The New York Giants Have A Nate Solder Contract Problem

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants have signed some good free agents and some bad ones but one player that isn’t going to go down in the books as being worthwhile without a massive turnaround is Nate Solder. Soldier joined from the Patriots but like a number of other players that the Patriots have moved on from, Solder turned out to be past his prime and it showed immediately after he took over the left tackle spot.

Solder was, in fact, signed to help protect new quarterback Daniel Jones, but ended up putting Jones in just as much danger of being hit as his predecessors did through poor play this season… As if that fact wasn’t bad enough, Solder wasn’t even on the field all of the year, missing time with injury and further making it seem like the Giants spent too much to acquire him in the first place.

Out of the veteran signings that General Manager Dave Gettleman has made, this is perhaps the one that stands out the most as paying too much for a player that hasn’t panned out. And for those reasons, Solder was named as the team’s worst contract by Bleacher Report recently.

Solder is the only player on the Giants’ payroll slated to make more than $12.5 million per year, and his backloaded contract is a problem. He’ll count $19.5 million against the cap in 2020 and $20.5 million in 2021—both of which are high-water marks at left tackle.

 

There’s no way the rebuilding Giants can pay that kind of money for a player who appears to be running out of gas and wasn’t even a Pro Bowler when his tank was full. And they probably won’t, but it’d still cost them $13 million to move on this offseason or $6.5 million to part ways in a year.

Of course, there’s still some time for Solder to turn things around – which given the amount of money the Giants will owe him over the next few years, all fans will be hoping for. He may end up switching positions, but it still remains to be seen how much help that would do in the long run with Solder getting older each year and already seemingly having fallen off.

Despite the bad Solder deal, the Giants still have more cap space to spend this year than they did in the past few, giving some hope for a rebuild of the offensive line into a lineup that is actually competent. But one can only hope that the Giants haven’t learned, and that they invest in players that can win now rather than players approaching the tail end of their career.

Former Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur Headed to Denver as OC

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

It didn’t take former New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur very long to land on his feet. Just two weeks after being dismissed by the Giants, Shurmur appears to be headed to Denver to become the Broncos’ new offensive coordinator.

Shurmur will join Vic Fangio’s staff in Denver where Drew Lock is the quarterback. Before last year’s draft, Shurmur did not attend Lock’s pro day at Missouri last spring, sending offensive coordinator Mike Shula instead while he attended West Virginia QB Will Grier’s pro day.

Lock met with Shurmur the next week in New Jersey at the Giants’ facility but the Giants would pass on Lock – and every other quarterback on the board in favor of Daniel Jones, who they drafted with the sixth overall pick.

Shurmur is responsible for developing several quarterbacks in his long career as an assistant – Nick Foles, Case Keenum and Jones to name a few.

BREAKING: New York Giants hire defensive coordinator

New York Giants, Patrick Graham

The New York Giants asked for permission to interview Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. One day later, they hired Graham to be the defensive coordinator under new head coach, Joe Judge.

Who is Patrick Graham, and what does he offer the New York Giants?

The 40-year-old Graham has a history with the G-Men, as well as Joe Judge, spending time with the New York Giants under Ben McAdoo as the defensive line coach.  For four seasons, Graham and Judge worked together under Bill Belichick with the Patriots.  The Yale graduate has a history coaching the defensive line and linebackers in New England, with the Giants and a short stint with the Packers before the move to Miami.

What is slightly concerning, however, is that the Dolphins defense was actually worse. Although they did show some promise down the stretch, Miami ranked 30th in total yards against and dead last in points given up per game. Miami also struggled to force turnovers against opposing offenses.

It seems all too important for Joe Judge and the Giants’ brass to hit it out of the park with the next man to lead their defense. Despite the memorable victory over the Pats at the end of the season, is this the answer to the New York Giants’ defensive struggles?

With Miami, Graham implemented a multiple look defense, often bouncing between the 4-3 and 3-4 looks.  The current personnel for the Giants may favor a more 3-4 base, but having versatility has been a theme since the hiring of Joe Judge.

One note of intrigue may be how a potential multiple look defense would benefit Leonard Williams, assuming his return. Williams has the ability to play all over the defensive line, which may help his production.  Which, in turn, would make that trade of the 3rd round pick a little less painful.

New York Yankees Lose Their Lefty Specialist

The New York Yankees announced on Saturday that they have officially signed Brett Gardner to his new contract. They also announced that they were DFA’ing reliever Stephen Tarpley. The move was a bit surprising, but not completely unexpected.

Tarpley bounced around a bit between AAA and the MLB due to his ineffectiveness against righties the past two seasons. He was one of the best lefty on lefty pitchers in baseball.

Lefties had just a .164 average against Tarpley, while righties had a .378 average against him. He was giving up hits to almost 2/5 of righties, which can’t happen.

With the new three batter minimum rule, it makes guys like Tarpley have trouble finding a job. The likelihood of three lefties appearing in a row are very slim, and it doesn’t leave him a spot in the bullpen because of the three batter minimum. Without this rule, he would have a job pretty easily.

Since the Yankees are only DFA’ing him, there is still a chance that he could remain with the organization. Other teams may not want to bite on a lefty specialist, giving the Yankees that chance to retain him.

If the Yankees do indeed keep him, they will likely sign him to a minor league deal and give him an invite to Spring Training. He could develop his skills against righties and learn new pitches, and if he shows progress in AAA then the team could reconsider him for the 40-man roster.

The Yankees are still pursuing Josh Hader in a trade, and he’d take Tarpley’s spot if acquired. He’s a lefty as well, but can retire batters on both sides of the plate.

 

New York Rangers Still Have Many Positives Despite Loss to Blues

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

The New York Rangers and their fans can still look at the team and find many good things about the way the team has been playing. On Saturday night, the Rangers lost 5-2 to the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. Despite some turnovers and shaky defense, the Blueshirts did finish the week 2-1, which is about what many had realistically hoped for since losing to a first-place team that had won their last seven games in a row at home should not be totally unexpected.

The Young New York Rangers are Doing Many Things Well

So the reality that a lot of the fans and media will take is that because of last night’s loss, the Rangers “took a step backward,” or that the Rangers “stink” is just not based in reality. Right now, the Blues are just a better team than the Rangers. The Blues are probably just better than all of the teams in the NHL. So instead of pandering to the haters and Debby Downers, let’s take a look at some of the things that the Rangers have been doing well in recent games.

Artemi Panarin is good, but just how good has he been? Since Dec. 11, Panarin leads the NHL in points with 24. Entering last night’s game, he leads the NHL in even-strength points (47), even strength assists (29), 5-on-5 points (40), and 5-on-5 assists (26) this season. When he tallied his 60th point on Thursday, he became the first player in franchise history who has recorded 60 or more points in his first 43 career games with the Rangers.  And finally, per NHL Stats and Information, when Panarin tallied his 59th point earlier in the week, he became tied for the most by a Ranger in his first 43 career games with the team.  He was tied with Wayne Gretzky, who was a pretty decent player in his time.

But enough about Panarin. The younger Blueshirts are playing well. According to our friends at NHL Stats and Information, the Rangers lead the NHL in goals by players 21 years old or younger with 28 and points by players 21 years old or younger with 78. The includes players like Filip Chytil, who has tallied 11 goals this season in 35 games.  This matches his total from last season in 75 games. He ranks third among NHL players 20 years old or younger in goals this season.

Even in last night’s loss, the Rangers’ two goals had been recorded by a player 21 years old or younger. In addition, Rangers’ players 21 years old or younger have recorded four of the team’s five points in that game (Chytil – two; Howden – one; Lindgren – one). Twenty-one-year-old Brett Howden has tallied six goals this season in 44 games, matching his total from the 66 games he played last season. There is a lot more, but you get the point. This is a good and improving young team, even if it may not be playoff ready.  In reality, the only stinky, disappointing, and crushing loss last night happened in Baltimore.

 

New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier both trade deadline candidates?

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees considered trading third baseman Miguel Andujar in a package deal for relief pitching Josh Hader a few weeks ago. Still, nothing materialized, and the young infielder remains with the team.

After suffering a torn Labrum in 2019, Andujar’s value took a tumble, but his stellar rookie season in 2018 has justified the promise he represents. A .297 batting average with 27 homers and 47 doubles makes him a bounce-back candidate for the season ahead, and he hasn’t taken a moment off from refining his abilities and preparing for the regular season.

A recent clip of him working out not only shows how much bigger/stronger he’s gotten, but also a new fielding technique that doesn’t include a double-clutch.

An improved Andujar should provide competition at third base with Gio Urshela, but the Yankees’ starting option in 2019 will get the first crack at the job to start the regular season. Andujar will likely feature in a designated hitter role or rotational hand at the hot corner, but his value will predominantly be offensive.

If Miggy can return to his previous offensive form, his value could be a commodity at the trade deadline. The Yankees could have positions of weakness they need to support, and they will have the ammo to solve them.

Aside from Andujar, the Bombers also have Clint Frazier, who’s projected as the No. 5 outfielder until Aaron Hicks returns from Tommy John surgery. Frazier, who struggled defensively last season, posted adequate offensive totals. Boasting a .268 BA with 12 homers and 38 RBIs, Frazier could be of value in a trade as well. It will be difficult for him to earn playing time unless he stands out during spring training. After losing favor with the Yankees brass after a terrible defensive outing against the Red Sox last season, his impact on the team quickly deteriorated.

If Frazier cannot help himself moving forward, I expect to see him on the trade block as soon as this offseason.

Mets ink former Yankees RHP prospect Yefry Ramirez

The New York Mets have reportedly signed former New York Yankees pitching prospect Yefry Ramirez to a minor league deal.

The 26 year-old righthander is nothing to get excited about and his prospects of getting back to the majors is something the Mets will leave in the very capable hands of their roving minor league pitching coordinator Phil Regan.

Per Metsmerized Online:

 Ramirez, 26, made 13 major league appearances (one start) in 2019 split between the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. In that span, the right-hander had a 7.40 ERA, 5.60 FIP, and 1.890 WHIP with 10.0 K/9 as compared to 5.9 BB/9. In 19 minor league appearances (nine starts), Ramirez registered a 4.14 ERA, 1.444 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, and 5.4 BB/9.

You can never have enough arms and the signing likely comes via a suggestion from Regan, who served as the Mets’ pitching coach last season after Dave Eiland was fired in June. Ramirez could be one of those later bloomers that rises up through the organization. Right now, the Mets are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to finding possible solutions in their bullpen.

Yankees news, rumors: Deivi Garcia development, Yankees likely staying put in trade market

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees have already lured in the biggest name on their offseason board, so what’s the point of continuing onward this offseason regarding potential trades or signings? They have a quality starting infield, led by DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, and Gio Urshela, and their outfield is stocked full of talent.

The only concern remains depth in the infield, backup catcher, and the bullpen, which isn’t as much of a concern as it is a reinforcing after the departure of Dellin Betances. The reality is, the Yankees are in no rush to bring in another big-name payer and further push the luxury tax threshold.

Rumors of Josh Hader coming to the Bronx in a trade have died down, despite Brewers’ blog websites reviewing Miguel Andujar as a trade target:

Brewcrewball.com:

Based on comments made by David Stearns, the Milwaukee Brewers are likely not done trying to improve the team via player acquisition. Evidently the feeling is to get an impact player, a trade is necessary.

Obviously Andujar’s primary position is third base. Milwaukee just signed Jedd Gyorko to platoon with Eric Sogard to fill the void at third base. Even with those acquisitions, one has to imagine that David Stearns remains open to something bigger. With that in mind, a trade for Miguel Andujar makes sense.

I don’t believe the Yankees are keen on selling low on Andujar, especially after suffering a torn Labrum last season. He has returned looking bigger and stronger, sporting a new fielding technique that doesn’t include his usual double-clutch. Keeping him around should be an easy decision, as injecting more value into his stock through at-bats would give the Bombers leverage at the trade deadline later on in the year.

Deivi Garcia is developing with the Yankees:

MLB Pipeline reported that the 2019 Futures Game held a lot of importance to Garcia, who learned a lot from his experience, stating:

“That game was really important. It was a game in which I felt very comfortable. I felt like I did, in fact, have the potential to be a good player that filled me with enthusiasm to keep moving forward,” Garcia told MLB Pipeline.

Garcia will likely spend the 2020 season in Triple-A ball, maybe getting the call up against lesser teams to test his abilities at the top level. However, his lack of stature has presented issues in the past regarding potential, but his pitch speed hasn’t been a cautionary factor. Hopefully, he can prove his worth when he’s eventually called up by the Yankees.

Check out yesterday’s news/rumors here!

New York Giants: Why we should love Joe Judge’s approach

New York Giants, Joe Judge

When the New York Giants unofficially named Joe Judge their head coach, the consensus was that they rushed the decision and were only firing back at the Carolina Panthers for hiring Matt Rhule. However, Judge impressed in his opening press conference, detailing his approach and why toughness is one of the most critical factors on a football team.

Aside from toughness, Judge indicated his evaluation process would be thorough and detailed. Every player would be looked at as a multi-positional player, filling in on the punt team if they were called upon. His approach reminds me of a younger Tom Coughlin — no-nonsense, disciplined, and ready to extract the best out of every individual.

In an interview with the NY POST, Judge stated:

Q: What makes a good leader?
A: Someone who’s willing to put their own personal motives aside and do what’s best for the team and work as hard as they can.

Q: Why do you think you can get to know what makes each player tick?
A: Well, first off it’s the willingness to invest time with a person and develop a relationship to understand what makes him tick, and I think I’m very committed to finding out about the players I’m gonna coach, to know inside what motivates ’em.

Q: Do you have a lot of rules?
A: We’ll have rules and structure, I’m not gonna expand on all those right now. But we’ll have parameters in place that the team will know that they can operate under, and all with the mission of keeping us on the same path.

The New York Giants have a true leader in Joe Judge:

Specifically, Judge’s focus on establishing a culture and fundamentalistic approach towards winning make him a great coaching candidate. He also stated in the interview that anything that deters the team from winning will not be tolerated, and his rules/structure will strictly reinforce that reality.

So far, I like the way he speaks and how serious he is about keeping his players in line and progressing. His desire to learn the ins and outs of each player is a major positive.

The New York Mets should capitalize on their contention window

The moment is now. The New York Mets are ready to compete. Their contention window is wide open, as they have a competitive roster in place and a core to build around in the next few years.

They have a team strong enough to compete in the NL East, and while the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals look very good (so do the Philadelphia Phillies, for that matter) the Mets will be fighting for a rotation spot.

Last season, despite its bittersweet ending, helped the team consolidate Jeff McNeil, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Amed Rosario as key contributors. 2019 also saw the breakouts of JD Davis, Dominic Smith and, of course, Pete Alonso. Those three are very important for the Mets’ future, as they are all cheap and controllable.

Despite the Mets missing the playoffs, they proved they could succeed with last year’s roster, which is similar to the one in place for 2020. They had an amazing second half, powered by a 46-26 record.

The Mets needed a few lucky breaks with trades. Despite the Edwin Diaz-Robinson Cano deal not working so far, they acquired a cheap, valuable asset in Davis. They also needed homegrown talent, and they can brag about developing Alonso, Smith and McNeil, not to mention Michael Conforto, Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Matz, Seth Lugo, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

Additionally, both Cano and Diaz (especially the latter) hold significant bounceback potential for 2020.

The benefit of developing their own players is that they will be relatively cheap for six years, which is when they enter free agency. That provides the front office with flexibility at the time of going to the open market to improve a specific area.

The New York Mets’ core

There is a strong foundation to be competitive for at least the next two or three years. And when the moment comes that the team loses one or two key players in free agency, they are supposed to have the payroll flexibility to go after a capable replacement.

Brodie Van Wagenen has the task of making the right adjustments and moves to keep the team in the hunt. He needs to do that with an eye in the future, as well. It is a difficult job, but the Mets need to capitalize on their current contention window.

Here is the roster state, as far as free agency and team control goes:

Free agents after this season:

  • Yoenis Cespedes
  • Jed Lowrie
  • Marcus Stroman
  • Rick Porcello
  • Michael Wacha
  • Justin Wilson
  • Jake Marisnick

Free agents after the 2021 season:

  • Jeurys Familia
  • Wilson Ramos
  • Dellin Betances (club option)
  • Noah Syndergaard
  • Michael Conforto
  • Steven Matz
  • Brad Brach

Free agents after the 2022 season:

  • Edwin Diaz
  • Brandon Nimmo
  • Seth Lugo
  • Robert Gsellman

Free agents after the 2023 season:

  • Robinson Cano
  • Amed Rosario

Free agents after the 2024 season:

  • Jeff McNeil
  • Jacob deGrom
  • Pete Alonso
  • Tomas Nido
  • JD Davis
  • Dominic Smith
  • Luis Guillorme

Keeping pieces together

It is mind-boggling to think that McNeil, Alonso, deGrom, Davis and Smith will be together for the next five seasons. The starting middle infield combo will be on the team for at least the next four years: Rosario should be in his prime but Cano will be old.

Brandon Nimmo and three crucial bullpen pieces – Diaz, Lugo and Gsellman – are under control for the next three seasons. The Mets will also have Familia, Ramos, Betances (provided that the club uses the option) Syndergaard, Conforto, Matz and Brach for 2020 and 2021.

Conforto is a prime extension candidate, while Syndergaard said in the past he wants to test free agency.

One of the few negatives I see is that the New York Mets will lose half of their starting rotation after this season. Stroman, Wacha and Porcello are essentially playing on one-year deals. However, lefty prospects David Peterson and Kevin Smith should be ready to roll by the time 2021 spring comes, and Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes’ deals will also be off the books.

The Mets are in good position to make noise in the NL East for years to come.