New York Giants Contemplating Second Round Trade Back

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

Days before the NFL Draft will be conducted in a virtual environment for the first time, there’s little sign of which way the New York Giants will go.

One of the big questions is whether or not they’ll trade back in the first round. Some have said the Giants could trade back with a quarterback needy team and take an offensive lineman or even a defensive player such as Derrick Brown lower in the first round. Others, however, have mocked high profile players like Jedrick Wills and Tristen Wirfs to the Giants at number four overall, predicting them not making a trade back.

There is another alternative though that could see the Giants gain more draft picks and still come out with the player that they want with the number four pick, whoever that may be. That scenario is if the Giants trade down in the second round rather than the first.

According to the New York Post, this might just be the option that the Giants are the most fond of.

League sources told The Post if the Giants do not trade down at No. 4, a second-round trade-back at No. 36 will be considered strongly — and that scenario actually could be the internal preference for restocking depth.

The Giants seem to be looking into highly touted second round prospect Julian Okwara as a pass rusher option for the second round, but with Okawara’s availability remaining to be seen, there’s a chance they could make a trade instead of using their second round pick for a player. Okwara, after all, may be off the board by the time the second round is reached, with at least one team, the Texans, being mocked to take Okwara in the first round.

We’ll know in a few days what the Giants do, as the virtual draft will be conducted soon. However, a trade down in the second round does sound like a move that fits the team’s priorities – trades back have been a theme in reports about the Giants’ draft strategy for a number of weeks now.

New York Giants: Arguments For And Against Drafting Isaiah Simmons

The 2020 NFL Draft is days away. The New York Giants hold the fourth overall pick, their third straight season picking inside the top-ten. General Manager Dave Gettleman is heading into his third draft as GM of the Giants and needs to put together a strong class in order to keep his job.

Holding a top-pick again, the Giants are in the position to add a franchise player this year. There are plenty of top-tier prospects that will be available to fill big positions of need. But which position should they fill? Should they take the best player available (likely Isaiah Simmons) or address the offensive tackle position? Simmons has been the fan-favorite selection for most of the pre-draft process. However, it might be time for fans to consider jumping off of the Simmons hype train and look into this year’s offensive tackle class.

Arguments For:

When Will It Be Time To Invest In The Defense?

In the last eight NFL Drafts, seven of the Giants’ first picks have been spent on the offense. The Giants’ defense only accounts for 35.85% of the team’s salary cap, ranking 30th in the NFL (via Spotrac). New York has barely invested in their defense and it shows with the team’s recent on-field performances.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ offense accounts for 49.48% of the team’s salary cap. More specifically, 22.13% of the team’s salary is spent on the offensive line. Dave Gettleman and company have made it a point to upgrade the offensive line and they have invested into it plenty. But offensive tackle is still one of the weakest positions on the team- and one of the most crucial. Maybe they should continue investing.

A Defensive Playmaker or An Offensive Tackle?

Which position of need is more important? An offensive tackle or a defensive playmaker? If the question were “Chase Young or a tackle?”, everyone would be in agreement that Chase Young is the right choice. But that’s not the debate.

The debate is between uber-versatile linebacker Isaiah Simmons and any of the top offensive tackle prospects. Which of the two options should the New York Giants spend their first-round draft pick on? The Giants do not necessarily have a hole at linebacker (after signing Blake Martinez and re-signing David Mayo), but really on the defense as a whole.

Teams can win games with a bad offensive line (see Seattle Seahawks). But it is nearly impossible to have a winning season with the defense the Giants currently have constructed. The Giants’ best players on defense are recently free agents James Bradberry and Blake Martinez- and they were brought in to replace Alec Ogletree and Janoris Jenkins.

They are upgrades, but the defense did not improve drastically this offseason and likely won’t unless they select Isaiah Simmons at fourth overall. He is a linebacker with the ability to man up on tight ends and excel in coverage.

Isaiah Simmons played over 100 snaps at five different positions in the 2019 CFB season. According to Pro Football Focus, Simmons played 100 snaps at strong safety, 116 snaps at outside linebacker, 132 snaps at free safety, 262 snaps at slot cornerback, and 299 snaps at inside linebacker.

If the Giants are looking to instantly upgrade their defense, look no further than Isaiah Simmons. He will fill the coverage role while Blake Martinez and David Mayo stuff the run. The defense would function at a much higher-level as early as this season. But the draft is not always about instant-upgrades. Sometimes teams need to plan for the future and play the long game. Investing in an offensive tackle would be the long-term solution rather than the instant-upgrade.

Arguments Against:

Talent At The Top Of The OT Class Is Loaded.

The top offensive tackles in this draft class are immensely talented. Draft analysts and experts have struggled to rank the top four tackles. Some have Mekhi Becton as high as the first-ranked tackle, others have him as the sixth-ranked tackle. There are many who believe Jedrick Wills is the best in the class while many others believe Wirfs or Thomas is the best in the class.

Regardless of where each expert has them ranked, they are all consensus first-round talents. The Giants would be finding an instant-starter (and a long-term starter) on the offensive line if they took one of those prospects at fourth overall.

Significant Drop-Off In OT Talent After The First Tier.

Those top offensive tackle prospects are great. Wirfs, Wills, Thomas, and Becton all have legitimate All-Pro potential. But after that, this offensive tackle class has a significant drop off in talent.

Second-round prospects, like Isaiah Wilson and Austin Jackson, are- simply-put- projects. They are not pro-ready. They lack technique but do possess ideal, large, strong bodies. NFL coaching might be able to turn them into capable starters but there is no guarantee. Fortunately, they are young and have room to grow, however, the Giants need an answer at offensive tackle sooner than later.

New York Mets: What will the team do with Conforto and Thor?

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

While there is no baseball being played as we speak, the New York Mets have quite a few interesting cases at hand when it comes to player contracts. Some of the deals that run through the 2020 season are Marcus Stroman, Jed Lowrie, Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Yoenis Cespedes, among others. But what about those who are up after 2021?

Two of the highest-profile cases in that last scenario are Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. They are two of the Mets’ most important players, but if we read any indications, the former would prefer to test free agency while the latter is more likely and open to a future with the organization.

Mike Puma of the New York Post touched base with both players’ scenarios. “Both players can head to free agency after the 2021 season, but the fact Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery and likely won’t resume pitching until at least next June leaves him in limbo. The Mets could always offer him a one-year extension to minimize their risk on his elbow, but Syndergaard might want to bet on himself returning strong next year, showing he’s worthy of a free-agent deal in Zack Wheeler’s stratosphere.”

The Mets’ starter has hurdles to clear

The thing is, Syndergaard, who has been with the New York Mets during his whole career, will only have a few months next year to prove himself worthy of a big-money, multi-year deal. We know that a healthy Thor is easily worth a fortune, but who knows what will his performance look like after nearly a year and a half on the shelf?

In the case of Conforto, he is a valuable piece in the Mets’ puzzle. He has pop and he gets on base, which is the prototypical modern player. However, he won’t come cheap in an extension.

Regarding the matter, Puma said: “Conforto has repeatedly indicated he would like to remain with the Mets long term, but his agent Scott Boras is also known to push his clients to free agency. The time to extend Conforto would be soon — provided baseball resumes this season — but given the financial uncertainties facing the game, where do you even begin in trying to establish value for a player?”

In this specifical case, the issue would be establishing the Mets’ outfielder market value.

New York Mets: Should the Black Jerseys Return?

New York Mets

The growing debate over the last few months and into the suspension of baseball has been on the New York Mets black jerseys from the late 1990s. There is a sharp divide between people who hate them and the ones who please for them to return. Marcus Stroman and Pete Alonso are part of the charge to bring them back.

Most of the group who grew up watching the Mets wear these jerseys are the ones who want to see them return. The opposers are partial to the classic white with blue stripes. Either way, if you look up classic Mets highlights from 1999-2010, chances are the black jerseys are on.

Bring the Back Moderately

The jerseys were always the alternates on the road and at home. If they come back, they should wear them the same way the “Military Monday” jerseys were worn. They should make it a “Black Friday” where the Mets bring them out, and it should get more fans involved to watch the games.

The biggest thing with bringing back something like this is to avoid overkilling it. Since the uniforms have mixed reviews doing it once a week, during a homestand, would satisfy both parties. The time when teams involved black in their jerseys have passed, but it is always good for a throwback game in the schedule.

New York Yankees’ pitcher Jordan Montgomery in favor of playing the season in Arizona

The New York Yankees were supposed to be playing MLB games by now. In fact, the season was scheduled to start on March 26, but because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, most professional leagues and circuits around the world had to halt their operations. We are currently in a wait-and-see approach as there are discussions to play all games in Arizona in a matter of weeks.

While that doesn’t seem realistic as of now, given that the United States is the country with the most cases and deaths associated with the COVID-19, the league is currently considering a plan that would have all teams, including the Yankees, play a shortened schedule in the desert. Another idea is to play in Arizona and Florida with spring training divisions, but that one lost a little traction, it seems.

The Arizona plan would include sequestering all clubs in Arizona for the entire season, putting them on a bubble to try and avoid further spreading of the virus. However, it would prevent players from seeing their families for months.

Recently, Adam Ottavino said that while he didn’t have many details about the plan, he would be on board because he wants to return to the field as soon as possible. Now, lefty Jordan Montgomery also said that he would support such a plan.

The Yankees’ starter offered his support

The left-hander, slated to start the season as the Yankees’ fifth starter, wrote a column in the New York Post explaining why he is on board with the idea.

“I’m getting more optimistic that we’re going to have a baseball season this year after hearing Dr. Anthony Fauci say we could have a season without fans. I don’t think they would release that statement without it being a real possibility. I think it’s going to happen sooner or later. … I’d be fine with the “Arizona plan” of keeping us all in Phoenix-area hotels and transporting us from there to the ballparks and back. That’s basically what I’m doing now, except we’d be playing baseball. I’d be really excited about it,” he wrote.

New York Yankees’ catcher Kyle Higashioka has also stated he would be on board with the project. However, other MLB stars such as Mike Trout and former Yankee Mark Teixeira are among the many voices in the opposition.

MLB: Players have concerns about Arizona and Florida plans

Over the last few weeks, the MLB came out with two proposals on how a 2020 season could happen. One is that all teams play games in the greater Phoenix area, and the other being that teams would play at spring training stadiums in both Arizona and Florida.

The fans seem encouraged by the ideas, but the players have expressed a good deal of concern about the plan. Players would likely have to be isolated in a hotel without their families for months.

“My wife is pregnant. What am I going to do when she goes into labor? Am I going to have to quarantine for two weeks after I come back?” said Angels centerfielder Mike Trout in an interview with NBC Sports. “I think the mentality is that we want to get back as soon as we can. But it has to be realistic. It can’t be sitting in our hotel rooms, and just going from the field to the hotel room and not being able to do anything. I think that’s pretty crazy.”

In interviews with ESPN a few weeks ago, several unnamed players said that they would likely not be interested in the plan unless they can have their families there. Players are also showing a consensus that they would want to be able to leave their hotels a bit and have somewhat of a normal in-season life.

Players have also expressed concern in not being able to live in their own homes if able. Many players have homes very close to spring ballparks.

“I live in Arizona, so does that mean I have to leave my house for four months and live down the street at a hotel? I’m not sure I would do that,” said an NL starter to ESPN.

Players want to be able to play the game that they love, and we want to be able to watch it. But, the plan for the season needs to accommodate all players.

New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton provides gruesome details of 2014 beaning

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton’s career with the New York Yankees has been filled with nagging injuries that have somewhat limited him in the field. He has suffered knee, calf and quad ailments, among others.

Yankees’ fans have criticized him because of that, but the truth is that it’s not his fault and while he hasn’t been the same hitter that belted more than 50 home runs in 2017, he has been productive when healthy.

However, none of those injuries compare with the one he suffered in 2014, when a Mike Fiers fastball shattered his face and broke bones there.

An “intense hissing”

The stellar Yankees’ outfielder spoke with NJ.com’s Bob Klapisch about the injury and its repercussions.

“For me, the sound was more like an intense hissing. I’ll never forget that. All I felt was impact, and then falling on the ground. The whole side of my face was gone — I felt sharp pieces in my mouth. I was trying to be soft with them because I didn’t want to choke, but the pain was excruciating,” he said.

As a result of the hit by pitch, Stanton, then with the Miami Marlins, suffered bone breaks in his lower jaw and cheekbone as well as losing numerous teeth. The teeth also made a hole in his face in which he said the doctor at the hospital “put his finger right through it, like I was a fish he’d hooked.”

While it is an old episode, it is crucial to understand Stanton’s frustration when he suffers these little, nagging injuries. They are nothing compared to being drilled in the face by a 90+ mph fastball. That’s what frustrates the New York Yankees’ slugger the most.

He suffered a Grade 1 calf strain in spring training, but if there is a season in 2020, he should be locked and loaded, ready to go. Manager Aaron Boone will likely rotate Stanton between left field and the designated hitter spot.

New York Yankee Legends: Hall of Famer Rich “Goose” Gossage

The early years

The New York Yankee Richard Michael Gossage was born on July 5, 1951, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where at age 68 he still lives. He was one of six children that lived in a one-bedroom house as his father was an unsuccessful gold prospector. Every evening before dinner, his father Jake would take Rich out to the backyard for a game of catch. Goose would later say, after dinner, we would sit on the front porch and talk baseball and all the stars like Mikey Mantle, Willie Mays and the like.

Jake died in Rich’s junior year of high school. Even though he would not play in the field as well as some of his friends, his father always said that due to his strong arm, his son would play in the majors.  Mother Sue also played a key role in her son’s early development as a player. After one tough loss as a schoolboy, she sat with Rich on the bed and hugged him. She taught him to respect rival players.

Gossage’s career at Wasson High impressed the Chicago White Sox, who took him in the ninth round of the 1970 amateur draft. He was sent to the Sarasota White Sox and, after getting just 21 strikeouts on four walks, was promoted to the Appleton Foxes, and he didn’t fair very well. But as a starter the following year, he went 18-2, opening everyone’s eyes. He attributed his wins to an off-speed slerve he learned at Sarasota. In 1972 threatened by his manager that he wouldn’t make the team. Rich went out and struck out nine batters in a row while only throwing 2 balls.

One day while up north, the star player Dick Allen, told Goose to be aggressive and move them off the plate. Let them know you mean business. In 1975 manager Tanner decided to move Goose from starting to the bullpen. Bullpen pitchers back then were unusual and Tanner may have been ahead of his time. He figured after hitters hit to a Knuckleballer of a pitcher with a curve, that putting Goose out there after six or seven with his grunting and snorting in 98 mph increments, it would set the hitter off and it did. Goose began to pitch regularly out of the pen. By the way, when Goose would watch for signs, other players noticed he would stick his head forward like a goose, and you know the rest.

You really can’t compare relievers of today, like Chapman or Rivera to Gossage. Pitchers today, for the most part, will pitch an inning or two. Back then, if the starter got knocked out in the forth, Goose would come in and close the game, so you can’t really make stat comparisons. Many that study the game say that Goose was one of the earliest that could be called a closer.

He would pitch five years for the White Sox and one in 1977 for the Pirates, mostly because Tanner moved to the Pirates. He really liked Tanner, and when he found out the Pirates were not going to extend his contract, he and his wife packed up their bags, their last stop was Three Rivers Stadium to clean out his locker. Tanner wished him the best. Goose went out to his car and just sat there crying while being consoled by his wife, Cornelia. He wouldn’t be able to be sad for long, for New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner was trying to beef up his team by buying the best talent out there and he signed Goose to a six-year contract on November 27, 1977.

Gossage becomes a New York Yankee

Gossage had a horrible start with the Yankees, blowing saves and making errors. He was so bad that one day Micky Rivers jumped on the hood of the car they used to transport pitchers to prevent him from entering the game. But despite blowing the save of the 78 All-Star game, he quickly found his form leading the American League with 27 saves. He helped the Yankees to come back after trailing Boston by 14 1/2 games in the American League East. He saved a one-run lead in the one-game playoff against the Red Sox. He went 2 2/3 rather rocky innings, finally getting Carl Yastrzemski to pop up to Graig Nettles to end the game. There was no way to measure pitch speed, but many guessed the pitch was over 100mph.

In 1978, Gossage got a win apiece in the AL Championship Series against Kansas City and the World Series against Los Angeles. In 1979, the Yankees didn’t win the World series; most think it was because Goose was out for three months with a torn ligament in his thumb. Gossage appeared in the postseason in two other years for the Yankees. In 1980, he lost one game as the Royals advanced to the World Series behind a booming George Brett homer off the Goose. In 1981, he recorded six saves against Milwaukee, Oakland, and the Dodgers.

The 1981 season was also when Gossage first grew a mustache. It soon became the Fu Manchu version that he still sports today. It was no secret that Goose and George didn’t get along very well, the mustache below the lip was just to irritate the “boss”. The clashes became more frequent, finally, Goose had had enough and signed with the Padres.

After leaving the Yankees he would pitch from 1984 to 1994 for seven different teams as a closer. Many say that the Goose was the greatest reliever of all time, during a time when there were few closers. In interviews, Gossage would say pitchers are babied today. Starters are taught to get the team through five or six innings and then be replaced by a reliever. When he pitched the team didn’t care if your arm fell off, if you were out, there you were there to finish the game. He once pitched seven innings of a fourteen inning game. He said of today’s relievers, if you don’t stretch them out they will only pitch an inning.

Gossage inducted into the Baseball Hall Fame

Richard “Goose” Gossage ended his career saving 310 games in 1810 innings pitched.  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. Gossage remains active in youth sports in Colorado Springs. For several years, he has served as an instructor for the New York Yankees in spring training. When he pitches in the Old Timer’s Day games at Yankee Stadium, it sure looks like at age 68; he’s still got it.

To read about any of my other New York Yankee Legends, just enter New York Yankee Legends in the search at the top of the page.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Chase Young Falls to New York Giants in Latest PFF Mock Draft

New York Giants, Chase Young

Chase Young a New York Giant? Sounds good, right? It probably won’t happen, but in Pro Football Focus’ latest mock draft, that is exactly what they predict happening this Thursday night at the 2020 NFL Draft.

PFF analyst Steve Palazzolo sees the Ohio State EDGE rusher dropping to the fourth overall slot and into the waiting arms of Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman.

So, what happened at the top of the draft order to shake Young loose? Palazzolo sees the Cincinnati Bengals staying the course and drafting LSU QB Joe Burrow with the top pick but predicts the Washington Redskins, under new personnel director Kyle Smith and head coach Ron Rivera, will trade out of the second spot where many had cemented in for months in mock drafts.

In this scenario, the Miami Dolphins move up from the fifth spot and throw in the 18th and 39th overall selection to take Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

At No. 3, the Detroit Lions bypass Young for his college teammate, cornerback Jeff Okudah. Both players are fantastic prospects so it’s very possible. This is a bit sketchy as the Lions are rumored to be open for business with this pick. I can see a team trading up to grab Young or Oregon QB Justin Herbert here, but every team has their own board and Okudah makes sense since the Lions traded Darius Slay to the Eagles this offseason.

The Giants jump all over Young at No. 4 and Giant Nation goes berserk.

“The Giants need playmakers all over the defensive side of the ball, so they’re happy to take Young, whose 96.1 overall grade last season is the highest we’ve seen since college grading started in 2014. Young wins with athleticism and technique, a combination that translates well to the next level. He had a ridiculous 56 pressures (18 sacks, seven quarterback hits, 31 hurries) on just 320 rushes last season.”

I know we shouldn’t get the Giant fans hopes up too high with this stuff but I’ve been covering the draft for 20 years and stranger things have happened.

Wilson’s Perspective: Reasons the New York Giants could pass on Isaiah Simmons

New York Giants, Giants, NYG, Ryan Connelly

Taking a look at the reasons the New York Giants could pass on Clemson defender, Isaiah Simmons:

When the Giants hired head coach Joe Judge to be the leader of the franchise moving forward, one of the positive traits he brought from New England was the ability to maximize players on both sides of the ball. His goal is to extract the most value from each positional player, and that fits right in line with Clemson stand out defender Isaiah Simmons in the 2020 NFL draft.

Last season, Simmons posted impressive numbers across the board, suggesting he played multiple spots and succeeded at each one. Over 15 games as a junior, Simmons log 104 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, three interceptions, eight passes defended, and two forced fumbles.

Looking at his sack numbers and ability in coverage, you can conclude that Simmons played all over the defense. That is precisely the type of player that Judge likes, but there are also reasons he could pass on the defender for an offensive tackle. That would be the number one reason the Giants forgo the opportunity to draft a player of his quality, simply because Daniel Jones needs more protection on the offensive line.

Investing a significant draft pick on a passer should force management to build around him, and Jones being sacked 38 times in 2019 suggests that his protection scheme might need reinforcement. His 18 fumbles lead the NFL and is a statistic that needs to decrease significantly next season. That means the New York Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman need to draft a potential left tackle to replace Nate Solder for the future — whether it be in the first or second round.

Another justification to pass on Simmons would be the presence of Ryan Connelly. The Giants drafted Connelly in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft, and he posted impressive numbers over four games before suffering a torn ACL against the Washington Redskins in the dying moments.

He recorded 20 combine tackles, two tackles for loss, two passes defended, one sack, and two interceptions. Those are some quality numbers for a rookie mid-round pick and could be enough to convince the Giants brass to give him another opportunity, deciding to pass on Simmons a little more justifiable. However, Isaiah’s attributes eclipse Connelly’s by a fair margin, but again, drafting a tackle to protect Jones could ultimately benefit the team more efficiently in the long run.