New York Knicks Shows Importance of Team Chemistry

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are playing inspired basketball lately. Elfrid Payton has really played well as of late. The importance of team chemistry is crucial and it’s showing.

The New York Knicks currently sit five and a half games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. A few wins strung together could definitely change the landscape of the Eastern Conference. Could the Knicks contend for a playoff spot? That remains to be seen.

Coach Mike Miller is doing a great job of putting players in successful situations offensively and defensively. Players are executing plays after timeouts. Knick players are understanding each other more on the basketball court. Game is becoming a little easier and the effort level is picking up.

The Knicks traded Marcus Morris to the Los Angeles Clippers for Moe Harkless a first-rounder, a first-round draft swap, a future second-rounder, and Issuf Sanon, a combo-guard who’s a native of Ukraine.

The perimeter defense has improved since the trade and Moe Harkless Hasn’t even step foot on the basketball court yet. Moe Harkless is a plus defender and I hope he stays with the Knicks. There can never be too much defense. Defensive depth seems to be underrated, and that’s what Moe Harkless could provide. The hometown product Harkless isn’t a total slouch offensively either.

Overall, the Knicks got younger and a little more athletic defensively after the trade, however, Knicks’ new leader of basketball operations Leon Rose might use the newly acquired draft picks to his advantage this summer or on draft night. Dolan fired Steve Mills before the trade deadline. The front office have work to do this offseason.

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone confident in Cole, Severino

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Gerrit Cole

The 2020 season is possibly one of the most exciting and anticipated seasons in recent New York Yankees history where players and fans can’t wait for the new year to begin. There’s a lot to be excited for too, as the Yankees have two big pieces that they didn’t last year: Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino.

Manager Aaron Boone spoke on his confidence in the two pitchers in a Q&A with New York Post’s Steve Serby:

“In Gerrit, we’re seeing a guy in the prime of his career, arguably the best pitcher in the sport right now,” Boone said. “Getting to know him a little bit now this winter, and obviously going through the free-agent process, looking forward to (continuing) to get to know the person a little bit more.”

This is what the Yankee manager had to say about Luis Severino:

“Sevy’s now been through a lot in this game. He’s been a Cy Young candidate, he’s gotten to the big leagues fast, he’s gone through some tough times, he’s gone through some failures, he’s gone through massive successes, he’s gone through an injury-plagued season now, but his talent and determination, coupled with those experiences that he’s had already as a young man, I think will only benefit him going forward, and looking forward to what he’s gonna be able to do for us this year.”

Besides those two, James Paxton offers a lot for the team as well. Even though he will miss three to four months of the season, Paxton will be an integral part of the rotation when he returns. Masahiro Tanaka is always someone who brings fire to the team and is highly accountable during the postseason. There’s a lot to be excited about as a New York Yankees fan.

Yankees: Tanaka weighs in on the Astros, Jasson Dominguez update, and is it Tyler Wade’s time?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

A daily look at New York Yankees News/Rumors of interest to Yankee fans

Masahiro Tanaka feels cheated:

Masahiro Tanaka and some of the New York Yankees reported to the spring training complex in Tampa yesterday.  Pitchers and catchers are to report tomorrow with the first workouts on Thursday.  Retired pitcher CC Sabathia has been more than vocal about this displeasure with the Houston Astros and the biggest story of the offseason, the Astros sign-stealing scheme that was revealed by former Astro Mike Fiers.  After the Manfred report detailed the electronic scheme, Astros General Manager and Field Manager A.J Hinch were fired by owner Jim Crane.  Since then, select baseball players from around the country have divulged their resentment toward the Astros.  Yankee Masahiro Tanaka is the latest.  According to the New York Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert when asked about the scheme, Tanaka responded that he felt cheated after the ALCS loss to the Astros in 2017.

Jasson Dominguez is training:

In the Dominican Republic, spring training is already underway.  The reports on super-prospect Jasson Dominguez are off the charts.  Dominguez, nicknamed the “Martian” due to his out of this world talent, is still at least two years from appearing in the Bronx as he is still only 16 years old.   Scouts have said in the past that his talent is impressive as he has superpowers — he is fast and agile.  Considering his young age, it is said he has the strength and body of a player in their mid-twenties.  Yankee evaluators were in the Dominican Republic last week to take a look at the young player.  According to Dan Martin of the New York Post, his skills have been described as “silly…stupid…crazy”.  It was initially said that he was a good four years away from the majors, but due to how he is advancing, it may be much sooner than that.

Is it Tyler Wade’s time?

Tyler Wade has been kicking around the Yankee baseball world  for six years, three in the minors and Arizona Fall league  and three now, going back and forth from Scranton Wilkes/Barre and the Stadium in what’s called the “Yankee shuttle.” He is usually called up in an emergency when someone is injured, as he is what is named the super-utility player.  He can play anywhere on the field except for pitcher, catcher and first base.  Once the injured player comes back, Wade is demoted again.

Wade has a lot going for him besides his looks that always gets the attention of the fairer Yankee fans.  He is equally good at all positions he plays.  Those that don’t see his worth cite his relatively average hitting ability and that he has no power.   The power thing I can’t argue with, but his hitting has improved in each of the three years that he has been called up, to the tune of 20% better every year.  This year he had one hit in each four plate appearances for a .245 batting average.  If he continues to improve at that rate, he may hit in the .270 area, which is not bad at all.  Add to that he can play anywhere and is the fastest most agile Yankee on the team.

This year even if everyone stays healthy, the Yankees should use him in the new 26 slot in the roster.  He is the perfect bench player to give DJ LeMahieu at second and Gleyber Torres at short a needed respite so they can stay fresh for the postseason.   Use him much as they did Bubba Crosby and Miguel Cairo in the past.  The only difference is that Wade is better and faster.

The Yanks drafted Wade in the 4th round of the 2013 June Amateur Draft.  Not a lot was expected from the 19-year-old, but he moved through the minor as a shortstop relatively quickly and became a go-to when Stadium players were injured.  As it stands now with Didi Gregorius going to the Phillies that the Yankees need a backup for short.  Consider that Torres is relatively untested at short; it makes sense to have Wade in the dugout.  With the 2020 MLB season approaching,  the Yankees should give Tyler Wade a chance to be the New York Yankees super-utility man, be the guy who steps in when a player needs a rest, lands on the IL,  they need a base runner, or for a defensive replacement late in games.

New York Yankees: Key Position Battles for Spring Training

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

New York Yankees fans can rejoice. Spring training is… well, pretty much here. Pitchers and catchers report today. It’s now interesting to see just how many position battles are brewing before the Spring Training season officially begins. Here’s a quick rundown:

Number 5 Starter

With James Paxton out until May/June, and Happ sliding in for Domingo German until his suspension is over, there’s an opening in the rotation for the next couple of months. Jordan Montgomery is the odds on favorite, but Luis Cessa and Johnathan Loaisiga have a distinct edge. That edge being… they aren’t coming back from Tommy John Surgery. Devi Garcia is also coming to camp for the first time and can make a legitimate claim for the spot, leapfrogging over the three veterans.

Third Base

Rightfully, third base is Gio Urshela’s to lose. However, Miguel Andujar, who will be tried out at several other positions, will have a chance to take it back. His rehab for his labrum tear began in earnest in September and has more on his side than Urshela. Urshela has to prove that his subpar defensive statistics for 2019 were an anomaly and that his offensive output can be maintained throughout the 2020 campaign.

4th Outfielder

Until Aaron Hicks can come back from Tommy John surgery, the likely outfield configuration will be Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, and Giancarlo Stanton. Countless Yankee fans want to see Clint Frazier given his opportunity, that his bat is worth the chance in the outfield. But if he can’t improve his defensive capabilities, why would the Yankees need him? Urshela and Andujar will see some time in the outfield, Tyler Wade can play outfield in a pinch, and you’ll have Stanton, Andujar, Voit, and Sanchez all seeing regular time in the DH slot. Where does Frazier fit in if his defense is just as sloppy as it was in 2019?

Backup Catcher

The Yankees have been STOCKPILING on backup catchers in the past few months. This is after Brian Cashman admitted that he’d be comfortable with Kyle Higashioka as the backup after Austin Romine left for the Detroit Tigers. You just signed 3 veteran catchers, all of whom could easily be backups for Gary Sanchez. If they REALLY were feeling comfortable with Higashioka at the backup role, you wouldn’t go out of your way to sign three catchers. I am seriously beginning to question if Higashioka will make it out of Tampa.

These are just some of the position battles to keep an eye on as Spring Training progresses. New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka feels Astros cheated them out of World Series

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez can’t wait to work with Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Gerrit Cole signed a record-breaking deal with the New York Yankees this offseason that got every Yankee fan excited as can be for the new year. Besides the fans, players are hyped too. Gary Sanchez spoke about the future relationship he and Cole will develop this season and can’t wait to begin the journey.

“(I’m) super excited,” Sanchez said. “I thought we already had a pretty good pitching rotation, and Gerrit just makes it that much better.”

Sanchez has reportedly been watching a ton of film on Cole this offseason but will still need to sit down with him and figure it out. A strong relationship between a pitcher and a catcher is crucial, and that’s exactly what Cole and Sanchez will need to have if they want the most out of Cole.

“Before Spring Training, I see a lot of video,” Sanchez said. “And then once we get to camp, I’m gonna sit down and talk with him a lot throughout camp in order for him and I to have a good rapport.”

Sanchez led the Major Leagues in passed balls in both 2017 and 2018 before he figured it out behind the dish and only allowed seven passed balls last season. He’s only going to get better from here too, so the duo between Cole and Sanchez could be strong.

“Of course, I always feel like I can get better,” Sanchez said. “And I worked hard this offseason, first and foremost, to be healthy. And if I’m healthy, I think I can really help the team.”

New York Mets: Juan Lagares Signed by the Padres

The longest-tenured New York Met has finally found a new home. Juan Lagares has signed with the San Diego Padres on a one-year, $1.4 million deal, should he make the big league team out of Spring Training.

In 2014, Lagares won the Gold Glove and is the last Met to win the award. His 2014 season resulted in the Mets signing him to a five-year extension. Initially, the Mets hoped to have him cheap as he blossomed to become the everyday centerfielder. Lagares never panned out as a hitter and only hit .248/.294/.357 with 17 home runs during the duration of his deal.

When the Mets traded for Jake Marisnick, it effectively ended his Mets career. Marisnick is a cheaper and younger player who slightly better. Lagares received ample playing time during the second half of 2019. His performance started strong, but he regressed to the numbers he typically put up.

New Life in San Diego

Lagares will have an excellent opportunity to earn himself a roster spot with the Padres. The only definite is left fielder Tommy Pham. The rest of the outfield cast is Wil Myers, along with unproven young players. Lagares would offer a strong defensive player with veteran experience to an up and coming team. Currently, Drew Pomeranz and 2015 World Series opponent Eric Hosmer, as the only players on the 40-man roster to play in the fall classic.

Mets: Uncertainty in the Bullpen Top Story Again This Spring

What else is new? The New York Mets opened their 2020 spring training yesterday with several questions that need to be answered such as how the team will react o new manager Luis Rojas, who is going play where, and what (if any) impact Yoenis Cespedes will have this season. But no question is more burning than the annual conundrum of the lineup out in the bullpen.

Who is going to be the closer? John Harper of SNY.tv has a few thoughts. Rojas is willing to let things play out as they unfold, a lot like what Mickey Callaway did in pitching the hot hand. In fact, having undefined roles in the bullpen can be advantageous, but in the Mets’ case it’s being done because they just don’t have a bonafide closer. From Harper:

That would seem to open the door for all kinds of possibilities, considering that Seth Lugo was brilliant in the late innings last year, yet limited by the partial tear in his elbow ligament, which compromised his ability to be the full-time closer. And Dellin Betances could well return from injuries as a Yankee to being one of the best relievers in baseball.

 

Throw in the possibility that Jeurys Familia’s extreme weight loss could get him back on track — or so the Mets hope — as well as lefty Justin Wilson delivered dominance in the second half of last season, and this could be a ‘pen built for mixing and matching, as dictated by analytics.

 

But that usually sounds better in theory than it works in reality, as relievers prefer to know their roles and having a closer creates easier decision-making for the manager.

 

Edwin Diaz still figures to get the first crack, in part because Van Wagenen gave up so much to get him, but how Rojas goes about using his relievers will be a huge test for the new manager.

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts here and none of them are ironclad solutions. Lugo and Betances coming off injury and the others all coming off down years. Forgive me if I’m not excited.

Baseball is a long season and things have a way of working out. But with all of this uncertainty Met fan would like to have a few more constants and a lot less variables in this haphazard equation.

The New York Knicks Need a New Savior…Again

Mike Miller, Frank Ntilikina

The New York Knicks hit the reset button…again. In a move that continues the pattern of ineptitude that this organization has displayed over the past 20 years, the Knicks relieved team president, Steve Mills, of his duties, leaving yet another void at the top of the organization.

The Same Old New York Knicks

Mills’ tenure was filled with shortcomings and failures. His inability to build a sustainable winner became more evident by the day. Reports suggest that there was discord between Mills and general manager Scott Perry on how to approach tomorrow’s trade deadline. While Perry is in favor of asset acquisition, Mills’ strategy was sloppy. Perry was in favor of trading the valuable pieces the Knicks currently have, like Marcus Morris, for future assets. This is a logical strategy for a team in the Knicks position. However, Mills wanted to keep Marcus Morris and re-sign him this summer. If Mills were good at his job, he’d recognize that the two are not mutually exclusive. There’s nothing that prevents the Knicks from trading Morris for future assets AND re-signing him this summer. Thankfully, the front office found a way to get it done.

Mills was also interested in trading for Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell. This was another flawed idea given the fact that the Knicks could have signed Russell this past offseason. Instead, Mills reportedly offered young assets to acquire Russell. The rumored deal would have sent Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Bobby Portis, Allonzo Trier, and a 2nd round pick to Golden State for Russell. All four of the players the Knicks would have traded are 25 or younger. It is counterproductive to trade young talent during a rebuild. This was yet another example of Mills’ ineptitude.

It’s Still Dolan’s Knicks

Most general managers would likely agree with Perry’s assessment of the team and his strategy heading into the trade deadline. That was a positive sign for Knicks fans to know that Perry at least has a clue. The same could not be said for Mills, who was meddling and preventing interim head coach Mike Miller from using his rotations. Perry will have a lot of work to do in a short period. The rest of this season will be an audition for Perry to keep his job. The likelihood of that is small, given James Dolan’s track record.

Dolan tends to crumble the paper after writing his name. He is notorious for keeping his front office executives and coaches on a very short leash. Over his 20 year tenure as the Knicks owner, Dolan has always opted for the quick fix rather than the proper rebuild. He has told the fanbase that he is not involved in basketball operations and yet he continues to be at the forefront of the Knicks problems. Where Dolan goes from here will make or break this organization going forward.

Who Can Fix The Knicks?

Masai Ujiri, Sam Presti, and Kenny Smith were all been named as potential candidates to take over as president. However, Leon Rose was Dolan’s selection. Both the Warriors and Lakers went that route by hiring Bob Meyers and Rob Pelinka, respectively.

Having James Dolan in charge of picking the next team president was the equivalent of having a 5th grader come up with healthcare reform. Unfortunately, this is the hand we’re dealt with. While Rose has the connections and common sense to approach the rebuild of the team with care, it’s yet to be seen if he can turn this team around after years of disgrace.

New York Knicks Kevin Knox might have to visit the G-League

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox

The New York Knicks tough decisions aren’t over.  Throughout this season, one player has taken a substantial step backwards in their game.  Kevin Knox is teetering on the ‘bust’ status.

Now, before everyone starts to get all up in the tizzy, he’s teetering.  He’s not fully a bust, yet.  The Knicks drafted Knox out of Kentucky and at the time, fans thought it was a good pick.  These high school highlights would get any fan excited.

Maybe the pick was a little reach.  But, after a strong combine Knox really appeared on teams radar.  Then, he was 19-years-old, tremendous upside, lanky and still growing.  Why not take a chance on the kid and performed great in the NCAA tournament.

Knox under-performed his rookie year but did get a lot of minutes to work on his game.  His shooting percentage was one of the worst in the league for rookies, .370, and averaged 12.8 points in 28.8 minutes.  While his rookie year wasn’t spectacular, there was still hope.  This off-season the hope continued with his off-season progress, or so we thought.

After 54 games, the hope on Knox turning it around is starting to dwindle.  Knox has been unbelievably bad this season.  It doesn’t help that his minutes decreased from the start after all the free-agent signings.  But, even when Knox gets time he doesn’t seem comfortable out there.

Knox seems lost out there for the Knicks.  Everything about his game screams laziness, most of the time.  He hasn’t looked good all season.  There has been some spurts when he flashes the lane for a dunk or alley-oop but that’s it.

Over the past 9 games, Knox is averaging 4.2 points in 15 minutes per.  The best thing for Knox to get his confidence back would be to take a stint with the Knicks G-League team.  Ignas Brazdeikis should be given a chance as he’s killing it for Westchester.

While getting less minutes doesn’t help, it may be what’s best for Knox.  The New York Knicks need to figure what to do with Knox as this season because his current play is only hurting his growth as a professional.

New York Giants need third-year pass-rusher Lorenzo Carter to wake up (highlights)

The New York Giants invested a third-round pick into Georgia standout pass-rusher, Lorenzo Carter, in the 2018 NFL Draft. Since his inception into the NFL, Carter has racked up just 8.5 sacks, but he has shown the ability to burst through the offensive line and use his incredible bend and length to get after the quarterback.

Before we get started, here’s a highlight video to give you an idea of his abilities. Make sure to subscribe to our new “Fireside Giants” Youtube channel!

The Giants just finished piecing their coaching staff together, and one of the names mentioned was Kevin Sherrer, who previously coached Carter at Georgia. This could be an excellent hire for the Giants and their third-year pass rusher, as the youngster hasn’t fully unlocked his potential, and Joe Judge will be looking to keep the best and leave the rest.

As a rookie, Carter logged 43 tackles, four sacks, and flashed the promise to become a talented pass rusher at the NFL-level, but he lost snaps to Oshane Ximines last season and couldn’t cement himself as a reliable option. While Sherrer will be coaching the inside linebackers, his familiarity with Carter might go a long way in allowing him to open up and improve his efficiency.

The New York Giants will be changing things on defense:

It’s possible that Carter fits more of a traditional defensive end role than an outside linebacker, since his lankiness and speed off the line gives him the leverage he needs to beat opposing tackles. Dropping back into shallow coverage or spying on the run isn’t his strength, and new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham should be aware of that going in 2020.

The defense will likely feature a hybrid of 3-4 and 4-3 looks, focusing on keeping quarterbacks confused and allowing players like Carter to excel. They say that “third year’s a charm,” so, with the overhaul in the coaching staff and a hard-nosed HC like Joe Judge taking over, Carter theoretically should see an uptick in production. Nonetheless, the Giants desperately need him to take a big step forward.