New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge To Pick His Coaching Staff

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants made a somewhat quick and surprising decision recently to hire Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge as their next head coach, amid speculation that the team was going to go for Matt Rhule or a number of other options who have a stronger reputation, but their hiring period isn’t over. The Giants still need to rebuild at the coordinator positions after the last couple of seasons showed just how much bad coordinators can hurt the success of a team.

There’s been some mention of the Giants possibly going for Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator, but there’s also conflicting reports coming out that will make many fans who are firmly in the anti-Garrett camp breathe a sigh of relief. According to Ralph Vacchiano, the Giants didn’t interview Garrett to become the offensive coordinator and Judge will be able to pick his own staff.

Notably, that means the responsibility of finding the right coordinators isn’t going to fall on the shoulders of General Manager Dave Gettleman, which is something of an encouraging sign. This offseason, it was a frequently brought up point that the Giants will have to give more control to the head coach rather than the GM to get a good coach on the market, and it looks like that’s what the organization is doing right now – at least on this matter.

Of course, as an outsider candidate for the head coaching job, Judge doesn’t have as well known a list of preferred candidates for the coordinator positions as some of the others who the Giants were linked to earlier. Who will end up linked to those roles in the coming days? That’s something we’ll all find out soon.

Have the Mets Really Gotten Better This Offseason?

The New York Mets won 86 games last season despite being their own worst enemy. They had the Cy Young Award winner (Jacob deGrom) and the Rookie of the Year in Pete Alonso who also was the MLB leader in home runs, shattering the rookie record in the process.

Their bullpen, to which general manager Brodie Van Wagenen went to great lengths to repair and bolster, did them in, blowing 27 saves. They’ve made some strides to fix that, mainly by believing Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia will have bounce back seasons and signing former Yankees all star Dellin Betances.

But the team has more issues than the bullpen. It has a roster that is lopsided with infielders and has no true centerfielder. My old colleague at SNY, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog spoke to a front office evaluator about if he felt the Mets did enough this offseason to take the team to the next level.

“They’re strong on paper,” a front office talent evaluator told Cerrone. “They do have more question marks than most teams, though, including Pete Alonso. I expect he’ll be fine, but a lot can throw off a second season.”

Another issue for incoming manager Carlos Beltran and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner will be the middle and back of the starting rotation, which was weakened by the loss of Zack Wheeler in free agency.

“Without Wheeler, and not knowing how to project (Rick) Porcello, Noah Syndergaard will dictate a lot of their success,” the same person added. “I’ve always liked Steven Matz, but he can be very hit or miss. I just think Syndergaard tips their scale one way or the other.”

The Mets might have enough offense to get them through the day-to-day with Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis in the lineup but will need steady contributions from veterans Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos. A full season out of Brandon Nimmo would go a long way, too.

But it will ultimately come down to the pitching and the troubled defense, which is the result of favoring offense over defense.

New York Giants: Getting To Know New Head Coach Joe Judge

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants have officially found their head coach. No, they did not land Matt Rhule, as all fans hoped and expected them to. Instead, the Giants went with a much different candidate- Joe Judge from the New England Patriots.

The Joe Judge hiring came as a massive surprise to many fans and reporters alike. Rhule was expected to be the Giants’ top choice, followed by the likes of Josh McDaniels and Eric Bienemy. However, the Giants must not have given out accurate information since it is now being reported that they were working on a deal with Judge last night before even meeting with Matt Rhule (Adam Schefter).

This is a shocking hire. The Giants did have the opportunity to match Matt Rhule’s contract offer, but they declined (Ian Rapoport). Instead, the Giants hired Joe Judge, the New England Patriots special times/wide receivers coach whom they interviewed just yesterday. As one of the lesser-known names in the pool of candidates, Giants fans will need to read up on Joe Judge and get to know the man that is replacing Pat Shurmur.

A Ringing Endorsement From Bill Belichick

According to Tom Rock of Newsday, the Giants did call Bill Belichick about their vacant head coach position. However, they were not calling Bill to lure the 67-year-old legend back to New Jersey. Instead, they were calling for Bill’s opinion on prospective 38-year-old candidate Joe Judge. As Tom Rock states, “Bill gave a glowing recommendation to the Giants on Joe Judge.”

Bill Belichick recognized early on what he had in Joe Judge. He knew that Judge was head coach-material. According to Ian Rapoport, Belichick met with Joe Judge “on a regular basis to go over program-building and what it takes to become a head coach.” Albert Breer points out that Belichick likely had this in mind when increasing Judge’s role and making him the wide receivers coach.

A Top Coordinator

All football fans know that the New England Patriots have been among the top teams in the NFL for the last twenty years. The Patriots accomplish this with strong attention to detail and consistently efficient football in all three phases of the game.

Joe Judge was promoted to be the Patriots’ special teams coordinator in 2015 after serving as a special teams assistant from 2012 to 2014. Since this promotion, New England has had the most consistent special teams unit in the NFL. The unit has ranked in the top ten every year since:

Joe Judge was working two jobs this season, remaining the Patriots’ special teams coach and expanding his priorities as the wide receivers coach. 2019 was Judge’s first year serving as a wide receivers coach. New England’s receiving corps faced much criticism this season, but ultimately, the lack of talent was the reason for the group’s ineptitude.

Regardless of how the Patriots’ wide receivers performed this year, it is still worth noting the amount of time required to work two major coaching jobs. Judge had a huge role in New England, and the Giants’ hiring will leave two holes in the Patriots’ coaching staff.

Learned From And Respected By The Best

Ask your friends: who is the best NFL head coach of all time? They will say, Bill Belichick. Then ask them, who is the best college football head coach of all time? They will say, Nick Saban. Now, what two coaches did Joe Judge learn from? Bill Belichick and Nick Saban.

During his last ten years of coaching under Belichick and Saban, Joe Judge has learned what it takes to be a champion. Judge has won three Super Bowls (XLIX, LI, LIII) and two BCS National Championships (2009, 2011). Being part of two of the greatest coaching staffs in the world, at both the professional and collegiate level, says a lot about the respect that Joe Judge garners.

Judge not only garners the respect of his coaching peers, but he has earned the respect of his players, too. According to Art Stapleton, players in New England “raved about Judge’s attention to detail and his intensity.” This should be music to Giants fans’ ears after they’ve dealt with two head coaches that lacked these traits for the past four years.

But What About His Coaching Staff?

One last thing to note with Joe Judge (and this could be a positive or a negative) is the uncertainty surrounding his coaching staff. It was initially reported that the Giants were considering former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett for their offensive coordinator position. However, that report has been debunked. Joe Judge will get to pick his own staff, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Still, it is hard to make any guesses as to whom Judge might bring onto his staff in other key positions, such as offensive/defensive coordinator and offensive line coach. But for a young and inexperienced first-time head coach, getting the right pieces around him will be crucial.

Joe Judge is a well-respected coach that has learned from the best head coaches in all of football. This is a risky, forward-thinking hiring by the New York Giants, taking a chance on a first-time head coach. But if Joe Judge can successfully install the Patriot Way in New Jersey and get an adequate coaching staff around him, the Giants will reap the rewards of their progressive decision.

Giants Coach Hiring Timeline Becoming Clearer

New York Giants, Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

The timeline behind the New York Giants hiring process of hiring their new head coach, Joe Judge, is finally coming together.

There has been confusion about several aspects. First, did Matt Rhule not come to New Jersey for his interview because he knew the Giants were blown away by Judge? And…did he really ask the Giants to try to match the massive deal the Panthers floated in front of him?

No one has come forward to confirm the authenticity of either rumor but they’re likely close to the truth. Another rumor that was circulating was the one regarding Jason Garrett being discussed as Judge’s offensive coordinator. We now know that was just a rumor.

There were a lot of caveats in hiring Rhule. First off, the Giants would have to pay Baylor, Rhule’s current employer, a buyout fee in the neighborhood of $10 million. Then, there was the issue of Sean Ryan, Rhule’s preferred choice for offensive coordinator. But there’s more, per Rotoworld.

A quick agreement from both sides also entails the 44-year-old has CEO duties, especially since Panthers owner David Tepper has reportedly agreed to help Rhule build a sports science/recovery program similar to the one he created at Baylor. Current Lions QBs coach Sean Ryan was Rhule’s choice for OC last year, so expect the former to jump ship in the coming days.

The Giants are leery about allowing the head coach the full authority to hire his own staff. That may be the reason they hired another first-time head coach. The word is that they will give Judge that authority but it doesn’t fit with the recent way they’ve been operating.

New York Mets: Carlos Beltran unlikely to be suspended for 2017 sign-stealing scandal

New York Mets to interview Carlos Beltran.

The New York Mets’ manager Carlos Beltran is unlikely to face any punishment as a result of the 2017 sign-stealing scandal that MLB is currently investigating in relation to the Houston Astros.

According to reports, players involved will not receive any disciplinary measures. The investigation involving the Astros is approaching its end after several weeks.

The former outfielder was a member of the Astros when they, allegedly, used several methods to steal the catcher’s signs and take advantage of it.

However, as Andy Martino of SNY details, the Mets’ skipper is unlikely receive any form of discipline. People in the organization can rest easy now.

A sigh of relief for the Mets

Suspensions are expected to be announced within the next couple of weeks, according to ESPN. Beltran played the final season of his career in 2017, when the Astros engaged in a high-tech sign stealing scheme.

The accusations include using a camera in center field to decode the signs. Also, staff members used several audio messages to pass the signs along to batters.

As part of the investigation, Major League Baseball performed an interview with Beltran back in November. He was, according to people familiar with the matter, cooperative at all times. It appears that the Mets dodged a bullet.

Since Beltran was a player, no punishment is expected. However, the same isn’t true for Astros General Manager Jeff Lunhow, manager A.J. Hinch and owner Jim Crane.

People within the industry expect heavy fines and long suspensions for all three, although specific numbers are not yet known.

Major League Baseball declined comment for now, but will likely expand on the issue when it announces the disciplinary measures.

The scandal just splashed the Boston Red Sox. The 2018 World Series champions are accused of sign-stealing in their winning campaign, with Alex Cora at the helm. The skipper was also  a bench coach for the Astros in 2017. So far, the New York Mets aren’t involved in any allegations.

New York Yankees: Is Aaron Boone concerned over lack of lefty hitter in batting order?

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The Yankees have more positives than negatives to worry about in 2020. The departure of Dellin Betances poses a threat to the efficiency of the bullpen, but they did manage to have a fantastic 2019 season in his absence, which should alleviate any concern on that front.

The outfield is all but set in stone, with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge returning with a full bill of health. Factor in Aaron Hicks’ injury and there could be some tumultuous times in center field unless Brett Gardner can replicate his productivity in the campaign ahead. Gardner posted career highs in both home runs (28) and RBIs (74). However, the fixing of the juiced baseballs from last season might see his slugging percentage take a dip back to normal levels. His influence is more significant in the leadership department and injury supplementation.

The Yankees could be facing one final challenge:

While a majority of the positional groupings have excellent depth and starting quality players, there’s one remaining concern that manager Aaron Boone has going into spring training — that’s the overwhelming amount of right-handed hitters in the batting order.

MLB’s Bryan Hoch responded to a question regarding the lack of lefty bats in the lineup, stating:

With Gregorius’ departure, the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup projects to be extremely right-handed beyond Gardner and perhaps Mike Tauchman. I asked Aaron Boone about that recently, and he seemed to indicate that they believe they will score plenty of runs even without perfect balance:

Boone stated:

 

 

The New York Rangers Need to Take Advantage of January Home Cooking

New York Rangers

The familiarity and comfort that come with playing at home are significant advantages and the New York Rangers are hoping that a home heavy January schedule can help them get right back into the playoff race. The Blueshirts have six of their remaining eight games at home and after the team’s winless trip to Western Canada, they will need to take advantage of these home games.

This Week: Two at Home, One on the Road

The Rangers start with the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at MSG. The good news for the Rangers is that the Avs are on a road trip of their own, and will have to play back-to-back games as Colorado will play the Islanders Monday night.  However, the Avs are 7-1-1 in their last nine road contests and 9-2-1 in their last 12. Colorado is also 11-2-2 against the Eastern Conference.  Then on Thursday, the Rangers host the New Jersey Devils, who had a three-game winning streak snapped last Saturday by Colorado. The 15-20-6 Devils will host the Islanders on Tuesday night before making their way to MSG. The Rangers finish out the week by taking a trip to meet the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. Realistically, going 2-1 this week would be a nice start to making a playoff push.

Next Stretch Includes Three Games with the Islanders

Before the All-Star break, the Rangers will play three of their four games against the Islanders. Two of these games are home, and one is out on Long Island. The Blueshirts will also host one game with Artemi Panarin’s former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. That means that after a quick trip to the midwest, the Rangers will get stay in the Metropolitan area for the rest of the month.  The first game after the All-Star break is a home game on January 31 against the Detroit Red Wings. The Islanders have also struggled recently, losing 5 of their last seven going 2-4-1. The team that stormed through the season’s first seven weeks, going 16-3-1, has won fewer than half its games (9-8-2) since Nov. 21. A Rangers team that could go 4-1 through that stretch could show the league that they are playoff ready.

New York Yankees news, rumors: Boston Red Sox accused of sign stealing in ’18, Yankees add OF depth, Potential trade candidates on the roster

New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox

To start today’s New York Yankees updates and news post, I figured it’d be best to address some relatively breaking news, and that is that the Boston Red Sox are now being investigated for stealing signs in the 2018 season. Basically, what Houston did, but on a lesser level.

Initially reported by The Athletic, and reconfirmed by a flurry of sources, that Red Sox players would repeatedly visit the replay room to assess signs of opposing pitchers’ and attempting to figure out what pitches correlated to what signs. Now that, is of course, very illegal. This doesn’t bode well for manager Alex Cora, who was also a part of that Houston Astros staff that was accused of sign stealing – to the zillionth degree – the year prior. The replay room for Boston was right next to the dugout, en route to the batting cages, so it was easily accessible, and ultimately, the usage of it was abused and used to give the players – and in turn, the team – a massively unfair advantage. Boston won 108 games that season and posted an MLB best 57-24 home record.

With that being said, apparently, teams were wary of sign stealing come the postseason, and ultimately Boston wasn’t as successful in their attempts to steal signs and utilize it throughout the Winter Classic. However, as Yankees fans, hearing that now BOTH Houston and Boston’s Championship seasons will likely come with an asterisk, is music to our ears. Look for more information in the coming days.

Yankees add OF depth

The Yankees appear to be addressing their worry about outfield depth, as they have brought in former Marlins’ OF’er Rosell Herrera. For more information on Herrera, check out ESM’s William Parlee’s article.

This signing is an interesting one for sure, as the Yankees appear to love to take chances on guys that have yet to make a name for themselves, in hopes that the Yankees staff can work their magic. Previous examples would have to be both Voit and Urshela. While yes, Voit had a solid minor league track record with the Cardinals organization, the Yankees gave him tips and the reps he needed, and now Voit is one of the best hitters on the roster. As previously mentioned in one of my articles, I was led to believe that the Yankees would bring in Maybin, or nobody at all, and it looks like I was mistaken. There’s also reason to believe that Herrera may not even be on the Opening Day roster and that this was a veteran signing to be tossed into AAA and called up if injuries, or poor performances, called for it.

Herrera, over the past two seasons with both Kansas City and Miami, posted an OPS of .602, across 421 PAs. With that, however, his AAA triple-slash – fun to say “triple-A, triple slash” – was .309 / .367 / .479 (good for an OPS of .845). There’s a chance the Yankees can bring out the best in him, but this signing looks more to me like a depth signing, rather than an immediate roster impact one.

Players most likely to be shipped off this offseason

In other news, an article posted by SBNation today discussed the “Most Tradeable Yankees right now,” and I’d like to go through the list, briefly. The names featured were Clint Frazier, either Giovanny Urshela or Miguel Andujar, J.A. Happ, and Deivi Garcia.

It’s no secret that all of those names have been floating around across the course of this offseason, and ultimately Cashman doesn’t seem to be fully finished reassembling the Evil Empire. It’s as if he’s putting together his version of “The Final Order” and plans to destroy all competition this upcoming season fully. With that being said, it’s baseball, and everyone knows that anything can happen in baseball. Nobody could’ve predicted that the Yankees would see 30 separate players off to the IL this past year, but with that, nobody could’ve seen a 104-win season come with it.

With the players listed, I expect Frazier and Happ to be the two most likely to be shipped off – likely in a package together. While I am a big fan of Frazier’s abilities, especially his offensive tools, I understand why the Yankees are shopping him. I don’t believe he has an “attitude problem,” more that he’s just a passionate guy who gets flustered when things don’t work out for him, or when he doesn’t get the reps, he feels he deserves. Mind you, when he came over from Cleveland as part of the Andrew Miller trade, he was a perennial top prospect, and even across limited significant league time, has stepped up big – offensively. Ultimately, everyone’s gripes with Frazier are over his attitude and his lack of defense. I think that with more consistent playtime, and more individual attention, Frazier can develop to be a solid defensive outfielder. Maybe, below average sure, but certainly better than he showed last season.

As for Happ, well, the Yankees are seemingly just waiting for someone to call and say, “We’ll take him,” and then he’ll be off. With that being said, Cashman still knows that Happ has value, and in the off chance he can channel that 2018 season, then that right there could warrant more than a pure salary dump. Add to that the fact that he is still a consistent innings eater, and has that veteran appeal. Not to mention that offloading Happ right now would also mean the Yankees would have to include one of their better prospects – I hope Garcia isn’t the one to be paired.

For Andujar and Urshela, I am one that wants both to be on the Opening Day roster, especially with how great Andujar’s hit tool is. Yes, the defense is a problem, but the idea floating around of moving him to first base long-term, or even a corner outfield role (he does have a cannon for an arm) could benefit him down the road. Keeping his explosive bat and incredible knack for hitting with runners on base; (.280 AVG with 15 HR and 17 2B’s, to go with 80 RBI’s) is a must, in my opinion. Plus, after having missed all of 2019, with that torn labrum, his value is at an all-time low, so why ship him off when he’s lost value due to questions about his form on return from injury? I think Cashman and co know this, which is why he hasn’t been sent anywhere as of today.

Finally, with Garcia, I expect that the only way he is to be traded is for a big-name player – like Josh Hader. As mentioned in a previous article, I don’t think that Garcia should be shipped off for anybody other than Hader, not even Brad Hand, if he were to be made available. The way I view it is, yes prospects are never sure things, and Garcia comes with some worries – mainly about his frame and delivery – but he has all the talent in the world, and showed that he could be one of the most electric arms for the Yankees in the future. I wouldn’t dangle him and ship him off for just any player unless that player is to be a majorly impactful player that can benefit the team long-term – a la Hader.

Keep your eyes peeled for more rumors and updates in the next few days.

 

What do the Yankees do with the Ticking Timebomb in Tanaka’s Elbow?

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka has been a fixture In the New York Yankees rotation since his debut in 2014. He was electric that rookie season, right up until the partial year in his pitching elbow was discovered. Rather than go through a full year of recovering and rehab from Tommy John surgery, Tanaka elected to simply rehab the tear. To this date, Tanaka still has that partial year in his elbow. And this is the final year of his contract. So it begs two very important questions:

First: What Does Tanaka Do?

As it’s been the case since he made his choice, Tanaka’s elbow could go at any minute. The fact that is still the case in the most important season of his career, should worry Tanaka. He went from being the Yankees bonafide ace, to the 3rd or 4th man in the rotation (depending on how you view Paxton’s August through October last year). Based on his postseason record, Tanaka will want ace caliber money, or something akin to what Stephen Strasberg got. With diminishing returns in the regular season each of the last 4 seasons, it’s hard for him to make that claim about his value. Especially if he finally has to get the surgery at some point in 2020.

Next, What do the Yankees Do?

It seems likely that when German’s suspension is over, he’ll slide into the rotation as the 5th starter. Deivi Garcia is poised to crack the starting rotation as a strike throwing machine. Jordan Montgomery, Johnathan Loaisiga and Luis Cesa are also all going to be viable spot start candidates moving forward. In order to build for the future, you sometimes have to dismantle the past, and Tanaka’s presence in the rotation may have to be dismantled moving into 2021.

Remember when the Yankees let David Robertson walk after 2018? Who’d have thought that he’d go down with Tommy John? The Phillies certainly didn’t, but the Yankees look a little smarter as a result. Plus, Tanaka is going to be 31 by seasons end. If the Yankees weren’t prepared to offer Didi Gregorius even a one year deal, being north of 30, with diminishing returns defensively (and offensively), why would they give Tanaka a likely 7 year deal? Especially if he goes down with Tommy John at any point this season?

It’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold with Tanaka. If the Yankees do give Tanaka a new contract, it may be with the caveat of Tanaka HAVING to get Tommy John by his signing. The only thing we can do right now is wait and see.

BREAKING: New York Giants hiring Patriots’ WR coach Joe Judge to be new head coach

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants, in a move of panic, have hired Joe Judge, the wide receiver coach of the New England Patriots to be their head coach moving forward.

According to Adam Schefter, this was a major reason Matt Rhule did not participate in the interview with the Giants, who seemingly stonewalled the Baylor program head before he could even make it to New Jersey.

According to Giants.com:

Judge, who turned 38 last week, has been coaching for 15 years, including the last eight with the New England Patriots. He was the team’s assistant special teams coach for three years and special teams coordinator for four. When Chad O’Shea left the Patriots following the 2018 season to become the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, Judge became the Patriots’ wide receivers coach.

Under Judge’s leadership in 2019, the Patriots finished ninth in the NFL in three significant special teams categories – punt return (8.0-yard average) and punt (6.3) and kickoff coverage (20.9). They were 17th in kickoff returns with an average of 22.1 yards on 26 runbacks.

The Giants will be getting a young coach in Judge, who’s expected to lead the rebuild of the team and establish a winning culture, bred from the Patriots’ ranks. An interesting move, but it could pay off.