Could the Yankees re-unite with free agent Cameron Maybin?

New York Yankees, Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin’s return to the New York Yankees should have been clear-cut, especially after Aaron Hicks was ruled out for the first half of the 2020 season with Tommy John surgery. Maybin, though, has failed to cling on with a new team, and his presence on the market might present the Yankees with a final chance to re-sign the speedy outfielder.

The New York Yankees found a gem in Cameron Maybin last season:

When GM Brian Cashman brought Maybin over from the Indians for $25,000, nobody anticipated he would have such a significant impact. He played 82-games with the bombers, hitting .285 with 11 homers.

Maybin has had a lengthy 13-year career and never had the emotional experience he did with the Yankees in 2019, stating:

“Put it like this,” Maybin said in September. “When you get signed out of high school as a young kid and you dream and you think what professional baseball is going to be like, and as you get into an organization and it’s nothing like that? This is what I thought it would be like, as far as the expectations, the professionalism. This is what you think big-league baseball is going to be like when you’re a youth, when you imagine one day playing in the big leagues, the environment, the atmosphere. This is what you dream about. This is what you expect. You don’t get that everywhere. To have an opportunity to get that this yea is a blessing for me.”

The experience Maybin had with the Bombers is similar for most, and his respect for the organization bled into the quality of his play. That just proves how significant a culture can be to the ultimate success of the players.

“I think everybody here knows how I feel about this organization,” Maybin said in September, “just how much respect for how they carry themselves and the expectations that they put out, that they put on their players, the fans’ expectations, how invested the fans are, how invested the group is, the character of the group.

The Yankees don’t necessarily have a pressing need in the outfield, but Maybin’s return would give them a top-tier base runner and reserve option if they need it. His offensive production has been inconsistent at times, but his defense has always been reliable. His ability to move around the outfield is also a positive for the Yankees, and with the lack of trust in Clint Frazier to not treat reporters poorly, Maybin actually fits the bill quite well.

If Cashman is keen on moving another outfield, including Frazier in a trade would make more sense in this theoretical scenario.

Comment below if you’d like to see Cameron Maybin back in Pinstripes!

New York Jets: Three Offensive Free Agents the Jets Should Sign

New York Jets

The New York Jets offense in 2019 was a total disaster posting historically bad numbers throughout the season. Jets “offensive genius” head coach Adam Gase is likely one bad season away from getting canned so it’s imperative for him to avoid another season like 2019. The Jets need help offensively and with 80 million dollars in cap room maybe they’ll coerce a star to come over to the big apple. There are multiple players the Jets can go after but these three should be the biggest targets for gang green.

Brandon Scherff

Brandon Scherff is most likely going to be a free agent this season and that could not have come at a better time for the Jets. The Jets must back up the brinks truck for this guy. The Jets narrowly missed out on Scherff in the 2015 NFL draft and they would be foolish to miss out on him again five years later. Scherff is a three-time pro bowl guard and he would be a massive upgrade over Brian Winters. Scherff is a versatile player who can play anywhere on the offensive line which is perfect for the Jets because they have issues all over the line. If the Jets want to revamp their offensive line Scherff is the perfect player to start with and they should do whatever it takes to get him.

Jack Conklin

Jack Conklin has been nothing short of a great player in his NFL career. Conklin may not have carried over his success from his rookie year but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a sold player. After being named an all pro his rookie year Conklin’s productiveness fell off a bit, he is a very solid tackle, but he hasn’t been able to regain his dominant rookie performance. Conklin might demand somewhere between 12-16 million dollars annually which is a big risk considering his inconsistency. Conklin is worth looking at especially for the Jets who will most likely have to fill both tackle spots in free agency. At only 25 years old Conklin would be worth the long-term investment and would fill the biggest position of need on the New York Jets.

Amari Cooper

If Amari Cooper hits the market the New York Jets should be all over him. Very rarely do you see stud number 1 wide receivers hit the market but in this case its very possible Cooper hits the market. With the Cowboys still needing to resign Dak Prescott and other key players Amari Cooper might be the odd man out. In 2016 the New York Jets missed out on signing Allen Robinson in free agency, they would be foolish to make the same mistake again four years later. Signing Amari Cooper gives the Jets their first true number one receiver since Santonio Holmes. Amari Cooper would most likely be paid about 19 million dollars annually if he hit the market, but if the Jets feel they need a proven number one receiver then they will have hit the jackpot with Cooper.

New York Giants: How will Jason Garrett run the offense?

New York Giants, Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

Adding offensive experience to the New York Giants‘ coaching staff was essential after the hiring of Joe Judge, who has limited knowledge in the category. Former head coaches Jason Garrett (offensive coordinator) and Freddie Kitchens (tight ends coach), should provide Judge with the experience necessary to re-work the offense and put the unit in the right direction.

According to ESPN, Garrett will aggressively operate the offense:

“First thing we want to be able to do is run the ball,” Judge said recently. “We’re going to run the ball. [Garrett has] done it successfully in Dallas throughout the course of his career. Jason brings with him a lot of experience in a lot of different systems. So, the one thing he’s been able to do is draw from his experience as a player and coach in different systems and really create a player-friendly system that creates multiples within game plans. And that is what I want to build as the base for this team.”

Having Saquon Barkley in the backfield will provide the Giants will ample talent to work with, and Garrett should do a good job incorporating him in the run and pass game. Expect to see a lot of early-down throws and Barkley screens, something Pat Shurmur shied away from in 2019.

“He’s probably more of a stretch guy. I think he struggles when it’s downhill,” an NFL defensive coordinator said of Barkley, per ESPN. “[He] needs gap scheme and stretch stuff. They did that a little bit in Dallas, and kind of always have done that.”

The New York Giants need to help themselves in 2020:

Shurmur tried to force inside zone schemes down Barkley’s throat last season, which ultimately hindered his efficiency. The spry running back is better utilized between the tackles and guards, as well as pitch plays around the edge. Giving him space to make a decision is where he’s lethal. When running inside, Barkley often gets jumbled in a mess and doesn’t follow his blockers well, which suggests a different scheme. Garrett should help in that way.

Also, his influence on Daniel Jones will be significant. Considering his hand in developing Dak Prescott and Tony Romo, Garrett is the perfect teacher for Jones, who’s going into his second year as a professional.

Ranking the Trade Destinations for the New York Ranger’s Chris Krieder

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

As the New York Rangers prepare to resume playing after a break, the trade talks around the NHL are heating up. Leading the way on those talks is the Blueshirts’ own Chris Kreider. On the NHL network Tonight show, Brian Lawton indicated that he believed that the Rangers would trade Kreider because the “return would be so great” and that Kreider’s talent is wanted by a contender because he is the “perfect playoff player”. So assuming that a team makes a great offer for Kreider, let’s rank the teams that could make that offer and benefit from the playoff veteran.

1. Boston Bruins

This would be the hometown boy returns as Kreider is a Massachusetts native. But it would be more than that as Boston would love his big presence on the second line that they have been missing most of this year. The Bruins are also not afraid to make moves at the deadline. Of note, it was last season when general manager Don Sweeney pulled off two trades that ended up helping his team reach the Stanley Cup Final by landing forwards Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild and Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils.

2.  St. Louis Blues

Recently, St. Louis General manager Doug Armstrong says the Blues could be in the market for a top-six forward. Chris Kreider is a top-six forward and he got a little taste of St. Louis during the All-Star game. Time will tell if they are willing to pay the price that others could offer.

3. Colorado Avalanche

Remember the reports out of Denver that mentioned New York Ranger scout sightings at Avs games? As a contender, Colorado would love to have the playoff experience on their top-six.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins

Despite Bob McKenzie saying otherwise, they get this nod due to the injury status of Jake Guentzel, who will be out for four-to-six months after having surgery on his shoulder that he injured in late December. Pittsburgh has indicated that they are looking to find a top-six forward to bolster their playoff run, and Kreider would easily fit the bill. Having a key injury puts a team in a little more desperate state than a team looking just to bolster their roster.

5. Western Canada

Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton could all use Kreider, However, there were some rumblings during the all-star break that Kreider wasn’t really wild about heading out in that direction. These also may be the teams that he has listed in his limited no-trade clause.

6. New York Rangers

Wait…What? It is still possible that the Blueshirts re-sign him. Fellow competitors in the All-Star game have mentioned that Kreider told them about how much he loves playing in New York.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

The Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning could have an interest as well, even if it is to keep Kreider away from fellow Eastern Division rivals. He would very much complete these teams for the playoffs.

Could the New York Mets add Mookie Betts via free agency after the season?

New York Mets

Mookie Betts, the Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder, will earn $27 million in 2020. It will be his third and final year of salary arbitration. After the 2020 season ends, he will become a free agent and that’s the route he wants to navigate. He has expressed little interest in a contract extension. What do the New York Mets have to do with all of this? Let’s explain the situation.

The Red Sox, in their attempt to cut payroll, are trying to trade Betts. Conversations with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres about a deal are reportedly heating up.

The thing is that any team that acquires Betts this season via trade may not sign him to an extension. Again, the formidable outfielder wants to test the free agent waters in the winter. That’s why Boston hasn’t been able to swing a deal: there are differences in valuation between the parties. No team would want to give up the farm for one year of a player, no matter how good he is. He might be traded anyway, but he will still likely enter free agency.

Would the numbers work for the Mets?

And, since Betts is slated to enter the market after this season, the New York Mets may be a desirable destination for him. Would there be interest in Queens? It is, clearly, too early to know for sure.

The Texas Rangers have a clear opening and more payroll flexibility to go after Betts in the winter. The Dodgers are a natural fit, as are the Padres. The Red Sox could trade him and still re-sign him before the 2021 season.

It is an unlikely scenario for him to join the Mets, since they already have a mammoth contract for several more years: Robinson Cano will earn $24 million each of the next four seasons. Jacob deGrom is also on the books for a $23 million salary in 2020, then he will earn $33.5 million in 2021 and 2022 and $30.5 in 2023, with a 2024 club option for $32.5 million.

There will be arbitration raises to consider, as well. But it could be possible. It shouldn’t be completely dismissed.

The good thing is that the Mets will have some salary off the books after this season. Jed Lowrie’s $11.5 million will be up after the season, as will Yoenis Cespedes’ complicated contract ($6 million, $11 million if he makes the opening day roster and several escalators and bonuses.) Jake Marisnick will also be a free agent, as will Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Justin Wilson and Michael Wacha.

Performance-wise, there is no question that Betts would fit in like a glove with the Mets. He could play center field and fill it to perfection. His .301/.374/.519 sums up all of his offensive traits: a contact hitter with power and patience. He has MVP pedigree, he is an elite fielder, he is a winner, and he is a highly competitive athlete that excells at multiple sports. Although it’s not a given, Betts could age gracefully and is among the best candidates for a long-term investment.

The New York Mets should, at the very least, entertain the possibility.

Mets and Yankees Fans Should Be Pleased with MLB The Show

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

It’s peculiar to realize that it’s been 20 years since the Mets and Yankees met in the World Series. The Yankees are trending as one of the top teams to beat in the American League, and the Mets are posed to make it back to the playoffs with much more believable prospects at a Wild Card berth. And as we saw from the Mets in 2015, ANYTHING can happen when you get in.

But, now, similar to the way Madden projects who’s going to win the Super Bowl, MLB The Show thinks a new Subway Series is well within the cards.

MLB The Show Predicts Mets and Yankees as World Series Favorites

Both teams are projected as winning 91 or more games. The game picked one champion for each division. The sole exception being the NL East, as the game predicted the Mets AND Braves will both win 91 or more games. The other teams the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, LA Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. There is no Wild Card contender predicted in the American League.

Now, basing anything on the projections of a video game is… well, silly. But, thinking back to Madden, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they are right about something. Madden predicted 10 out of 16 Super Bowl results since 2004. And as predicting division winners isn’t the same as predicting the World Series winner, 4 of the 7 teams predicted as playoff contenders for 2020, did make it to the Championship Series for each respective league last season.

New York Rangers Brass Keeping Their Poker Faces On as Trade Deadline Nears

New York Rangers

The New York Ranger’s management team appears to heed the words of the legendary Kenny Rogers song The Gambler which includes the lyrics “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to walk away.” With the NHL trade deadline approaching on Feb. 24, the Rangers have been very patient when it comes to whether to trade or keep many of their pending free agents. Sitting in their hand right now, ready to be dealt or held, are these five players: Chris Kreider, Alexandar Georgiev, Jesper Fast, Ryan Strome, and Tony DeAngelo.

The New York Rangers have an Ace in Chris Kreider

Insiders are referring to this trade season as a “buyer’s market”, meaning that teams wanting players may not have to give up as much with many teams looking to move players. However, these insiders are also stating that Kreider may be the exception to this, as his skillset and playoff experience has had many Stanley Cup contenders taking a good look at him. There is also some speculation that the Rangers may still want to sign him. All of this makes Kreider their most valuable trade chip.

Rangers’ top brass have been very patient with Georgiev

Alexandar Georgiev has been the goaltender that most thought would be traded after Igor Shesterkin was called up in early January. However, the Rangers did not panic and trade Georgiev for nothing despite the increased media and social media coverage that they have endured about their three goalie situation. The Rangers are holding out for what they perceive as value and will not move him until they get what they want.

Jesper Fast’s fate seems tied to Kreider

In this market, it seems that if Kreiders stays, Fast will go. If Kreider gets traded, the Rangers will probably try to keep and re-sign the forward.  It does not appear that the Rangers can keep both and stay under the salary cap next year.

The Restricted Free-Agent Conundrum

We detailed Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome’s issues for the Blueshirts in a previous article, so we won’t go into a lot of detail. However, it seems that DeAngelo may be the most likely to go as there seem to be more teams looking for defensive help, and the Rangers have quite a few capable defensive prospects in their system. The other RFA that we did not talk about much is Brendan Lemieux, but because he is a bit cap friendly in a position where the Rangers are not all that deep, he is not likely to move.

The New York Rangers have a few Wildcards

Brendan Smith ($4.35 million) and Pavel Buchnevich ($3.25 million) have been mentioned so the Rangers could free up valuable cap space. Brady Skjei is also a possibility, again as cap help and that there appear to be more teams looking for blueline help. Finally, the Rangers still have the Lias Andersson mess to deal with, and a trade deal either by himself or with one of the above players could put that to an end. The Rangers have many cards to play and February will be a busy month for Rangers management.

 

Yankees News/Rumors: Where are the left-hand bats? Cameron Maybin, and Bill White on Phil Rizutto!

New York Yankees, Cameron Maybin

A daily look at New York Yankee News and Rumors of interest to Yankee fans.

Where are the left-hand bats?

Nitpicking the Yankees:  After 103 wins last year and the return of a healthy staff for spring training, it’s hard to find any significant flaws in the New York Yankees.  Last year’s deficiency of not having a true ace in the rotation has been solved with the acquisition of Gerrit Cole.  In the infield, the Yankees have two players available for all positions, except for 2nd base operated by Silver Slugger DJ LaMahieu, who was one of only two not to go on the IL last year.  Even with Aaron Hicks on the IL to start the season, the Yankees have the outfield covered.  So, where is the flaw?  Possibly that flaw lies in one of the most potent lineups in all of baseball.  Assuming that left-hand hitter’s Mike Ford and Mike Tauchman are not in the lineup, that leaves only Brett Gardner hitting from the left side of the plate.

Traditionally legendary Yankees have taken advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium.  To maximize that result, you need left-hand hitters behind the plate.  Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Tino Martinez, Mark Teixeira, and last year’s Didi Gregorius were all left hand or switch hitters.

With Gregorius gone to the Phillies, the Yankees are heavily right-handed, making it more challenging to take advantage of that short porch in right, making it easier for opposing managers when they select pitchers.  Switch-hitting Francisco Lindor is the only player that can hit from the left side and is the single-player the Yankees actively pursued, and that is dead for the most part.  It looks as though the Yankees will have to deal with the heavy right-handed lineup and use Ford and Tauchman to pinch-hit where needed to break up the lineup. Sometime in August, the left hitting Aaron Hicks will return to help alleviate the situation.   If the Yankees don’t take Cameron Maybin, a dark horse right fielder free agent out there is the former Yankee switch hitter Melky Cabrera who batted .280 last year with the Pirates.

Will Cameron Maybin be a Yankee?

Cameron Maybin stepped up to the plate for the Yankees in 82 regular-season games last year and hit .285 with eleven home runs while manning the outfield as the Yankees suffered unprecedented injuries throughout the lineup.  If you recall Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge were all off the field for a time last year.

At the end of the season, when Maybin became a free agent, he made it clear that he wanted to remain a Yankee.   That offer never came from the Yankee front office.  In a statement, Maybin explained why he wanted to stay a Yankee:

“Put it like this,” Maybin said in September. “When you get signed out of high school as a young kid and you dream and, you think what professional baseball is going to be like, and as you get into an organization and it’s nothing like that? This is what I thought it would be like, as far as the expectations, the professionalism. This is what you think big-league baseball is going to be like when you’re a youth when you imagine one day playing in the big leagues, the environment, the atmosphere. This is what you dream about. This is what you expect. You don’t get that everywhere. To have an opportunity to get that this year is a blessing for me.”

Months have passed, and Maybin is still a free agent. General Manager Cashman did contact his agent early in the postseason, but nothing has been heard of regarding any movement since then.  In another statement, he said:

“Yeah, I think it’s a no-brainer that this is somewhere that I would want to be in the future. But I’ve been around this game long enough to know how it works. You’ve got prospects, you’ve got other free agent moves. Again, I’ve done it for a while. I don’t really put any expectations going forward on free agency. But do I think this is by far the best organization I’ve ever been a part of? Absolutely. Without question.”

Maybin has undoubtedly made it known to fans and the Yankee management where he would like play.  Now there are reports from John Heyman of the MLB Network that the Pirates are considering Maybin as well as other outfielders to fill their void.  The Yankees have a situation of having a full, healthy outfield to start the year with the signing of Brett Gardner.   The question is who will act first, the Yankees, the Pirates, or some other team.  Maybin is a valuable asset to any organization, even as a bench player.  Only time will tell if Cameron Maybin is again a Yankee.

Bill White on Phil Rizutto:

Bill White was a first baseman for the Giants, Cardinals, and the Phillies.  While still playing, he got a radio program, and following his retirement, he became a Yankee broadcaster.  He was the very first black major league broadcaster.  He broadcast with a team of he, Frank Messer, and most often with Yankee shortstop legend Phil Rizutto.  Yankee fans remember well Rizutto as a player and broadcaster.

The team of White and Rizutto lasted for seventeen years.  On a broadcast on WPIX, White remembered Rizutto, who died back in 2007.  He said that Rizutto was a great storyteller and quite a character.  At times he would leave the booth and return with a dozen cannoli.  White said he appreciated his honesty, openness, and his vast knowledge of the game.  His storytelling came in very handy during rain delays as he could talk about the game and baseball in general for as long as necessary.  Today when rain delays a game, the YES network goes back to the studio.  Back then (1971-1988), there were just the booth announcers to entertain viewers.  White said that Phil’s love of the game came through in every broadcast.  His distinctive voice was known to fans without actually seeing him.  Fans know different broadcasters’ typical phrases, but none was more unique than that of Phil Rizutto.  On any great play or significant happening during a game, including home runs, Phil would say “Holy Cow.”  White is 85 and living in Lakewood, Florida.

 

The New York Knicks should move on from Marcus Morris after this season

The New York Knicks are going to get offers for Marcus Morris ahead of next Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.  However, Morris was on record saying that he wants to be in New York for the “long haul.”  He wants to help the younger players develop but that has gone by the waist-side.

While that is nice to hear, the 30-year-old shouldn’t be in the future plans for the Knicks.  According to SNY’s Ian Begley, Morris and the Knicks might have a mutual interest in reaching a agreement in free agency this summer.

The front office is going to have to think long and hard about that one.  Morris is currently on a one-year deal worth 15 million.  He’s currently having his best offensive season of his career for the Knicks.  Morris is averaging a career-high 19.2 points and 3-point percentage of .439.

While Morris has been a leader, of some sort, he’ll be coming off his best year as a professional.  Therefore, he’ll want a decent size contract.  The Knicks will have some money to throw around but maybe not for an aging small forward.

If we’re being totally honest, Morris hasn’t been the best of leaders.  He’s an isolation player on offense and is third the league in technical fouls with 10.  That’s not exactly what the Knicks envisioned when they swiped him from the Spurs this off-season.

The best thing for the New York Knicks to do is either trade Morris for picks or young assets or simply let him go else where in free agency.  Things haven’t panned out for the New York Knicks like they were suppose to.

Morris has not been the leader like we all thought.  Players have bad body language and they continue to lose games.  He’ll turn 31-year this September and Morris will take away playing time from the younger players.  It’s best for both sides to just go their separate ways after this season, even if we all love Mook, it just hasn’t panned out.

New York Giants add defensive line coach Sean Spencer to coaching staff

New York Giants, Sean Spencer

The New York Giants have reportedly dipped into the college ranks to fill their vacant defensive line coaching vacancy.  The Centre Daily Times out of State College, Pennsylvania, is reporting that Penn State assistant head coach and defensive line coach, Sean Spencer, will be joining Joe Judge and the Giants.

What to know about Sean Spencer

Sean Spencer, nicknamed “Coach Chaos,” is a native of Hartford, Connecticut, where he played high school football with former NFL head coach Eric Mangini.   He has been with Penn State since 2014, following current Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin from Vanderbilt.  With Penn State, Spencer led the defensive line he deemed the “Wild Dogs,” to some very impressive seasons.

Deemed the “Wild Dogs,” the Nittany Lions defensive line has been one of the best units in college football since Spencer’s arrival.  In 2014, out of more than 120 qualifying teams, PSU finished third in the country in rushing defense (100.5) and second in total defense (278.7).  Spencer helped current San Francisco 49er Anthony Zettel record a first-team All-Big Ten season.

During the 2015 season, Penn State’s defensive line led college football in sacks per game (3.5), were sixth in tackles for loss  (8.2), and 14th in total defense (324.5).  This helped walk-on Carl Nassib break a single season PSU record for total sacks (15.5) and receive four defensive awards on the season.

The Wild Dogs didn’t stop there.  In 2016, the team finished seventh in the nation in tackles for loss (8.1) and 19th in sacks per game (2.86) on their way to a Big Ten Title.  During the 2017 season, the defense was 17th in total defense and seventh in team sacks with 42.  In the 2018 season, the defensive line led the country in sacks per game with 3.62 and was fourth in tackles for loss with 8.2 per game.

This most recent season, Spencer helped do it again, with Penn State having a top-five rushing defense and seventh in sacks per game with 3.46.

Moral of the story.  Coach Sean “Chaos” Spencer will get the most out of the Giants’ defensive line.