Should The New York Yankees Be Worried About Gary Sanchez?

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has had power numbers over the last few seasons, but has otherwise struggled for the team. Should the Yankees be concerned about his performance?

Fat And Lazy?

Due to his excessive amount of passed balls behind the plate and lack of speed, Sanchez has unfortunately gained the reputation of “fat and lazy”.

His passed ball numbers decreased from 18 in 2018 to seven in 2019, but are still a problem. He led the MLB in passed balls in both 2017 and 2018.

In just 396 at-bats in 2019, Sanchez managed to hit 34 home runs and drive in 77 RBIs despite a .232 average amid several IL stints. In another injury heavy 2018 season, Sanchez hit just .186.

The average is really concerning, and it’s so different from both 2016 and 2017. He hit .299 and .278 in respective seasons. It may just be his approach at the plate, trying too hard to kill the ball. He does often take hard, off-balance cuts.

But going into the 2020 season, the Yankees have a new strength and conditioning staff, and that should help with Sanchez’s health. He’s looking really good going into the season with a lot more muscle. Aaron Boone was recently in the Dominican Republic watching him work out.

Gary Sanchez is preparing to try to bounce back after another disappointing season. With new medical staff and more muscle on his body, I don’t think that the Yankees should worry about him right now. What I do think is that they need to formulate a new in-season strength and conditioning program for him as well as work with him on his approach at the plate. Those two changes could lead him to have an amazing 202o season.

New York Giants: Joe Judge Should Reunite With Free Agent ST Matthew Slater

The 2019-2020 NFL season is nearly over. The Pro Bowl will take place this weekend, followed by the Super Bowl the next weekend. After that, it is officially the 2020 NFL offseason for every team in the league. But some teams had their offseason start earlier than others.

For the teams that did not make the playoffs, the offseason began on December 29th. The New York Giants are one of those teams that are already three weeks into their offseason. Since the end of the 2019 regular season, the Giants have fired a head coach, hired a head coach, and made numerous other changes to the team’s coaching staff.

While the Giants must sort out their coaching staff, they will soon need to make changes to their roster, too. In March, the New League Year will begin. With that comes the opening of free agency. The Giants can be big spenders this year if they want to be. They are estimated by Spotrac to have over $69 million in cap space. This is before they even start to trim the fat and cut veterans on inflated contracts.

New head coach Joe Judge is a former New England Patriots special teams coordinator. His connections to New England have been prevalent throughout his coaching staff hirings. Plenty of former Patriots are joining the Giants’ new coaching staff. Expect to see Joe Judge bring in players from New England this offseason as well. 

Matthew Slater

Matthew Slater is regarded as one of the best special teams players in the NFL. The 34-year-old NFL veteran has been in the league since 2008 and has spent his entire career with the New England Patriots. Slater won three Super Bowls in New England and went to eight Pro Bowls.

Over the past decade, Matthew Slater has been one of the most consistent special teamers in the league. He has been selected as a First-Team All-Pro five times and has been a Second-Team All-Pro once.

Slater plays around 20 snaps a game, so his time is limited, but his impact is tremendous. Matthews 2019 Pro Bowl selection was the eighth of his career, breaking Steve Tasker’s record for the most special teams Pro Bowl honors in NFL history.

He’s credited as the heart of the dynasty, a leader both on and off the field, and an inspiration to new players who need to learn how to fit in with the most successful franchise in modern sports history. –Rodger Sherman of The Ringer discussing Matthew Slater’s career.

The Giants are trying to build a new, winning culture, similar to that of the “Patriot Way.” Brining in the veteran Matthew Slater not only would help to make the Giants’ special teams unit one of the best in the league, but it would also add a key leader to the Giants’ youthful locker room.

New York Rangers High Scoring Defense Following NHL Trend

Brady Skjei, New York Rangers

There are many, rightly so, who believe that the New York Rangers defenseman should be playing a little harder on… that’s right, defense.  However, the Rangers are just following a trend in the NHL that is seeing an increase in actual vs. expected scoring this season, and it is paying off for their defenseman. Rangers defensemen have 133 points (38 goals, 95 assists) this season, the most goals and points by defensemen on any team.

How the New York Rangers Defense Have Excelled on Offense

The first and most obvious choice for this is that the Blueshirts tend to play a more wide-open style of hockey than many other teams. Not only is this going to create opportunities for your forwards, but it will also lead to increase chances for a defenseman who join that rush up ice.

This has paid off big for their defense. For example, when Tony DeAngelo tallied his 12th goal of the season a few nights ago, he became one of only a handful of Ranger defensemen who have recorded at least 12 goals in the team’s first 46 games of a season within the past 40 years. The others on the list include Leetch (three times), Greschner (twice), and Ruotsalainen (twice). Remember that hat trick D’Angelo netted a little more than a week ago? That hat trick is the ninth instance of a Rangers defenseman recording a hat trick in franchise history. His five-point game is the third by a defenseman in franchise history and the first by a defenseman other than Brian Leetch. He is not the only d-man scoring.

When Adam Fox picked up a point on Jan 15, he has registered nine points (one goal, eight assists) over the last seven games. Since Dec. 31, Fox’s eight assists and nine points are both the second-most among NHL defensemen.

The New York Rangers are following a trend

So we don’t bore you too much and send Tony DeAngelo into an analytic style frenzy, the upward trend is scoring has been well analyzed and documented. If you like this stuff, check out Larry Yost’s column at TSN.com, where he goes into much more detail. The best takeaway from this was that there are several on-ice theories as to why scoring rates have increased, and/or why expected goal rates are underwhelming relative to those numbers. The goaltenders did experience a downsizing in equipment.

Teams did get more sophisticated with matters like power play deployment (and the associated four forward approach on those power plays), or when to pull the goalie when trailing late, or the emphasis of hockey skill over toughness and physicality in the bottom-six of Forwards and to some extent, defensive groups. All are contributing factors, and all have led to an increase not only all across the league but certainly a factor in the offensive prowess of the Blueshirt defenseman.

New York Mets’ starter weighs in on the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal

Marcus Stroman, the New York Mets’ third starter, is one of the most competitive pitchers in MLB. That same spirit allowed him to spot what he deemed as an unfair competitive advantage, and publish it in his Twitter account, @Str0.

What would be the unfair competitive advantage? A video uploaded by Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) in which Houston Astros’ hitters could be seen taking at-bats against Stroman. The trash can-banging noise before some pitches was evident.

“S–t makes sense now. I remember wondering how these guys were laying off some of my nasty pitches. Relaying all my signs in live speed to the batter. Ruining the integrity of the game. These dudes were all about the camera and social media. Now, they’re all quiet! Lol,” were the words that Stroman wrote today in his official account.

The scheme

The Astros used the replay room to decode opposing pitchers’ signs. Then, they relayed them to their hitters by banging a trash can. They used this scheme in 2017, when they won the World Series.

MLB investigated the issue and issued fines and suspensions. AJ Hinch, the manager, and Jeff Lunhow, the GM, lost their jobs after the league suspended them for a year. The Astros lost four draft picks and $5 million.

No retaliation by the Mets’ stellar pitcher

But the Mets’ talented pitcher isn’t one to hold a grudge. He says he won’t retaliate when on the mound. “Many individuals on here saying to intentionally throw at the Houston hitters. Personally, I would never do that. Too calm in my mind to want to retaliate and would never try to injure another human being over past actions. Revenge will never solve anything…karma will!” he stated.

You have to consider that it wouldn’t benefit the New York Mets to put more people on base. To finalize, Stroman said that he won’t talk about the Astros again.

Mike Clevinger, Trevor Bauer, Chris Archer, CC Sabathia, and a myriad of other hurlers, active or retired, have heavily criticized the Astros in the last few hours. Some of them, like Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, have shown no remorse.

Can the New York Yankees trust their bullpen in 2020?

New York Yankees, Adam Ottavino

With the New York Yankees losing Dellin Betances and Nestor Cortes Jr. in the bullpen this offseason, they will journey into 2020 with a reliance on other arms. Betances missed all of 2019 virtually, pitching in just one game before tearing his Achilles tendon and hitting the free-agent market with a dud year in tow.

Betances latched on with the Mets on a one year, $10.5 million deal, which will force the Yankees to rely more on options like Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton. The retention of Aroldis Chapman solidified the closer role, but the depth in the bullpen should be concerning.

General manager Brian Cashman allocated plenty of resources into the bolstering of the starting rotation, dishing out $324 million over nine years for Gerrit Cole. The money spent on securing arguably the best pitcher in baseball made the probability of signing a big relief arm unrealistic. There were talks of Brewers’ Josh Hader coming to New York, but nothing materialized.

The New York Yankees are shifting their strategy:

In 2019, manager Aaron Boone adopted a bullpen mentality that featured tons of pitchers that were used in specific scenarios. It’s not that the starters weren’t expected to survive for multiple innings, it was the simple reality that they couldn’t. With Luis Severino missing a majority of the campaign and Jordan Montgomery recovering from Tommy John, the Yankees were left with Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German (until his suspension), and James Paxton to hold down the fort with minimal support.

The lack of quality starting options forced Boone to feature his bullpen more frequently than he would’ve liked. In 2020, they will rely on Cole, Severino, and others to pitch deep into games, allowing the Yankees to take the pressure off the bullpen, where fatigue set in during the postseason.

The core four of Chapman, Britton, Ottavino, and Kahnle are all over the age of 30, and their degradation has been apparent. Still, they should hold enough quality and efficiency to enable the survival of the Yankees. However, it’s very dependent on the health of the starting pitching rotation, which is where new strength and conditioning coach, Eric Cressey, enters the mix.

New York Yankees: Burn Baby Bern! Remembering a legend

New York Yankees, Bernie Williams

Ever hear of Bernabe Williams Figueroa, Jr? Hmmm. I haven’t.

Translated, the English name is Bernie Williams. The kid from Puerto Rico, who at age 17 signed with the New York Yankees, would become one of the most polarizing players in baseball.

The “kid” spent six years in the minor leagues honing his craft and playing his guitar in the little bit of time he was away from baseball.

The “kid” who developed into one of the best center fielders in modern times. The “kid” who hit the game one 1999 ALCS walk-off home run, and countless others.

Bernie Williams posted a career batting average of 297, with an OBP of 381. He averaged 98 RBI’s per 162 games over his years with the Yankees.

Numbers are just that. Who remembers all of the electric moments Bernie, “BERN BABY BERN” provided us?  When Bernie was up in a crucial situation, more than likely, he came through and I was yelling.

The guy who only twice called the “Boss.” Once about a cancelation of a family day for players that his children were upset about missing. It was rescheduled for the following day.

The second one was about a certain man who had proven himself as a Yankee player and was a free agent. He made his intentions known and the “Boss” made his as well. He was given a contract. History was made.

Bernabe Williams Figueroa became the first man in MLB history to win a Gold Glove, batting title, and World Series ring, all awarded in 1998. He won 4 rings with the Yankees.

He also had his number 51 retired in May of 2015. Humble as usual, of course, Bernie thanked everyone besides himself for the honor of being inducted to Yankee history.

If it wasn’t enough to watch this man play baseball, we can now listen to him play jazz on his guitar, and he had an album reach #2 on the US jazz charts!

BERN BABY BERN…

New York Giants’ new OC Jason Garrett raves over Joe Judge

New York Giants, Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

Taking a step down from head coach to coordinator is never an easy decision to make, but for former HC Jason Garrett, it was an inevitable choice. New head coach of the New York Giants, Joe Judge, interviewed Garrett, a likely compromise with upper management, as the long-time HC does not know Judge well at all, but to no one’s surprise, they hit it off.

“We had a great day together,” Garrett said of his meeting with Judge. “I didn’t know Joe real well; been around him on a couple different occasions and had really good conversations with him, really good football conversations. He and I know a lot of the same people. I worked for Coach (Nick) Saban, he worked for Coach Saban. Coach has always said such great things about Joe, and so many other people that he’s been around that I’ve been around say the same thing. What he’s like as a person, what he’s like as a football coach.

“We visited over the phone this past weekend and had a great talk. It was probably one of those talks, I don’t how long it was; a half hour, 45 minutes. It probably could have gone all night. Just talking back and forth, getting to know each other a little bit more, talking about football. And that’s when we decided it would be a good idea to come up, spend the day together, and that’s what we did on Wednesday. Had a great visit with him, a couple members of the staff, other people in the organization and it just felt right to me. Felt really comfortable to be around him. I think we have shared values as people and shared values as football coaches and what we want to build with the Giants.”

The familiarity of knowing Saban should be helpful in their chemistry on the sidelines, let alone their mentality towards the game of football. Aside from Garrett, Judge has pieced together his coaching staff, stacked full of tough, hard-nosed coaches who will bring the best out of players.

The New York Giants are getting more than just a coach in Jason Garrett:

Garrett offers a bit more, though, considering his time developing players like Tony Romo and Dak Prescott. His knowledge and experience will be essential to the growth of Daniel Jones. Garrett will also be a shoulder to lean on for Judge, who is a first-year head coach.

The former Dallas HC mentioned that while they weren’t looking for a quarterback int he first round, they did their due diligence on Jones and loved what he had to offer. His influence on Jones will be significant.

Dusty Baker hasn’t heard from the Mets and is interviewing with the Astros

Mike Puma reported a few days ago that the New York Mets were considering Dusty Baker to be their manager. At that moment, it became evident that the team’s search was going to be more diverse this time. The Mets would include both analytical-driven candidates as well as others with a more “old-school” profile.

While considering several candidates and being open to diversity is good, there haven’t been many clues about the next skipper. One thing is true: the Mets haven’t, at least until Monday morning, contacted Baker in any way.

Baker said over the weekend that he hasn’t heard from the Mets or the Red Sox about their respective managerial vacancies. In fact, it isn’t unclear when the squad in Queens will contact him, if at all.

The highly experienced Baker is actually in Houston on Monday for a job interview with the Houston Astros. If he impresses the front office, there is a chance the Mets won’t even be able to make an approach.

MLB.com lists Luis Rojas, Tony DeFrancesco, and Hensley Meulens among the internal candidates to manage the New York Mets.

Mets, Astros and Red Sox all looking for a skipper

The Houston Astros are looking for a manager after firing AJ Hinch, who took the team to the World Championship in 2017. In the aftermath of the sign-stealing scheme that the Astros put together that season, Hinch and GM Jeff Lunhow were suspended for a year without pay. The team lost four early-round draft picks and received a $5 million fine.

Those circumstances forced owner Jim Crane’s hand and resulted in the dismissals of Hinch and Lunhow. The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, did the same with Alex Cora, who participated in the 2017 scheme as the Astros’ bench coach.

Carlos Beltran, the only player named in the MLB report, was appointed in November as the Mets’ manager. But after the report came to light, the team felt the pressure of media and fans and decided, together with Beltran, to end the short marriage.

Yankee News/Rumors: Spring training, Mini Trash Cans and Aaron Judge 3rd?

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

A Daily look at a summary of News and Rumors of interest for New York Yankees fans!

SPRING TRAINING:  The YES Network has released the Spring Training television schedule for this coming season.  Spring training is just around the corner and fans are looking forward to watching baseball again after a long offseason that saw the New York Yankees acquire former Astro, Gerrit Cole, to lead the starting rotation.

The first spring training game will be on Saturday, February 22, and will be televised from George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  The first game will feature the Yankees playing against the Toronto Blue Jays.  Altogether the YES Network will televise eleven games during the month-long spring season.  A game on March 3rd against the Boston Red Sox will be nationally broadcast on ESPN.  During spring training, the Yankees will not face the Houston Astros.  Here is a full list of the spring training games.  

MINI ASTRO TRASH CANS:  Amid the Astros sign-stealing scandal, the Yankees are showing that they still have a sense of humor.  The Yankee affiliate Staten Island Yankees will be epically giving out mini Astro trash cans to the first 500 attendees at a game this coming September.  Before the release of Commissioner Manfred’s report documenting the 2017 Astros electronic sign-stealing scheme, the Yankees have long taught that the Astros used various methods to steal signs including whistling and banging of trashcans.  The now-fired Astros manager had been known for laughing at the sign-stealing accusations.  He is no longer laughing!  The Yankees are indeed trolling the Astros with the trashcan promotion.

GOLD GLOVE WINNER JUDGE:  Back in November, Rawlings handed out their Gold Glove awards for each position. In right field, Aaron Judge tied for the award with Jason Heyward and George Springer, but Judge got the nod as he spent more time on the field than the other two.

MLB’s Matt Kelly has unveiled Statcast’s new infield defense metric and has taken a fresh look at the best defenseman at each position.  The new parameter is based on 2019 outs above average (OAA).  Judge, despite his hulking size, was cited as being faster, having excellent instincts and a powerful arm.  Kelly also mentioned that he showed off his all-around skill with a dazzling double play in Game 1 of last fall’s American League Championship Series. But the 2020 projections show Boston’s Mookie Betts grabbing back the title.  Betts had the league-leading 135 runs.

Second is Christian Yelich of the Brewers, who had a .329 average while hitting 44 home runs. Judge in the projections came in third.  The new projected rankings are based on player performance over the last two seasons, numerous offensive and defensive metrics, both advanced data and traditional numbers and analysis by the MLB Network research team.  Using this formula, it appears that Aaron’s time off the field due to injuries in the last two seasons is the leading cause for the projection.

New York Mets rumors: Starling Marte, Pete Alonso and more!

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

Starling Marte’s name is buzzing again at the New York Mets’ rumor mill. Per Robert Murray, the Pittsburgh Pirates are once again listening. No deal is imminent, however.

MLB ranked the top first basemen in the league and Pete Alonso checked in at third place.

Here are the New York Mets’ news and rumors of the day:

Robert Murray: The New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates re-opened Starling Marte talks over the weekend. The two clubs have chatted intermittently about the center-fielder throughout the offseason and don’t seem to agree on what would be a fair compensation.

Per former The Athletic sportswriter Robert Murray, the talks are currently taking place but no deal is imminent. We lived this scenario before over the winter. The Mets want to upgrade in center field and continue to explore possibilities.

Marte, 31, had a .295 batting average with 97 runs, 23 homers, 82 RBI, 25 steals and a .845 OPS with the Pirates in 2019.

MLB Network: Pete Alonso, the reigning Rookie of the Year in the National League, keeps getting recognitions for his immense talent. The latest one in his short but already influential career came from MLB Network.

They reviewed the best first basemen in MLB and Alonso ranked third in the exercise. Only the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy had a higher rank than the Mets’ star.

Anthony Rizzo, Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Olson, Luke Voit, Carlos Santana, Josh Bell and Edwin Encarnación completed the top 10.

MLB.com: Edwin Diaz, one of the most talented relief pitchers of his generation and closer for the New York Mets, played a prominent role in helping the victims of the January 7 earthquake in his native island.

Diaz gathered his family and friends to form a 40-people group and drive to Peñuelas. There, the damage was evident. “When we first got there, it was really impactful. It’s good to be able to use your resources and be able to help other people, because it’s definitely a sad time. It feels good to see people put a smile on their face when they see you,” he said.

Diaz’ crew wore “Team Sugar”jerseys and handed out water, food and supplies to those in need. “I don’t feel a responsibility [to help] — it’s something that comes from the heart,” Díaz said.