BREAKING: New York Giants to hire Freddie Kitchens

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants are expected to hire former Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens to their staff, per Matt Zenitz.

The role is not yet defined, but Kitchens and current Giants HC Joe Judge spent time together at Mississippi State. Kitchens tenure in Cleveland was short-lived after a disappointing 6-10 season.  Prior to being named the Browns head coach, Kitchens was given credit for improving the Browns offense and assisting then-rookie QB Baker Mayfield have a successful rookie season.

Prior to his time in Cleveland, Freddie Kitchens worked with the Arizona Cardinals.  He began his career in Arizona as the tight ends coach, which is the same position he held prior to joining the Cardinals with the Dallas Cowboys.  There is some speculation that this could be Freddie Kitchens’s role with the New York Giants.

The addition is another experienced presence being added to Joe Judge’s staff in New York.  Kitchens will join other experienced assistants in Jason Garrett (offensive coordinator), Patrick Graham (defensive coordinator/assistant head coach), Jerry Schuplinski (quarterbacks coach), Burton Burns (running backs coach), Thomas McGaughey (special teams coordinator), Bret Bielema (expected defensive line coach) and Jerome Henderson (defensive backs coach).

Top Yankees executives and players immediate reaction to Derek Jeters Hall of Fame induction

New York Yankees, Yankees, Derek Jeter

With Derek Jeter securing 99.7% of the votes to gain entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he will join some of the brightest players in history, accompanied by many former New York Yankees players.

Jeter, who had a stellar 20-year career in Pinstripes, amassed 3,465 career hits (6th-most in MLB history), is the only Yankee to ever record 3,000 hits, went 17 straight seasons with 150 hits (tied for MLB record), enjoyed 13 seasons with 100 runs (tied for 2nd most in MLB history), and played 20 seasons with the Yankees (most in team history).

What did the Yankees brass have to say about his induction?

YANKEES MANAGING GENERAL PARTNER HAL STEINBRENNER:

“Every accolade that has been bestowed on Derek throughout his career has been earned and deserved. He was a captain and champion in every sense of the word, a man who embodied our traditions and expectations with an unmistakable grace and dignified resolve. Derek’s legacy as one of the most beloved and charitable players in the last quarter century cements his place in baseball history. As he is immortalized in Cooperstown this summer, we proudly reflect on the honor he brought the Yankees franchise, the New York community, and the great game of baseball.”

STATEMENT FROM YANKEES SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER BRIAN CASHMAN:

“When we drafted Derek Jeter with the sixth pick in the 1992 draft, he had obvious physical talent, however what truly set him apart and put him on the path to Cooperstown was his burning desire to win and a personal drive to be the very best player he could be. From the outset, he played the game the right way, and his confidence was contagious. So often it felt that he would not be denied, and that belief rubbed off on his teammates, leading to so many victories over so many years. He provided countless memories for our fans, and it’s clear how much he will always mean to them. Thanks to Derek, we reached the pinnacle of the baseball world five times, and he will forever be a defining player of his generation. Congratulations on an honor well -earned.”

STATEMENT FROM YANKEES MANAGER AARON BOONE:

“I had the opportunity to play with Derek Jeter in 2003, and coming over from the National League, I soon realized that he is the greatest competitor that I ever had the chance to play with. If anyone out there epitomizes what a Hall of Famer is it’s Derek Jeter. Congratulations, Derek—the Hall is a little better today.”

STATEMENT FROM HALL OF FAMER JOE TORRE, CURRENT MLB CHIEF BASEBALL OFFICER, FORMER YANKEES MANAGER FROM 1996-2007:

”A Derek Jeter comes along once in a generation. By August of 1996 his teammates started looking for him to set the tone and make things happen. Derek was comfortable in his own skin. On the biggest stage in sports, he was never afraid to fail and always kept the game fun. Derek respected the game, the fans, his teammates and his opponents. His character, determination and confidence are a wonderful reflection of how he was raised by his parents. It was a true privilege to watch Derek and to be his manager for 12 years. To this day, he still calls me ‘Mr. Torre.’ Today, it is a pleasure to say, ‘Welcome to the Hall, Mr. Jeter!’ You did it with class and grace.”

STATEMENT FROM HALL OF FAMER MARIANO RIVERA:

“It’s going to be a very special day standing next to Derek in Cooperstown this summer. He had such a deep desire to win, and that singular commitment to his team is what made him so special. Derek prided himself on being a consistent presence. No moment was too big. He was fearless, and he was the type of leader we knew we could count on year after year. I feel so fortunate that he was a teammate and friend for my entire career, and I congratulate him on this great honor.”

STATEMENT FROM HALL OF FAMER DAVE WINFIELD:

“Derek had an exceptional career, one that was accomplished by hard work and discipline. He achieved everything a player might imagine, and for the team he idolized as a youngster. We welcome Derek to the Hall of Fame.”

New York Giants: The Draft Scenario Where They Can Land Chase Young

New York Giants, Chase Young

The 2020 NFL Draft is right around the corner. Mock drafts are abundant on the internet, and all of them usually start the same way. Typically, the first pick is Joe Burrow to the Bengals. Then, the second pick is Chase Young to the Redskins. After that, the picks can vary.

Burrow and Young are expected to be top-two picks, and if they are not, it would be a shocking turn of events. But what would that shocking turn of events look like, and how could it benefit the New York Giants?

A Team Trades For Tua

For Chase Young to end up with the Giants, the Redskins have to pass on drafting him. Now, there are plenty of positions of need for the Washington Redskins. It would not hurt to draft a new left tackle or even a wide receiver. However, Chase Young is the best player in the draft and cannot be passed up for any other prospect.

But, the Redskins might consider passing on Young for a haul of multiple prospects. Let’s assume the Bengals draft Joe Burrow at number one overall. This means the draft’s top quarterback is off the board. But still, there are at least three other teams that might want to draft a quarterback: the Dolphins, the Chargers, and the Panthers. So what will happen to those teams?

It is possible that a bidding war forms for the draft’s next best quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. A team like the Miami Dolphins might want to trade up to the second overall pick to ensure that no one else trades ahead of them and steals Tua. The Redskins would easily be able to get two (maybe even three) first-round picks in exchange for the number two overall pick.

So, to play devil’s advocate in this scenario, let’s assume the Redskins are blown away by a trade offer for the number two overall pick by a quarterback-needy team. They trade down and receive a haul of draft picks while a team moves up and selects Tua Tagovailoa. This leaves Chase Young still on the board for the Lions with the third overall pick.

Three Quarterbacks In A Row?

There are two quarterback prospects in this class that are considered “elite.” That would be Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, the quarterbacks that, in this scenario, were just drafted first and second overall. But sometimes, teams draft for positional need and subsequently reach on quarterback prospects.

Enter Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. The former-Duck is not considered to be nearly the same prospect as Burrow or Tagovailoa, but he still projects as an NFL starting quarterback. One of those three teams mentioned above that did not land one of the top two quarterbacks might settle on the draft’s third-best quarterback. 

The Lions are another team with multiple positions of need, not just one gaping hole in their roster. They could draft a linebacker, a cornerback, or Chase Young. But what if they too decide to trade down? A big haul of draft picks might entice them to pass on Chase Young.

This scenario sees quarterbacks get drafted with each of the first three overall picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow to the Bengals is a lock. However, trades would need to occur for picks two and three to be spent on a signal-caller. If they are, though, that would lead to a draft-day fall for the best player in the draft class.

Chase Young would be passed on for two quarterbacks and fall right into the lap of the New York Giants. With the fourth overall pick in this scenario, the New York Giants select edge rusher Chase Young. Chase Young racked up 16.5 sacks in 2019 en route to being a Heisman Trophy finalist. The top-tier pass-rusher would change the Giants’ defense and give opposing quarterbacks a reason to be afraid. This scenario is a long shot. But, it is the scenario for which Giants fans should be hoping.

BREAKING: Derek Jeter Elected To The Hall Of Fame

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was just one vote shy of being unanimous, 396 of 397 voters voted for him

Out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Jeter played 20 seasons in the MLB. He won the rookie of the year award in 1995, his first full season. He won five silver slugger awards and five gold gloves.

Jeter won the Yankees five World Series rings in his time in pinstripes. He won the World Series MVP and All-Star game MVP in 2000. Jeter was an all-star an incredible 14 times. The only flaw in his Hall of Fame career is the fact that he never won a league MVP award.

Over his career, he had 12,602 plate appearances and 11,195 at-bats. He got hits in 3,465 at-bats with a career average of .310. Jeter drove in 1311 runs and hit 260 home runs. One of those home runs was his 3,000th career hit, the second player to ever do that. Wade Boggs was the first, and Alex Rodriguez would later become the third.

Jeter’s slugging was .440, his OBP was .377, and his OPS was .817 over his career. He drew 1082 walks.  On defense, Jeter had a .976 fielding percentage with 254 career errors. He rolled 1408 double plays.  Jeter also stole 358 career bases, as he was one of the fastest players in the MLB earlier in his career.

All of these stats combine to a career 72.4 WAR for the captain. He’s 88th all-time in career WAR.

Larry Walker was also elected to the Hall of Fame.

Congrats to Derek Jeter on a historic career. This nomination is incredibly well-deserved.

 

 

BREAKING: New York Giants hire defensive backs coach, formerly Falcons defensive passing game coordinator

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants have hired former Falcons defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson to feature as their defensive backs coach, per Field Yates.

New head coach Joe Judge has quietly put together a coaching staff of familiar faces and experienced options. While the average age of the new staff might be on the younger side, they’re versed in discipline and leading specific groups of players.

As per John Fennelly of Empire Sports Media and Giants Wire:

Henderson, 50, has been the Atlanta Falcons’ passing game coordinator since 2016. Before that he was with the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets going back to 2006 when he was the Jets’ director of player development.

Henderson has been a part of three Super Bowls, so he brings plenty of experience to the table for Judge, a first-year head coach.

The New York Yankees are still weak in one category ahead of spring training

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

The opening spring training game for the New York Yankees is just one month away.  The Yankees are well set for the season, but there is one place that could use some bolstering up, that being infield backups, particularly at shortstop and at second base.

With the loss over the offseason of shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Phillies, the Yankees are feeling somewhat comfortable with Gleyber Torres as their regular defense at short. The Yankees have Silver Slugger D.J. LeMehieu cemented into first base. They are very comfortable with the “hitting machine” in defense at second base.

The Yankees earlier in the postseason aggressively sought out Indians star shortstop lefty Francisco Lindor, putting together a trade package they hoped the Indians would accept, but that was not to be.

After that failure, the Yankees decided that Gleyber Torres could handle the position adequately, even if not comfortable with the decision. The Yankees have great backup players for most positions.

At first base, they have either Luke Voit or Mike Ford. At third, they have Gold Glove-like Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar.  In left field, they have Stanton and Tauchman, in center they have Gardner, recently acquired Zack Granite and Aaron Hicks when he returns.

At right, Aaron judge has his position nailed down as a Silver Slugger and as a 2019 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year player.  His back up can either be Mike Tauchman or Cameron Maybin, who wants to come back with the Yankees although a deal has not been reached.  Unfortunately for the Yankees that leaves short and 2nd base without a major league-type backup.

Had they been able to acquire Francisco Lindor, that would have solved the problem as he is a powerful hitter who is a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop.  Unfortunately, the trade package the Yankees offered was not accepted by the Cleveland Indians.

The Yankees could use and probably will use Tyler Wade as a back up at short and may use Wendell Rijo, who they signed back in November as a backup for D.J. LaMahieu, but there are better options out there with available free agents.  The first one that comes to mind Washington Nationals free agent Brian Dozier, a 32-year-old second baseman with power and good defense in his position as well as at short. He would be a relatively inexpensive utility player that should be considered.  Dozier with the Nationals last year batted .238 with 50 RBI’s in 135 games.  He is not that great of a contact hitter but hits for power-hitting 20 home runs last year.  In 2018 he hit five home runs in just 47 games.

Other options are available for the New York Yankees”

Other options include 33-year-old Jordy Mercer formally with the Tigers. Mercer, with the Tigers in 2019, hit nine home runs in 74 games. He batted .270  while providing excellent defense at shortstop. Mercer was an experienced shortstop player for the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven years before his stint with the Tigers.

Projections show that he will perform in 2020 with an 80% chance of playing as well or better than 2019.  Another option is Addison Russell, a 25-year-old former Chicago Cub.  Russell is younger than either Dozier or Mercer.    Russell, while with the Cubs, was an All-Star in 2016, and in 2019, he hit .237 and hit nine homers in 82 games.  Russell is attractive as he is both a shortstop and a second baseman.

A lesser choice would be Deven Marino, the Florida Marlin, minor league player.  Tyler Wade would be a better option for the Yankees.  None of these options provide a left-hand hitter other than Tyler Wade.   Wade has only hit three home runs for the Yankees in his 3-year career.  However, Wade vastly improved his batting average in his 2019 campaign, raising it to .245.  The Yankees have one month before spring training to strengthen their position in the center of the infield.

 

Yankees’ Aaron Judge is preparing to cash in after one-year deal

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees and Aaron Judge found a compromise to avoid arbitration this year, solidifying a one-year, $8.5 million deal. The future for Judge looks plentiful, especially in the cash department.

The $8.5 million for a player of Judge’s magnitude seems like a steal, and it realistically is, but it’s designed to offer up more down the line in arbitration. Keeping him in Pinstripes appears to be the priority for the long term, and as he enters his fifth year in the big leagues, Judge will earn the most he’s ever seen in his career up to this point.

The 6-foot-7 slugger earned just $684,300 in 2019, to give you an idea of how much his pay increased this offseason. The Yankees also re-signed Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez to deals, locking down the catcher and third base position.

Sports Illustrated detailed an instance where arbitration can be a negative thing for players, and for former Yankee, Dellin Betances, it was precisely that. Betances was asking for $5 million after three consecutive All-Star appearances. Still, the Yankees wouldn’t budge over $3 million, forcing him to take the lesser amount after the court favored the Bombers.

Yankees president Randy Levine detailed why Betances didn’t deserve the amount he requested.

“It’s like me saying, ‘I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut,’ Levine told reporters at the time. “I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer.”

Given the harsh reality of arbitration, players like Aaron Judge often get what they’re asking for. Team officials are blatantly honest during this arbitration hearings, telling the players directly what their flaws are and why they should be paid less. I don’t expect this same sequence to occur in Judge’s case, who has the potential to be the best player in the league given a full bill of health.

It’s worth noting that other Yankees — those that spent their entire careers in New York — also went through arbitration hearings. Both Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter went through the same process as Betances. The relationships between Rivera, Jeter and the Yankees evidently remained intact, but the situation in 2017 is a constant reminder of what could go wrong.

New York Mets: The case for Luis Rojas as a manager candidate

According to Andy Martino, the feeling is that the New York Mets want to choose a new manager soon. In fact, he talks about doing it within the next few days.

While the media has thrown around several names of external candidates – Dusty Baker, Joe McEwing and others come to mind – the team is just as likely to choose between several internal options.

Here, we talked about the possibility of Hensley Meulens. Terry Collins remains a good possibility to take over for a season. Tony DeFrancesco, who managed the Syracuse Mets last season, is another option. How about Luis Rojas, though? The team’s quality control coach is very well-regarded within the New York Mets organization.

Working with the Mets since 2007

Working with the team since 2007, he knows the organization from top to bottom. The players respect him.

And while the Houston Astros may be focusing on Buck Showalter, Dusty Baker and John Gibbons, the Mets may be leaning towards going the internal route. Per Martino, they seem to be mulling whether Rojas is ready to take the team. He is getting a “long look.”

He has experience working with a big league team, he knows the Mets, and is young, at 38 years old. Rojas comes from a baseball family, being the brother of former Met Moises Alou and the son of Felipe Rojas Alou.

Rojas is no stranger to being a manager: he led five different minor league teams. The question is whether the Mets think he can handle it at the highest of levels. They are giving him a long look because they think he has what it takes, but want to make sure he can cope with media, pressure, and high expectations, not to mention that they would prefer a fast start.

He may not be the flashiest name out there, but Rojas is quietly gaining ground among the candidates to manage the New York Mets in 2020.

New York Giants closing in on two offensive line coaching options

New York Giants, Joe Judge

One of the final coaching assistant positions available for Joe Judge and the New York Giants is on the offensive line, and with Bill Callahan taking his talents to Cleveland, two primary options remain.

To start, it’s important to note that Callahan chose Cleveland over New York due to his relationship with Jason Garrett being a negative one, which leaves the Giants scouring the bottom of the barrel for coaches.

The two options that have bubbled to the surface for the New York Giants are:

1.) Marc Colombo

Colombo is an interesting option for the Giants, as he was a first-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2002 and played in the NFL for 10 seasons. At 41-years-old, Colombo would be another young coach entering the fold with the Giants, but his experience with the Dallas Cowboys as an assistant O-line coach makes him an intriguing option. His familiarity with Garrett might be important to consider if Colombo is hired, as learning under Callahan, who dubbed the Giants, gives Colombo an advantage.

Also, Marc’s old-school mentality would mesh well with Judge and GM Dave Gettleman’s approach towards the rebuilding of the team.

2.) Dave DeGuglielmo

Another option that has bubbled to the surface for Judge is Dave DeGuglielmo, who coached alongside him during the 2014-15 seasons in New England. He served as their offensive line coach then as well, but since, he’s produced tough rankings for his units the past few years.

Most recently, DeGuglielmo featured as a Miami Dolphins’ O-line coach, his second stint with Miami. He coached with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, featuring a group consisting of Quenton Nelson and Anthony Castonzo, two of the best lineman in the NFL.

Team Offensive Line Rankings Under Dave DeGuglielmo:

RB Rank | PB Rank:

• 2009: 3rd | 18th

• 2010: 16th | 15th

• 2011: 17th | 30th

• 2012: 5th | 30th

• 2014: 5th | 2nd

• 2015: 2nd | 18th

• 2017: 30th | 11th

• 2018: 4th | 2nd

• 2019: 32nd | 29th

 

New York Mets: Cespedes is hungry and motivated

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

Brodie Van Wagenen and the rest of the New York Mets’ bosses prefer to remain cautious about Yoenis Cespedes. They always refer to him and his rehab as an “if.” He could be a valuable lineup piece “if” and “when” he plays.

The possibility of him being ready for Spring Training seemed far-fetched. Now, the outfielder himself is providing a glimpse of hope. Yes, he is recovering from surgeries in his heels and an ankle fracture. However, he is working very hard to get back into baseball shape.

When the Mets’ middle-of-the-order slugger published a video of himself via Twitter performing baseball-related activities such as sprinting, swinging in the batting cage and catching a fly ball with behind-the-back out there in the outfield, fans and followers started to dream about having his bat in the lineup. After all, don’t forget that when healthy, it is a very potent bat.

Could Cespedes be ready to help the New York Mets in the first half of the 2020 season? How about Opening Day? While the latter may still be a pipe dream, it remains a possibility, especially after seeing him train.

He is motivated to make the Mets’ OD lineup

Cespedes has been out from the Mets’ lineup since July 20, 2018. It’s been a long time since he contributed something, and that’s why 2020 is such a big season for him. He is a contract year, too. He will have motivation.

Between calcification and bone spurs in both of his heels and the wild boar accident that resulted in a fractured ankle, the last couple of years have been bizarre for him.

The Mets, focusing on the wild boar incident, managed to restructure his deal. From earning $29.5 million, he is only guaranteed $6 million in 2020. He can earn more through incentives and bonuses. The guarantee will increase to $11 million if he makes the Opening Day roster. Will he? Only time will tell.

We haven’t seen the last of Yoenis Cespedes, that’s for sure. He will look to add more numbers to a very successful career that includes a .274/.328/.498 line with 163 homers and 524 RBI. He has 21.5 fWAR.