New York Giants: Leonard Williams Has Signed Franchise Tag Tender

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

All the focus right now for the New York Giants is on the NFL Draft, but while the Draft takes up most of the attention, the Giants quietly made an advancement in the Leonard Williams situation. Williams has signed the franchise tag tender according to Pat Leonard, which puts him on course to earn $16.1 million this season if no long term deal is reached with the Giants. The team has until July 15 to come to such an agreement.

But the Giants could end up paying more if Williams wins in being classified as a defensive end instead of a defensive tackle. There’s indeed an argument to be made that Williams should be classified as one, based on the role the Giants have given him, and if he does win the grievance it would raise his salary under the tag to $17.7 million rather than the original 16.

The high salary might be a tough pill to swallow for a Giants team that only received half a sack of production from Williams during their time with him last season after executing a trade with the Jets – but with the team having cap space to throw around this season, keeping Williams for the short term might not get in the way of the team’s plans. The Giants do, however, miss out on two first round draft picks they would have received as compensation if Williams had signed for another team instead of signing the tag tender.

Bringing back Williams isn’t the worst move the Giants could have made, but it does bring into question once again the trade that brought Williams over from the Jets. The Giants did put themselves in this position where there is a choice between overpaying or losing Williams, after all.

The Chances Are Slim, But Chase Young To The New York Giants is Still a Possibility

New York Giants, Chase Young

The 2020 NFL Draft is only one day away. The New York Giants hold the fourth overall pick this year. This will be their third year in a row picking inside the top-ten. Last year, pretty much everyone was in agreement that the Giants needed to draft a quarterback in the first round. The question was which one? Ultimately, the Gmen shocked the world and selected Daniel Jones sixth overall- a selection that was widely criticized at the time but now appears to have been the right choice.

A similar debate surrounds the Giants once again this year. Should they draft an offensive tackle or a defensive playmaker? But if circumstances were just slightly different there would be no debate at all. Had the Giants lost their second regular-season matchup with the Redskins this year, they would be picking second overall and everyone would be in agreement that Chase Young should be the selection.

Chase Young is the dream selection for the Giants. They desperately need a playmaker on defense and even more desperately need an impact pass-rusher. Young would fill both of those roles. Having the fourth overall pick, rather than the second overall pick, takes the Giants out of the Race to Chase. Or does it?

Will The Redskins Pass On Chase Young?

Nearly every mock draft without trades that you read will feature Chase Young going second overall to the Washington Redskins. He is the best player available outside of the quarterback position and would work wonders for Washington’s defense. But recent trade rumors seem to indicate that Young to the Redskins might not be a done deal.

According to reports, the Redskins are fielding inquiries from teams looking to trade up to the second overall pick. One report suggests that a team has “laid out a complete deal” for number two overall. If the Redskins were to accept one of these trade offers, what would happen with Chase Young?

Why Chase Young Could Get Past The Lions

The Detroit Lions hold the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They are expected to invest it on a top-defensive talent like Derrick Brown or Jeffrey Okudah. But what if Chase Young is on the board? There is a good chance he would be the pick. But not if someone else is picking third overall.

It is a known fact that the Lions are looking to trade down from third overall. They have been in talks with the Dolphins and other teams. The Dolphins are reportedly interested in trading up for an offensive tackle, but they could be secretly targeting a quarterback.

How Chase Young Falls To Fourth Overall:

Joe Burrow will be the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to the Cincinnati Bengals. But there are no locks after that. There are, however, two other quarterbacks that are locks for the first-round and, at one point or another, were locks to be top-five picks. Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa have both been mocked as high as second overall and as low as outside the top-ten. But, as we all know, competition can create price inflation.

If a team does in fact trade up to the second-overall pick and draft a quarterback, the same could happen to the third overall pick. Quarterbacks could be selected first, second, and third overall, leaving Chase Young to fall to the Giants’ fourth overall selection. This is the scenario that all Giants fans will be hoping and praying for.

New York Jets Countdown to Draft Day: The Best No. 68 picks in NFL Draft History

tom tupa throwing a pass in a recent game against the patriots

As draft day approaches, ESM looks back on the best players chosen in the New York Jets’ current draft slots.

The New York Jets currently own eight draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday night in a virtual setting (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/NFL Network).

To commemorate the path to the draft, ESM looks back on the greatest picks chosen in their respective positions. We continue with 68th pick, one acquired from the Leonard Williams proceedings…

1985: LB Jack Del Rio, New Orleans

After a three-year absence, the two-time Del Rio is back in the NFL as the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins. He got his start as a player as a third-round pick of the Saints. Del Rio had a roller-coaster career as a play, including a bizarre incident where he assaulted former Chiefs receiver and scout Otis Taylor during the 1987 players’ strike. He had mistaken Taylor for a replacement player in a matter that was settled out of court. Del Rio would later reach the Pro Bowl as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

1988: QB/P Tom Tupa, Phoenix 

Tupa entered the league as a quarterback, but instead went on to become one of its most reliable punters. He would make history as a 1994 Cleveland Brown by converting the first two-point conversion in NFL history on a botched extra point. In 1999, Tupa earned a special place in Jets lore. During their Week 1 tilt against New England, Tupa, designated an emergency quarterback, stepped in when Vinny Testaverde went down with an injury. In his first pass since 1999, Tupa found Keyshawn Johnson for a 25-yard touchdown. He’d later hook up with Fred Baxter for a seven-yard score in the second half to cap off one of the best backup quarterback performances in Jets history. That season ended with Tupa earned All-Pro honors…as a punter.

1991: WR Jake Reed, Minnesota

The pick used to select Reed was part of Minnesota’s haul from the historically massive Hershel Walker trade. His career got off to a slow start, but he would go on to post four consecutive seasons of earning at least 1,000 yards. Cris Carter duplicated the feat, and the pair became the NFL’s first teammates to amass that tally over four straight years. Locals around these parts perhaps best know Reed for the touchdown that played a part in the Vikings’ come-from-behind victory in the 1997 NFC wild card playoffs.

1993: G Mike Compton, Detroit

The versatile Compton played all over the offensive line and even served as the Lions’ long snapper for field goals. Years of blocking for Barry Sanders on mediocre teams finally paid off when he joined the New England Patriots in 2001. He would play on the starting offensive line for the Patriots’ original Super Bowl squad. Compton currently serves as the offensive line coach at Virginia-Wise at the Division II level.

2003: LB Lance Briggs, Chicago

The Jets are looking for some defensive depth in this draft. They would certainly be satisfied if they could someone with half of the caliber of Briggs. Not only did he develop a reputation as a hard-hitting, fundamentally sound linebacker, but he was durable to the tune of missing only four games over his first ten seasons. Briggs currently ranks second in the Bears’ lengthy history in defensive touchdowns and is also third in pass defenses (84). He also notably led both sides in tackles in Chicago’s Super Bowl visit in 2007.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Breaking News: MLB Commission Manfred reports on the Red Sox sign-stealing and punishments

MLBs ruling on the Boston Red Sox’s illegal sign stealing in 2018 determined the primary culprit was not the front office, manager Alex Cora or the players, but the team’s video replay system operator.  The New York Yankees suffered from a possible World Series bid during the 2017 season by the Astros illegal sign-stealing and may have lost some games to the Red Sox in 2018 due to the video replay operator.

The MLB findings were released this afternoon and suspended Red Sox video operator J.T. Watkins for the remainder of the 2020 season and that he may not hold the position in the 2021 season as well.  It suspended Alex Cora through the end of the 2020 season, although not for anything he did in the 2018 Red Sox season, but for his participation in the 2017 Houston Astros season.  His suspension is a moot point as he was fired by the Red Sox whent he Astros sign stealing scandal was revealed.

The Red Sox for their part in sign-stealing they will loose a second-round pick in the 2020 draft. Following a January report from The Athletic on the Red Sox’s conduct, Commissioner Rob Manfred found that Watkins, on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, illegally utilized game feeds in the replay room to help players during games — an undertaking less egregious than the Astros’ famed 2017 sign-stealing scheme.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement:

“The club must be held accountable, particularly since the club may have benefited from Watkins’ conduct.”

 

New York Yankees Player Profiles: Tommy Kahnle he’s ready to shine

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

A time to shine for Tommy Kahnle

This is one of the more difficult New York Yankees profiles I have written, mostly because of all the Yankees Tommy is the most private about his childhood and family. Tommy was born on August 7, 1989, in Latham, New York. The 30-year-old did play baseball in his childhood. In high school, he caught and pitched for Shaker High School in Latham. After high school Tommy (Thomas Robert) attended Lynn University in Florida. While there at age eighteen, he won the 2007 division two World Series for them and was named MVP for the series.

While at Lynn, he was certainly good enough to draw the attention of Yankee scouts. The Yankees drafted him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. The Yankees sent him to the Staten Island Yankees, where in 2010, he was in eleven games with a .056 ERA with 25 strikeouts in sixteen innings pitched. In 2011 they sent him to the River Dogs in Charleston, where he continued to show his pitching promise. In 2012 he played for Tampa and the Trenton Thunder. He had an ERA between the two teams of 2.37.

In 2013 Tommy Kahnle was invited to spring training in Tampa, he did not make the team, but was a 2013 Eastern League All-Star with a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings. The Yankees failed to protect Kahnle and he was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 rule 5 draft. He made the opening day roster with the Rockies. He appeared in 54 games with an ERA of 4.19. At the end of the 2015 season, the Rockies designated him for assignment. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox. In two seasons, he appeared in only 29 games but pitched to a 2.63 ERA. In 2017 he was having a career year posting a 2.50 ERA while striking out 60 batters in just 39 innings. The Sox realizing his value used him in a trade along with Todd Frazier and David Robertson to the Yankees for four players.

In July of 2017, Kahnle was ejected from a game for throwing behind Miguel Cabrara of the Tigers. Joe Girardi ended up getting thrown out as well, as a giant bench-clearing brawl broke out. Kahnle was sent down to Scranton Wilkes/Barre. He was called back up and on August 21 and recorded his first save replacing Aroldis Chapman in the 12th inning. In July of last year, Kahnle was awarded reliever of the month in the AL. Last season he was 3-2 with an ERA of 3.84 in 72 games. Kahnle has been one of our most dependable relievers. He is a ferocious competitor and has contributed much to the New York Yankees success this past season.

Most of Tommy’s personal life is undercover, but we do know he works out regularly in his out workout studio. He is married to Veronica Kahnle. They were married in January 2017, and they have made the decision to put off having children at this time. I researched and found that they have a home together in the Albany New York area just a short distance from his birthplace. I managed to get a photo from their wedding photographer that is not shown in this article.

Kahnle prepares for the 2020 baseball season

Recently Tommy Kahnle was featured in games in the “MLB The Show,” he blew a great opportunity to bring himself and the New York Yankees into the playoffs in the graphically correct fantasy games.  In reality, Kahnle has been preparing for the 2020 shortened season.  In 2019 he made an improvement to his play but still fell short of his 2017 stats as he tended to tire late in the season with all the injuries.  This shortened season may solve that.

In the shortened Yankee spring training, Kahnle didn’t get a lot of innings in, in fact only nine innings as the Yankees tried to evaluate the up and coming Yankee pitchers, Dievi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Micheal King. In his nine innings, he was 0-1 in nine games with an ERA of 7.45.

Kahnle’s strikeout rate was the highest of his career last year.  During the postseason after a short break he has been doing his best to prepare for the upcoming season when it finally starts.  He recently said:

“I’ve been basically hanging out trying to survive these times you know, it’s crazy.  Basically if it nice outside I’ll go to a local field where I used to play high school baseball.  As far as workouts, my studio is closed so I can go in there privately and workout by myself and that’s what I have going for me right now.”

Kahnle told ABC Sports that he personally really misses the competition of baseball and wants to play.  With his on-field play and workouts and good nutrition, he has reduced 25 pounds from his ballooned 254 pounds at the end of the last season.  As the New York Yankees await the start of the season they hope Tommy can return to his 2017 form.

 

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

New York Yankees president says it’s “not practical’ to play without fans for entire season

New York Yankees

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly diminished the prospects of having a season in 2020. MLB and the players’ association are currently discussing several avenues to play this year, but they are, to this point, unlikely, to say the least. Commissioner Rob Manfred is confident that there will be baseball this year, but it remains to be seen. For now, though, the New York Yankees are in wait and see mode.

One of the scenarios currently being discussed is playing all games in one location, likely Arizona (where there are several spring training facilities) and with no fans in the stands, in order to prevent further spreading of the disease.

However, New York Yankees’ president Randy Levine is skeptical that a whole season without fans will be played. He, according to SNY, doesn’t believe that playing in front of no fans isn’t practical.

The Yankees’ president says America needs sports

First, Levine said that the “sports industry could be an example for all industry for us to work with health experts.”

“How can we get into our parks as soon as we can with all the appropriate mitigation — social distancing, taking temperature checks, wearing masks, wearing gloves,” Levine said Wednesday on Mornings with Maria on the Fox Business channel. “I think it’s all doable because I think that, to have games just on TV for the whole season for many, many reasons is not practical.”

While he is adamantly against playing games in front of empty seats, Levine does note that the United States of America needs its national pasttime back. Not only baseball, but other sports, as well.

“I think that we just get going, be prepared. There has to be a private-public partnership that all sides – the economic sides, the health sides – are brought to bear to make sure this is done safely and reasonably, and that’s where we’re trying to go right now to get this going as quickly as we can. The country needs sports.”

Report: New York Giants could execute trade back with Miami Dolphins

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants make a move to gain draft capital in the 2020 NFL Draft with the Miami Dolphins.

NFL analyst Ian Rapoport stated on Wednesday afternoon that the Miami Dolphins have begun gauging the cost of moving up in the draft, which could offer the Giants an opportunity to gain capital while still landing defensive playmaker, Isaiah Simmons.

With Big Blue giving away the 68th overall pick to the Jets in return for Leonard Williams mid-season in 2019, GM Dave Gettleman can gain back some of that lost capital by moving back with a QB-needy team like the Dolphins, who supposedly are intrigued by the offensive tackles available.

It’s possible the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins could also be in play to move back and ensure Miami gets their player of choice, but it ultimately comes down to who’s willing to accept the least in terms of assets. The Giants, who are only one slot ahead of the Dolphins, know how much they want a quarterback/tackle, especially after the recent news that they’re weighing their options.

It’s unlikely Big Blue can gain a high second-rounder in the draft, but they could package the 4th overall pick and the 99th overall selection to move back and acquire Miami’s second-rounder since they already have two first-round picks this year.

This Day in Yankees History: Gleyber Torres Makes MLB Debut

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Two years ago today, New York Yankees’ superstar and youngster Gleyber Torres made his Major League Baseball debut at 21 years old. Despite going hitless during his first game, Torres has risen in the New York City spotlight and has made a name for himself throughout the league.

The New York Yankees won that game, 5-1 over the Blue Jays. Torres said following the game, “(I’m) super happy. And I’m happy the team won.”

Being only 21 years old at the time and walking up to your first Major League at-bat while all of Yankee Stadium is giving you a standing ovation is quite a way to be welcomed to the pinstripe family.

Since that first day stepping to the plate at Yankee Stadium, Torres really has lived up to the hype. He was ranked MLB’s number five overall prospect per MLB pipeline and is the youngest player to debut before July 1 for the Yankees besides the legendary Derek Jeter. In his two years playing, Torres is a two-time All-Star and was in MVP talks his sophomore year. He holds a .275 career batting average with 62 home runs and 167 runs batted in.

After the New York Yankees decided to let Didi Gregorious walk to free agency, Torres will now be the primary shortstop. It’s believed that the Yankees know Torres is the future face of the Yankee infield and he is ready to take on that tremendous task.

As Yankee fans, we know Torres will be able to fill those shoes with no problem.

New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter still waiting for Hall’s decision on date of induction

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter, elected to the Hall of Fame and infamously short of unanimous status because of only one vote, is still waiting on the decision of the National Baseball Hall of Fame on whether he will be inducted this year or next.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 26. However, because of the current coronavirus outbreak and social distancing recommendations in the United States, the Hall is considering several options. They could go on with the ceremony as planned, they could push it back later in the summer or fall, or move it to next year. A decision is expected to come soon: the New York Post reported that it would come as early as May 1.

“The health and public safety aspect of it is paramount,’’ Hall vice president of communications and education Jon Shestakofsky told The Post. “But we also consider the experience that we are providing for both the visitors and for members of our Hall of Fame family that would be traveling.

“Pretty much everything remains on the table, other than a virtual event.”

Obviously, the National Baseball Hall of Fame prefers fans to be present at the event, and that’s the reason why the only option already dismissed is having a virtual ceremony. Jeter fans are eager to see the former Yankees’ captain inducted.

“Our board has been having conversations for over a month about the status of induction weekend,’’ Shestakofsky said. “We are expecting to make an announcement in early May to indicate the direction that we are going. Again, health and safety is our No. 1 objective.’’

A true Yankees legend

While it is true that Jeter is the star of the class, other legends will be inducted and honored in the ceremony.

Besides the New York Yankees’ shortstop, the class of 2020 includes the likes of Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller.

Jeter is one of the most decorated players of all time. He leads the Yankees in hits (3,465) doubles (544) games played (2,747) and stolen bases (358) and was a star in the postseason, holding several records. He is a 14-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove Award winner, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner and lifted five World Series trophies.

MLB: Texas could now be included in restart plan

Multiple sources say that the MLB has now considered Texas as a potential site to play games during the 2020 season.

If games were to be played in Texas, they would be played in the new Globe Life Field and surrounding minor league parks in the Arlington, Texas area. Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros, could also host games in Houston.

Now, this is just a proposal, and nothing is set in stone at all. Nothing was said about how they would divide out the teams into the three locations of Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Theoretically, it would just be easier to play in Arizona and Florida at the spring training sites.

The Texas Governor, Gregg Abbott, has been trying to get sports to return to his state and he would likely be all in on this proposal.

But the question is, will the players be all in? They have shown displeasure on the idea of spending months isolated away from their families, especially those expecting children this summer.

The league keeps coming up with ideas, and that’s great. But, nothing can be put into place until health officials gain a better direction of the situation.