New York Giants: Matt Rhule Says Agent Handled Negotiations With Giants

New York Giants considering Matt Rhule for head coach.

Joe Judge came from behind to win the race to become the next  head coach of the New York Giants – in perhaps a quicker resolution than many expected. There was a lot of talk about how the Giants should interview Matt Rhule and consider him as one of the top options for their head coaching job, but that didn’t materialize according to what Rhule has said about taking the Carolina job.

He’s said that Carolina was the only team that he spoke to – they would, of course, win the competition to make Rhule their head coach.

His agent handled the talks with the Giants, who were set to interview Rhule in addition to the Panthers… But the Giants chose not to fight for Rhule and instead went with Joe Judge, who had impressed the front office in his own interview.

Was it the right move to let Rhule go to the Panthers without as much as pushing for an interview, especially with Rhule reportedly having a somewhat favorable stance towards joining the Giants?

That depends on how you look at it, mostly. There is a chance that the Giants will stay in their current spot while the Panthers turn around under the leadership of Rhule, who himself was a popular candidate because of his history turning programs around at the college level, but on the other hand Rhule might not have been what the Giants were looking for in the first place.

It’s important to remember that Rhule still only has a few of experience as the head coach at a major college, and the jump between mid-major colleges and the NFL is huge. In all likelihood, the Giants just preferred the head coaching candidate with a vision that impressed them and more NFL experience to back it up.

That’s not to say that Judge has the best credentials of any candidate himself, coming from the background of a special teams coordinator and transitioning right into being a head coach without coordinating the offense or the defense first, but Judge has earned high praise from two of the greatest head coaches of all time and that’s definitely worth something.

“Joe can probably coach any position on the field. He does an excellent job of teaching players. He thinks quickly and the game comes easy to him. He understands concepts, adjustments and fundamental technique,” Bill Belichick told Patriots Wire.

Nick Saban, the legendary head coach at Alabama, also had similar sentiments. “Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done,” Saban said.

Will the Giants regret not meeting with Rhule face to face and only handling negotiations through his agent? Possibly, but it’s still too early to tell, and there’s no reason to believe right now that the Giants don’t have a bright future ahead of them with Judge. We can only see how both head coaches perform before determining if the Giants “missed out” this offseason.

New York Yankees: Is Aroldis Chapman On Track For A Hall Of Fame Career?

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

It’s no doubt that New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has been one of the best relievers in baseball since his 2010 debut. But, do you think that he could potentially be Hall of Fame worthy?

The Cuban Missile For A Reason

Chapman was given the nickname “Cuban Missile” for a very good reason. He’s of Cuban descent and has the strongest arm in the history of the game, literally. In his rookie season, he set the MLB record with a 105 mph pitch.

He now often only reaches 99 or 100 mph, but he’s learned other ways to be effective with sliders and changeups.

Over his impressive career, Chapman has only had an ERA greater than three just two times; 2011 and 2017. He’s also had five seasons with an ERA of two or less. His career ERA is 2.23 over 550 games with 273 career saves. Chapman has had two seasons with 38 saves and was just one short of that in 2019.

In 2016 with the Cubs, Chapman basically willed them to a World Series ring. The team didn’t have a stellar bullpen, and Chapman pitched time after time for them. He faded late that Postseason due to fatigue. He pitched 15.2 innings throughout October into November.

His career postseason ERA is an impressive 2.45 in 32 appearances. His postseason reputation is just hurt because of the 2016 World Series Game 7 home run he gave up to Rajai Davis, and the home run he allowed to Jose Altuve to end the 2019 ALCS. He’s really been great over his postseason career.

Aroldis Chapman has had a great career so far, but should he deserve a Hall of Fame nomination if he continues this play this well over the latter part of his career?

New York Yankees sign pitcher Nick Tropeano to a Contract

New York Yankees, Nick Tropeano

John Heyman of the MLB Network has reported that the Yankees have signed right-hand pitcher Nick Tropeano to a minor league contract.  He reportedly will be a non-roster invitee to spring training that starts next month in Tampa.

Tropeano has been with the Hoston organization and last year struggled with the Los Angeles Angels.  He went 0-1 in three games, and 13.2 innings pitched and did not fare much better in the minors with Tripple A Salt Lake.  Looking at his history with Houston and his four years with the Angels, he has not shown any sign of shining.

One would wonder why General Manager Cashman would go after him, even for a minor league slot.  But over the years I have mostly learned not to question Cashman, he must see something.

Giants to Introduce Joe Judge as New Head Coach on Thursday

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants officially announced the hiring of Joe Judge as the 19th head coach in franchise history on Wednesday after noon. Judge will be introduced at a press conference at the Coach’s Club in MetLife Stadium at 2pm on Thursday.

The 38 year-old Judge “blew the Giants away” in his interview on Monday and they were smitten with his poise and knowledge. He was chosen over four other candidates: Dallas Cowboys defensive assistant Kris Richard; Eric Bieniemy, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator; Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale and former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, who was named the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday.

“This was the deepest group of quality candidates I can recall, and Joe is as impressive a candidate as I have interviewed,”  said Giants CEO John Mara. “We met with Joe on Monday. We did have some other candidates lined up to speak with, but Joe had established the threshold at that point. He knows what winning looks like and should look like. His exposure and experience in New England and Alabama have helped shape his philosophy of building a winning program and culture. We are thankful that he has accepted the responsibility to lead our team.”

Chairman Steve Tisch met with Judge in Rhode Island this week and was equally won over.

“We had a great conversation, and Joe articulated his vision of leadership and team building. He clearly learned some valuable lessons in both those areas while working with Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. He is an impressive young leader, and as we said last week, he will have the full support of ownership to get us where we want to be.”

Judge, the New England Patriots wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator came highly recommended by the two greatest coaches in college and NFL history – Nick Saban and Bill Belichick – who he spent the last 11 years coaching under.

Judge was chosen by the Giants’ hiring committee which consists of Mara, Tisch, general manager Dave Gettleman and assistant GM Kevin Abrams.

I am humbled and honored,” Judge said in a statement released by the team. “I want to thank John Mara, Steve Tisch, Dave Gettleman and Kevin Abrams for this opportunity. Over the past couple of days we had great conversations about where this team is and where it is headed and how we are going to get there. My job is to lead our players and coaches. The mission is clear, to win games. There is a process to reaching that objective, and we will implement that process and work that process starting today.”

“Joe has prepared for this moment and is ready for the challenge of leading our team,” said Gettleman, the Giants’ general manager. “His beliefs and principles are all about the team. Because of his background with special teams working under Bill Belichick, he has had the experience of evaluating and managing the entire roster. Can’t wait to work with him.”

And we’re off….

Mets, Nationals Will Face Off Twice on National TV in Opening Week of 2020

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets will be the team that Major League Baseball has chosen as the featured opponent of the World Champion Washington Nationals on National broadcasts during the opening week of the 2020 season.

From MLB:

ESPN will provide Opening Day coverage that begins with the defending World Champion Washington Nationals visiting the New York Mets (1:10 p.m. ET), followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers welcoming the San Francisco Giants (4:10 p.m. ET/1:10 p.m. PT), and culminating with the 2019 American League Champion Houston Astros hosting the Los Angeles Angels (7:10 p.m. ET/4:10 p.m. PT). ESPN will broadcast an additional seven games during the first week of the season following traditional Opening Day.

 

FOX will begin its 2020 national coverage on Saturday, March 28th when the Mets host the Nationals at Citi Field at 4:05 p.m. (ET) on FS1, followed by the Atlanta Braves visiting the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field at 8:10 p.m. (ET)/5:10 p.m. (PT). MLB on TBS live game coverage will return on Sunday, July 5th and will continue each Sunday through the end of the regular season.

The Mets will be the home team for the March matchups which will likely feature Jacob deGrom versus Max Scherzer and Noah Syndergaard against Stephen Strasburg.

The Nationals (93-69) finished the 2019 season hot in second place in the NL East four games behind the Atlanta Braves. The Mets were third with an 86-76 record.

Washington qualified for the postseason as a wild card and ran the table, first by defeating Milwaukee in the Wild Card play-in game then defeated the Dodgers in five games before sweeping the Cardinals in the NLCS. In the World Series, the Nats stunned the Houston Astros in seven games, winning the final two games in convincing fashion at Minute Maid Park.

The Mets were also one of the game’s hottest teams down the stretch, playing .639 ball (46-26) after the All-Star break.

 

New York Yankees’ Aaron Boone is ready for Miguel Andujar to make a comeback

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Trade rumors have swirled this offseason regarding third baseman Miguel Andujar, who tore his Labrum last season before making any impact. The New York Yankees were reportedly shopping him to the Brewers in a potential Josh Hader deal, but nothing has materialized as of yet, and the probability has decreased exponentially.

However, Andujar’s value is still sought after, but comments from Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, have indicated he will be with the team to start spring training, which is a positive sign for the young infielder.

Andujar’s value comes in the form of his offense, which was on full display during his rookie season. He posted a .297 BA with 47 doubles and 27 homers — stellar productivity for a rook, and he was expected to be a significant force during the 2019 season, before his season-ending injury.

“We’re just wanting him to get fully healthy and he’s doing really well,” Boone said Tuesday morning, while on SiriusXM’s MLB Network.

“We believe he’s going to be totally healthy as he enters spring training and good to go.”

The New York Yankees need to give Miguel Andujar the proper opportunities:

While Miguel is preparing to make an illustrious comeback, he did take a significant step backward in his progression with the infield. Losing an entire year of development not only hurt his skill-set, but it allowed Gio Urshela to sneak in and steal the hot corner spot with ease.

Urshela had a fantastic 2019 campaign, posting a .314 BA with 21 homers and 74 RBI in 132 games. He had a .889 OPS. His defense is also lightyears better than Andujar’s, which will force the younger of the two to either improve quickly, feature in a designated hitter role, or change positions.

“He’s good to go right now,” Boone said of Andujar. “Feel like he’s at a really good spot physically myself and a couple of our coaches are actually heading down to the DR next week and hopefully he’s one of the guys we’re going to see.

“We’ll get to spend a little bit of time with them and put our eyes on him a little bit and look forward to seeing him back in the fold and part of that (third base) conversation you’re talking about.”

This is excellent news for Andujar, who will be seeking a significant role with the Yankees moving forward. He has a long way to go, though, before overcoming a surging Urshela.

New York Giants ripped by Colin Cowherd after Joe Judge hiring

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants didn’t take the usual route in hiring a new head coach. Instead, they settled for a dark horse candidate after losing out on two experienced options in Ron Rivera and Mike McCarthy, not to mention college-guru, Matt Rhule.

However, the hiring of Joe Judge, who has won three Super Bowls and two National Championships during his career, shouldn’t be overlooked. Judge is an extremely detail-oriented coach with elite preparation skills and disciplinary tactics, gained from his time under Bill Belichick.

While Judge seems to have a stellar resume on paper, it’s yet to be seen if he can handle the workload of being a head coach and the responsibilities that accompany the job.

One critic, Colin Cowherd, ripped the New York Giants for their seemingly rushed move, stating:

“The Giants panicked. This was a bad move to me… A once proud organization that has patted themselves on the back too long.”

Cowherd feels as if the selection was a reach, which is justified after the Giants entered contract negotiations the night before Rhule was expected to interview in New Jersey. Being positive is one thing, but the reality of the situation is confusing, based on the simple fact that Judge wasn’t a primary candidate until his background was exposed after his hiring.

Judge’s success speaks for itself, though, as Belichick played an instrumental role in his hiring by the Giants. A glaring review of the special team’s coordinator and WR coach went a long way, and Cowherd may be right with the panicked selection, but we won’t know until the 2020 season comes along.

New York Yankees: Will the real Gary Sanchez please stand up?

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Hard to believe that this season will mark four years since New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez burst onto scene during the second half of the 2016 season. Sanchez had a historic run in just 53 games where he hit 20 HRs, drove in 42 runs and had a line of .299/.376/.657 (Baseball Reference). He was so good that he still finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting despite playing in less than a third of the entire season. In his first full season where he played 122 games in 2017, Sanchez batted .278, hit 33 HRs, and had 90 RBIs. If it wasn’t for injuries, Sanchez would have had a 40/100 season for the Yankees. His defense needed some work, but he was a bad man when it came to his ability to hit the baseball.

A 2018 To Forget

Since the start of the 2018 season, Gary Sanchez has left a lot to be desired. He had a horrific injury plagued season in 2018 where his line was .186/.291/.406. Sanchez also came under fire in 2018 for his lack of hustle and just appearing to not care. To me, he just appeared to be a player that was going through the motions and he lost all the confidence that he was brimming with back in 2016/2017. His defense regressed having two more passed balls in 25 fewer games caught than the previous season. Fans became frustrated and were losing hope for Sanchez by the time of the 2018 playoffs. That October, Sanchez was able to hit two big home runs and he appeared to look more like himself at the plate. While his postseason average still wasn’t great, his approach gave the Yankee faithful some hope going into 2019, and 2019 definitely saw some improvements from the all star catcher.

A 2019 To Build On

While Sanchez still isn’t peaking, you can definitely see the improvement by watching him in 2019. In 106 games, Sanchez hit 34 HRs, drove in 77 runs, and slashed .232/316/.525. He looked better physically to me and in 12 more games started at catcher compared to 2018, Sanchez had 11 fewer passed balls. You could tell that he put a lot of work in to improve his glove. While Sanchez has yet to show that he is a durable player, he has shown the fire to work hard to improve his weakest areas. You could see flashes last year of the Gary Sanchez that we all saw in 2016, but the consistency just wasn’t there and it really showed in October. After having a decent season at the dish, Sanchez had an abysmal playoff run at the plate. During the ALCS that saw the Yankees lose to the Astros in six games, Sanchez went 3 for 23 while striking out 12 times. Again, Yankees fans were left frustrated and wondering who is the real Gary Sanchez?

The Time is Now

The potential is obviously there and for years now we’ve heard how he’s the best hitter the Yankees have when he’s on. However, we have yet to see Sanchez put everything together into one complete season. As a fan, I want to see at least 120 games caught by Gary Sanchez is 2020. I want to see Sanchez prove that he is more durable, and prove that he’s a better hitter than someone who has an average sitting in the low 200s. 2020 is the best chance the Yankees have had at winning a World Series in a long time, and Gary Sanchez is a key part of that. He needs to show that he can be durable. He needs to show continuous improvement behind the plate like he did in 2019, and he needs to show that he can be a consistent hitter who is going to hit you 35-40 HRs and drive in close to 100 runs. The time for waiting is over, the real Gary Sanchez needs to step-up for the Yankees to reach their ultimate goal in 2020.

Mets Continue to Augment Farm System, Scouting Department

The strength of a baseball franchise is rooted in it’s farm system and scouting department and the New York Mets are going through a transformation in both areas under general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and his assistant, Allard Baird.

They have added a new manager – Reid Brignac – at their Columbia, South Carolina affiliate and brought back their former scouting director Chad McDonald. Brignac replaces Pedro Lopez at Columbia.

“I’m extremely eager to start the next chapter of my baseball career,” said Brignac. “Fans can expect an energetic, competitive team that will hustle, play hard and play the game the right way. At this level, we will help build the character of these young men, both on and off the field.”

Brignac, 33, played for six teams in his nine-year major league career that included a stop with the Yankees that spanned from 2008-2016. He has no managerial experience but that seems to be the trend these days in the business.

McDonald is a big fish the Mets were fortunate to land. He should bolster the scouting ranks immediately.

From Metsmerized:

MacDonald’s first stint with the Mets lasted only one year. He would leave the Mets to become the San Diego Padres vice president/assistant general manager of player personnel. Three years later, he was hired as the Atlanta Braves special assistant to the general manager.

 

During his time with the Braves, the organization has acquired a wealth of impressive young talent including players like Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, and Mike Soroka.

Not a bad resume. You can say what you want about ownership and Van Wagenen but they are brining in top people in areas where it counts. They recently hired Brian Schneider to manage at AAA Syracuse and Lorenzo Bundy will take over at AA Binghamton. This week the team also announced that Ed Blankmeyer will assume the managerial role with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

A 10 Part Breakdown of the Yankees Depth: Part 10, Relief Pitching

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

With the Yankees reporting to Spring Training in about a month, it’s time we wrap this up. While the Yankees will continue to improve their depth at all positions through trades, free agency, and the like, what we have now is probably going to be it coming into Opening Day. So how does our bullpen really look?

Pretty Good Sparky. Pretty… Good

You gotta feel good about Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottavino (even if they’re all under contract). With the maximum of 5 more relievers, the race is truly on to see who has the best bullpen in baseball.

Rounding out our pen is Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Johnathan Loaisiga, Johnathan Holder, Mike King, Stephen Tarpley, and Deivi Garcia to name just eight.

Where the Pen Can Improve

Our starters had a bit of trouble in going deep into games. Let’s look at some of the numbers:

Masahiro Tanaka, in 11 of his 32 games pitched last season, didn’t make it through 6 innings 11 times.

JA Happ, in 21 of his 31 games pitched, couldn’t get through 6 innings, averaging about 5.

In 16 of James Paxton’s 29 games, he couldn’t get out of 6 innings.

13 times out of 27 games, Domingo German couldn’t get through 6 innings.

CC started in 22 games. He couldn’t get through 6 innings 16 times.

In other words, that’s about 332 extra innings the bullpen had to pitch last year. Most guys in the pen the Yankees leaned on were at best one-inning guys.

With the Yankees noted history of treating pitchers with kid gloves (they were talking about shutting down Severino in 2017, shut down Phil Hughes in 2010, and let’s not forget how ineffective Jobba Chamberlain became due to the Jobba rules), they need long relievers. Losing Nestor Cortes Jr., however ineffective he may have been, hurt. But, saving at least one spot in the pen to bring Jordan Montgomery up to speed as a pitcher, or to see just what Deivi Garcia can do, is the best thing for the Yankees this season. They need a long man out of the pen. Almost as badly as they needed Gerrit Cole.