New York Giants: How Dave Gettleman Can Save His Job In 2020

The New York Giants have suffered through a lot of losing season in recent history. Much of the blame has been shared between the various coaching staffs, the front offices, and the ownership. But general manager Dave Gettleman has received the bulk of the criticism over the past two seasons.

Many fans support Gettleman completely and praise him for his last two draft classes. Those drafts landed one of the best running back in the NFL in Saquon Barkley and Eli Manning’s heir apparent in Daniel Jones. But plenty of fans also criticize Gettleman for those same draft classes, as well as many of his questionable free-agent signings such as Nate Solder and his massive contract.

According to a recent report by Jay Glazer, Dave Gettleman “presented a plan for how he’ll turn it around in a year. That needs to happen. If it doesn’t happen, he’ll be gone and rightfully so. If he doesn’t follow through, it’s time to go.” Ownership has given Dave Gettleman one year to turn it around. If not, then he is gone. So how can Gettleman save his job at this point?

Daniel Jones’s Progression

Dave Gettleman and Daniel Jones’s careers will forever be linked. The Jones selection infamously set the NFL world on fire as Giants fans had a meltdown and booed their now beloved quarterback. Many fans were calling for Gettleman’s firing.

That was until we got to see Daniel Jones play. Jones exceeded all expectations in his rookie season. The former Duke Blue Devil started 12 games for the Giants in 2019. He threw for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns passes, 12 interceptions, and saved Dave Gettleman’s job despite a disappointing 4-12 season.

Still, there were plenty of flaws in the quarterback’s rookie season. Daniel fumbled the ball 18 times and failed to win more than 3 games in his 12 starts. He will need to show improvement in his sophomore season to prove to John Mara and the rest of the NFL that he is worthy of being the team’s franchise quarterback for the next decade or so.

Simply Win More

Seeing Daniel Jones develop in 2020 will increase the likelihood that Dave Gettleman returns the following season. But ownership will also need to see the rest of the team improve.

Simply put, 12 wins in three seasons are not enough. The Giants can not be picking inside the top-ten picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. It is time for this once-proud organization to get back to winning football games.

If the Giants can win enough games to at least keep them in the playoff hunt in December, then this season will be a large improvement over the last. Dave Gettleman’s roster moves this offseason need to lead to more wins. Since he has been told that he has one year to turn things around, a season with more wins in 2020 is just about the only way that Dave Gettleman can save his job.

Salary cap: Where the New York Jets stand

New York Jets, Joe Douglas

The New York Jets have not had the most exhilarating free agency this month. With multiple signings addressing the offensive line, re-signings of a few players and the not-so-flashy signing of current number-one wideout Breshad Perriman, the team hasn’t expended a ton of money.

Connor McGovern agreed to receive $18 million guaranteed, which is the most of their signings. Following that is George Fant‘s $13.7 million guaranteed. Brian Poole agreed to return with $5 million guaranteed.

Now, the team has the second-largest amount of cap space in the NFL as of March 30, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

These numbers don’t include deals that have been agreed upon but not finalized yet. Many deals have not been finalized across the league due to the coronavirus, and may not be for some time since teams cannot meet with the players. Regardless, the Jets have a surplus of dispensable money.

There are still numerous free agents available that could bolster the Jets’ roster. Ezekial Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney are looking for new homes and places to attack opposing quarterbacks. Although, Clowney seems unlikely at this point. Veteran receivers are hoping to find new places to reel in catches, and Sam Darnold needs those. However, drafting one seems more likely.

If the organization and GM Joe Douglas decide to splurge on some players, there is a surplus of options to choose from. If not, the amount of money available next offseason will surely be substantial, to say the least.

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Let’s see Deivi Garcia solve Triple-A before putting huge expectations on his shoulders

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

We live in 2020, and it seems like the pace with which we do and want things done is accelerating by the day. The world, it seems, has run out of patience. The same happens with MLB teams, prospects, and overall expectations: we want our young studs to be major league stars from day one, but that’s not always the case. Player development is not linear, and it’s unrealistic to put high expectations in a hurler that was playing in Class A-Advanced just a few months ago. That’s the case of New York Yankees‘ prospect Deivi Garcia.

Yes, Garcia dominated Class A-Advanced (3.06 ERA and 0.93 FIP in 17.2 innings, with 16.81 K/9) and Double-A (3.86 ERA and 2.20 FIP in 53.2 frames, with 14.59 K/9) in 2019. And yet, everybody is expecting to be a force in 2020 for the big league team. Let’s step on the brakes a little, shall we?

Garcia is still 20 years old. He has a smallish build and needs to prove that he can shoulder a big workload in the major leagues. He has been injured before, and the Yankees sure don’t want to mess with his health.

The Yankees’ prospect only has 40 unsuccessful innings in Triple-A

But, more importantly, let’s see him dominate in Triple-A before putting unfair expectations in him. Last season, he pitched 40 innings there after his stellar run in the previously mentioned levels.

In those 40 frames, Garcia struggled with command (4.50 BB/9) and home runs (1.80 per each nine innings.) The latter can be attributed to the infamous “juiced ball” used in Triple-A, but that’s not the only reason. He needs to improve his command and he could refine all his arsenal before reaching the bigs for good. A 5.40 ERA in Triple-A, with a 5.77 FIP, ain’t gonna cut it.

Why rush him? After all, the New York Yankees will likely have James Paxton back before the season starts. They have Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, J.A. Happ and other prospects that are indeed ready for the bigs, such as Mike King and Jonathan Loaisiga. They will have Domingo German back, eventually. The Yankees have depth, so they would be better off letting Garcia learn his trick in Triple-A for now. Let’s see him prove he belongs with the big boys.

New York Yankees: Cessa wants to slide his way into a great 2020

New York Yankees, Luis Cessa

New York Yankees‘ fans have had a love-hate relationship with Luis Cessa. Let’s be sincere: it has mostly been hate. But they should realize that this is a pitcher with weapons to succeed, and one that improved as 2019 went on.

With 4.11, Cessa had the best ERA of his career last season, and while the FIP didn’t quite reflect a dominant hurler (4.87,) he also had improvements in his strikeout rate.

In 2019, Cessa struck out 8.33 batters per each nine innings, an improvement over his previous career high of 7.86. He had a healthy 12.7 swinging-strike percentage, also a career-best.

Overall, the Yankees’ reliever lowered his fastball usage from 41.6 percent in 2018 to 34.1 percent in 2019, and increased his slider usage from 41.2 to 49.9 percent. The reason behind this is that his fastball isn’t anything special (-4.8 in Fangraphs’ pitch value) and the slider is, actually, very good (+5.1.)

The Yankees want him to use his slider more

The shift in pitch usage began well into last season, and it shows in his half splits. Prior to the All-Star break, Cessa had a 4.54 ERA. After that date, he put a 3.66 ERA. His wOBA went down from .335 to .295.

Cessa had a very good showing in the postseason and is, actually, a dark horse candidate to have a much-improved 2020 season, if there is one. He seems like he has come a long way from his early-career days, and was having a terrific spring training before play was halted.

The great thing about the New York Yankees’ righty is that he can fill a variety of roles. He could be stretched out to start if needed, he can be a very valuable two or three-inning reliever, and he can also be a regular, more traditional bullpen piece.

In the abbreviated spring training, the reliever had a 2.89 ERA, with 13 strikeous and only one walk in 9.1 innings. He could be in for a very good year. Yankees’ fans, give him a break.

Favorite Under the Radar Mets: James Loney

The 2016 season for the New York Mets was another injury-plagued one. It included them losing their everyday first baseman, Lucas Duda, to a stress fracture in his back from the middle of May through the middle of September. As the Mets were scrambling for major league ready options, the landed on the veteran James Loney.

Loney came to the Mets a little over a week after Duda headed to the injured list. This was a good move for the Mets because their only other option was Wilmer Flores, who also spent time playing third base as well. Loney was not only a proven option but a solid fielder both mentally and physically.

Strong Start, Consistent Player

The knock on Loney had always been his lack of power at a position that demands it. He never hit more than 15 home runs in a season and only had three seasons where he slugged over .400. Loney was also known for his ability to put the ball in play and never had a season where he struck out over 100 times.

He played his role in the way the Mets had hoped. Loney hit .282/.337/.441 with six home runs and 21 RBIs over his first two months with the Mets. His production helped keep the Mets afloat as they were 54-50 heading into the final two months of the season.

His production diminished as the season went on, only hitting .245/.269/.342 over the last two months of the season. Loney’s presence in the clubhouse and on the field earned him the right to remain the everyday first baseman, even when Duda returned from injury. He also started the wild card game at first base and drew one of the few baserunners against Madison Bumgarner.

Life After the Mets

Loney’s lasting memory is the home run against the Phillies, which helped seal the deal for the Mets wild card chase. His bat was as modest as can be and was the last image the team had before they clinched. Loney spent the following season in multiple minor league organizations before finishing the year in Korea.

After taking 2018 off, he played in the Atlantic League with the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2019. Loney now works for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their baseball operations department and will also work as a scout and in player development.

Minor leaguers will be paid $400 per week through May 31

New York Yankees, Anthony Volpe

The appearance and rise of the coronavirus in our everyday lives has caused us to be more careful in our interactions. Public gatherings of more than 50 people aren’t recommended, our hygiene measures have become important, and many of us are quarantined in our houses waiting for the virus to go away. Baseball and other sports were halted for now, and that left dozens of minor leaguers hanging. But no more.

Minor league players got good news on Tuesday, as MLB announced that teams would pay them $400 per week through May 31 or until the MiLB season starts, whichever comes first. And, as COVID-19 doesn’t allow for the game to be played, teams will continue to guarantee medical benefits to Minor League players, as well.

Initially, MLB had dictated that teams would pay minor leaguers until April 8, which is when the minor league season would start in the first place. Now, players in the minors will collect $400 weekly for the next two months, at least.

The number represents a pay cut for Triple-A players, since the league minimum at that level is established at $509 per week. However, for the vast majority of minor league players, the number represents a salary bump. The minimum for Double-A players, for instance, is $305.

According to the New York Daily News, there is an exception for players who are already receiving housing, food or other services from clubs. The New York Yankees, as well as other teams, are offering housing and food to minor leaguers who were unable to return to their homes. It should be pointed out that the government implemented some restrictions when it comes to traveling in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

It should be clarified that the announcement notes that this is not minor league player salary under their contracts. Instead, due to the national emergency, all minor league player contracts are suspended, just as big league contracts.

New York Giants: Landon Collins rips Dave Gettleman in Twitter tirade

It seems as if former New York Giants’ safety Landon Collins is still feeling uneasy about how GM Dave Gettleman handled his contract negotiations. Whether or not Gettleman promised Collins an extension and went back on his word is unknown, but Collins had some choice words to describe his feelings towards the Giants’ GM.

Collins, who attended Alabama, chose for his kids to go to LSU over spending the quarantine with Gettleman. That’s as insulting as it can get since Alabama and LSU have a serious rivalry.

The current Washington Redkins’ safety stated a few months ago:

“He’s a liar. He lied to everybody. So that’s a man I do not trust. I would hope nobody else would, too.”

Since then, Collins has joined Washington on a massive contract and found himself struggling in 2019. He was awful in coverage and was torched by Kaden Smith, who bounced around the league in his rookie season. Smith caught the game-winning catch against Collins in Washington in week 16 last year.

The Giants replaced Collins with Jabrill Peppers, who was having a solid season before suffering a hip injury that knocked him out for the remainder of the year. The hope is that Peppers will return in 2020 with a clean bill of health and pick up where he left off. The strong safety, who was picked up in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, is far better in coverage and more athletic. However, he still has plenty of room for development — he’s also a fraction of the price compared to Collins.

Former New York Mets catcher Paul LoDuca rips A-Rod: “One of the fakest people out there”

While Alex Rodriguez has done a lot to rehabilitate his image after a tumultuous end of his career, he still has a fair share of detractors. Former Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Florida Marlins and New York Mets‘ catcher Paul LoDuca is certainly among them, and he recently criticized the former New York Yankees star and current ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball analyst.

The former Mets catcher ripped A-Rod on Monday, calling the former Yankees third baseman “one of the fakest people out there” and, per the New York Post, “dumping cold water on his supposed redemption story.”

“People know, I’m not a fan and I’m sorry,” Lo Duca said Monday on WFAN’s “Moosie and Maggie.”

“Never will be a fan. I just think he’s one of the fakest people out there. The way he gets put on a pedestal now is beyond me.”

Both players admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in their respective careers. The former Mets player appeared on the Mitchell Report while A-Rod admitted his mistake later in his career after initially denying it. He got caught in the Biogenesis scandal and served a long suspension.

A-Rod rehabbed his image but LoDuca isn’t buying it

A-Rod, however, has slowly but surely changed his image through the years.

“I was in the Mitchell Report, something I’ll never be proud of and something that was a mistake of mine a long time ago,” said Lo Duca, who is now a Barstool Sports and Action Network contributor.

“But I owned up to it. I didn’t lie. Owned up to it immediately, it was over with, and people can judge me the way they want to judge me. I could care less. But when you completely lie about it for years after years after years after years, you cash in 260 million and people are like, ‘Well, he’s successful,’ well, hell yeah, he’s successful. He got paid over 500 million in his career, I would hope he has some money where he could do whatever he wants with it. So now his relationship with J.Lo has taken him to a level that he’s a saint, give me a break!”

According to recent reports, A-Rod would be interest in putting together a group to buy the Mets.

MLB Rumors: League Likely To Play Beginning Of Season With No Fans

Sources say that no matter when the 2020 MLB season starts, the first part of the season will likely be played without fans.

This isn’t a huge surprise, but by playing some games with no fans, the season could potentially start sooner. It’s not ideal for anyone, but it’s for sure a lot better than starting the season even later or not at all.

Right now, there isn’t a set date for when the season will start. The MLB is continuing to work with the CDC and other health officials, and once the entire COVID-19 situation improves, the league can make a schedule.

Teams will also need another spring training of some type. It will probably only be for a few weeks, but it will be enough for players to get ready again. Hopefully, they can do this once the CDC and the president says it’s safe enough for gatherings of a few hundred people.

If they have good enough models, maybe they can set a date where they know it would be safe enough to allow fans into games. That way, it shouldn’t be as big of a ticketing nightmare.

Unfortunately, we won’t know a whole lot more for a few weeks. It’s unlikely that there will be any activity for at least a month or so, but we can only hope that the situation will get better each day throughout April.

For right now, all we can do is to continue to wash our hands and practice social distancing whenever possible. The more people that do this, the quicker the entire COVID-19 situation will improve without shutting down society entirely.

Stay safe, ESM Nation!

Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant to Participate in players-only 2K tournament

Kevin Durant is back in action!  Well…not exactly. Durant will make his first appearance with the Brooklyn Nets on the virtual hardwood during a players-only 2K tournament hosted by the NBA. The tournament will consist of 16 players and take place over a 10 day period. The event will be available for fans to watch on ESPN and the date is to be determined. There are several other notable players that will be participating in the tournament, such as Donovan Mitchell, Andre Drummond, and DeMarcus Cousins.

Mitchell and Durant are two players who have tested positive for coronavirus, with Mitchell being cleared of the virus last week and Durant sending out a positive message to his fans shortly after he was diagnosed.

Listen to Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick –

Recently it was reported that the Chinese Basketball Association would further delay their return, which was originally scheduled for April 15th, to May at the earliest. Unfortunately, this is bad news for the NBA, who is watching these decisions closely in anticipation of salvaging their own season.

It is important for the NBA to stay active and connected with their fans during these troubling times, and this tournament is an excellent way to do so. Not only will we be able to hear from some of the athletes in quarantine, but we will also be able to watch them “play basketball” and candidly interact with each other, even if it is through a video game.

More leagues should come up with unique virtual events like this to engage with fans and help keep their brands active. Luckily for the NFL, they have their Draft coming up in April, so they are set content-wise for the time being. It will be intriguing to see how the MLB, a league that is often viewed not as progressive as the other leagues, stays engaged with their fans while their season is currently suspended.

My Prediction: Kevin Durant will win this tournament. Durant prides himself on being the best on the court, regardless if that court is real or animated. Being an elite scorer in real life will ABSOLUTELY translate to KD being a monster in 2k. I have the utmost faith in a guy who has probably had more practice on the sticks than anybody else in the last year.

Stay tuned for the date of the tournament to be announced. Follow @firesidenets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!