New York Giants Met With Andrew Thomas On Thursday

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs

Offensive tackle is the main position being mocked to the Giants with their number four overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft and one of the top players at the position is Andrew Thomas, out of Georgia. Thomas is right up there with other players who have been mocked to the Giants as well as Mekhi Becton and Jedrick Wills, from Louisville and Alabama respectively. It seems the Giants’ interest is more than speculation, however.

According to SNY, Thomas made the revelation recently that he was set to meet with the Giants on Thursday – and Thomas had already met with the Jets, who may also be interested. It looks like Thomas has a legitimate chance of getting drafted by a New York team one way or the other, which is a possibility he spoke about.

“That would be crazy. You guys know I signed with Roc Nation so I’ve been up there a couple times and New York’s a nice city,” Thomas said about the prospect of being picked by the Jets or Giants.

Thomas, 21, could see immediate action if he is indeed picked by the Giants, likely in a competition against the slacking Nate Solder. Solder is widely regarded as having the worst contract on the team and could change positions altogether this season, leaving an open spot on the offensive line at the left tackle position – which the Giants will need to fill well if they want to keep Daniel Jones safe during what’s almost certainly his first season as the full time starter.

Here’s some of what the Draft Network has to say about Thomas’ pass blocking game:

Love how he brings the fight in pass protection. Has exciting moments of framing blocks, leveraging his hips and keeping rushers at the end of his reach. There are times with twitchier rushers where he can give up a step and he gets top heavy when recovering, leaving his feet behind. Has some erratic moments reaching his set points, particularly on vertical sets and he fails to get enough depth. Has some room for growth but his peaks are outstanding and he has the physical gifts to improve.

We don’t know yet what the Giants have learned about the prospect from his visit with them but if the team is impressed, we might just see them taking Thomas at number four overall rather than dealing the pick down to a team looking to move up for a quarterback – perhaps the most likely scenario if they don’t take a tackle.

Mets’ Nimmo cleared after undergoing screening for irregular heartbeat

New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo was scratched from Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros after doctors suggested he undergo testing for an irregular heartbeat.

Nimmo was required to wear a heart monitor for the last 24 hours but his condition is one that he and the Mets have known about for years. He also underwent a stress test.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen announced that Nimmo has been cleared for baseball activities after the tests came back in good order.

Earlier in the day, Nimmo’s wife sent out a Tweet confirming there was no major concern.

Nimmo is joined on the bench by fellow outfielder J.D. Davis, who is nursing a sore shoulder. Davis sustained the injury diving for a ball at third base on Tuesday.

New York Giants: Comparing Jadeveon Clowney and Markus Golden

New York Giants, Jadeveon Clowney, Markus Golden

The New York Giants are in need of a pass-rusher heading into the 2020 NFL offseason. Free agency begins next month and the Giants have over $70 million to spend. The team has been linked to top-tier free agents such as Jadeveon Clowney. But the Giants have an edge rusher of their own that’s set to be a free agent next month.

Markus Golden will be a free agent this offseason after an impressive bounce-back season as a member of the New York Giants. Coming off of an injury, Golden signed a one-year deal with New York and totaled 10 sacks while starting in all 16 games. Despite this, most are not sold on Golden as a primary pass-rusher. The Giants are reportedly one of the teams interested in signing edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney. But how big of an upgrade is Jadeveon Clowney over Markus Golden? And is Clowney worth the contract that he is set to receive this offseason?

Clowney or Golden?

Jadeveon Clowney has an estimated market value by Spotrac of $20 million on average annually. Over The Cap projects that Clowney will get a five-year contract worth $21 million on average annually. In comparison, Markus Golden has a Spotrac market value of $13.5 million on average annually. Over The Cap projects that Golden will get a three-year contract worth $9 million on average annually.

Jadeveon Clowney is widely regarded as one of the best edge rushers in the NFL. However, teams will be cautionary when considering signing him. Clowney has a bit of an injury history and played in only 13 games in 2019. In those 13 games, Clowney totaled only 3 sacks and 31 combined tackles. But once Clowney was fully healthy for the playoffs, he took his game to another level.

The Seattle Seahawks played two playoff games this season before being eliminated. In those 2 games, Clowney dominated and totaled 1.5 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, and 12 combined tackles. He was all over the field for Seattle’s defense and was clearly their best defensive player.

Markus Golden did have a much better statistical season than Clowney. He played in 16 games and totaled 10 sacks, 72 combined tackles, and 13 tackles for loss. One criticism that many people have on Golden is that a lot of his sacks were “clean-up” sacks and he was not really applying consistent pressure. But Golden’s production will come at half of the price of Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney is regarded as one of the league’s elite run-defenders, but he is not necessarily a dominant pass-rusher either.

It would be risky to invest a lot of money into either one of these players. However, both of them would fill a huge need for the Giants in 2020 and beyond.

Report: Giants TE Rhett Ellison Considering Retirement

New York Giants tight end Rhett Ellison is considered to be on the top of the team’s ‘cap casualty’ list this offseason but was not included in the first round of cuts this week along with linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin.

That is because Ellison is rumored to be ‘mulling retirement’ after missing the last six games of the 2019 season with a concussion. Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post is reporting that several sources believe that Ellison’s career could be over.

That would change the dead cap charge the Giants would be responsible for this season had they released him instead:

Ellison, 31, signed a four-year, $18 million free-agent contract in 2017 but was supplanted as the starter only six weeks later when the Giants drafted Evan Engram. The sure-handed blocking-first Ellison has 67 catches for 674 yards and four touchdowns in 40 games with the Giants, after spending five seasons with the Vikings.

 

Ellison’s contract calls for a $7.18 million cap hit this season – not in line with his role – but $5 million in savings and only $2.18 million dead money if he is released or retires.

Ellison’s role was taken over by rookie Kaden Smith, who showed some red zone and blocking capability. He can also block, which was Ellison’s forte when he signed with the Giants in 2017.

The Giants are currently $73.3 million over the salary cap as they ready for what should be a wild free agency period beginning March 18.

 

Yankees’ Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier hit back-to-back homers in win over Rays

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Yankees’ Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier go out of the park with back to back home runs in the Yankee  7-1 win over the Rays!

Yankee fans today at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, felt a chill in the air, and it wasn’t from the Tampa Bay Rays.  The game-time temperature was just 58 degrees, but it was mostly sunny for the Yankees as they started the game with J.A.Happ pitching.  Happ, in his first appearance last weekend, pitched two clean innings while striking out three.  Happ was challenged by Ray’s pitcher right-hander Aaron Slegers.  Looking around the stands, most fans donned jackets two protect against the chill and heavy breezes.

Happ started by getting two line-drive outs with just seven pitches but then allowed Daniel Robertson a liner to bounce into the bullpen for a ground-rule double.  Choi followed with a bloop single driving in Robertson for the Rays 1-0 lead.  Happ limited the damage by striking out Nate Lowe.  Brett Gardner led off for the Yankees in the bottom of the first. Brett faced Slegers who is one of the tallest pitchers in baseball towering over Aaron Judge by three inches at 6’10”.  Gardner Struck out.  Next up returning from a core muscle injury that sidelined him from the second half last season, Luke Voit walked.  Tyler Wade deposited a two-run towering shot out of the park for the 2-1 Yankee reversal.  Clint Frazier at the plate hammered one to left field and out of the park.  Higashioka flew out. Chris Iannetta finished getting the third out in a three-run inning for the Yankees.

Happ back out for the second got three quick outs.  Slegers also returned for the second and got Rosell Herrera to pop out.  Zack Granite stuck out, followed Thairo Estrada grounding out for a fast inning for both pitchers.  Happ was again out for the third. Walls and Margot both grounded out, and Lowe struck out with Happ putting down the last seven Rays hitters.  Josh Fleming replaced Slegers in the bottom of the frame.  Gardner worked a ten pitch walk.  Voit reached on a fielder’s choice, and then Wade bunted for the fielder’s choice. The speedy Wade stole second; he then stole third as Frazier walked.  Higashioka killed the Yankee threat by grounding out to the left.

In the fourth, prospect Michael King replaced Happ getting Robertson to lineout to Voit.  Choi flew out, and Lowe hit a line drive mishandled by Frazier as he threw off-center, allowing him to be safe at second. LaMarre lined back to King for the third out.  The Rays put Fleming back out for the bottom of the fourth.  Chris Iannetta singled.  Herrera ground out, moving Iannetta to second. Granite then doubled, showing terrific speed and driving Iannetta home as the Yankees took the 4-1 lead.  Estrada ground out moving Granite to third, and Gardner singled for an RBI, driving in Granite and giving the Yankees four-run lead.

King in the fifth allowed two singles and two outs before Lowe flew out to Brett Gardner, leaving two men on the corners for the Rays.  Wade against Sanders grounded out, Frazier grounded out followed by Thole pinch-hitting for Higashioka also grounded out for a quick inning for Sanders.  At the end of the fifth, it was Yankees 5 and the Rays 1.  Clarke Schmit, the Yankees No.1 prospect, took over for King, who pitched two scoreless innings.  Schmidt immediately gave a single to Robertson, Choi, grounded to Schmidt advancing Roberston.  Estrada made an excellent play tossing to Voit for the out.  Robertson to third. LaMarre then struck out, leaving Robertson on base.  In the bottom, Zombro faced Iannetta, who struck out.  Herrera singled. Mike Ford pinch hit for Granite singled moving Herrera to second.  Estrada was retired by a long fly out to the left. Thomas Milone, the former Ray, trying to make a name for himself as a Yankee, worked the count full before grounding out keeping the score at 5-1 Yankees.

Top seven, it was Schmidt on the mound for his second inning, which he pitched scoreless.   At the bottom, Zombro quickly put down two Yankees, before he walked Thole.  Zack Zahner went down looking to end the seventh.   Jonathan Loaisiga handled the Rays with a ten pitch eighth.  Deck McGuire pitched the bottom for the Rays.  Alverez got a ground-rule double down past first. Mike Ford, still in the game, hit a long homer into the centerfield stands.  Cabrera flew out. Milone ground out, and Kratz made the final out, but the Yankees picked up two runs off Mike Ford’s homer.

The final inning found Loaisiga on the mound to close out the game, and he did it swiftly, putting down the side for the Yankees 7-1 win over the Rays.  J.A. Happ was the winning pitchers, and Aaron Sleger taking the loss for the Rays.  The game was played economically in two hours and twenty-two minutes.

The big take-a-way from today’s game is, of course, back to back out of the park home runs by Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier.  But watching the game, it must have pleased Yankee pitching coach Matt Blake to see all of his pitchers, pitch quickly and confidently.  The good news for the Yankees is that J.A. Happ, in his first two outings, pitched without hesitation, allowing only one run over five innings.

Yankees’ Clint Frazier will benefit the most from Giancarlo Stanton’s injury

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

When the news broke that Giancarlo Stanton went down with a grade one calf strain, nobody was shocked. The New York Yankees have endured significant injury concerns over the last year, and they have continued into 2020 with starting pitchers Luis Severino and James Paxton both set to miss considerable time. Paxton will return in April, and Severino will miss the entire season after succumbing to Tommy John surgery.

However, these injuries present opportunities for reserve options and prospects in the minor leagues. One of the players that will benefit greatly from Stanton’s injury is Clint Frazier, who struggled defensively in 2019 but is ready to return in better form this year.

2019 Stats246 PA, .267/.317/.489, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 28.5 K%, 6.5 BB%, 108 wRC+, 0.1 WAR

The one thing that has significantly hurt Frazier’s ability to develop is his lack of playing time. He was benched in 2019 after giving negative responses to media members after a tough outing against the Boston Red Sox in June.
Finding a starting position in the outfield is difficult with Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks, all filling in as cemented starters. However, with Stanton being injury prone and Aaron Hicks recovering from Tommy John surgery and expected to debut in August, Frazier will have plenty of opportunities to become a regular player in the outfield.

There’s competition for Yankees’ Frazier in the outfield:

The Yankees have also elected to move third baseman Miguel Andujar into the outfield to help diversify his defensive abilities. Gio Urshela supplanted Andujar on the hot corner in 2019, but Stanton’s injury also opens up an opportunity for Miguel, who is offensively one of the Yankees’ best young players.

With the amount of depth in the outfield, Frazier has a tall task ahead of him. Getting regular at-bats and featuring defensively without any errors will help him justify his value as a starting level player.

Despite having a major league wRC+ of 100 in 2019, which is precisely the league average, he has the tangible qualities to be a solid player for the Yankees. He must get consistent reps and take full advantage of them with significant injured plaguing the starting unit.

The New York Giants’ draft plans could be shaken up significantly

New York Giants, Joe Judge

While the 2020 NFL Draft seems rather clear-cut, the New York Giants are in a volatile position to be ignored in the 4th overall spot. Winning against the Washington Redskins last season might prove to be the worst thing that happened all year, aside from Saquon Barkley going down with a high ankle sprain.

Losing to Washington successfully plunged the Giants down to the 4th spot, even though they lost the Detroit Lions, who now hold the 3rd overall selection. At the NFL Combine, Washington head coach Ron Rivera made it known that they would be evaluating quarterbacks, despite having Dwayne Haskins on the roster. Of Joe Burrow somehow slipped to the second-overall pick, Washington would likely take him or trade back.

The first three picks of the draft may be all quarterbacks, which would land the Giants, Chase Young, resulting in an extraordinary turn of events.

Looking into the future, the Giants will have no choice but to wait until their pick to either stay put or draft back. Their action entirely depends on the decisions of Washington and Detroit, as we can assume the Bengals will walk away with Burrow at No. 1.

New York Giants’ Joe Judge has left the doors for change wide open:

Judge stated at the Combine that everybody is starting with a clean slate and that he wouldn’t be advocating for any specific player, even failing to express his confidence in Daniel Jones, who will inevitably be the Giants’ starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Not committing to any players allows the Giants to progress into the free-agent period without any liabilities, it also forces the players already on the team to work harder to retain their spot on the team. Judge is pulling this mentality right out of the book of Belichick.

 

With Plenty Of Cap Space, The Knicks Could Splurge This Summer, But On Who?

After an uneventful summer in 2019 followed by yet another disappointing season, the mounting pressure on the Knicks to spend big has reached its climaxing point.  With Marcus Morris traded to the Clippers, the Knicks are now one of the few teams that have the cap space to make some significant adjustments to their squad this summer.  Working with roughly $45 million in cap space, the Knicks have the funds to woo over a top free agent.  However, it remains unclear how effective they might be considering that the Knicks have struggled to produce a formidable, sustainable structure built for success.

But what makes this 2020 free agent market so interesting, is that the Knicks won’t have a lot of competition because many teams are preparing their cap space for a looming, star-studded free agent selection come the summer of 2021.  So as a result, the top free agents this summer won’t exactly have that much leeway to explore many options, which grants the Knicks a nice advantage to showcase their new mission and goal as a franchise.  With promising youngsters like RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson serving as key building blocks, the most important positions the Knicks require are a playmaking, scoring-savvy, point guard and another big man who can dominate the paint on both sides of the ball.

That being said, despite having the luxury to spend big, the Knicks should save some of their cap space for next summer as well.  With a strong chance to land a Top 5 draft pick, the Knicks could address both gaps in their lineup by simply basing their free-agent signing on the draft pick they decide to go with.  For example, if they get the opportunity to draft LaMelo Ball, they should snag him and sign a big man over the summer, which would leave them some cap space to build upon for 2021.  But what remains to be quite fascinating about this example in the first place, is that it’s a possibility that could very well happen.  The four teams that might surpass the Knicks in the draft lottery, all have their point guard position covered, whether it’s the Warriors, the Hawks, the Cavs, the Timberwolves or even the Pistons who have Derrick Rose on a contract until 2021 (Spotrac).  So if the Knicks draft LaMelo Ball, what big man would be the best fit for them to acquire?

1) Montrezl Harrell: The most ideal option, would have to be Montrezl Harrell.  This man is truly one of the most exciting, two-way big men in the league and will be available this summer as an unrestricted free agent (Spotrac).  At the age of 26, Harrell is playing his best basketball and is continuing to grow into a powerful force inside and around the paint (ESPN).  Despite shooting a career-low from the field this season at 58% (which is still pretty good), Harrell is posting career-high averages in points and rebounds with 18.8 ppg and 7.1 rebounds per game (ESPN).  Essentially, Harrell is only getting better every year, which is why the Knicks need to go after him.  Alongside Mitchell Robinson, Harrell could lead the charge in transforming the Knicks into a Top 10 defense.

However, what the Knicks are going to have to sell him on, comes down to two major factors he is not receiving from the Clippers: This includes one, a starting role and more playing time than the 28 minutes he gets per game off the bench this season, and two, a fat, big new contract that would be a major upgrade to the current $6 million dollar deal he has (ESPN).  Harrell is not a max contract player just yet, but the Knicks should be prepared that he may ask for a lot, and fairly so.  Nevertheless, if the Clippers don’t make the NBA Finals this season, Harrell could want a change of pace and what better way to do that than by joining a new-look Knicks team with LaMelo Ball.

2) Serge Ibaka: Although it may seem risky to go after a 30-year-old unrestricted free agent, Serge Ibaka would make for a great addition, and for a variety of reasons (Spotrac).  First and foremost, he’s been playing exceptionally well in Toronto for the last two seasons, shooting over 50% from the field, grabbing over 8 RPG and scoring over 15 ppg as well (ESPN).  Moreover, Serge has adapted well to the way the league is changing for big men, shooting a stellar 39% from behind the arc this season (ESPN).  But debatably the most invaluable component Ibaka brings, is his veteran experience he’s accumulated with two of the three teams he’s played for during his career, first with the Oklahoma City Thunder and then with the Toronto Raptors (ESPN).  Not only did Ibaka get a ring last season with the Raptors, but he’s shared multiple playoffs runs alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  And with a Knicks team that is young, Ibaka would be a great leader that brings a ton of knowledge and insight about the game that this crew of young guys doesn’t have.

However, what remains tricky about Ibaka is that he’s coming off his biggest contract to date with the Raptors, making over $23 million a year (Spotrac).  Despite breaching the 30-year-old threshold, he may be looking for a similar contract extension, which the Knicks don’t have much room for.  Nonetheless, Ibaka is not a regular starter in Toronto, particularly when Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol are healthy, so the Knicks could bait him over with bigger minutes and a starting role (ESPN).  If the Knicks can’t get Harrell, Ibaka would be a great plan B.

3) DeMarcus Cousins: What?! The guy the Lakers just waived off their roster for Markieff Morris (ESPN)?!  The answer is yes and why not!  Ever since his tenure with Sacramento and New Orleans, DeMarcus Cousins has been dying to be relevant again and find a starting role that he can own.  With over a year of rest after not playing a single game with the Lakers, Cousins should be primed for a bounce-back year.  For five straight seasons between 2013 to 2018, Cousins was a wrecking machine, posting over 22 ppg and 10 RPG with a shooting percentage that didn’t drop below 45% (ESPN).  Although his traditional position tends to be at the center, he can play the four perfectly fine, and in fact, stretches the floor well.  Despite being 29-years-old, Cousins is coming off two straight seasons with small, one year contracts such as the $3.5 million deal he signed with the Lakers (Spotrac).  As a result, the Knicks could snag him for fairly cheap if things don’t pan out with Harrell or Ibaka.  And as long as he stays healthy, Cousins would be a great pickup for the New York Knicks.

Could Ryan Cordell hit his way into the New York Mets’ plans?

New York Mets

Ryan Cordell used to be a highly-regarded prospect back in the day. Now, he is a 27-year-old outfielder trying to make it in the big leagues, no matter the role. The New York Mets are giving him an extended opportunity to show what he can do in spring training.

It is still early in the spring, but so far, Cordell makes for a nice story. He hasn’t walked yet and has four strikeouts, so the plate discipline part remains a work in progress. But he has four hits in 11 at-bats and four games this month. One of the hits left the yard, and he has driven in two runs and scored two so far.

His .364 average and 1.091 OPS are among the highest in the Mets’ spring roster. He has something that not many outfielders in the team have: the ability to play center field. Only Brandon Nimmo and Jake Marisnick can defend the position adequately, and therefore Cordell represents a nice backup plan.

Cordell played in 97 big league games with the Chicago White Sox in 2019. He had a .221/.290/.355 slash line with a low .279 wOBA and an even lower 73 wRC+. He was below average offensively and defensively (-2.6 fielding runs per Fangraphs.)

The Mets need to see more

However, he only had 247 plate appearances. In those, he hit 7 home runs, scored 22 runs and drove in 24, with 3 steals. You can’t judge a player for 247 plate appearances, especially one with prospect pedigree. He has a lot of work to do, but maybe the New York Mets can salvage his career.

He has only accumulated 287 plate appearances in two seasons at the big league level. We need more sample to really determine if he is a bust or if he can at least be a reserve outfielder.

For now, he has an uphill battle to even make the Mets’ roster. The team currently employs Nimmo, Marisnick, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith and Yoenis Cespedes, not to mention Jeff McNeil. They are all capable of playing the outfield.

It doesn’t matter where the Mets put him, whether it is Triple-A or the bigs. He needs to prove that he can cut his strikeout rate (29.3 percent in his major league career) and make consistent contact to have a role.

He has the tools to at least make it as a part-time player. Fangraphs assigned him a 40 rating, with a 40 hit tool, 45 game power, 55 raw power and 60 speed. He is running out of time, though.

New York Mets: Tim Tebow will represent the Philippines in WBC qualifiers

Tim Tebow, the former football player and current outfielder in the New York Mets organization, will represent the Philippines in the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) qualifiers.

The flamboyant athlete called the opportunity a “really cool thing” in a chat with MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

The former Heisman trophy winner has played for the Mets for four seasons now, all in the minor leagues. He is currently in spring training camp, and dreams of playing in the majors one day.

When the Philippines invited him, he ran it by general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Luis Rojas. Both gave him the green light to go play the qualifiers and leave camp.

“I’ve just got such a heart for the Philippines,” Tebow said. “I’ve just really had a love for the people for a long time. To be able to represent them will be really cool — really, really cool. You don’t get a lot of chances to represent people or places that mean something to you.”

The Mets’ outfielder has a soft spot for the country

Tebow was born in Manila, the country’s capital city. His parents did missionary work there, and they lived there until little Tim was five years old. From there, he grew up in Florida but frequently returned to the Philippines to perform missionary work himself.

The New York Mets’ player opened a hospital in Davao City in 2014, with the intention of meeting “the physical needs and provide spiritual healing for deserving children in the Philippines who could not otherwise afford care,” according to the website.

“I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been back. I’ve spent a lot of time. Love the people,” he said to MLB.com.

The qualifiers will be in Tucson, Arizona, and the Philippines’ first game will be on March 20 against the Czech Republic.