No, The New York Giants Should Not Pursue Josh Norman

The Washington Redskins have officially cut Josh Norman today. The veteran cornerback is once again a free agent. Prior to his tenure in Washington, Norman was with the Carolina Panthers from -.

Free agency is right around the corner and, granted, the New York Giants do need help in the secondary. However, Josh Norman is not what the Giants are looking for. Norman’s age, attitude, and poor recent performances take him off of the Giants’ list of targets.

Bad Blood With Gettleman

When the Panthers moved on from Josh Norman, Dave Gettleman was the team’s general manager. Since then, Norman has spoken out against Gettleman on numerous occasions.

In 2016, Josh Norman explained that he felt “stabbed in the back” by Dave Gettleman. He called Gettleman’s decision to rescind tag “totally out of left field.” Norman was a fan-favorite in Carolina, but, because of Gettleman, Norman had to find a home elsewhere.

Norman wound up signing with the Washington Redskins. After that, Gettleman signed with the New York Giants. Gettleman and Norman have been part of division-rival teams for the last two seasons. Norman has shared some choice words for his rival general manager. Here is the classless quote Josh Norman shared about Dave Gettleman last season:

“And that’s what I feel about the situation and him. If you really want to be honest, every time I see him, I really want to like smash [his] face in the grass. That’s how I really feel about it.” – Josh Norman on Dave Gettleman via NJ Advanced Media

The Giants do not need anyone in their locker room making classless quotes like that. And we definitely will not be seeing a reunion between Norman and Gettleman after that quote.

Mediocre Performance

In 2016, the Washington Redskins signed Josh Norman to a humungous 5-year $75 million contract. It is safe to say, Norman has not exactly lived up to his salary.

Josh Norman was benched in 2019 due to poor performance, so his release should not come as a surprise. The 32-year-old cornerback out of Coastal Carolina is at the end of the road. In the 12 games Norman started in 2019, he was targeted 46 times, allowing 31 completions (67.4%), 444 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Norman was a liability on the Redksins’ defense in 2019 and he should not be considered by the Giants in 2020.

New York Yankees: GM Brian Cashman says Astros had “distinct advantage”

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

Over the past few days, the New York Yankees have expressed their frustration over the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and on Friday, GM Brian Cashman voiced his opinion. Earlier this week, the Astros and their players addressed the scandal but downplayed the significance of the consequences. Cashman believes that their actions had a direct impact on the Yankees and the MLB as a whole.

 “I definitely think it had an effect on things, without question,” Cashman said Friday. “The Houston Astros were dealing with a distinct advantage moreso than their opponents. That’s a fact. I don’t think anybody can disagree with that, although they may try.”

The Yankees faced off against the Astros in the 2018 and 2019 ALCS. It is assumed that they utilized their tactics in both series’, as well as many others. While hitters weren’t directly impacted, the cost it had on pitchers was significant.

Who knows how many pitchers were sent back down to the minor leagues due to a poor performance against the Astros at any given time? While punishments have been dealt, players across the league have begun expressing their opinions.

New York Yankees’ Cashman sees this as an opportunity to vent:

“There’s a bit of a therapeutic side to this thing,” Cashman said. “I think everybody has the right to speak to this subject matter, speak their truth, and then find the time — sooner than later — to move forward. Because that’s all you can do at this point. This was a very noteworthy story, and we’re all gathering in our various camps now and being asked a lot of questions on a daily basis.

“It’s an unhealthy dynamic for our game to be dealing with, and I’m looking forward to getting back to normal despite the frustrations about what occurred back in ’17 — at the very least. Ultimately, that was then, this is now. And we have an exciting opportunity with the personnel we have here to focus on what’s ahead of us, rather than what’s in the past.”

The events that took place this offseason will remain a part of history forever, and hopefully, the teams and players have learned from the Astros’ mistakes.

 

The New York Giants could land one top veteran cornerback in FA

Could the New York Giants land A.J. Bouye?

The New York Giants need more resources allocated towards the cornerback position, simply put. The loss of Janoris Jenkins leaves the defense without a real No. 1 corner, which will be problematic in 2020 if they don’t address the position with more talent.

The New York Giants have several ways to snag a top corner:

While the NFL Draft has plenty of options, including Ohio States’ Jeff Okudah at the top of the first round, free agency might be a better source for the Giants. Reports have stated that the Jacksonville Jaguars are preparing to release their top corner in A.J. Bouye, who was one of the most sought after defenders in 2017.

After recording six interceptions in 2017, Bouye slowly lost in mojo, primarily with the injection of the outgoing Jalen Ramsey, who often made things about himself rather than the team. There’s little evidence to suggest Bouye can’t return to being a Pro-Bowl caliber player, and that’s what the Giants should be looking at as they scour the market for better alternatives.

John Oehser of the Jaguars website confirmed that Bouye would likely be cut due to salary cap reasons, stating:

I do believe there is a better chance of Jaguars left guard Andrew Norwell returning next season than players such as wide receiver Marqise Lee, linebacker Jake Ryan, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, cornerback A.J. Bouye, etc. I expect the latter four to be released for salary-cap reasons, but Norwell is unknown.

The Giants are desperately in need of a new No. 1 corner, and I believe Bouye can fit the bill on a more cap-friendly deal than most. Don’t get me wrong, he will cost a pretty penny based on his past valuation and the need for him, but at 28-years-old and coming off two good and not great years, the Giants might be able to get him at a slightly discounted price.

Keep an eye out for him in the coming months.

The Yankees and Mets Face Tough Decisions for Pitching Staffs

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

I reported on it last year, and as of yesterday, it’s been made official. The New York Yankees and the New York Mets each have to contend with only 13 pitchers on their pitching staff (5 starters, and 8 relievers), and each pitcher must face a minimum of 3 batters if brought in at the start of an inning.

September/Double Header Rules

In the instance of September call ups, or doubleheaders, you can add a maximum of one pitcher to your 13 man staff. The chiefest exceptions to the three batter rule are if a pitcher is brought in and gets hurt or sick on the mound. The decision for the pitcher to be taken out of the game at that point falls to the umpire. Someone like Shohei Ohtani won’t count against the pitching limit because he’d be a two-way player, he just needs 30 starts as a pitcher and 30 starts as a DH. But gone is the exception that you only have to face 1 batter if you’re brought in with one 2 outs in the inning. All pitchers must complete 3 at-bats faced.

Tough Calls to Make

Lefty/righty specialists are now extinct. I for one am happy. If you’re a big-league, left-handed pitcher, and you can’t get right-handed batters out (and you’ll face more right-handed hitters than lefties), you don’t deserve a spot on the roster until you can get both out. And if you can’t, change positions or quit.

But a maximum of 13 pitchers means only 8 in the bullpen, as 5 spots on your staff are taken up by your starters. Who stays and who goes puts a stronger emphasis on regular dependability during the seasons as opposed to one awesome year, followed by a mediocre, and then a bad season. Tommy Kahnle has an added incentive to perform, as the 2018 season wasn’t particularly kind to him. Chad Green can’t start slow like he did last season, to then come back and be an opener. And the disaster that was Edwin Diaz in 2019 will almost certainly result in him getting DFAed in 2020, as you don’t have as much room to play with if you don’t have your stuff that day, week, month, or season.

On the bright side, it also allows teams to carry a bigger bench full of more diverse positions. Being stuck with a backup catcher, a backup infielder, and a backup outfielder puts ANY team in a bind during a 162 game slog.

Should the New York Yankees be Concerned About Matt Blake Already?

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

Spring Training doesn’t begin till next week, but questions already surround the New York Yankees pitching staff. And when James Paxton and Domingo German each return to the Yankees around the All-Star game (realistically), how do you get them to bring their A-game right out the gate, after not pitching most of the season? This is where Matt Blake’s inexperience could bite him, and the Yankees, in the butt.

Don’t Think Analytics Makes Him Better Than Rothschild

I felt Larry Rothschild wasn’t as good of a pitching coach as everyone wanted you to believe. When the bullpen was right, the starters were off, and vice versa. Look at last season. There were painfully long stretches where our starting rotation was garbage, and our bullpen was what kept us in the game. Then, when the bullpen was able to rest because the starting rotation got itself right, the key players in the pen before Otta, Britton, and Chapman floundered.

Part of what sold Gerrit Cole on coming to the  New York Yankees was Matt Blake’s sales pitch about his analytical approach to helping pitchers pitch better. If you don’t think Larry Rothschild didn’t have that same information, you’re in denial. Spin rate on a breaking pitch isn’t going to help Tanaka get through 5 on a day he just doesn’t have it. And he’s been losing it more and more as his career in pinstripes progresses.

How Much Will the Other Pitchers Accept Blake’s Approach?

Part of Blake’s success is going to be how much the other pitchers respond to Blake’s coaching. Cole is open to it, and Montgomery is probably going to take what Blake is teaching and run with it. But what about Severino, Tanaka, Happ, and Paxton? Just because he’s their coach doesn’t mean what he teaches them is going to work for them. Mariano Rivera isn’t shy about admitting then pitching coach, Mel Stottlemyer, tried to get him to abandon the cutter. Happ is about 5 years older than Blake, and seen success. Who’s to say Happ doesn’t lead a revolt against neglecting Blake’s coaching the first sign things look bad for our fragile rotation? Who’s to say Blake’s teaching doesn’t result in Cole needing Tommy John? As I said, we’re already down 2 in the rotation. And when they get back, how fast can Blake get them up to speed?

All of the questions that STILL surround the Yankees rotation may be too much for this 34-year-old. I hope it doesn’t, but, let’s just see.

DeGrominant: New York Mets’ ace is the eight best player according to MLB Network

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

MLB Network recently released a ranking of the top 100 MLB players. Four current members of the New York Mets‘ roster are present in the list, which speaks of the squad talent and status as a potential contender in 2020.

The list was released on Thursday. To the surprise of no one, the Mets’ best ranked player was no other than Jacob deGrom.

The team’s ace came in at number eight in the ranking, after winning the Cy Young award in the National League for two seasons in a row.

The 2019 was a fantastic one for deGrom, who finished with a 11-8 win-loss record and a 2.43 ERA. He struck out 255 batters in just 204 IP. The right-hander was one of the most consistent performers in the Mets’ roster and carried the rotation all season long.

It was the first time in his marvelous career that Jacob deGrom leads the National League in punchouts. Only Gerrit Cole, now the ace of the New York Yankees, was ranked higher than deGrom among pitchers, checking in at seventh place.

The Mets’ WAR ace

In the last two years, DeGrom put up 9.0 and 7.0 fWAR, respectively. Most starters struggle to finish with that many wins above replacement in their whole careers. Doing it in just two seasons is an amazing feat.

DeGrom will look for his third straight Cy Young award. He would be the first hurler to achieve that since Randy Johnson did it at the beginning of the new millennium.

Other players of the New York Mets saw their names on MLB Network’s list. First baseman, home run champion and reigning Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso finished at number 24, while Jeff McNeil was 49th in the list.

Outfielder Michael Conforto, one of the most underrated players in the Mets’ roster and in the National League, was 79th in the list.

New York Mets news: Spring training predictions, Matt Adams, analytics and more!

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The New York Mets spring training camp is underway and the team’s stars are honing their skills. They have the 2020 season in mind, one in which the team is expected to content.

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

MLB.com: Anthony DiComo, MLB.com’s beat writer for the New York Mets, provided some team predictions for spring training in 2020.

He wrote, among his predictions, that Puerto Rican reliever Edwin Diaz will regain his closer gig after losing it in last few weeks of the 2019 season. He is talented enough to have a bounceback year and regain his place among the most dominant relievers of the league.

DiComo is also predicting that Michael Wacha, who came to the Mets as a free agent signing this offseason, will head to the bullpen. He also said that Yoenis Cespedes will remain limited.

Anthony DiComo: The Mets are making sure that some specific players can cover multiple positions. Dominic Smith is already making strides in left field, which isn’t his natural position, and word from the team’s camp is that Matt Adams is also keeping himself sharp in the outfield.

DiComo wrote that “veteran Matt Adams says he plans to take lots of reps in left field this spring, given the Pete Alonso-sized logjam at first base. Adams is still keeping sharp at his primary position though, fielding ground balls there Thursday at Mets camp.”

If Adams keeps himself sharp out there, he could secure more playing time given that the Mets’ starting first baseman, Pete Alonso, won’t take a lot of rest days.

New York Daily News: Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News wrote about Luis Rojas’ analytical background, and how he intends to apply his knowledge in his tenure as the Mets manager.

It should be pointed out that Rojas was the Mets’ quality control coach last season. Thosar wrote that the role “was crucial to communicate analytical information to a staff that was late to the party, and now he looks forward to bringing that knowledge into his daily managerial routine.”

“I grew up a lot last year, especially developing the new role,” Rojas said on Thursday. “So as the season went along, it kind of took more shape and we developed new in-house systems that will simplify more of our information.”

New York Yankees: Former Yankee Killed His Hall of Fame Chances

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Carlos Beltran

More reports surfaced this week about former New York Yankee, and mastermind of the Astros sign-stealing scandal, Carlos Beltran. If former Yankee, Roger Clemens, and home run king, Barry Bonds, are being kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame over their involvement with, and suspected use of steroids, Carlos Beltran secured his permanent exclusion from Cooperstown over new, damning information.

Astros Felt Powerless to Stop Beltran, Who Said He Saw a “Better Way to Steal Signs”

According to a report from the Athletic, when Beltran got to Houston in 2017, he told the team their sign decoding operation was “behind the times”. He was so instrumental in implementing and orchestrating the electronic sign stealing, he would shut down anyone who asked him to stop it. That includes former Yankee teammate (and the Astros 2017 catcher) Brian McCann, or even his manager, AJ Hinch (remember how he supposedly destroyed the monitor on two separate occasions).

Beltran was considered the “godfather of the dugout by his teammates. His will was the law. And now, he’s put his entire baseball future in jeopardy over (supposedly) his desire to win just one championship.

But Where Did He Get the Idea From?

Beltran, allegedly, saw what became the Astros operation “somewhere else”. Many are suspecting that he saw it during his 2.5 years in New York, with the Yankees. But the Yankees were middling at best when Beltran was on the team. Going into the video replay room, something the Yankees admitted to doing but stopped several years before electronic sign-stealing became illegal, is still a far cry from banging a trash can in real time to tip a hitter off. There was still one more pit stop before Beltran became an Astro, and that was the Texas Rangers.

But all this is speculation over whether or not every team in baseball was, in fact, stealing signs the way that the Astros were. It was definitively proven that the Astros set up a camera in center field, someone decided the signs in real-time and relayed that information to the hitter. The Red Sox didn’t use a trash can, they used Apple smartwatches. So… is Beltran a dirty cheater who tried to get the Yankees to implement what the Astros implemented, or is he just a terrible liar (he did tell the NY Post he didn’t know about a center field camera in Houston in November)?

No matter the answer, it’s a terrible stain. Not just on the man’s career, but on the sport, he represented for 20 years so admirably. I think this is the end of Beltran’s career in baseball once and for all, with an unofficial banishment from Cooperstown.

New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson is the league’s next dominant center

New York Knicks

A lot of the New York Knicks’ younger players have been subject to scrutiny this season. It’s been hard for them to find consistent production. Yet, on a roster with so much uncertainty, Mitchell Robinson has shown he may have the clearest path to NBA stardom of anyone on the team.

What makes Mitchell Robinson so special?

Robinson’s path to the NBA was bizarre. In an unprecedented move, Robinson did not play any professional or collegiate basketball in the year leading up to the NBA draft. He prepared for it on his own accord. Scouts were still enamored with his lengthy frame and athleticism. He was selected in the 2nd round, 36th overall by the Knicks in 2018.

Mitch’s career to this point has been a rollercoaster. His lack of experience has shown most noticeably in his tendency to get into foul trouble. His timing is erratic. His movements are awkward. Yet these are extremely coachable issues.

Robinson’s physical gifts have allowed him to thrive despite his lack of technical skills. His ability to block shots is extraordinary. He is currently 6th in the NBA in blocks per game while averaging just 22.7 minutes. He was 2nd in blocks last season at 20.6 minutes per game.

It’s not just his defensive potential that stands out. Robinson’s ability to rebound and track the ball is impossible to ignore. He has all the tools necessary to become a dominant center in the NBA. Robinson very much fits the mold of centers like Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, and Clint Capela. So how do Robinson’s numbers stack up against the players he hopes to become?

Mitchell Robinson first 2 seasons: 116 Games | 21.5 Minutes Per Game | 8.1 PPG | 6.5 RPG | 2.2 BLKPG | .728 FG%

Rudy Gobert first 2 seasons: 127 Games | 20.4 Minutes Per Game | 6.2 PPG | 7.3 RPG | 1.8 BLKPG | .587 FG%

DeAndre Jordan first 2 seasons: 123 Games | 15.5 Minutes Per Game | 4.6 PPG | 4.8 RPG  1.0 BLKPG | .615 FG%

Clint Capela first 3 seasons: 154 Games | 20.2 Minutes Per Game | 9.0 PPG | 6.9 RPG | 1.2 BLKPG | .614 FG%

Mitch is strikingly similar to the players listed above. His numbers, physical profile, and even where he was selected in the draft. Advanced metrics support Robinson’s potential as well. He currently ranks 2nd in the NBA in both true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage. FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection model lists Robinson as a “Future All-Star”.

As the New York Knicks continue to evaluate their roster and construct their future, Mitchell Robinson should be counted on to become a foundational piece. Watch out NBA, Mitch is on the rise.

 

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole pumped for Spring Training

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees are entering the new season with high expectations and a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Ever since the addition of Gerrit Cole, they are heavy favorites to be in the 2020 World Series. Pitchers and catchers reported this week and it was the first time fans got a glimpse at Cole pitching wearing a New York Yankees jersey. Everyone is excited, including Cole himself.

“I am just excited to get down here. Amy and I are just thrilled for this new adventure,” Cole said yesterday when he met with the media. “I remember how much fun I had meeting new teammates a couple of years ago in spring training, and I’m kind of doing the same thing here. So, it’s always you meet new people, you learn new things. It’s just kind of an exciting time in your life and you get to play baseball again which at some point during the offseason you start looking forward to doing that. So, just a lot of good vibes, a lot of excitement and throwing bullpens and having a good time.”

Gerrit Cole has the same mindset and goal as everyone else: winning the World Series this year. “I love it. In a sense, like, from a player’s perspective it really doesn’t get much more simple than that, like right? It’s the dream to go out there every day and try to win every single time,” Cole said.

Cole mentioned that losing Game 7 to the Washington Nationals to lose the World Series was one of the worst feelings he’s ever had as a player and he using that drive for this season. “It drives me. It drives me every year. But specifically, last year coming so close. It’s just the opportunity this year is so much more exciting than the last one,” Cole said.