Why The New York Giants Should Stay Away From James Bradberry

New York Giants, James Bradberry

Free agency is kicking off next week and the New York Giants are going to have money to spend. The Giants currently have the fifth-most cap space in the NFL with over $78 million dollars available (via Over The Cap).

New York is expected to be shopping near the top of the market. Big-name free agents such as Jadeveon Clowney and Byron Jones have been linked to the Giants in various rumors. But another, lesser-known free agent has also been linked to the Giants recently. According to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, the Giants consider Panthers’ free-agent cornerback James Bradberry to be a “coveted option.”

Overpaying Average Talent

James Bradberry is expected to cost a pretty penny. According to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Bradberry is seeking a contract worth approximately $15 million per year. This might be a bit expensive for a 27-year-old cornerback that has never been to a Pro Bowl.

He is seeking that high annual salary and he might not get it, but if the Giants are going to be throwing big money at a cornerback in free agency, Byron Jones is a better option. Jones would cost more, around $16-18 million per year according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. However, Byron Jones is an elite talent and is worth being paid elite money. James Bradberry is not worth paying such a large sum.

Elite Payment For Average Performance

In 2019, James Bradberry struggled to make tackles. He totaled a combined 65 tackles this season, however, he also missed 9 tackles. That is a missed tackle percentage of 12.2%, which is a little high.

James Bradberry was not reliable in coverage either. The Panthers’ cornerback was targeted in coverage 97 times in 2019. He allowed 58 completions, a 59.8% completion percentage. The opposition gained 644 yards against Bradberry, but they only scored 1 touchdown.

Bradberry would provide the Giants with average to above-average talent in the secondary. For this reason, he would be an upgrade. However, he is not an upgrade worth nearly $15 million.

New York Yankees face Derek Jeter’s Marlins and lose their third in a row

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

Miami Marlins 3, Yankees 1 as Deivi Garcia suffers second loss!

The New York Yankees met Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter,  Florida.  Eighty degrees and partly sunny skies greeted the teams at game time.  Manager Don Mattingly started Sandy Alcantara the Marlins lone All-Star last year, although he has an 11.57 ERA this spring training.  Mike Tauchman led off, and he ground out, Gio Urshela struck out along with Mike Ford for a quick inning for Alcantara.  Deivi Garcia started for the Yankees; he had an ERA of 6.75 with one loss.  Luis Brinson flew out, next up was former Yankee Francisco Cervelli, he was called out on strikes Isan Diaz also struck out for a one-two-three inning for Garcia.

Miguel Andujar led off for the Yankees; he grounded out.  Click Frazier flew out, and Kyle Higashioka flew out for another quick half.  Garcia at the bottom, Garrett Cooper doubled, Matt Kemp singled, Eddy Alverez ground out, and the runners advanced. Harold Ramirez flew out.  Sean Rodriguez singled and two runs scored. Alcantara struck out, and Deivi Garcia had another poor start. Alcantara out again for the third faced Chris Iannetta who walked, Tyler Wade lined out, a wild pitch allowed Iannetta to go to second. Thairo Estrada struck out, and Mike Tauchman grounded out.  Garcia out for a third-inning he walked Brinson, Cervelli flew out, and Diaz lined out, and Cooper struck out.  Marlins 2, Yankees 0.

At the top of the fourth Urshela singled, Andujar doubled driving in Urshela.  Frazier flew out, Higgy singled moving Andujar to third.  Iannetta walked to load the bases with two outs.   Tyler Wade flew out and left the bases the bases loaded.  Marlins 2, Yankees 1.  Garcia, for his fourth inning, Cooper singled, Kemp stuck out, but Cooper stole second, and that was the end of Garcia’s day.  Luis Cessa was immediately hit by Alverez and a ground-rule double driving in Cooper.  Ramirez ground out, Rodriguez struck out swinging, but the Marlins picked up another run.  Marlins 3, Yankees 1.

At the fifth Estrada stuck out, Tauchman ground out, and Urshela flew out.  At the bottom, Cessa got Mahan to strike out, Brinson flew out, and Cervelli ground out to finish the quick inning.  At the sixth Ford ground out against Kintzler.  Andujar ground out, and Frazier doubled, Wade was hit by a pitch and with two on Iannetta gourd out leaving two on.  Cessa got Diaz, Cooper, and Kemp to all strikeout.

The seventh added to the strangeness as ex-Yankee Steven Tarpley took the mound.  Wade, Estrada, and Tauchman all ground out. Cessa got Lopes to fly out, Sierra flew out, and  Rodriguez struck out.  In the eighth, it was Northcraft grounding out Estrada; Ford singled, Granite hit into a double play.  At the bottom, Luis Avilan got Dunand to strike out, Harrison ground out, and Chevez ground out.

With last licks for the Yankees in the ninth, they faced Vesia.  Amburgey ground out, Milone ground out, and Kyle Holder struck out for the last out for the Yankees, and that was the game.  Final score Marlins 3, and the Yankees 1.

Take-a-ways:

As a Yankee fan, there was a strange feel to this game.  It was Derek Jeter’s team, and looking in the dugout sat Donny Baseball and Jorge Posada.  Looking back out to the field was Francisco Cervelli catching, and Steven Tarpley pitching,  it just made for a different feel to the game.  Deivi Garcia had another relatively poor start giving up two runs in three-innings that will not help his high ERA of 6.75.  Cessa pitched excellently in relief. During the game, we learned that Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice, and James Paxton threw the ball for noticeable progress on the injury front. The game was an economical 2 hours and 20 minutes.  The winning pitcher was Alcantara, and the loser was Deivi Garcia for his team-leading second loss of the season.

Nets Snag Best Win of Season vs Los Angeles Lakers

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

Oh man, what a way to start a road trip. The Lakers, coming off weekend wins against the Bucks and the Clippers, fell to the Brooklyn Nets yesterday, 104 – 102, in one of the more exciting games this season. Brooklyn played inspired basketball against one of the hottest teams in the NBA, featuring one of the hottest players right now in Lebron James, and came out victorious.

What went right for Brooklyn last night?

At the start of the game, it seemed as though only 2 Nets players had shown up to play. Caris Levert, who has recently demonstrated an intensity and efficiency to his game that we have not seen from him before this year, continued his stellar play.  But it was backup point guard/G League call up Chris Chiozza, who helped steady the Nets in that 1st quarter, giving them great minutes with Dinwiddie on the bench. The Florida alum was sensational, displaying a barrage of smooth, crisp passes to open teammates. Chiozza finished with 11 points and five assists in 17 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris got it going in the 2nd quarter, cutting a Lakers 11 point lead to 2 point lead right before the half.

Then in the 3rd quarter, everything started clicking for the Nets. The defense picked up for Brooklyn, as they were able almost to shut down everybody on the Lakers except Lebron, and they outscored LA 31 – 22 in the 3rd. Everyone from Caris Levert to Timothe Luwawu – Cabarrot made plays both on offense and defense. The Nets went into the 4th with a surprising 87-80 lead, something they haven’t done a great job at protecting this year.

The 4th quarter was electrifying. Anthony Davis came alive and, along with Lebron, carried the Lakers back to tie the game at 102 with a little under 50 seconds left. Dinwiddie, who had been called for offensive fouls on two of the last several possessions, isolated Avery Bradley and hit a tough go-ahead jumper on the left elbow to put Brooklyn up 2. After a Lebron missed a layup and 2 missed free throws by Deandre Jordan, the Lakers got the ball back down 2 with 5 seconds left with a chance to tie or win. Brooklyn fans gasped as Lebron drove down the lane and kicked it to a wide-open Anthony Davis in the corner for a 3 to win the game, but fortunately, Davis clunked the shot and sealed the upset for Brooklyn.

Key performances for the Nets:

Caris Levert: 22 points & 7 boards    Spencer Dinwiddie: 23 points & 7 assists

Joe Harris: 12 points                            Timothe Luwawu – Cabarrot: 13 points

This was a significant win for Brooklyn not only for the guys on the court but for Kevin Durant to witness off the court, who traveled with the team on this four-game California road trip. KD and Kyrie need to see this team win without them, especially against a juggernaut like the Lakers. Vaughn has been impressive in his short tenure as coach with rotations, and the Nets have put forth a fantastic team effort for him in these last few games.

The Nets play the Warriors on Thursday at 10:30 pm EST (who will most likely honor KD in some type of way) followed by the Clippers on Friday night and the Kings on Sunday.

New York Yankees’ Zack Britton suffers wrist injury

New York Yankees, Zach Britton

The New York Yankees can’t catch a break, as relief arm Zack Britton suffered a wrist injury that came back negative on MRIs. With Luis Severino already missing the entire 2020 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery and James Paxton missing several months with a cyst in his lower back, the Yankees pitching corps is quickly being torn apart by the injury bug.

The injury to Britton’s wrist doesn’t seem to be anything too serious, which is a positive sign as Opening Day grows closer and closer. Hopefully, he will be good to return against the Baltimore Orioles on March 26.

Yankees’ Gleyber Torres might not be the right fit at shortstop after all

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres was always supposed to develop into the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees, but his performance this preseason hasn’t given us any indication he can be the long-term solution there.

Torres featured at shortstop during the 2019 season until Didi Gregorius returned after having Tommy John surgery. The young Venezuelan struggled at the position, recording a .961 fielding percentage and 11 errors over 77 games. However, he wasn’t much better at second base either, recording a .967 fielding percentage with nine errors over 65 games. His struggles seem to be mostly defensive, as his offensive production has been stellar since his inception into the league in 2018. Last season, he hit .278 with 38 homers and 90 RBIs over 546 at-bats.

The Yankees have slotted in Torres at the position this spring training, after letting Gregorius walk in free agency. The 23-year-old committed his fifth error in 10 games after throwing high to first in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. Scouts noted that Torres needed to improve his footwork, which was hurting his efficiency fielding and throwing to first last year.

The New York Yankees need the infield to be lock-down for 2020:

The Yankees desperately need Torres to come into himself at the position, as they don’t have any quality backups to fill the spot if his defensive struggles continue. Gleyber was always projected as a shortstop, but slide it into second base while DD played out the remainder of his contract in New York.

So far, manager Aaron Boone does not seem too concerned about his struggles in the infield:

“He didn’t make a good throw [Tuesday],’’ Boone said. “I am not worried about it, his work has been good and I think that will be something that cleans itself up as he gets more regular reps.’’

According to the NY Post, bench coach Carlos Mendoza is optimistic about Torres’ future at SS:

“Going back to shortstop — his natural position — he’s happy with it,’’ said Mendoza, who acted as manager for the Yankees in this split-squad affair. “He worked hard in the offseason and he is physically in really good shape. He’s working on being consistent. He made some errors early in camp, but we’re playing spring training games. He is really focusing on making those routine plays, don’t be careless. He’s a special player, and I think we are all going to enjoy watching him play shortstop.’’

Can we be confident with Gleyber at shortstop? He hasn’t given us a reason to be overly concerned, but his issues have been consistent. Hopefully, more reps will solve his woes as the season progresses.

New York Giants: The top 3 needs for Big Blue in free agency and NFL Draft

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants will enter free agency next Wednesday with plenty of needs across the board. The NFL draft will serve a significant purpose — retooling positions of cost. The Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman have about $80 million in open cap space to allocate towards other needs as well.

After cutting cornerback Janoris Jenkins in 2019, a significant hole at the number one corner position opened up. The Giants cannot count on second-year player DeAndre Baker to hold down the spot, as he struggled immensely in off-ball coverage last season. However, I am expecting a significant jump from him in year two, which hopefully should lead to him locking down a posing WR2s.

Another position of need is pass rusher, considering the lack of development from former Georgia standout, Lorenzo Carter. The Giants also drafted Oshane Ximines in the third round in 2019, and they are expecting him to be a quality rotational peace in his sophomore season. The Giants will also have to decide on Markus Golden, as to whether or not he is worth offering a multi-year deal to.

Aside from pass rusher and quarterback, the Giants have a major void at right tackle. After signing Mike Remmers to a one-year deal to supplement the position, the Giants will need to find a capable replacement, whether it be through the draft or free agency.

Ranking the top three needs for the New York Giants:

1. Right Tackle

Protecting Daniel Jones is the absolute priority for the Giants this off-season. While I believe they will address the spot with their fourth overall pick, they may allocate big money towards a free agent like Jack Conklin. I believe they are more enamored by Tristan Wirfs and others in the draft, considering that youth and lower cap hit.

2. Cornerback

Every team needs a quality pass rush, but what good is having a star edge defender if the secondary can’t hold up in coverage. Signing a player like Byron Jones this off-season would give the Giants the quality they need in the defensive backfield to provide time to their pass rush specialists.
Jones is reportedly seeking upwards of $17 million per season. Still, you can’t put a numerical value on a player that will essentially shut down an entire side of the field and coverage. If they can adjust the spot with efficiency, the Giants pass rush unit will be far better in 2020.

3. Pass Rusher

Last but not least, the Giants desperately need to add a pass rusher to the defense. With Jadeveon Clowney acting as the best option in free agency, the Giants are expected to allocate a ton of money in their bid for the former Houston Texan and Seattle Seahawk.

Reportedly, Clowney is seeking upwards of $22 million per season and a contending team, one of which the Giants do not hold. However, it is possible the Giants can turn their team around rather quickly if they managed to land several top free agents and bolster the offensive line.

Re-energized Andrew Ladd Providing a Boost for the Islanders

Barry Trotz had a simple explanation for why he made the decision to go with Andrew Ladd to possibly extend the shootout last night for the New York Islanders.

“His career totals,” the Isles’ head coach said after the game last night. “He’s the highest that we have on our team.”

Ladd was unsuccessful in his attempt — missing the net as Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko went with the old school two-pad stack — and with that, the Islanders lost 5-4 for their seventh straight loss (0-3-4).

Despite another tough setback, the Isles played their best game in a long time. They peppered Demko, the Canucks’ rookie goaltender, with 49 total shots and found the back of the net four times. One of those four came from Ladd, who opened the scoring with his first goal of the season and first tally since back in October 2018.

It was another instance of the boost he’s given the team since he got back into the lineup last Saturday.

”I thought he played really well,” Trotz added when asked about Ladd’s game last night.

It’s great to see Ladd making an impact for an Isles team who is in the thick of the chase for the postseason. He had to spend a majority of this season in Bridgeport after not making the team out of camp and still having to rehab from a torn ACL he suffered in a game last March.

“It’s fun to be back in that room and contributing,” said Ladd to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple. “If we play like that every night we’ll get the result. We liked our game against Carolina (on Saturday), just trying to get back to that pressure all over the ice that makes us successful.”

Ladd’s veteran leadership might have been just what the Islanders needed having been without Casey Cizikas, and most recently Johnny Boychuk. The 34-year-old knows how to win at this time of the year; he’s got two Stanley Cup rings to prove it.

Last night’s loss in Vancouver was just the B.C. native’s fourth game all year, but Ladd’s strong performance was another case of him showing his teammates how to overcome adversity. It was also a message to the younger guys on this club that they need to fight for every inch at this time of the year.

There’s still another 14 games left for the Islanders to secure their second straight postseason appearance. Right now they are below the cut line, one point behind both the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for both wild card spots. So the intensity in these last few weeks is only going to get ratcheted up more. The Isles are going to need Ladd’s hard mentality and his championship pedigree to shine through.

He’s given the Islanders what they needed and they need it to continue hopefully into the playoffs.

 

 

 

New York Mets: Could Cespedes play official games in spring training?

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

As the New York Mets suffer another injury in the form of a right oblique strain by Michael Conforto, the question remains: will Yoenis Cespedes, the man who virtually got the team into the 2015 World Series by himself, be ready to play in the start of the season?

For that to happen, Cespedes would have to clear, realistically, another hurdle: playing in spring training games. If he doesn’t do that, then he will hardly be an option for Mets’ manager Luis Rojas as far as being on the opening day roster is concerned.

The outfielder hasn’t played since July 2018 because of multiple heel surgeries and a freak accident in his ranch last year that resulted in a fractured ankle and an amended contract. From earning north of $29 million this year, he is now at $6 million. He could earn more than $20 million in total if he hits milestones and incentives. One of them, which would take his base salary from $6 million to $11 million, is being on the opening day roster.

Now, Cespedes is making strides. He really is. The outfielder has been seen in videos doing agility drills, hitting bombs in batting practice, and doing conditioning work. Just a couple of days ago, he started running to first base at full speed. That itself is a gigantic step forward.

The Mets are closely monitoring his progress

Now, he needs to run through the bases at full speed to be considered as an option to hop on the New York Mets’ team bus and play in spring training games. Will he have enough time to do that?

Mets’ coach Gary DiSarcina said to MLB.com that Cespedes is working his tail off to be ready. He not only has the motivation of playing to enhance his current contract: he will, if he so decides, play for his next contract, as his four year pact, the one he signed in 2016 with the New York Mets, will be up after the season.

General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said on Tuesday that “we don’t have any timeline for when Yoenis will be ready. We’re focused on his work each day and progressing accordingly.” He has repeated that line, with more or less the same words, since the start of the spring. And what else can he say? Cespedes needs to force his way on the roster, but he may be running out of time.

Once he is, however, he can prove to be a difference-maker. It’s not like he forgot how to hit. But it all depends on his health. Cespedes is, as Mike Lupica of MLB.com puts it, the Mets’ biggest “if.”

New York Mets: Michael Conforto has a right oblique strain

New York Yankees, New York Mets

Unfortunate timing. That’s the best and most appropriate way to describe the latest injury in the New York Mets‘ roster. Michael Conforto looks set to open the season on the injured list after being diagnosed with a right oblique strain.

Oblique injuries are very tricky and should be managed with caution, especially by baseball players. They have a rather high re-aggravation rate, and the best thing is giving it plenty of time and letting it heal naturally.

Conforto underwent an MRI back in Florida after getting injured last weekend while making a catch in the outfield. The Mets’ doctors will re-evaluate the 27-year-old slugger next week, and they will have a better idea of how much time he will miss then.

The Mets’ outfield depth situation

Suddenly, the New York Mets’ outfield depth has been tested in the last couple of weeks. Yoenis Cespedes is still not all the way back following multiple heel surgeries and an ankle fracture (although he is moving in the right direction) and J.D. Davis recently overcame a jammed left shoulder that he also injured during spring training play.

Thankfully, Mets’ manager Luis Rojas has options to survive without Conforto for the start of the season. The team brought defensive whiz Jake Marisnick via trade in the offseason, and Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith can play there, as well. In case of an emergency, Jeff McNeil can also defend left field.

However, it can’t be denied that the Mets’ lineup will suffer from Conforto’s absence. He has been, over the last few years, arguably the most consistent slugger on the roster.

The Mets’ starting right fielder had one of his best years at the plate in 2019. He connected a career-high 33 home runs, and slashed .257/.363/.494, good for a 126 wRC+. Essentially, his offensive production was 26 percent above average. He also scored 90 runs and drove in 92.

New York Mets: Offense Finds New Life in 7-4 Against Astros

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

Tuesday’s game between the New York Mets and Houston Astros was not typical of the Mets Spring Training. The pitching did not dominate, pitching in and out of trouble throughout the day. Their offense showed up, but it came from mostly players who are trying to make the team.

Rick Porcello scattered nine hits over 4.2 innings and only allowed two runs. He only struck out one, which shows he was not dominant by any means. Porcello had a baserunner on in every innings he pitched but managed to keep the Astros from mustering anything significant off him.

Offensive Revival

Rene Rivera had a big day going 2-for-4 with an RBI as he tries to steal the backup catcher job from Tomas Nido. Robinson Cano added a two-RBI single on the day and has hits in back to back games. The bench crew was led by Matt Winaker’s solo home run to give the Mets the lead in the eighth inning. Jake Hager also added an RBI single in the Mets three-run eighth.

Pedro Payano picked up the six-out save, despite allowing four base runners. The newly acquired reliever has a 3.52 ERA so far. Chasen Shreve struggled again, allowing a solo homer to Drew Ferguson to give up the Mets lead.

On Wednesday, Jacob deGrom makes his second start of the Spring as he takes on the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets will face a familiar foe in Carlos Martinez. The game will be at Port St. Lucie at 1:10 p.m. and is on SNY.