Kevin Zeitler: New York Giants “Sick of Losing” For Last 3 Years

New York Giants, Kevin Zeitler

When training camp and the regular season come around for 2020, the New York Giants will be expected to have an improved offensive line – one player that will be back from 2019, however, is Kevin Zeitler. The Giants picked up Zeitler from the Browns in exchange for pass rusher Olivier Vernon, and Zeitler was a starter at guard for fifteen out of the sixteen games the Giants played last year.

Thanks to the addition, which gave the team the guard duo of Will Hernandez and Zeitler, the Giants can worry more about the tackle position this year rather than having to address both guard and tackle in the draft and free agency.

However, while it looks like Zeitler has a future with the Giants, his first season wasn’t without hardships. He spoke about that to Sports Illustrated recently, talking about the trade, his first year with the Giants, and what things look like going forward.

“Obviously, my first year here was frustrating. There is talent on the Giants, but it was a very disappointing season overall… We had a bunch of smart football guys with experience on the line, but we were inconsistent in the running game and with our pass protection,” Zeitler said.

One of those players, of course, was Nate Solder – who received a huge contract but despite his past successes with New England, failed to make a big impact for the Giants in his first season with the team. Now it’s debatable whether Solder should even be on the Giants for the 2020 season. The offensive line, however, underperformed in general last season, even outside of that one player.

It’s something that Zeitler seems aware of.

“We have to figure out how to take the next step because last year was no fun, and we know we have to get it turned around fast,” Zeitler continued. “I like all the guys on the offensive line and think we can do great things together, but I don’t know what the plans are. That’s up to the general manager and coaches… The guys on this team are sick of losing the last three years. All we want to do is win.”

Even though it’s not clear yet who the Giants are going to take at the fourth overall spot in the draft, or if they’ll even spend the pick instead of trading down for the first time with Gettleman at the helm, it looks like they’ll come out of either the draft or free agency with at least one big name player to help solve their line problems.

Is that enough to turn things around on its own? Probably not, but if players like Zeitler are to be believed, the Giants are closer than they seem to putting in better performances and adding one or two more pieces could finally see a turnaround.

The New York Islanders need Anders Lee To Step Up Now

New York Islanders, Anders Lee

The New York Islanders’ offense as of late has hit a wall. In particular, their captain, Anders Lee, has been one of the biggest culprits.

In the last three games, Lee has recorded a ridiculous 20 shot attempts, and somehow, none of them have been able to find the back of the net. The Isles as a whole only have one goal in their last 180 minutes of play.

“It’s been tough for us lately to find goals,” Lee said after Monday’s loss in Arizona.

“We got that one from [Beauvillier] and couldn’t get the second one. We had chances over and over and we’ve just got to find a way to put it in.”

Lee’s struggles couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Islanders, who are clawing tooth and nail for positioning in the extremely tight Metropolitan Division. Heading into the final matchup of their four-game Western road swing tonight, the Isles find themselves in the final wild-card spot in the Metro.

The team being in that spot only makes it more crucial for Lee to snap out of this funk he’s been in.

Frankly, Lee needs to find that next level and fast. His season has been mired with inconsistent play despite 17 goals and 33 points through 58 games. He’s of the main drivers on offense for head coach Barry Trotz behind Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle, as well as the team’s primary goal-scoring threat. Plus g.m. Lou Lamoriello also paid him quite nicely in the offseason — $49 million to be exact — for moments like the one facing the team now.

As a captain, this is the time of year where your leaders are your best players. The Islanders need Anders Lee to be that guy starting now and down the stretch.

Should The New York Giants Explore A Trade For Darius Slay?

The NFL offseason is in full swing with trade and free agent rumors beginning to heat up. Players and teams are preparing to part ways via trades and free agency, and a couple of big names are on the trade block already. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Detroit Lions have been shopping star cornerback Darius Slay.

Darius Slay has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL for the past few years. The Giants have had a weak secondary recently and have been making an effort to upgrade (such as drafting three defensive backs in the 2020 NFL Draft). Should the New York Giants get involved in trade talks for Darius Slay?

Darius Slay Trade Rumors

The Detroit Lions have to pay Darius Slay $13,368,750 in 2020 according to Spotrac. Slay is 29 years old and has one year left on his contract. Detroit seems ready to move on from Slay but wants to get something in return before he walks away fr nothing as a free agent in 2021.

The Giants could get in no the Darius Slay trade rumors, however, there will be a lot of competition. The Lions have already discussed a trade with “multiple teams” according to Adam Schefter. Whatever team trades for Darius Slay will have to be ready to pay him. He only has one year left on his current deal and desires a contract extension. The Giants have the money to pay him, but do they have the assets to trade for him?

Darius Slay Stats And Highlights

Darius “Big Play” Slay has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons. He was selected to be a First-Team All-Pro in 2017. In that 2017 season, Slay had a phenomenal performance recording 8 interceptions and 26 passes defended. He has not been quite on that level over the past two seasons, but he has still been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

In 2018, Slay recorded 3 interceptions and 17 passes defended. This season, Darius took a step back as he was dealing with injuries. He played in 14 games, totaling 2 interceptions and 13 passes defended.

Darius Slay was targeted in coverage 93 times in 2018 and 94 times in 2019. In 2018, he allowed a completion percentage of 46.8% for 520 yards and 6 touchdowns. In 2019, Slay allowed a completion percentage of 55.9% for 694 yards and 3 touchdowns. This step backward could signal that age is getting to Darius. But either way, he is still a highly efficient cornerback and would be a major upgrade in the secondary for most teams in the league.

OBJ Thinks Jets Would Be “Ideal Landing Spot” if Traded

New York Giants, Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham, Jr. back in The Big Apple? Sure, he’d love to come back but the New York Giants aren’t about to go down that road again. They’ve been there, done that with the talented, but distracting, wideout.

But, how about the Jets? They could use a a weapon or two to pair with their young signal caller, Sam Darnold. OBJ’s current team, the Cleveland Browns may have had enough of the Beckham experiment and could explore dealing the star receiver away after just one season.

From Kristian Dyer of SI.com:

Amid speculation and rumor that the game’s most talented wide receiver might be the center of an offseason trade from the Cleveland Browns, it might be the New York Jets and not the New York Giants that could be a destination for Beckham . An NFL source told SportsIllustrated.com that if Beckham is traded, he would view the Jets as an ideal landing spot.

 

The league source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also said that if Beckham is moved by the Browns after just a single season in Cleveland, that the Jets could be a possible team for him. The source said that it is his understanding that Beckham isn’t actively seeking a move from Cleveland, just simply that a return to New York could be welcomed by the star.

The Cleveland media apparently isn’t enough to satisfy OBJ. He needs a bigger audience. He can only get that by being traded back into a huge media market. Neither L.A. team seems interested, nor do Dallas, Philly or New England. Since the Giants are out, that leaves the Jets.

The Jets are currently wrestling with the prospect of re-signing Robby Anderson, who could demand close to the same money it would cost them to play Beckham. Anderson is reportedly asking for $13-15 million per year. Should the Jets trade for Beckham, who is under contract until 2024 with an average cap hit of around $15 million per.

The Jets have approximately $56 million in open cap space to deal with this offseason and they will be looking to add to their offensive arsenal. All that is left to is to find out what it would take to pry OBJ away from the Browns.

 

Yankees: Gleyber Torres’ rise from the violence of Caracas to the bright lights of Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

A New York Yankees player profile of Gleyber Torres: The early years

Gleyber Torres was born amongst the political strife, unrest, and violence of Caracas, Venezuela, in a middle-class family headed by Eusebio Torres and his mother, Ibelise. He is 22 years old. Gleyber started playing baseball at the age of four. He began in his early years as an outfielder, but shortstop was more suited to his game. His love of the game was propelled by watching games on TV.

In high school, he played both basketball and baseball, but his father got him to concentrate on just baseball. Many thought he had the capabilities of becoming a professional. At age 14, he enrolled in an academy with secure connections to baseball scouts. Shortly after that, he was sought out by the Chicago Cubs, and he signed a contract with them.

In 2013 at the age of just sixteen, he signed a $1.7 million contract with the Cubs. As an international free agent. He played in the minors for the Cubs organization, and He made his pro debut in 2014 with the Arizona Cubs. In fifty games, he hit an average of .297. In 2015, he played for two minor league teams. In 126 games between the two clubs, he hit .287 with three home runs. In 2016 the Cubs traded Torres with Adam Warren and two other players to the Yankees for a desperately needed Aroldis Chapman. Torres played in the minors but missed most of the 2017 season for an injury that required Tommy John surgery, but still recorded a .287 season with seven home runs.

Torres makes his major league debut

Gleyber made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. On May 4, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. During 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team. He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits, and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936. On June 29, he hit his 39th home run of his short career. On August 2, he hit his second Grand Slam. Throughout the season, he continued to impress at second-base as well as the backup shortstop to Didi Gregorius.    Torres finished his 2018 campaign hitting .271 with 24 home runs and 77 runs batted in.

 

Didi Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October of 2018, and due to his recovery, he missed the first 61 games of the 2019 season.   Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres filled in, in his place at short in 2019.  Torres also played 21 games at short in 2018.  You could call 2019 a breakout year for the young 22-year-old as he began to show the power he may have in the future as he matures in the game.  He finished the 2019 season with a team-high 38 home runs while batting .278 with 90 RBI’s. In his two years in the majors, he has been an All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination.

In an interview by Yankees Magazine, Torres was asked if there was anyone who was most instrumental in your development as a player?  He answered: “Well, my dad was always with me. When I was sleeping in bed, my dad would wake me up and take me to a batting cage to hit, or he would just take ground balls with me, play catch with me. He really helped me a lot when I was little; he always had that motivation to help me. Not because he had the mentality that I was going to play professionally or anything, but just because he wanted to have fun with me. My mom would also go with us. My parents just helped me in everything to be who I am right now.”

Torres takes over at short

During the offseason, Didi Gregorius’s option was not picked up, and he became a free agent.  There were many rumors of the Yankees, looking for a new shortstop, including a buzz about obtaining Francisco Lindor of the Indians.  The Yankee decided on making Gleyber Torres the everyday starter at short.  Torres says he is comfortable playing shortstop as he played the position throughout his minor league career, including with the Chicago Cubs.  He and DJ LeMahieu will defend the center of the infield.

Torres wishes to honor the lineage of Derek Jeter, who was recently made a Baseball Hall of Famer, losing a unanimous vote by just one vote.  Jeter was the famed Yankee shortstop that manned his position at Yankee Stadium for twenty years.  Torres said of Jeter: “Now it’s my time to defend his position,” he said. “Just try to do it like him.”  Torres does not speak perfect English but has taken the time to master it as his second language.  He always speaks English in his frequent interviews.

Torres at spring training

Torres showed up early for spring training to practice his craft, and to become ready for the upcoming season at the spring training complex at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  Upon his arrival, he was questioned as to if he believed the Astros illegal sign-stealing went on beyond the 2017 season.  He responded: “For sure. If you cheated in 2017 and you won, why don’t [you] do [it] the next year, and the next year, too!” Torres said. “I’ll use an example: If I play video games with you and we face the TV, and I see your controller, and I know what is coming, and I hit really well, and I win, if you tell me we play again, I’ll do the same thing because I win. So [the Astros] did in ’17 for sure, they did in ’18, and they do ’19. It’s really easy.”

Many scouts and the Yankees believe as he matures, he could become the next big Yankee star, he is already on his way as he has become a dominant player at home plate. Torres lives in New York City with his wife Elizabeth, his childhood sweetheart. This past summer they celebrated their 2nd Anniversary with a dinner on the beach. Gleyber still has very close ties with his family and friends back in Caracas and usually visits during the December holidays.

New York Giants: The dream draft scenario in the first round

There are many avenues the New York Giants can explore in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, but there’s one scenario that would set the team up with a top offensive tackle and a star linebacker.

First and foremost, this scenario depends on a few different factors:

  1. The Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions remain steady with the No. 2-3 picks
  2. The Lions don’t select a quarterback
  3. The Miami Dolphins/Chargers are willing to trade up for a quarterback (for the right price)

There’s evidence to suggest Washington will select Chase Young with the 2nd overall pick, and the Lions land Jeff Okudah at No. 3. The Giants now have all the leverage to trade away the 4th overall pick and put themselves in a position to add draft-capital to their arsenal of resources.

Ideally, Miami is willing to trade up to No. 4 and give up at least a second-round pick in the process, which would not only guarantee the Giants a shot at Clemons linebacker, Isaiah Simmons, but also an opportunity to orchestrate a trade up into the first round.

The New York Giants aren’t this crafty:

Dave Gettleman has never traded back in his entire career as a general manager in the NFL, but there’s never been an opportunity as golden as this for the Giants. They have two QB-needy teams waiting in the wings and need to take full advantage of that reality. Both Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert will be on the board for the taking, and selling the idea that the Chargers are attempting to swap picks should be enough to convince Miami that they need to make a move…fast. It’s all about creating leverage in a high-pressure situation, so please, Gettleman, pick up the phone this time.

In the scenario that this all works out and the Giants add a second-rounder to their draft pick allocation, they will now have the ability to find a tackle in the first round. Pairing those second-rounders will give them enough ammo to move up and have a shot at prospects like Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, or Josh Jones.

This finely choreographed move would plug a quality rookie into one of the more expensive positions in football, and it would guarantee they find their defensive playmaker in Simmons. We can dream, right?

New York Mets dodge a bullet as Seth Lugo is set to resume throwing following pinkie fracture

Yesterday, New York Mets‘ fans saw a headline with the words “Seth Lugo” and “fractured.” At first glance, they thought the worst had happened. However, the details are encouraging. The break is small and is in his left pinkie toe.

That doesn’t make it any less painful (we all have banged our pinkie toe with something and know what it’s like) but the fact is that Lugo, who is arguably the Mets’ most valuable reliever, is already set to throw long-toss on Wednesday in Mets’ training camp in Port St. Lucie.

The news was confirmed by New York Post’s writer Mike Puma. The pitcher banged his left pinkie toe against an ottoman on Monday. The bizarre thing is that the injury didn’t take place on the field. Instead, it happened in his hotel room.

The Mets pitcher will soon work from a mound

But fear no more! Lugo is already throwing again and the expectation is that he soon resumes working from a mound.
While it seemed, at first, that he was going to be a little behind his peers due to the incident, that no longer seems to be the case.

In fact, there are now no concerns whatsoever about his ability to resume throwing from a mound sooner rather than later. Lugo will be ready in time for the start of the 2020 season with the New York Mets.

The Mets could not afford to lose him for a significant period of time. Yes, the team signed Dellin Betances and has Edwin Diaz, Brad Brach, Justin Wilson and company, but Lugo was a star among stars in 2019. He pitched to a 2.70 ERa (2.70 FIP) in 80 innings. The righty had a 11.70 K/9 and a BB/9 of 1.80, both excellent marks.

He was actually one of the best relievers in the National League.

The New York Mets are counting on J.D. Davis to play some third base

The New York Mets have several capable third basemen. Jeff McNeil played lots of innings in the position and will do it again in 2020, while Jed Lowrie, if he can ever overcome his balky knee, can also play there. But a third candidate is lurking around.

J.D. Davis is known for his potent bat. After all, he had a .307/.369/.527 line with 22 home runs in 453 plate appearances. The Mets need to find a way to have his bat in the lineup most days.

In fact, Davis started last season as a third baseman but he was overmatched there. Defending the hot corner, he had a -1.6 UZR, -6.1 UZR/150 and -9 DRS in 220 innings.

He wasn’t much better in left field but held his own. This time around, the Mets seem determined to give him reps at third base again. The idea is for him to become a capable defender to occupy the position in the days Robinson Cano needs rest.

In that scenario, Jeff McNeil, the Mets’ regular third sacker, would slide over second and Davis would be on the hot corner. That could also open up left field for Yoenis Cespedes, if he is healthy enough to play.

According to infield coach Gary DiSarcina, the plan is for Davis to practice 50 percent of the time at third in spring training.
The New York Post reported that DiSarcina traveled to Sacramento in the offseason to work in a new approach with Davis.

The Mets are trying a new approach

Davis himself explained what they worked on: “Every coach had told me to try to stay low to the ground, so we basically flipped it to more of a tennis player being on the receiving end,” Davis said Tuesday. “I’m a little more upright, and it’s helped me kind of do a small jump before the ball comes to home plate and that way my feet are more set on the ground, and that has helped me out with my reaction time of reading baseballs and reading tough hops, and it’s been working out perfect for me at least for that situation.”

Given Cano and Lowrie’s fragility, Davis could receive significant playing time at third. “He needs reps in a game, and he’s going to fail,” DiSarcina said. “His first couple of spring games he might make two or three errors because he is trying something new, trying to incorporate a new technique into his game, and he’s going to have some rough spots, and it’s up to us as an organization to kind of deal with that. I just don’t want him falling back on his old habits of getting too low.”

The New York Mets’ coach also spotted something on Davis’ throwing motion. “He would rush throws and try to show everybody how good of an arm he had. … I am so proud of him since Sacramento he’s worked on his footwork and ability to get under control instead of constantly throwing on the run and trying to throw it as hard as he can,” the coach said.

Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton torches Houston Astros over lack of apology

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The last few weeks of baseball news has been plagued by venting sessions and lack of apologies from Houston Astros’ players for their transgressions. A majority of the New York Yankees team has now spoken out on the matter and expressed their feelings towards the 2017 campaign, where they were robbed of a World Series appearance.

The latest player to voice their opinion was Giancarlo Stanton, who appropriately said:

“I probably would have hit 80-plus home runs,” said Stanton, who hit 59 homers as the NL MVP in 2017.

Stanton also mentioned the lack of an actual apology from the Astros, who seem more interested in conjuring up excuses or falsifying claims that have been proven true.

My personal favorite was Carlos Correa stating that Jose Altuve refrained from taking his shirt off during their ALCS walk-off win against the Yankees because of a bad tattoo. Isn’t it interesting that Correa was the only player to come up with this excuse? Did Altuve forget about this factor the entire time? Seems sketchy.

“We know that they don’t really care to give an apology and it showed by their response and as players we know that,” Stanton said. “You know the repercussions of doing something like that and you’re only really sorry because you got caught.”

Most players feel as though MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t punish players or team officials as severely as they should have been. Stripping their 2017 World Series title would have been a good start, as it now seems cheating is justified in Major League Baseball. Great example you’re setting for the kids, Rob.

New York Yankees: 2017 Astros title stands, growing anger around baseball is culpable!

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve

With spring training now in full swing, more and more players from around the league and all of baseball are making their opinions known, expressing disappointment to anger.  In recent days it appears that anger is the prevalent feeling.  Yesterday New York Yankee Gleyber Torres said that he believed that the Houston Astros were cheating in 2018 and 2019 as well.  The anger among many players has been festering throughout the postseason, and now that baseball is active again, more and more sentiment is being expressed, and it’s not nice.

Commission Manfred didn’t go far enough!

Everyone in baseball knew that the Astros would have a challenging time playing in the ballparks around the country after it was detailed by Commissioner Rob Manfred back on January 15th, that the Astros used illegal electronic equipment and other signals to give Astro players the advantage of knowing what pitches may be coming.  Manfred issued punishments for the scheme, suspending the Astros General Manager and Field Manager A.J. Hinch for one year, (both were fired) fining the Astros $5MM the league limit and taking away their first and second-round draft picks for 2020 and 2021.  But now some players and fans alike believe that certain players should have been punished and that the Astro should have been stripped of the 2017 World Series title.

Anger builds against the Astros

It appears that anger toward the Astros is building rather than subsiding, so much so that Manfred has stated that he is now worried that pitchers around baseball may take retaliatory measures when facing the Astros, i.e. plunking Astro players, particularly Jose Altuve and Alex Correa.  Rob Manfred says he will not stand for vigilante justice against the Houston Astros.   “I hope that I made it extremely clear to them that retaliation in-game by throwing at a batter intentionally will not be tolerated, whether it’s Houston or anybody else,” Manfred added “It’s dangerous, and it is not helpful to the current situation.”  He suggested that players that take part in these actions against the Astros will be punished.  The fact that those that retaliate will be punished, but the Astros players are still not punished further infuriates fans and players alike.

Yankee players speak out

Many New York Yankees have now let the world know how they feel, from retired pitcher CC Sabathia showing extreme anger in an expletive-laced statement against the Astros to pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, Adam Ottavino, Gary Sanchez and more.  Yesterday Gleyber Torres unloaded on the Astros, claiming that once they got away with stealing the title in 2017, they kept it up in 2018 and 2019.

“For sure. If you cheated in 2017 and you won, why you don’t (you) do (it) the next year, and the next year too! I’ll use an example if I play video games with you, and we face the TV, and I see your controller and I know what is coming, and I hit really well, and I win, if you tell me we play again, I’ll do the same thing because I win. So (the Astros) did in ’17 for sure, they did in ’18 and they do ’19. It’s really easy.”

It’s not just the Yankees either, players from around the league have and are expressing their frustration over how they may have been created in games played against the Astros.  Players, particularly from the Lost Angles Dodgers who lost the World Series to the Astros in 2017, have made it clear that they are not happy with the Astros and the punishments that were issued.  In just another example of the anger around baseball, Mike Clevenger of the Cleveland Indians said: “To each their own. But I’m not going and just be quiet about someone blatantly taking millions of dollars and food off my table and other people’s tables.”  He went on to say that the MBL has been too lenient with the Astros: “You want to protect the guy next to you? You want to protect the sanctity of baseball?” Clevinger said. “It’s not giving (a) $5 million (fine) to a $1 billion corporation while they’re walking around with the same ring on their finger in the same uniform, the same city, and the same contract. What’s that really going to change?”

Relinquish the 2017 title now!

Many in baseball think the only saving grace for the Astros is to relinquish the title voluntarily or face the consequences even if it’s only being booed in every park they visit in the upcoming season.  Luckily the Astros will have to wait until September to avoid the wrath of Yankee fans at Yankee Stadium.  Commissioner Manfred knows he is under the gun and is walking a fine line trying to appease fans but, at the same time, avoid dangerous situations where Astros players are put in harm’s way.  He has said that he has taken steps to reduce the use of cameras and monitors around baseball.  “I think it’s really important for us to send a message to our fans that not only did we investigate and punish, but we altered our policies in a way that will help make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Only time will tell if this continues to escalate or if the actual playing of the game will let this injustice settle into the past.  This writer’s opinion is that it will get worse before it gets better.  Many fans and players alike feel the Astros really aren’t sorry; they are only sorry that they got caught as expressed by their postseason silence and only half-hearted recent apology.  Manfred will meet today with owners and managers of baseball in Florida.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish summed up the feelings across baseball. “It’s like the Olympics,” Darvish said: “When a player cheats, you can’t have a gold medal, right? But they still have a World Series title. It [feels] weird.” (referring to the effect on individual players stats), Darvish also said: “Some people lost their job. They have to show more apology. I don’t feel anything from those guys.”