New York Giants Predicted By Vegas To Take Jedrick Wills In Draft

New York Jets, Jedrick Wills

With the NFL Draft impending very soon, many voices have weighed in on which player the New York Giants will take at number four. Assuming they don’t trade the pick to a team looking for a quarterback, at least. Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, and Jedrick Wills have all been popular names to throw into the mix. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been dark horse prospects linked to the Giants, however, such as Derrick Brown of Auburn.

One prospect, though, has been placed ahead of the others by one of the parties with the greatest interest in getting the answer right – Las Vegas, and the gambling industry. According to Sports Betting Dime, it’s Jedrick Wills from Alabama that’s the favorite to be selected by the Giants, coming in at -167 odds. The prospect with the next highest odds? Tristan Wirfs, at +300.

Wirfs is the player that Peter King has mocked to the Giants but the betting odds give Wills a fair edge over the Iowa tackle. If there’s one thing that both players have in common, though, it’s that they’re safe picks. Both players are from major college programs and therefore have experience against the best – both players are also known for their athleticism, a trait that the Giants are looking for.

But Wills is from an Alabama program that the Giants already have connections to. Head coach Joe Judge, after all, is from the coaching tree of Nick Saban. The Giants are likely to try to take advantage of some of the lessons learned in Judge’s time there, and it helps to bring in players who can thrive under such a system.

Of course, it’s also to Wills’ advantage that his stats are some of the best in the country. With one sack allowed through his entire college career, Wills looks like a player that can immediately supplant Nate Solder at tackle and pass protect for Daniel Jones, filling a crucial need.

However, one must remember that Dave Gettleman is at the helm of the Giants and their draft strategy. While taking Wills seems like the orthodox choice, Gettleman doesn’t often take the expected route, leaving most fans wondering what he will decide right down until the decision is made.

New York Giants: Center Is The Most Valuable Pick In The Second Round

New York Giants, Cesar Ruiz

The New York Giants are heading into another crucial NFL Draft. Set to take place Thursday night, this year’s draft features a plethora of talent on both sides of the ball that could instantly improve the Giants’ roster. New York will be picking fourth and thirty-sixth overall in the first two rounds of this year’s draft.

The debate at fourth overall has largely been between drafting Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons or one of the class’s top-ranked offensive tackles. But what should the Giants do in the second round? The thirty-sixth pick holds plenty of value, too. And the Giants could potentially grab a starting-caliber player there as well. So, based on positions of need and positional value, who should the Giants be targeting at thirty-sixth overall?

The Biggest Position of Need

The Giants desperately need to upgrade the center position. The thirty-sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is the perfect place to do that. New York can spend their first-round pick on an offensive tackle, as they are widely expected to, then solidify their line with a center in round two.

Jon Halapio is coming off of an injury and Spencer Pulley has spent most of the last two seasons as a backup. Dave Gettleman and the Giants know they need to upgrade the offensive line and that includes the center position along with offensive tackle.

Enticing Second-Round Prospects

There are a few center prospects that the Giants could target in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The top target of them all would be Michigan center, Cesar Ruiz.

Cesar Ruiz is a projected late first-round pick, but some predict he could slip into the second round. If the New York Giants could land Ruiz a thirty-six overall, he would be a home-run selection.

Another name that has been brought up in speculation with the Giants is Matt Hennessy. The Giants have met with Hennessy and shown interest in drafting him in the second round. The Temple center prospect grew up a lifelong Giants fan and would be a perfect fit with the Gmen.

Either one of these prospects would likely start for the Giants in Week One of the 2020 NFL season. Protecting Daniel Jones and creating running lanes for Saquon Barkley will be the Giants’ keys to success in 2020 and beyond. Shoring up the offensive line is the perfect way to accomplish this. The New York Giants should look to go offensive tackle in the first round and center in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Yankees’ class-A affiliate makes Tom Brady an offer after he’s thrown out of Tampa park

A New York Yankees‘ minor-league team is reaching out to Tom Brady, the star quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as he looks for a place to train and work out after he was kicked out of a local park.

The Tampa Tarpons, the Yankees’ Class A-Advanced affiliate, made its pitch this week. On Monday, news broke that Brady, signed as a free agent by the Bucs this offseason, was sent home as he was trying to work out on a nearby park while it was closed because of the current coronavirus outbreak.

“Hey @TomBrady……..We know of a #TampaPark you can workout at,” the official Tampa Tarpons account tweeted, throwing a mention at the stellar, decorated signal caller.

The Yankees’ minor league team generous offer

The Tarpons play their home games at the George M. Steinbrenner Field, which is the Yankees’ spring training complex.

The Associated Press reported that Tampa mayor Jane Castor said during a Monday news briefing that “park staff had caught him working out alone at a downtown park and told him he had to leave. The park was closed due to COVID-19.”

In an attempt to keep the virus from spreading even more, authorities around the United States, including Florida, are prompting people to stay in their houses.

After the report came to prominence, the city of Tampa tweeted at Brady. “Sorry @TomBrady! Our @tampaparksrec team can’t wait to welcome you and our entire community back with even bigger smiles — until then, stay safe and stay home as much as you can to help flatten the curve,” it said.

Maybe the Yankees and their affiliate can convince Brady… but here’s hoping he can stay home working out there, as he should be the most valuable piece for a Buccaneers roster that is trying to make a deep postseason run. The former Patriots’ quarterback signed a two-year, $50 million deal. Fun fact: he’s renting Derek Jeter’s mansion.

MLB News: Minor League Baseball agrees to 40 team contraction

According to a report from J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, MLB is expected to agree to a 25-percent reduction of the number of affiliated teams, from 160 down to 120.  The plan would eliminate short-season and rookie leagues across the country.  It is the same contraction that was suggested last year.

The overhaul of the minor league system would have the short-season, and Rookie games played at spring training facilities.  The remaining 120 MLB teams would be reorganized into four full-season levels that are familiar to most fans: Triple-A, Double-A, High A and Low A.

The idea of the plan is to improve minor league stadiums and advance player development.  The plan would also feature a  geographic reorganization that would cut down on both the cost and time of travel.  All of this comes as MLB is shut down with no games due to the COVID-19 coronavirus that has the start of the regular season at a standstill.

The MLB plan would affect the New York Yankees minor league A affiliate short-season Staten Island Yankees, but will not eliminate the Rookie Pulaski Yankees. The team plays its home games at Calfee Park in Pulaski, Virginia.  The Staten Island Yankees play at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in the New York City borough of Staten Island.  The Staten Island Yankee short-season will apparently be played at the George M. Steinbrenner spring training facility in Tampa, Florida.

Alone with the elimination of the short-season and Rookie league team, the minor league plan will also do away four Double-A teams, four High A teams, and six Low A teams on the chopping block alongside 11 short-season teams and 17 rookie-ball teams. For the Yankees, only the Staten Island location is affected.

According to Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper, here is the MLB list of the 42 minor league teams to be contracted.

Could this current Mets’ player manage in the future?

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

New York Mets‘ second baseman Robinson Cano, despite his doping-related suspension, is among the most respected players in the league. Not only he has been productive for almost his entire career (a .302/.352/.490 line doesn’t lie, and he has 324 homers, 1272 RBI and 57.3 fWAR to his name) but he is seen as a respected veteran presence in Queens.

Recently, MLB.com did a fun exercise. They named five players in the NL East that could be managers at some point in the future. The league’s official site identified Braves’ hurler Mike Soroka, Marlins’ infielder Miguel Rojas, Nats’ ace Max Scherzer and Phillies’ catcher Andrew Knapp as potential candidates. Do you care to guess the Mets’ candidate? Yes, Robinson Cano.

While it’s true that the team may have other candidates, Cano seems like the one that would be the closest to managing in the future. Pete Alonso may be a great one, but he is just starting his playing career. Marcus Stroman also comes to mind. But Cano, even though he hasn’t been vocal about taking over a team down the road, could be successful.

A respected Mets’ leader

Here is what Anthony DiComo, the New York Mets’ beat writer at MLB.com, had to say about Cano’s chances of being a team’s skipper at some point tomorrow: “Consider this speculative, as he has never publicly expressed interest in coaching or managing after his retirement. But few around baseball command as much respect in the clubhouse as Canó, a bilingual veteran of 15 big league seasons. Upon moving from Seattle to New York in 2019, Canó instantly became one of the Mets’ clubhouse leaders, serving as a mentor for several young Latin players.”

Having played in a veteran Yankees’ squad for much of his career, Cano was always surrounded by good examples and strong veteran presences.

“Canó, who learned about leadership early in his career from Derek Jeter and other prominent Yankees, filled part of the void in Flushing left by retired captain David Wright. He’s particularly influential in the batting cage, where teammates of all stripes look to him for advice. If Canó wants to continue his professional baseball career after his playing days are over, surely there will be a job out there for him somewhere,” DiComo stated.

20 teams to pay baseball operations employees through May 31; Yankees and Mets not yet on the list

New York Yankees

The current coronavirus outbreak has forced MLB to suspend the season indefinitely, and despite recent efforts of getting it back on track with plans to have the players isolated in one city, they still haven’t materialized as we speak. The New York Yankees and New York Mets, two of the largest market clubs in the country, likely won’t play at home this year given that the Big Apple is the city most affected by the virus.

The current break affects players, no doubt, but what very few people realize is that other employees and staffers are also in limbo. Game day staff, maintenance workers in the stadium, merchandise vendors, and many more people don’t know when their next check will come.

However, some teams are taking matters into their own hands. According to a Jeff Passan (ESPN) report, 20 out of the 30 MLB teams intend to pay baseball operations employees through at least May 31 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Los Angeles Angels are the most recent team to announce the intention of doing so, and thankfully, the list is expected to grow in the next few days.

Mets and Yankees not on the list as of now

However, it is somewhat surprising that big-market clubs such as the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, not to mention the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals, haven’t announced that they will pay baseball operations employees through May.

Rob Manfred, the MLB Commissioner, is suspending the Uniform Employee Contracts on May 1, a situation that allows teams to issue pay cuts or furlough employees. However, it appears most teams are trying to get by as long as they can for now.

For what is worth, both the Mets and the Yankees have announced disaster assistance funds to contribute staffers. It remains to be seen if they agree to pay baseball operations employees through May, or any date further along the road.

Rotoworld writes that Manfred told a large group of MLB staffers on Monday that he fully anticipates baseball will be played this season, though he cautioned that it’s “very difficult to predict with any accuracy” any sort of timeline.

MLB and MiLB nearing deal to cut 42 minor league teams

Sources tell Baseball America that the MLB and the MiLB are nearing a deal to cut 42 minor league baseball teams. The deal will reduce the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120, with two independent teams entering affiliated ball.

The MiLB will need to reorganize and relocate a lot of team affiliates and leagues. Four AA teams will be cut, including the Mets affiliate in Binghamton, New York. Four high-A teams will be eliminated, six low-A teams, 11 short-season teams, and 17 rookie ball teams.

Each organization will have four teams in four different levels of minor league ball. It sounds like rookie-ball and A-short season ball will merge into rookie-leagues based at spring training sites. A-short season teams were mainly comprised of recent draft picks, and the season would start in June each year.

Teams eliminated (per Baseball America):

Rookie ball:

Billings Mustangs
Bluefield Blue Jays
Bristol Pirates
Burlington Royals
Danville Braves
Elizabethton Twins
Grand Junction Rockies
Great Falls Voyagers
Greeneville Reds
Idaho Falls Chukars
Johnson City Cardinals
Kingsport Mets
Missoula Osprey
Ogden Raptors
Orem Owlz
Princeton Rays
Rocky Mountain Vibes

A-short:

Auburn Doubledays
Batavia Muckdogs
Connecticut Tigers
Lowell Spinners
Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
State College Spikes
Staten Island Yankees
Tri-City Dust Devils
Vermont Lake Monsters
Williamsport Crosscutters

Low-A:

Beloit Snappers
Burlington Bees
Clinton LumberKings
Lexington Legends
Hagerstown Suns
West Virginia Power

High-A:

Lancaster JetHawks
Daytona Tortugas
Florida Fire Frogs
Frederick Keys

AA:

Binghamton Rumble Ponies
Chattanooga Lookouts
Erie SeaWolves
Jackson Generals

Teams added:

St. Paul Saints                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sugar Land Skeeters

 

The report doesn’t state which level of ball the two new teams will be at.

New York Liberty: Meet the (Draft) Class of 2020

The draft dust has settled, and the New York Liberty have emerged with several young players to begin a new era.

The New York Liberty might well be America’s oldest expansion team at this rate.

New York’s WNBA franchise looks a tad different than it did a week ago, literally and figuratively. The team unveiled a new logo and uniform this week and later dealt franchise face Tina Charles to the Washington Mystics for extra draft capital. When they do get back to basketball, the Liberty will also make themselves a new home: Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. On Tuesday, the Liberty also bid farewell to Brittany Boyd, one of their longest-tenured players.

Speaking of Friday’s WNBA Draft (witness by 837,000 viewers), the Liberty were immediately able to fill Charles’ empty slot of franchise face with the addition of Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu. What do you need to know about Ionescu and her new comrades? ESM has you covered…

1st Round (1st overall): G Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon

Lottery ping-pong balls finally bounced New York’s way, leading them to one of the most electrifying players in college basketball history. Ionescu hopefully has a large carry-on bag for her eventual flight to New York, as she’ll be hauling plenty of hardware to Brooklyn. Her most recent accolades include the Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press and the Pac-12 (her third in the latter category), matching perfectly with the NCAA’s all-time lead in triple-doubles (26). When we get back to shooting again, Ionescu’s New York arrival has a chance to change not just a premier franchise, but a league entirely.

1st Round (9th overall): F Megan Walker, Connecticut

What’s a draft without representation from Storrs? With the first pick obtained in the Charles transaction, the Liberty went with one of the few early entries in Walker. Her breakout junior year paced the team with 19.7 points, and she also tallied 8.4 rebounds en route to first-team All-American honors. Walker’s scoring prowess should help a Liberty squad that struggled to consistently score in the latter stages of last season.

1st Round (10th overall): F Jocelyn Willoughby, Virginia

The Charles trade indirectly yielded the arrival of Willoughby, as the Liberty dealt the contract of former Mystic Shatori Walker-Kimbrough to Phoenix for the rights to Willoughby. Some were surprised to see Willoughby go in the top ten, but her flexibility could turn her into a diamond-in-the-rough selection. One of Willoughby’s greatest qualities is her ability to get to the foul line. Over the second half of the season, the Liberty averaged less than 15 foul shots per game. Willoughby reached double-digits on her own in six games of her senior season.

1st Round (12th overall): G Jazmine Jones, Louisville

With the second pick acquired in the Charles move, the Liberty opted to take one of Asia Durr’s Cardinal teammates. No one has appeared in more games in Louisville red than Jones, who reached the All-ACC and All-ACC defensive teams. Her shooting needs some work, but Jones nearly doubled her career scoring average in her senior campaign (14.1 PPG, good for second on the team).

2nd Round (13th overall): F Kylie Shook, Louisville

Ionescu is trying to forget the exploits of Shook, who paced the Cardinals with a double-double (18 points, 15 rebounds) in a head-to-head matchup last November that saw Louisville gave Oregon their only loss. More impressive may be Shook’s defensive abilities. She took the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award and departs KFC Yum! Center as the program’s all-time leader in blocks.

2nd Round (15th overall): F Leaonna Odom, Duke

Another strong defensive talent from the ACC, Odom’s versatility (able to the one-through-four) and length (6’2 with a 27.5 vertical) makes her a solid defensive find in the second round. The versatility was on perfect display when she appeared on watchlists for the Katrina McClain and Cheryl Miller awards (earned by the nation’s top power forward and small forward respectively).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Derrick Brown could land in top 5 picks, should we be worried? (Report)

New York Giants, Derrick Brown

Should we be worried, the New York Giants will select Derrick Brown with the 4th overall pick.

When the NFL Combine was in full swing, the New York Giants were linked to Auburn defensive tackle, Derrick Brown, who’s draft stock has risen significantly in recent weeks. Brown was always projected as a top-10 pick, but ESPN’s Jordan Raanan believes he could slide into the top-5, making the Giants are a real possibility.

Given the Bengals are locked into Joe Burrow, Washington is in on Chase Young, and Detroit has been linked to Jeff Okudah, there are only about 2/3 teams that would select Brown in the top-5. Assuming he will go in that range, the Giants have a 33% chance of picking him, with the other two teams being Detroit and Miami.

GM Dave Gettleman recently stated that you cannot have too many great players at one position, attesting to our biggest fear — Brown being selected. However, this is all but set in stone, considering Isaiah Simmons will likely be available with the 4th overall pick, and the Giants have their choice of top offensive tackles.

An interesting draft move:

While I think it would be ludicrous to draft the Auburn standout at No. 4, considering Gettleman spent the 17th overall pick on Dexter Lawrence last year if the Giants traded back, they could execute one interesting yet blasphemous trade back.

The Giants could move back 1/2 slots and draft Brown, selling high on Dalvin Tomlinson and re-tooling the defensive front with three high-powered, multi-faceted players, which allows them to scheme a pass-rush for the time being due to incredible interior pressure.

However, I would stay simple and draft an offensive lineman to protect Daniel Jones’s blind-side and assist in Saquon Barkley’s dominance. Allocating high draft picks toward pricey positions, especially at left tackle, is a major positive to the decision.

Report: Mets Worth a Billion Dollars Less Than Previous Sale Price

Earlier this year, New York Met fans were jilted at the altar when billionaire hedge fund tycoon Steven A. Cohen pulled out of an agreement to buy 80 percent of the team. Cohen was apparently not please with the current owners – Fred Wilpon, his son Jeff and brother-in-law Saul Katz – insisted on taking Cohen’s cash but not relinquishing control of the team for five years.

Can’t blame Cohen for that. There wasn’t much in for him. The team was valued at $2.6 billion and Cohen had agreed to those terms. Now, with Major League Baseball looking at a season in which they are going to take it on chin financially, the team is said to be worth considerably less.

I’m not sure where Rovell got this valuation. I trust him as a reporter but he does not cite the source here. In Forbes’ latest list of MLB team valuations, the Mets are the sixth-most valuable franchise at $2.4 billion.

As for the sale of the Mets, Alex Rodriguez and his fiancee, singer/actress Jennifer Lopez are reportedly mounting an offer to buy the club. They have retained JP Morgan Chase to help raise capital to finance the deal.

If Rovell is correct in his assessment, ARod and Lopez could steal the Mets. The decrease in value could also bring back isome big money players such as Cohen to the table. Then again, the Wilpons are not likely to let the Mets go at $1.6 billion. They will hold out for their price. Sorry, Met fans.