New York Giants: Three Players To Watch In The Season Finale

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

This Sunday’s matchup will be the New York Giants’ final game of the 2019 NFL season. The 4-11 Giants will see their season come to a close this week against the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles, who are fighting for a playoff spot.

The Giants are not fighting for much, but a few players are fighting for future roster spots. It is important to keep an eye on a few individual performances with the future in mind. With that being said, here are three players to watch in Week 17:

Leonard Williams

General Manager Dave Gettleman made the controversial decision this season to trade for former-Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams. Williams was acquired in exchange for the Giants’ 2020 3rd-round pick and the conditional pick in 2021.

Since joining the New York Giants, Leonard Williams has played good football. He has been a productive pass-rusher, generating 16 pressures, 10 quarterback knockdowns, and 6 hurries, despite not getting credit for a single sack. Leonard has also done his part against the run with 21 combined tackles. However, Big Cat is set to be a free agent this offseason and has not yet been involved in extensions talks with the Giants.

Leonard Williams will need to impress in Week 17 to earn a long-term contract with the New York Giants. He has played well since joining Big Blue, but it might be hard to justify paying an interior defensive lineman a lucrative contract. A breakout performance could earn Leonard Williams and extension with the Giants.

Nick Gates

The New York Giants have dealt with injuries and subpar performances along the offensive line throughout the season. In the season’s final game, the Giants will be without their starting right tackle, Mike Remmers. This will thrust undrafted rookie Nick Gates back into the starting lineup.

Nick Gates has started in 2 games this season. He has exceeded all expectations in those 2 games as a starter. Gates has earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 76.9 this season and has allowed only 1 sack in his 215 snaps. He is naturally an offensive guard but has played a fair share of offensive tackle this season, filling in for Mike Remmers against the New York Jets.

The Giants’ offensive line is bound to change this offseason. But Nick Gates has shown flashes of great potential. Another strong performance in Week 17 could earn Nick Gates a chance at a starting role in 2020.

Kaden Smith

Like Nick Gates, Kaden Smith is another undrafted rookie filling in as a starter in Week 17. Kaden Smith has been starting at tight end for the last 5 weeks. The rookie out of Stanford has been impressive during this stretch of games.

Kaden Smith is coming off of a spectacular Week 16 that saw him catch the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime. Kaden caught 6 of his 8 targets for 35 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with multiple critical blocks in the running game. Smith’s run-blocking ability is what separates him from the rest of the tight ends on the Giants’ roster.

With Evan Engram’s future clouded with uncertainty, another impressive outing by Kaden Smith could secure him a roster spot in 2020 (if that hasn’t already been achieved), and could even give him some consideration as the starter next season, too.

New York Rangers Rediscover Their Power Play, Topple Carolina

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers knew they were heading into a critical stretch of their schedule. Coming off the NHL three-day holiday break, they tinkered with some lines and used some inspired play to down the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. The Rangers top players came up big as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 shots, and Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejed each tallied three points.

Power Play Drought Ends for the New York Rangers

One of the most significant factors of the night was that the Rangers ended their 0-18 streak on the power play, tallying two power-play goals out of five chances. In fact, the entire specials units for the Blueshirts were outstanding as they also killed all five of Carolina’s power-play chances.  Zibanejad scored the two power-play goals and added his third point on an assist for Chris Kreider’s goal.  Panarin had a goal and two assists, giving him 14 points in his past nine games. In fact, the highlight of the night was not a goal, but rather Panarin’s spectacular pass to Ryan Stromme that set up the Ranger’s fifth and final goal.

The critical decision of the game came from the coaching staff, especially the video crew, when Carolina had a would-be first-period game-tying power-play goal by Sebastian Aho overturned after the Rangers challenged for offside. Both teams cited this as a massive momentum shift.   The only negative that came from the game was that forward Brendan Lemieux sustained a fractured hand and would be out indefinitely. In his post-game comments, Head Coach David Quinn didn’t have details on a timeframe for Lemieux’s injury or if the Rangers would recall a forward from Hartford.

Canada Swing Starts in Toronto

The Blueshirts will be back in action tonight when they face Original Six foe the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs also played on Friday, defeating the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in overtime. Toronto suffered a critical injury of their own Friday night when forward Ilya Mikheyev sustained a significant laceration to his wrist in the third period. He was transported to a Newark, NJ hospital for evaluation, and remained there overnight. Late reports stated that Mikheyev is stable and has full feeling in his hand and fingers. Face-off is at 7 pm, and the “Hockey Night in Canada” feature game will be shown on MSG+ and the NHL network.

New York Mets: imagine these players with these tools and traits!

Christmas may be over now, but what about some late-season holiday gifts? Kidding aside, these New York Mets’ players could benefit from these outside-the-box tools.

It’s easy to imagine what kind of player Billy Hamilton would be with a hit tool, or JD Martinez with 60-grade defense. Giving some power to, say, Jarrod Dyson would make him an annual 30-30 threat. Add at least average fielding and proper arm accuracy to Miguel Andujar and there would be no trade rumors. You get the point by now.

Here are the tools that would benefit New York Mets’ players the most:

Speed for Pete Alonso

Pete Alonso is actually not that slow: according to Baseball Savant, he was in the 41st percentile in sprint speed. However, imagine him with 55 or 60-grade wheels… wow! He could be a perennial 40-30 threat, which would be extremely fun. He probably wouldn’t be a first baseman, either.

Hit tool for Luis Guillorme

Luis Guillorme has a very good chance of being the Mets’ backup middle infielder. He can defend second base and shortstop, but doesn’t pose much of a threat offensively. If he could have, say, a 50 hit tool, he would probably be a regular and maybe push Amed Rosario.

Edwin Diaz’s lost command and confidence

Diaz was the best reliever of 2018. The New York Mets traded for him prior to the 2019 season, but his year was a disaster. He tended to lose command of his fastball and breaking stuff, he lost confidence, and he allowed homers at an alarming rate (26.8 HR/FB.) The loss of command resulted in a significant spike in BB/9 from 2018 to 2019 (2.09 to 3.41) and a career-high HR/9 (2.33.)

Get defensive!

Defense for J.D.Davis

This is a fun one. Imagining J.D. Davis with at least average defense would drive up his WAR in a hurry. He had 2.4 in 453 plate appearances, but most of it was because of his 18.7 offensive runs above average. With the glove, he was atrocious: he had -9.0 defensive runs above average. He was passable at first, but was very bad in third base and in the outfield for the Mets. Some semblance of defense and Davis would be among the league’s very best players.

Defense for Dominic Smith

A masher in the J.D. Davis mold, Smith is also great with the bat and not-so-good with the glove. He connected 11 home runs in 197 plate appearances, with a 133 wRC+, yet he had 4.8 defensive runs below average according to Fangraphs. To be fair, he is a first baseman that the Mets tried in the outfield, and he fared well at the former (6.7 UZR/150, 0.9 UZR, 1 DRS) but was atrocious in the latter (-22.6 UZR/150, -3.6 UZR, -3 DRS.) If he learns how to man the outfield (or if he gets traded) he could have a path to regular playing time.

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres Has Two Glaring Problems for 2020

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

At this point, it’s more than obvious that the New York Yankees intend to make Gleyber Torres the everyday shortstop for the Yankees moving forward. But, he has two massive problems moving forward, especially if we are to believe what the Yankees fans are saying on social media.

Defensive liability

Okay. So Gleyber Torres hasn’t been in the league for all that long. A two-year veteran is still pretty young. But, the problem is obvious at this point. Gleyber Torres is a better defensive second baseman than shortstop. Gleyber Torres is a league-average second baseman and a below-average shortstop. Like, when we look at his statistics and compare them to Miguel Andujar, Andujar is a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman by comparison.

But, based on what Torres is capable of doing at defense at second base, Yankees fans are more comfortable at seeing Torres at short than they are seeing Andujar at third. Tell me how this makes sense?

High strikeout rate

Gleyber is turning into an offensive marvel. A .275 career hitter, he went from 24 home runs in 2018 to 38 in 2019. But, he’s averaging 152 strikeouts PER SEASON! Yankees fans kill Stanton for how much he strikes out, just like they kill Sanchez. But if Gleyber is striking out over 150 times a season… it’s only 23 strikeouts BEHIND Sanchez per season.

So What Should the Yankees do?

Well, the obvious choice is that the New York Yankees will make him the opening day shortstop. But… with DJ as old as he is (he’s above the 30 years old line, which is a death sentence for most players), Gleyber will be moved back to second before 2025. So… while the Yankees may be shooting themselves in the foot for now… if the shortstops the Yankees have in the farms will be ready by 2022… it’s all for the best.

Do the Yankees have a secret weapon in the starting pitching rotation?

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

The return of the Last Jedi, I mean Luis Severino, will give the Yankees a considerable boost in efficiency regarding the starting pitching rotation. Severino’s health is imperative to the overall success of the team, and losing him for virtually all of 2019 was significant, despite the Bomber’s securing 103 wins.

Expecting lesser players to crawl out of the woodwork to save the day in 2020 is a perverse logic, as what the Yankees did last season with the likes of Cameron Maybin, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, and Gio Urshela is unheard of. General manager Brian Cashman has put the team in an advantageous position, signing Gerrit Cole and retaining Gardner, who will start in centerfield until Aaron Hicks returns from injury.

Other moves are expected to follow in the coming days, especially with star relief arm Josh Hader hanging in the balance. However, the secret weapon for the Yankees isn’t Severino, Cole, or any other big-name that litters the roster like a bunch of underage kids drinking Bug Lights behind a grocery store.

The player of notice is Jordan Montgomery, who has pitched two seasons of sub-4.00 ERA baseball, earning a solidified spot in the starting rotation. In an ideal world, Cashman would unload J.A. Happ’s $17 million per year contract off the books, making more room for Monty.

Can the Yankees expect Jordan Montgomery to bounce back?

After succumbing to Tommy John surgery in 2018, Jordan missed all of 2019 recovering. His latest bill of action was in 2017, where he logged a 3.88 ERA over 155.1 innings. Montgomery features a deadly curveball, which was his most frequent pitch over his two-year stint of health.

While using his curve, Monty recorded a .175 batting average against opposing hitters, a .281 slugging percentage, and a 42.8% whiff rate (2017). His fastball is probably his worst pitch, while he also utilized an above-average changeup and slider, giving him a reliable arsenal of options to work through batters.

His influence on the team should be far more significant than we imagine. The expectation is that he will slot in at the 5th spot in the rotation, behind Cole, James Paxton, Severino, and Masahiro Tanaka. When your worst starter has the quality that Mongtomery has, you can justify a bit of premature excitement.

New York Yankees: Should Aaron Boone Be On The Hot Seat?

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Aaron Boone has been the New York Yankees skipper for the last two seasons. Despite 100 wins in 2018 and 103 wins in 2019, should Aaron Boone be on the hot seat?

Reasons For Yes:

Sometimes, Boone doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense in the players that he decides to play at certain times. There has been way too many times when he has taken red hot players out of the lineup for an off-day, or put in a struggling reliever in high leverage situations with an eventual poor outcome.

In 2018, he had a pretty loaded roster but was embarrassed in four games in the ALDS by the Red Sox, including an 15 run home loss in game three.

And, even though a lot of players have that we have never heard of joined the team and had a lot of success, that isn’t really because of Boone. The success of those players came from the analytics and scouting department, as well as the hitting coaches.

Reasons For No:

With so many players hitting the IL in 2019, Boone guided the Yankees to the ALCS against the Astros. Because many players were still shaking off rust in the postseason, it may of contributed to the Yankees defeat as well as the Astros cheating scandal.

Boone put players like DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela into the lineup in spots where they could succeed. He got Urshela comfortable towards the later part of the order and got LeMahieu firing on all cylinders at the leadoff position. He also helped LeMahieu learn third base a bit better.

And, two 100 win seasons are pretty spectacular for any first time manager. There isn’t much more to ask out of a manager except a World Series victory.

Should Aaron Boone worry about being fired after the 2020 season if the Yankees don’t achieve their World Series goal?

 

New York Knicks: Yet another rebuild in New York

New York Knicks, David Fizdale, Julius Randle

This year’s New York Knicks season has been a trainwreck. Right now the Knicks are sitting at 8-24, the second-worst record in the league. Many amongst the organization believed this team had enough talent to compete in the weak eastern conference this year, but those expectations have not been met. Players on the team are upset with the team underperforming. Per SNY’s Ian Begley on Friday, “a few” players on the team have expressed their desire to be traded.

With the roster being filled with veterans on short term contracts it is more than likely the New York Knicks will move some pieces for future assets. There are already rumors swirling around the organization that there will clean house in the front office and bring in new people. The team has already brought in former Cavaliers head coach David Blatt as a basketball operations consultant. He is said to be scouting European talent for the team. Let’s not forget that David Fizdale, who was a player’s favorite, was just fired on December 6th. Now Mike Miller is sitting in as an interim coach for this season with no guarantee he will be back next year. It’s not yet confirmed that players have made a formal request to be traded but with how this season has turned out thus far with no clear plan for the future it would be no surprise to anyone that players want out of New York.

Names like Dennis Smith Jr. and Marcus Morris are names to be looking out for before the February 6th trade deadline. Rival teams are confident that Dennis Smith Jr. will no longer be in New York past this season. Smith Jr. minutes have been going down drastically since his arrival to New York last year and it seems like there won’t be any change coming anytime soon. His talents can be used elsewhere at a place that is willing to take the time to develop him into the star we all thought he would become when he was drafted. Marcu Morris has turned out to be a surprise to many this year, averaging 18.6 ppg and shooting a career-high 46.1% from the 3 point line. Contenders would be looking for veterans like Morris to add before the deadline for a playoff push. According to reports two names who Knicks made clear are untouchable are RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

There is a lot of promising talent on the roster this year but with no sense of direction in the front office, it is almost impossible for the team to perform well on the court with a front office who are worrying about if their jobs are at stake. Based on the recent moves Knicks have been making and certain reports coming out, it is safe to say that there will be yet another shakeup in the organization. Current general manager Scott Perry is believed to be the only name the Knicks will keep in the front office. Some are speculating the Knicks are once again making moves to lure one particular superstar free agent in a few years, Giannis Antetokounmpo. All we can do is sit back and see how things unravel in New York.

The New York Mets Got the Best Award They Could Get for the Decade

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Post awarded the New York Mets with the most obvious award the Mets could win for the soon to be ending decade. Jacob deGrom won Athlete of the Decade. I mean… who else in New York was going to win Athlete of the Decade?

Other Candidates For the Award

Derek Jeter retired in 2014, Mo in 2013, Davi Wright in 2018. There was absolutely no one else in New York who could’ve won the award from the Post. Let’s face it… no one on earth could be a back to back Cy Young award winner like Jacob deGrom. Sure, Noah Syndergaard MIGHT have gotten close, if he didn’t get as hurt as David Wright.

What About the Yankees?

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite, and Jorge Posada retired pithing a year of each other between 2012 and 2014. The only one who could have gotten close to deGrom in terms of statistical comparison is Rivera. But no matter how lights out a reliever is… they never are as good as the starting pitcher. It would explain why Rivera finished in 8th for the CY Young voting in 2011 by the simple virtue of “When does a relief pitcher finish in the top 10 for CY Young voting?” The answer is… next to never!

What About Position Players?

Which position player out hit deGrom in the 2010s? Yes, Robinson Cano had a great time as a Yankee, but he was gone by 2014. By comparison, Yoenis Cespedes had a better time offensively than Robinson Cano had since 2014. And, who else took control of the city the way Cespedes did in 2015/2016? The answer is… NO ONE!

deGrom deserved player of the decade because deGrom has been the best pitcher in New York since 2016. Our pitching and starting rotation has been garbage in the Bronx since at LEAST 2015. I’m just glad someone in New York deserved. And the fact it was someone as worthy as deGrom makes it all the more bearable.

New York Yankees news, rumors: Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar trade pieces for Josh Hader

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Settling with Gerrit Cole would be the easy way out of free agency for the New York Yankees, but general manager Brian Cashman has been given the green light to pursue all targets that would contribute to the further success of the team.

The Yankees managed to climb to 103 wins on the backs of several reserve players like Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and more. They don’t necessarily need to dive into more free agents or potential trade deals, but owner Hal Steinbrenner is keen on winning a World Series in the next two years. Giving up players that are sitting in a secondary role for starting talent makes sense at this point.

Do the New York Yankees have enough utility options?

Both Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier are on the line to be traded to the Brewers for Josh Hader, which would bring one of the best relief pitchers to the Bronx. The Brewers are also asking for a top prospect, but Cashman isn’t keen on letting two starting level players and a prospect go for a relief pitcher.

MLB Marathon: Hader for Andujar and Frazier being discussed. #Brewers seeking one more top prospect to finish the deal. Cashman being a tough negotiator. 

However, Hader’s numbers are stellar, and at just 25-years-old, his value is sky-high. Factor in the four years of team control the Bombers would consume, and his influence would be massive.

Here are Hader’s #s from 2017 in relation to other relievers:

204 IP (13th)
2.42 ERA (8th)
2.74 FIP (13th)
.85 WHIP (1st)
.146 Opponent AVG (1st)
15.3 K/9 (2nd)

There’s no such thing as too much pitching, and with both Dellin Betances and Nestor Cortes Jr. departing, Cashman needs to inject more talent into the bullpen. Having multiple quality starters and bullpen arms would give the New York Yankees a better chance at making the World Series, and they don’t want to look back and regret not making a decision that would increase their chances.

Trading away Andujar and Frazier might be a lot, but would it be worth a World Series win in 2020?

Click here for yesterday’s news/rumors!

New York Giants news, 12/28 – One player the Giants must re-sign for the future

New York Jets, Markus Golden

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

When the New York Giants initially signed linebacker Markus Golden to a one-year, “prove it” deal, they didn’t imagine he would be quite as productive as he was this season. Logging 10.0 sacks after a stat correction, triggering a $1 million incentive, Golden is now the first double-digit sack producer in years for the Giants.

Retaining him should be a priority, as his intensity on the field and positive presence in the locker room are both essential factors that have contributed to the minimal silver linings the Giants have enjoyed this season.

Rounding out Golden’s complete stat-line, his 10.0 sacks only cracks the surface on his overall production. Factor in the 65 combined tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, and 27 QB hits, and you have a justifiable case to keep Golden around for a few more years.

What would a reasonable contract look like?

If the Giants are interested in extending an offer to the former Cardinal, a three-year, $33 million deal seems reasonable, considering his one season of production. The last time he has contributed more than 2.5 sacks in a season was back in the year of 2016.

However, this all depends on the coaching staff and if James Bettcher will be kept for another season. If the New York Giants transition back to a 4-3 scheme, Golden’s services cannot be depended on. Before finalizing any extensions or considering any free agent signings, the Giants need to solve their coaching issues, starting with head coach Pat Shurmur.

Nonetheless–

Your top news of the day:

Jordan Raanan – Giants LB Markus Golden earns $1 million bonus after stat change

Alexander Wilson – Are the New York Giants preparing to let Nate Solder go in 2020?

Giants.com – Defense gameplans for explosive Eagles’ offense

Steve Serby – Giants can look to Jets for reason to clean house
Art Stapleton – NY Giants: Is this the final countdown on Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman?