also honored his stunning sister during this past Monday Night Football game against the Philadelphia Eagles by wearing cleats with her beautiful face on it and her Pink Hope Homes LLC. logo and the word cancer crossed out.

Thomas’s sister NnZinga was a true fighter, warrior and hero in every sense of the word.  She used her adversity and took something positive out of it using it to help others with the same battle.  She was absolutely stunningly beautiful inside and out and her courageous, tenacious spirit will live on thanks to Thomas.  The Thomases are the most amazing, beautiful, kind, truly special people you will ever find!

New York Giants continue their good work during the holiday season

New York Giants, Eli Manning

With the holiday season upon us, members of the New York Giants and the New York Giants organization brightened up the holiday seasons for some.

Here are some of the heartwarming stories from this week:

The New York Giants held a coat drive on December 1st before the game against the Green Bay Packers.  Fans attending the game could bring a gently worn or new coat or hooded sweatshirt to the New York Cares or Hoodies for the Homeless volunteers at the gate entrances located at MetLife Stadium.  The coats and hoodies will be given to men, women, and children at homeless shelters and other community outreach organizations in the local area to stay warm this upcoming Winter.

The New York Giants also surprised Army Veteran Raymond Lynch with a service dog as he has been on the waiting list for a year.  This dog serves as a source of emotional support for Lynch.  Lynch was ecstatic to meet his new buddy, as was the dog!

The New York Giants honored spine surgeon and Army Veteran Dr. Ronald Lehman and his patient Army Veteran Dimitri Madouros who helped him in getting better.  They also honored Army Veteran Sean O’Brien for his service.

20% of gear purchased on December 3rd and 4th on shop.giants.com will be donated to Tackle Kids Cancer which goes to research at the Children’s Cancer Institute.

New York Giants Oshane Ximines partnered with Modell’s Sporting Goods to make a lucky fan day.   Ximines helped him get ready for game day by picking out New York Giants gear and apparel.

Running back Saquon Barkley visited the Covenant House to work with them for their Sleep Out Fundraiser to help homeless youth.  Barkley does great work with this organization which is dedicated to helping those less fortunate.  Barkley also met with cancer survivor George Taylor who is a major New York Giants fan.  Barkley spent the day with him and both had an absolutely wonderful time.

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram visited cancer patients at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and teamed up with Hess Toy Trucks to brighten the day!

With the holiday season looming it is nice to see all of the joy being spread by the New York Giants community!

These are just some of the good things that happened this week in the Giants community, stay tuned for next week’s edition!

The New York Mets are actively shopping Jed Lowrie

New York Mets, Jed Lowrie

The New York Mets continue to shop infielder Jed Lowrie around the league, in an effort to achieve payroll flexibility.

The team wants to complete its starting rotation and is also reportedly exploring a deal for Starling Marte.

According to a report from Andy Martino, the Mets are “still in” on Starling Marte and they could entertain the possibility of trading a major league outfielder.

Free agent options

Martino also stated that New York is also working to “find a taker for Jed Lowrie’s contract,” which would free up some payroll to examine the possibility of signing “(Rick) Porcello and/or (Dellin) Betances.”

Right now, the rotation is comprised of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz. The fifth spot is up for grabs, and it has been rumored that if the Mets don’t bring another starter, Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo could leave the bullpen and occupy the position.

Lowrie, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal last offseason, spent the vast majority of the 2019 season injured and rehabbing.

Talented, but injury-prone

Now 35 years old and with his best seasons likely behind him, Lowrie’s deal is notoriously difficult to move as things stand. He is known around the league as a talented batter, yet he is extremely injury-prone.

The veteran infielder is capable of playing second and third base. The Mets owe him $10 million in a contract that will expire after next season.

If he is traded, Jed Lowrie’s career with the New York Mets would end with no hits, only nine games, and eight plate appearances. He struck out in half of those.

An assortment of lower-body injuries took away Lowrie’s season. He missed time with knee, calf, hip and hamstring ailments.

His last healthy seasons

2017 and 2018 were his two last healthy seasons. And he has shown that, when he isn’t injured, he is an above-average hitter in the bigs. That’s what the Mets saw when they signed him.

In those two years, he surpassed 600 plate appearances and had wRC+ of 120 and 123. In 2018, he recorded a 5.0 fWAR season, so there is obvious talent in his bat and even in his glove.

For his career, Lowrie accumulates a 106 wRC+, 104 home runs, 521 runs, 509 runs batted in and 20.1 fWAR. If healthy, he could really help the New York Mets, but the team needs to free up some payroll room right now.

The New York Knicks Are Similar To The 2016-17 Miami Heat

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks were struggling until the end of Fizdale’s short-lived era at Madison Square Garden. Mike Miller is now at the helm for the Knicks. The Knicks are moving in the wrong direction early, similar to the 2016-17 Miami Heat.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, before Fizdale got fired, former Knick Coach Fizdale urged Wayne Ellington to tell the Florida tale to his teammates. Wayne Ellington stated:

“I see a lot of similarities to that [Miami] team,’’ Ellington said. “We were 11-30, flipped the whole thing and went 30-11 to finish the season. I don’t plan on going 11-30, but I think we’ll have breakthrough sooner or later.’’

Now there are questions about interim coach Mike Miller, trade deadline, and the front office including Steve Mills, Scott Perry, and the infamous owner James Dolan. Faith amongst the faithless Knick fans has dwindled down even further. A string of hope is left for fans as they brace themselves for the trade deadline.

During the 2016-17 NBA Season, the Miami Heat started off with a record of 11-30 then went on to win their next 13-straight games taking them to a record of 24-30. The Miami Heat went on to finish the season with a .500 percentage record at 41-41. Wayne Ellington and Fizdale witnessed that experience first hand together. Can Wayne Ellington’s miraculous experience rub off on the younger Knicks? Only time will tell. Everything is up in the air however, Mike Miller is definitely ready for this moment. Mike Miller making the most of this interim coach opportunity is crucial for both himself and for the organization. Knicks should not chase the big name any longer. Build and groom by building relationships and by operating in a critical, strategic manner.

The New York Jets Should Trade Jamal Adams

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

There was a big hullabaloo surrounding the New York Jets at the trade deadline. And it involved Jamal Adams being upset that the New York Jets would (gasp!) accept calls from other teams about trading for Jamal Adams. All of this after Jamal and the Jets had a sit down where the Jets proclaimed Adams was a “someone to build the franchise around”.

You know who this reminds me of? Odell Beckham Jr.

Calm Down Jamal

I’m not denying that Jamal Adams isn’t a fantastic player. He’s got 12 sacks, over 200 tackles, and 22 QB hits in his 3-year career. These are good numbers.

But he’s a third-year player. And the Jets aren’t a good team. And what’s the best way to rebuild a team quickly? The draft. And what can you get for Jamal Adams? DRAFT PICKS!  MANY drafts picks! Third-year players don’t get the leeway to throw public temper tantrums like this, expecting to be treated like Aaron Donald or (his words) Tom Brady.

It’s Only Going to Get Worse

Jamal Adams waited, what, a week, before he talked to the general manager and Adam Gase about accepting calls for a trade? This was after he publicly proclaimed “I’m not talking to them”. Again, THIRD YEAR PLAYER! This is comparable to OBJ and Eric Reid getting into a fistfight on the field. This is comparable to OBJ pretending to pee on the field like a dog in response to Donald Trump calling football players “dogs”. This is comparable to OBJ marrying the kicker net DURING A GAME!

Watching him run out onto the field with the offense may be playful now, but it’s distracting. You need to nip some of his antics in the bud before it escalates into OBJ level antics. I mean… the dude is having a bad season in Cleveland, his first, and he’s asking his fellow players to “Get me out of here! I’m lost!” 

Have you stopped to notice, Odell, that the Browns are a bad team? And YOU are on the bad team because YOU couldn’t be a good team player, and couldn’t stop making everything all about YOU!

Change course now, Jamal. Don’t be upset if you get traded. If you’re truly as good as you think you are, you’ll make the impact a team needs to win a Super Bowl next year. It’s not happening on the Jets for a couple of years.

Yet another embarrassing performance for the New York Knicks

Just when you think the New York Knicks season can’t get any worse, it does.  The Knicks started their West Coast road trip with another embarrassing performance.

The Knicks lost to the Portland Trailblazers 115-87 making that 10 straight defeats.  They faced the old face of the franchise in Carmelo Anthony who dropped 16 on his former team.  His teammate Damian Lillard had his way with the Knicks like every other superstar in the league, pouring in an easy 31 points.

Either Lillard is just that good or the Knicks perimeter defense is just that bad.  We’ll take the ladder on that.

The Knicks have some of the laziest defense when guarding beyond the arc fans have ever seen.  One of their laziest players is Julius Randle.  He doesn’t play any defense and looks gassed a majority of the time.  Lillard was toying with him to begin the game on pick-and-rolls where he did a quick step back to nail a 3 in his face.  Teams have to be laughing at the Knicks, just like fans are.

Mitchell Robinson had 14 points off the bench, but he needs to be starting.  It’s gotten to the point where it’s not about winning games clearly.  It should be about developing the young players for the future.  Robinson should be starting over Taj Gibson.  He should also be playing more then Randle.  Randle hurts the team more as compared to helping them.  He isn’t in the future plans or at least until a coach can figure out how to use him.

Interim head coach Mike Miller said after the game, “In an 82-game schedule you may have some nights where it won’t go in, and we found ourselves in that.”  The Knicks have found themselves in that scenario a lot this season and it’s getting old.  It especially comes on the road as they only have one road victory on the season.  One.

The New York Knicks continue their West Coast road trip in Golden State tonight at 10:30 pm.  Can they get a win against the second worst team in the league?  At this point, very doubtful.