New York Yankees: Yankee Denny Larrondo tested positive for COVID-19 Virus!

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Yankee prospect Denny Larrondo positive for the Coronavirus!

The New York Yankees pitching prospect has been identified by several sources, including the New York Post, as testing positive for the coronavirus.  The pitcher was reporting for practice at the minor league prospect near George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  He is the first professional baseball player to test positive for the disease.

Larrondo is a pitching prospect from Cuba that the New York Yankees signed in 2018.  The eighteen-year-old pitched in twelve Gulf Coast League games last season.  Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, in a conference call on Sunday, indicated that a Yankee player had tested positive for the coronavirus but declined to name the player.  He did say that he was quarantined and that his symptoms had subsided.

The minor league complex in Tampa after the news of the positive test was thoroughly cleaned and shut down until March 25th when training might resume.  All of the players were put under quarantine, but some showed up Monday for prepared meals that were available outside of the training complex and then returned to the places they were staying.  One of those players was Austin DeCarr a Charleston River Dog pitcher who said: “We’re getting information from the team and it’s working out fine, we pick up food here and then go back to wherever we’re staying.”

The positive test sent ripples throughout all of MLB.  With the coronavirus at hand, little is known about when the minor league season will start.  The Yankees today said that they would follow CDC guidelines, which suggest that large gatherings should be avoided for eight weeks.  That time frame would put the resumption of spring training in June, and a regular-season re-start shortly after that.  Cashman commented that “he did not have any interactions with our major-league players,” Cashman said on a conference call.

 

Eight New York Guardians that will probably find NFL jobs

New York Guardians

As NFL free agency begins, several members of the New York Guardians can be potentially called upon to fill in crucial gaps and needs. 

The New York Guardians’ season is over, but several members can live on with newfound opportunities in the NFL. Free agency is underway in the league and the XFL’s cessation of operations opens the pool to dozens of new names.

New York, tied for first place in the East Division at the time of suspension, features several talented players that could be well on their way to new chances and, in some cases, returns to NFL circuit….

OL Anthony Coyle

The Guardians had some trouble on the offensive line in the early going, but they got things together in part thanks to the efforts of the Staten Island native and Fordham alum. Over the last two weeks of the season, New York put up 266 rushing yards. Coyle’s efforts were rewarded by a nomination to the XFL’s midseason team.

LB Ben Heeney

Heeney had one of the most inspirational stories in the XFL, returning to the gridiron after his strong career at Kansas was interrupted by his involvement in a car accident and later the suicide of his best friends. After a few years with the Raiders, Heeney joined up with the Guardians and became one of their most vocal leaders. The linebacker had team captaincy honors by the time everything was finished and complimented his status with a team-best 30 tackles.

K Matthew McCrane

Not only was McCrane perfect (8-for-8) during his XFL showing, but he was also able to hit it from deep as well. Five of his eight conversions came from at least 40 yards out, including two from at least 50. McCrane previously served as the leg for the Oakland Raiders, so an NFL return, especially to a league that’s so hungry for kickers, is definitely in the cards.

WR Mekale McKay

Is McKay cursed? Considering his last two endeavors came in the extinct Alliance of American Football and the suspended XFL, it’s certainly possible. But McKay can certainly make way back to the NFL after making several big plays at New York’s XFL level. He bounced around several NFL camps (most recently the summer of 2018 in Dallas) before the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders came calling.

QB Luis Perez

The Guardians were undefeated in two games with Perez as their starter, and he wound up leading the team in yardage, completion percentage, and touchdown passes. Perez, a Division II football legend, previously spent time in NFL camps but his brief XFL tenure could probably net him a more permanent spot as a backup.

CB Jamar Summers

If the Guardians needed some assistance on defense, Summers seemed to be the one to rise to the occasion. An interception in East Rutherford set up the de facto game-winning field in the team’s final home game, and he opened things up at MetLife Stadium with a fumble returned for a touchdown. The Orange High School (NJ) graduate previously made a name for himself with the Birmingham Iron of the AAF.

RB Darius Victor

An earner of 3,309 yards and scorer of 41 touchdowns at Towson, Victor went unselected in 2017’s draft due to his size (5’8, 209 lbs). He was able to make a name for himself in the latter stages of the XFL season, breaking off several big runs to boost his rushing total. Victor wound up finishing sixth in the XFL in rushing (238 yards) and his average carry (4.3) was good for fifth amongst rushers with at least 40 carries.

DL Cavon Walker

For the time being, Walker is the current sack master of the rebooted XFL, topping the league with 4.5 sacks. For a team in desperate need of a pass rush, Walker could be a perfect solution, perhaps even in his own backyard with the Jets or Giants. He has previously picked up 2.5 sacks over the last two NFL preseasons, including one in last summer’s finale with Kansas City.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets sign former Seahawks T George Fant (Report)

New York Jets, George Fant

The New York Jets made their first signing of the 2020 free agency period, adding the former Seattle blocker on a three-year deal.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the New York Jets have signed former Seattle Seahawks tackle George Fant to a three-year deal worth $30 million. Guaranteed money in that deal comes out to $13.7 million.

Fant, 27, joined the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He was a basketball player for four seasons at Western Kentucky University before joining the football team in his fifth year of eligibility. Seattle welcomed him in four seasons ago, and he went on to partake in 40 games with the team, making 20 starts. He was able to partake in a full 16-game slate last season, making seven starts. Pro Football Focus ranked Fant as the 53rd-best tackle in the league last season.

Fant was able to work mostly as a hybrid lineman, taking reps at both guard and tackle while defending the pocket for Russell Wilson and a strong run game. He also continued a trend begun at WKU, in which he took many snaps as an eligible receiver at tight end. His box score includes one reception from 2018, a nine-yard reception from Wilson.

With the Jets’ signing of Fant, all 32 teams in the NFL made a move on the first day of the league’s new year, which proceeded as scheduled in the midst of all other American sports leagues shutting in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Fant should be able to make an instant impact in the Jets’ starting offensive line. Starting tackles Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell are up for free agency and guard Brian Winters could be released for cap reasons. The Jets are in desperate need of blocking help with their offensive future tied to potential backfield saviors Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell.

While they were able to add Fant, the Jets may be ready to bid farewell to one of their veteran linebackers. Several sources have reported that linebacker Jordan Jenkins has drawn interest from several teams, with Art Stapleton saying the New York Giants have been particularly intrigued.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

A Look At The New York Giants’ 2020 Secondary After Signing James Bradberry

The New York Giants made a big splash signing today. Dave Gettleman and company signed cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $15 million deal, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL. Bradberry is 26 years old and was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Dave Gettleman and the Carolina Panthers.

James Bradberry is the Giants’ new number one cornerback. He will be the guy that follows opposing teams’ primary receiver. Bradberry will join a youthful Giants secondary that has received a heavy investment of assets in recent years. The former Carolina Panthers corner will be a big upgrade for the Giants’ secondary.

The Killer B’s

The New York Giants’ cornerbacks in 2020 (barring any more additions) will be as follows: James Bradberry, DeAndre Baker, Same Beal, Corey Ballentine, and Grant Haley. The oldest of the bunch is Bradberry at 26-years-old. Baker and Ballentine will both be entering their sophomore seasons while Beal enters his third pro season.

The Giants have a young group of cornerbacks that will start the 2020 NFL season. Youth, of course, means inexperience, also. That could be New York’s defensive downfall. But hopefully adding a veteran cornerback in James Bradberry helps the rest of the group develop.

The Two Jay’s

Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love will enter the 2020 NFL season as the Giants’ starting safeties (unless the team signs or drafts somebody uber-talented between now and September). The team’s safety duo provides more youthful talent to the defense. Julian Love is 21 and entering his second NFL season. Jabrill Peppers is 24, entering his fourth NFL season and second season with the New York Giants.

Julian Love showed promise filling in as a starter for the injured Peppers in the final five games of the 2019 season. He recorded 37 combined tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and only 4 missed tackles in 2019. The former collegiate slot cornerback converted to safety as a rookie and allowed only 190 yards and 1 touchdown in coverage.

Jabrill Peppers suffered an injury in 2019 that caused him to miss the final five games of the season. Up to that point, however, Jabrill was performing as possibly the best player on the Giants’ defense. In 11 games, JP totaled 76 combined tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and allowed only 1 touchdown in coverage.

The Giants’ young, talented secondary gives fans a reason to be excited heading into the 2020 NFL season. The youthful unit has all the potential in the world. Expect an impressive turnaround from the Giants’ pass-defense in 2020.

New York Giants make splash in free agency and land cornerback James Bradberry

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants finally made a splash on Monday, signing former Carolina cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year deal, worth $45 million ($32 million guaranteed).

Bradberry was a former Dave Gettleman draftee, playing in Carolina for his first four seasons, he’s coming off his rookie contract. In four years, the Panthers’ top corner missed just four games, compiling 279 tackles and 47 passes defended.

The Giants elected to pay Bradberry $15 million per season at 26-years-old, similar to Byron Jones, who is a better corner overall. Bradberry posted a completion percentage against of 59.8%, one of the best on the open market, but struggled in tackling, missing 12.2% of tackles in 2019. However, he didn’t show that weakness in 2018. Hopefully, he can return to his previous form.

Overall, he’s a good add for a Giants team who desperately needed a No. 1 corner after Janoris Jenkins took his talents to New Orleans. Compared to Byron Jones, who will earn $20 million over the first two seasons of his deal in Miami, the Giants’ deal with Bradberry is a good one.

New York Giants are engaged with linebacker free agents – here’s the latest

New York Giants, Cory Littleton, Joe Schobert, Blake Martinez

With free agency starting on Monday, the rumor mill has been bubbling, and with several unexpected big moves taking place, the football world has been stimulated since the shutdown due to the Corona Virus pandemic. The New York Giants, however, have sat idly by while teams hit on players like DeAndre Hopkins and Calais Campbell. While these moves might not have benefitted the Giants, silence has ensued nonetheless.

General manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge have kept their heads low since the start of legal tampering. Still, they’re reportedly engaged in the linebacker market, as players like Cory Littleton, Joe Schobert, and Blake Martinez remain available, according to Matt Lombardo.

The Giants are reportedly enamored by Martinez, who logged 155 combined tackles in 2019 with five tackles for a loss and 3.0 sacks. While his tackling numbers look solid, he posted an 83.8% completion percentage against and a 10.4% missed tackle rate. There is reason to believe he’s another version of Alex Ogletree, who racks up tackles but is awful in coverage and misses tackles frequently.

The better option would be Littleton, who landed a 3.6% missed tackles rate last season while holding opposing pass catchers to a 71.8% catch rate. He’s the better player of the two by a large margin, and the Giants would be smart to invest in a position that has been a weakness for the better part of a decade. However, Gettleman and Co. are unwilling to travel beyond a specific price-point, which would be the driving factor in letting him go.

Ultimately, it comes down to money, as price is always the driving force in free agency. The Giants must be willing to spend at a specific position, especially with rumors that Byron Jones is closing in on signing with the Raiders or Eagles. He is still available, though, so we can’t rule out a potential last-second move. The Giants are also reportedly involved in the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes, according to NBC’s Peter King.

New York Yankees: Five Interesting Facts About Mike Tauchman

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

Mike Tauchman is entering his second season as a member of the New York Yankees. Here are five interesting facts about the 29-year-old outfielder of Palestine, Illinois:

1. High School Quarterback

In high school, Tauchman was also a football player and the team’s star quarterback. In his senior year, he led William Fremd High School to a comeback victory over future NFL talent Jimmy Garrapolo. Tauchman also played safety and picked off Garrapolo in that game as well.

2. A Married Man

Tauchman has been married for just over three years to Eileen Ristau Tauchman. The two meet at Bradley University and began to date in 2012. They proceeded to get married in 2017 and they went to Jamacia for their honeymoon. Per Linkedin, his wife is a marketing specialist.

3. Owns A Rescue Dog

Tauchman and his wife own a five-year-old rescue dog named Kota. He is a Husky mix and “loves chewing bones and chasing squirrels” per Kota’s Instagram. You can follow Kota here.

4. Entering Eighth Professional Season

In 2013, Mike Tauchman made his professional debut after getting selected in the 10th round of the draft by the Rockies. He played for the Tri-City Dust Devils, an A-short season club. Tauchman hit .297 in his first pro season and then hit .293 in his second season.

5. 139 Games

Despite being on major league rosters for three seasons, Tauchman has only seen action in 139 games. His best season was by far with the Yankees, but an early-season slump and late-season injury restricted playing time. Tauchman has also hit all of his 13 career home runs with the Yankees.

Why trading for a wide receiver makes little sense for the New York Giants

Should the New York Giants inquire about Stefon Diggs?

With Stefon Diggs hitting social media to express his desire to leave Minnesota and find a new beginning, the rumors mill is up in arms. The New York Giants are likely not considering a trade for Diggs, who has been inconsistent with the Vikings, mainly due to Kirk Cousins’ problematic 2018-19 season.

The Giants currently have Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard, three quality pass-catchers who can make a difference on the offensive side of the ball.

Slayton, who led the Giants in yards (740) in 2019 and touchdowns (8), is set to continue his impressive development in 2020. Hopefully, his chemistry with Daniel Jones can improve, and Big Blue can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

As for Shepard, he dealt with multiple concussions last season, failing to return to the field after week 10. Having him at full capacity is essential for Jones, who needs a quality slot option to pair with Tate, who worked outside of the numbers for a fair portion of the year.

Tate was one of Jones’ more reliable targets, despite having his worst season in the drop category. His 57.6% catch rate was the lowest its been since his rookie campaign in 2010. The expectation is that the number will improve to his usual success rate in year two with Big Blue.

If the Giants are going to bring in a new wide receiver, it likely won’t be through a trade. Probability would indicate that a WR-heavy draft makes more sense if Dave Gettleman is looking to add a pass catcher. Pay no mind to the Stefon Diggs rumors.

New York Yankees: The bright side to the pushback of the regular season

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The CDC sent out a memo last night that says they are recommending that events with 50 or more people should either be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks, which means we are not likely to see New York Yankees baseball anytime soon.

This is something we have genuinely never seen before, and this is something that I pray we never see again in our lifetimes. This virus has swept through the globe and altered the way we are living our lives. As New York Yankees baseball fans, we should be gearing up for the regular-season debut of Gerrit Cole.

We should be clamoring for 450-foot bombs from Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton. Instead, most of us are living in fear of what is going on in the world. However, let’s talk about something on the lighter side of all of this. While baseball being pushed back sucks for the sports fans in all of us, it’s not the worst thing in the world if you are a fan of the New York Yankees.

Injuries were stacking up

The New York Yankees have been littered with injuries throughout the entire spring. Aaron Judge was just diagnosed with a broken rib that could have kept him out of action for the foreseeable future. James Paxton had to have surgery, which was going to keep him out for the first two months of the season. Giancarlo Stanton was dealing with calf issues that were going to cause him to miss opening day.

Recently, Gary Sanchez was also dealing with some lower back pain that kept him out of a couple of games. The Yankees are such a deep and talented team, but all these injuries were starting to stack up. As fans, we were beginning to wonder what the first couple of months of the season were going to look like without some of the more prolific Yankees around. However, due to everything getting pushed back because of this horrific virus, we might not have to. As Yankee fans, we want to see the team at full strength when the season starts.

We want to see Aaron Judge in the lineup. We want to see Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup, and we want to see James Paxton backing up Gerrit Cole in the rotation. With the start of the season being delayed, the Yankees can now get the team back to full strength while the world deals with this crisis that is going on. I believe that this pandemic will eventually pass, and when it does, we are going to get to see the New York Yankees that fans have been dreaming about all season long.

A message to fans

Here at Empire Sports, we are going to continue to try to put out as much content as we can for the sports nuts out there who are going to go crazy for a while. I’m starting a new article series that will go through the Yankees minor league system, but we know it won’t replace watching the game that we love.

This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, and I pray that everyone is staying safe and staying healthy during this difficult time. I encourage everyone to stay informed with all of the updates that are going to be coming your way surrounding this virus.

On the bright side of all this is the fact that when this whole thing passes and baseball starts up either in May or June, we will get to see the Yankees team we’ve been looking forward to seeing all winter long. Stay safe Yankee fans, and when the season does start, let’s enjoy this teams march towards the franchise’s 28th world championship.

New York Yankees: Baseball takes second seat to COVID-19, MLB to follow CDC!

New York Yankees

 

MLB says it will follow CDC guidelines, the season won’t start until after Memorial Day!

The New York Yankees and all of MLB are taking a second seat to the COVID-19 virus.  As the national emergency builds and more gathering restrictions are put in place, an opening day for baseball seems moot.  But for the diehard New York Yankee fans, they want to know when the season will start.  The simple answer is there is no set date and with each passing day, that day seems to reach further into the future.  With the most recent CDC recommendation, it suggests it may not be until May 10th at the earliest.

Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, where the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium, have now closed Casinos, bars, restaurants, and gyms, along with banning gatherings of more than 50 people.  With the building concern and attempts to limit exposure in public places, the two-week delay at the start of the season, now seems to be in the rearview mirror with recent CDC guidelines.

Because of the unknown attributes of the virus and its potential for spread, it is creating more questions than answers.  The MLB is evaluating changes by the day and hour.  Before the season starts, it would seem that teams would need a mini-training period.  One of the big questions facing all of the sports is when starting the season begins, will it be a shortened season, or will the season move into November.

The last time there was a shortened season, it was only reduced a few weeks back in 1995.  Back in 1981, during the baseball strike, teams only played between 102-110 games.  In those 50 or so games of missed baseball, the loss was $441MM in player salaries, ticket sales, broadcast revenues, and concession revenues in today’s dollars. That’s $234MM in total owner losses and a loss of $12MM in player salaries each week of the strike. The Yankee owners and all team owners would like to get the 2020 season started as soon as it is safe for the players and fans alike.

It is doubtful at this point that MBL will try to complete a 162 day season.  Most likely, it will be targeting a season of 110 days.  Postseason games due to weather could not be played later than that in the northern states.  Only the Diamondback’s Chase Field, Globe Life Park, home of the Rangers, Miller Park in Milwaukee, the Toronto Blue Jay’s Roger’s Stadium, and the Mariners T-Moble park have retractable roofs.  Tropicana Park and Marlins Park, both in Florida, would not be affected weatherwise if the season was extended.

In a best-case scenario, COVID-19 will diminish as the season warms, just like it does with the common flu.  However, we don’t know if that will be the case.  It is not out of the realm of possibilities that if no control of the virus can be accomplished that the baseball season may be canceled altogether.

The photo accompanying this article was representative of the New York Yankee’s very first steps to control the virus by limiting the media to interview periods with players away from the locker room and by keeping the media at a “safe” distance.   Just days after this was instituted, spring training was canceled, and the start of the regular season delayed.

The only thing we really know for sure is that the virus continues to infect and in larger quantities each day.  We know controlling this national emergency is more important than anything in sports.  We also know that the situation is in flux and will remain fluid until coronavirus is under control or eradicated.  Whatever the case the Yankees and MLB say they will follow CDC guidelines.

In MLB’s latest move they are donating $1 million dollars between baseball and the players association to combat hunger resulting from the closing of schools and lack of in-school breakfasts and lunches.  The donation will be split between Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America.