Projecting The New York Giants’ Top Roster Weaknesses In 2020

New York Giants, Markus Golden

The New York Giants have rebuilt their roster over the past couple of seasons. They found their future franchise quarterback, Daniel Jones, in 2019 and revamped their offensive line in 2020. The future is bright for the New York Giants, but the rebuild is not complete. There are some legitimate strengths on their roster but also some glaring weaknesses. Today, I will break down those weaknesses heading into 2020.

The Pass Rushers

It is no secret that the Giants lack a premier pass-rusher. They have a chance at retaining Markus Golden before the season starts, but even still, the pass-rush with Golden was not fantastic last year. The Giants did sign Kyler Fackrell this offseason, though, and he should make an impact. But there still is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the group of pass-rushers on the Giants’ roster.

Lorenzo Carter did not take the leap forward that we expected him to last season. Oshane Ximinez flashed potential, and hopefully, he can build on that in 2020. But the pass-rush on the Giants’ defense is going to have to derive mostly from Patrick Graham’s scheme. Graham loves to blitz in creative ways to get after the quarterback. That is how the Giants are going to have to do it this year.

The Lack Of A Primary Receiver

The Giants have a core of talented receivers on their roster. Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton form a reliable group of receivers for Daniel Jones to throw to. But there is no X-Factor amongst the group.

That dominant, reliable, number one receiver can be so crucial for an offense. Don’t believe me? Let me refresh your memory of the Giants’ 2008 season. How bad was that offense after the Plaxico Burress incident occurred? They could not move the ball without that legitimate receiving threat. And it’s not like there were no other capable receivers on the roster. Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, and Dominick Hixon were all solid contributors. But they were not primary targets. They could not draw double teams and open up the offense the way that Burres could.

That is what we are looking at with the Giants’ offense in 2020. There is a lot of talent in that receiving corps, and there is a chance that Slayton could progress and become that primary threat. But, at this moment in time, that dominant number one receiver does not exist on the Giants’ roster.

Darius Slayton and Golden Tate both averaged only 2.2 yards of separation per catch. This number ranked near the bottom of the NFL. Sterling Shepard did manage to average a respectable 3.1 yards of separation, though. But still, Daniel Jones had a lot of tight windows to throw into last season and there is no sign that that will change in 2020.

Question Mark At Center

The Giants have options at the center position. There will be a three-way competition for the starting role. But there is no definitive answer at this point as to who will start at that key position.

Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, and Shane Lemieux are all options at center. But there are cons with each of them. Pulley has never been an impressive starter, albeit he is a solid backup. Gates and Lemieux are both offensive guards that will look to make the position switch this season. Even if the switch is made successfully, there are bound to be growing pains along the way.

The Giants finally solidified their tackle positions, drafting Andrew Thomas at fourth overall and Matt Peart later in the third round. This gives the Giants the flexibility to move Solder to the other side of the line or have Thomas play his rookie season at right tackle. The options at that position make it a strength compared to the center position, where the options are slim and unreliable.

New York Jets: WRs Quincy Enunwa and Josh Bellamy placed on PUP list, among other roster moves

New York Jets

The New York Jets placed two receivers on the PUP list on Tuesday, including Quincy Enunwa, whose New York career may be over.

The New York Jets announced on Tuesday that receiver Quincy Enunwa and Josh Bellamy have been placed on reserve/physically unable to perform list. New York also waived receiver Keon Hatcher, running back Jalin Moore, cornerback Kyron Brown, and defensive lineman Charles Tapper.

This marks the latest injury blow for Enunwa, who will turn 28 later this month. After inking a four-year, $36 million contract extension at the end of the 2018 season, the Nebraska alum missed all but one quarter of last year after suffering a neck injury during the Jets’ Week 1 tilt against Buffalo. This ailment came two years after bulging discs in his neck cost Enunwa the entire 2017 campaign. Enunwa has since been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, the same condition that forced New York Mets third baseman David Wright into an abbreviated career. Between the 2014 and 2016 seasons, Enunwa put up 1,172 yards on 80 receptions, respectively good for third and fourth in the Jets’ ledgers in that span.

With 2020 activity likely out of the question, Enunwa will nonetheless likely remain on the team, at least for this season. The Jets face $11.4 million in dead cap money if they release him now, but that number lowers to $3.6 million next year (and they will also save $6 million in cap space).

Bellamy signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the Jets last offseason. He partook in seven games, mostly on special teams, in his first Jets season, earning 20 yards on a pair of receptions before being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder ailment in early November. The Jets would save $2.25 million in cap space if they release Bellamy prior to June 1.

Of the players released, only Brown partook in regular season action in New York. Injuries pressed him into service in a Week 14 game against Miami, where he earned five tackles in a 22-21 Jets victory.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

 

New York Giants: Manning Claims Things Will Be Easier For Daniel Jones

New York Giants, Eli Manning, Daniel Jones

There were a number of storylines for the New York Giants last season, but one of the ones that took the most attention was the transition from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones as the starting quarterback. There was never a question in anyone’s minds that the Giants drafted Jones to start, but the transition itself didn’t happen in the smoothest way – Manning started out the season as the number one player at the position and the Giants claimed to be committed to him before changing things up and starting Jones after the Giants began with back to back losses.

This season, though, that kind of thing isn’t a worry. We all know that Jones is the starter, and this time, he’s the starter from the very beginning of the year.

According to Eli, who spoke on SiriusXM NFL Radio about the subject, that will make things easier on Jones this year.

“I think it will be easier this year for him to kinda step up as that leader. Last year was probably awkward for him, me being there, me being in meeting rooms and just kinda the whole dynamic. Me being gone and hey, he is the quarterback, he is the guy, for him to have that control and the authority over receivers and offensive line,” Manning said.

“I think he’s proven to be tough and works hard, he’s done all the right things, he has gone in with that approach of keeping his head down and not saying more than he has to, working hard and earning the respect from the teammates,” Manning continued.

But just because Jones has a bigger voice on the team doesn’t mean it’s all going to be smooth sailing – Jones will also have to speak up more and be a leader, something which can rarely be trained.

“Now he can elevate that where now he’s in charge. The questions are coming to him from the coordinator, he’s gonna have to give his voice and his opinion on things.”

Jones will perhaps be under more pressure than anyone this season, thanks to the way the Giants have been setting him up as the starter since they drafted him. Many were willing to be soft on Jones at times when he didn’t perform well last season because of his rookie status and because of the bad luck and bad roster around him, but the Giants have made moves to improve Jones’ blocking and no longer have quarterback Eli Manning on the roster as competition.

As such, the team’s hopes in the passing game are riding on Jones exclusively. The only question is whether or not the sophomore slump will get to the second year player, or if 2019 was just a preview of Jones’ full skillset.

New York Yankees: Why Chad Green makes more sense as a traditional reliever

New York Yankees, Chad Green

The New York Yankees sure have a very good bullpen, even though they lost one of the most dominant relievers of the last five years in Dellin Betances. They have Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman and other high-upside arms. However, they do have one wild card: Chad Green.

Green has a career 3.16 ERA in 259.1 frames. He was dominant as recently as 2018, when he finished with a 2.50 ERA and 11.18 K/9 in 75.2 innings. However, he had a nightmarish start of the season in 2019.

He was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in late April because of a 16.43 ERA in his first 10 relief outings. In 7 ²/₃ innings, Green allowed 15 hits (four homers) and hitters had a ghastly .395 against him.

After a couple of weeks ironing things out in the minors, the New York Yankees’ hard-throwing righty returned to his 2018 form, posting a 2.64 ERA in 44 games (15 starts) and working 61 ¹/₃ innings with a .223 average against. He registered a .653 OPS against and whiffed 91 batters with only 15 walks.

The Yankees can afford to have him as a traditional bullpen arm

Now that the Yankees have some depth in the rotation – despite losing Luis Severino to injury and Domingo German to suspension, they still have Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Deivi Garcia, Mike King and Clarke Schmidt – he probably won’t be needed as an opener. He can focus on his reliever role and routine.

A talent evaluator told George King III of the New York Post that he believes Green is good enough to close in another team, but he recommended against making him start games. “Not make him an opener,” he said of Green.

He didn’t do particularly badly as an opener, with a 3.72 ERA. However, he was a better traditional reliever, and the memory of Yuli Gurriel’s three-run homer in the first inning of last season’s ALCS Game Six is still lingering.

Making Green a traditional reliever seems the way to go for the New York Yankees. They would be reinforcing a strength. “They have a lot of options late and that give guys breathers which is something not a lot of teams have,’’ the scout said.

New York Yankee History: The most famous exit from the mound at Yankee Stadium (Video)

For the New York Yankees, it was September 26, 2013, a cool moon-lit evening that was to feature a baseball game between the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.  It would be the last game played at Yankee Stadium in the 2013 season.  It would be a game in which the Yankees would be shutout.  But the Yankees weren’t in contention, so the loss was not heart-crushing.  Nevertheless, there was something extraordinary and emotional about this night.  Before the season, Mariano Rivera announced that he was to retire at the end of the season.  This night would be the last he would grace the mound at Yankee Stadium.

The game was started just after 7 pm on this Thursday night in the Bronx, Ivan Nova started the game for the New York Yankees. The game went well until the fourth inning when Nova gave up a run.  In the 7th, he gave up another run and was replaced by Dellin Betances.  Alex Cobb was pitching for the Rays and kept the Yankees scoreless through seven innings.

Being the last game at the Stadium that year during the game while the fans in the sold-out Stadium of 48,675, drank their soda and beer and chomped on hot dogs and ate pizza, player’s images appeared on the jumbo screen thanking fans.  With the game not going the New York Yankees way, fans were mostly silent.  Then the image of Mariano popped up with this thank you message, and the fans came alive with applause.

It was now the eighth inning and Dellin Betances was on the mound.  He would give up two more runs.  From the time he threw the first pitch, you could hear the crowd beginning to chant Ma-Ri-A-NO!  As emotion built, so did the chant reaching a crescendo as Manager Joe Girardi emerged from the dugout to take the ball from Betances.  As he did the chant from the fans changed to “We want Mo”, We want Mo.” Joe signaled to the bullpen, and #42 came out onto the field to the familiar enter Sandman entrance music.

Bellowing from the announcer’s booth came Bob Shepards recorded voice “number 42 Mariano Rivera number 42.”  As a sign of respect, the visiting Rays line their dugout applauding. You could feel the emotion building in the stands.  Mariano recorded the final two outs of the inning and was greeted by applause as the fans assumed he wouldn’t be coming out in the nine in a game that the Yankees were being shut out.  But when the top of the ninth started, Mariano, to the delight of adoring crowds, emerged from the dugout after a longer than usual pause to pitch the ninth. Little did fans know what history-making drama would be forthcoming.

Setting the scene, the feeling in the Stadium we electric.  From the time #42 took the mound, the fans stood applauding. Jose Lobaton tapped back to the mound. Yunel Escobar then popped out to second. Only one batter left, and Rivera would’ve closed it out, but that didn’t happen.  The Yankees have a way of highlighting important moments.  After getting Escobar out, in a highly unusual move, Joe Girardi sent Mariano’s two best friends on the team, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter to the mound to take the ball from Mariano one last time.

As the pair got halfway to the mound Mariano turned and realized it wasn’t Joe Girardi, and smiled.  As they reached the mound Andy put out his hand and Mariano gave him the ball and immediately hugged Andy, head on his shoulder he lost it and began to shake and cry.  All this while the Yankee faithful wildly cheered.  It seemed as though Mariano hugged Andy for the longest time, before turning, and hugging Derek Jeter. He finally regained his composure, and he walked off the mound for the final time at Yankee Stadium.

As he left the mound, it seemed impossible, but the crowd roared even louder as he approached Joe Girardi at the dugout steps, Joe hugged him as tears ran down Joe’s face.  Mariano worked his way through the dugout, being hugged by all the players.  The last player in line was Alex Rodriguez who hugged him as well.  A-Rod than grabbed his shoulders and guided him back onto the field.  The crowd showered Mariano with love as he tipped his cap several times acknowledging the fans’ love.

Mariano Rivera was done and he did it on his terms.  The previous year he had been injured shagging balls in the outfield and had to be carried off the field with the season ended knee injury.  He didn’t want to go out that way.  He recovered and pitched a brilliant season as he had done so many times before leading up to that night at Yankee Stadium when he would walk off the mound one last time.

In 2019 Mariano Rivera became the first baseball player ever to be unanimously inducted into the American Baseball Hall of Fame.  In the New York Yankees Monument park Rivera had his number 42 retired and a plaque placed in his honor.

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

 

 

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone provides an injury update on four key players

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks hits a home-run against the Tampa Bay Rays.

New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone gave us an injury update on four key players in a recent radio interview.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton was diagnosed with a grade one calf strain in spring training. He had just two plate appearances and was expected to miss an extended period of time.

“He’s doing really well and should be good to go whenever we get ready to go back,” said Boone of Stanton.

Aaron Hicks

Hicks injured his arm in August, and the team thought that he would be able to avoid Tommy John surgery. He was able to return for part of the postseason, but more tests after the season showed that he did need Tommy John.

“He’s doing really well,” said Boone. “He’s already doing soft toss from both sides of the plate and throwing out to 90+ feet.”

Hicks could potentially be the first player to undergo Tommy John surgery in the offseason and still play on Opening Day.

James Paxton

Paxton underwent surgery in February to remove a peridiscal cyst in his back.

“James Paxton, who’s gonna be ready in mid-May, is on that timeline,” said the third-year skipper. “He’s already thrown five or six bullpens, and I think he actually threw a sim game yesterday to a couple guys where he is. His rehab has gone really really well.”

Aaron Judge

Judge was sidelined at the beginning of Spring Training due to a fractured rib and collapsed lung sustained in September of 2019.

“He’s due for another CT scan, I believe in couple more weeks,” said Boone. “This time down has allowed that rib, that bone, to continue to heal.”

With the season possibly beginning next month, the Yankees hope that players will be able to report soon if they choose to.

New York Giants: Projecting the starting offensive line for the 2020 season

New York Giants, Spencer Pulley, Jon Halapio, Nick Gates

Taking a look at the New York Giants‘ offensive line and what the starting unit could look like:

The priority going into the 2020 off-season was to solve the everlasting puzzle on the offensive line. General manager Dave Gettleman was adamant that they would solve the line once and for all, and they undoubtedly allocated the assets toward that goal. The Giants spent three draft picks on bolstering the unit, selecting Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas, UConn tackle Matt Peart, and Oregon guard Shane Lemieux.

With the insertion of more quality talent and depth, we can expect the line will be more prepared for the upcoming season than ever before. In 2019, the Giants were concerned that Mike Remmers would miss a fair share of the season, as a previous back surgery significantly limited his preseason activity. Nonetheless, Remmers played adequately and proved to be capable in his first year with Big Blue. However, drafting Thomas inevitably moves Nate Solder over to the right side.

When you invest a top-five pick on an offensive lineman, they must be utilized correctly right out of the gate. Allowing Thomas and quarterback Daniel Jones to develop chemistry is essential, meaning Solder must be moved to another position and will likely compete at right tackle. I anticipate this will be his final season, as his dead cap hit will only be $6.5 million in 2021, making him a cut option. If the Giants keep him for the duration of his contract, they will be on the hook for $20.5 million.

The Giants seem to have confidence in third-round pick Matt Peart, who has the tangible traits to develop into a starter and emerge as a quality player at right tackle. If the Giants were able to land both starting tackles in one draft, it will have been considered a home run, more so than it already is.

Here is a look at the projected starting offense of line for 2020:

LT: Andrew Thomas

LG: Will Hernandez

C: Nick Gates

RG: Kevin Zeitler

RT: Nate Solder

At first glance, this is a solid unit with plenty of potential. Undrafted free agent from 2019, Nick Gates, has the skill set to move inside and lock down a position that has been problematic for the Giants in recent years. They can no longer rely on John Halapio or Spencer Pulley to lock down the middle of the line. Zeitler was the team’s highest-rated player on offense in 2019, and his consistency is a necessity for the Giants moving forward. Solder is ultimately the biggest question mark, Having only played right tackle in his rookie season in 2011.

I expect Will Hernandez, a second-round pick for 2018, to take a significant step forward with Solder moving over to the right side — being wedged in-between two inadequate players has hurt Hernandez’s ability to develop and play at the level we know he can. With Thomas and Gates slotted in, Hernandez should be considered a breakout candidate for next season.

New York Mets: Buck Showalter is a “big fan” of manager Luis Rojas

Back when the New York Mets were looking for a manager this offseason, Buck Showalter was a candidate. He has the experience and guile to guide a young team to success, if given time and resources. He is a household name in the industry, and the Mets know that.

However, after Carlos Beltran and the Mets decided to part ways following the former’s implication in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal in 2017, the Amazins opted for the internal route and hired quality control coach Luis Rojas, who has been with the organization for more than a decade.

And, as it turns out, Showalter has nothing but praise for Rojas, as he told Bob Klapisch of NJ.com, cited by SNY.

Upon failing to secure a managerial gig, Showalter was ready to work for YES Network before this 2020 season was suspended due to concerns regarding the coronavirus.

The Mets’ manager has a respected follower

The experienced manager and baseball man said that the New York Mets’ current skipper reminds him of himself at one point.

“Let me say this about the Mets: I like their manager. I don’t know him, but I like his path. I’m a big bio freak and I know where he’s been. I think: ‘That was me once.’ I bet he doesn’t know I’m a big fan of his or that I once managed against his father (Felipe Alou) in the (Class-A) Florida State League (in 1987-88).”

Showalter, much like Rojas, worked his way through the minors before receiving his opportunity in the big show. And Felipe Alou, Rojas’ father, taught him a couple of things about professional baseball.

“I learned a lot from Felipe,” Showalter explained. “For instance, that he would call for a steal one pitch in advance. I finally realized that and pitched out. In those days there were about eight people in the stands, so I could hear Felipe’s booming voice all the way from the other dugout. He tipped his hat and said, ‘It’s about time you figured it out!'”

The Mets continue to wait for MLB, health authorities and the players’ association on a plan to restart the season. When that happens, Showalter will be watching Rojas closely.

Two significant players the New York Yankees could lose in 2021

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Here are two players the New York Yankees could lose in 2021:

The 2020 season for the Yankees was supposed to be a successful one, littered with World Series hopes and dreams. After having missed the big series for the past decade, the Yankees finally piece together a starting pitching unit that was worth talking about.

However, Luis Severino went down before spring training even began, and James Paxton underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his lower back. Signing ace Gerrit Cole was the big headline news for the off-season, and it doesn’t seem to have mattered considering the state of Major League Baseball and the suspension of operations.

The Yankees, though, have more bad news on the way, and it will come in 2021 when they have to deal with Masahiro Tanaka and DJ LeMahieu, two consistent performers who have been significant for the success of the team. While LeMahieu has only been with the squad one year, his influence in 2019 was substantial, justifying an extension if Brian Cashman can afford to do so.

Reflecting back on Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a $155 million contract over seven years with the Yankees — he was 25 years old at the time, and he entered the MLB on fire, recording a 13-5 record with a 2.77 ERA. However, he did miss two months with elbow trouble, and while most believe he should have undergone Tommy John surgery, he has managed to avoid that reality to this point. Aside from those aches and pains, Tanaka has been durable and reliable for the Yankees over his tenure, and he has been a vital part of their postseason pitching corps.

Tanaka has been stable for the Yankees, and letting him go would indicate the end of an era, but alternatively, they could replace them with a younger option with more upside. Even if he dominates a shortened 2020 season, bringing him back for over $20 million per year isn’t justifiable any longer. This could very well be the end of Tanaka’s stay in New York, but he has served the Bombers proudly over his seven years.

LeMahieu, on the other hand, had a career year in 2019. He ranked fourth in the MVP voting for the American League, compiling a .327 batting average, with 26 home runs and 102 RBIs. He nearly doubled his production in the RBI category and recorded 11 more home runs last season than any of his previous eight years in the league. Overall, he has become a staple on the Yankees offense and is one of their best defenders. His ability to move to different positions and supplement injuries has made him invaluable, and the idea of extending him should be an easy one for Cashman.

New York Yankees: The Cuban Missile is in midseason form

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

While MLB, health officials, politicians and the players’ association continue to dangle scenarios and ideas to bring baseball back, New York Yankees‘ closer Aroldis Chapman is taking advantage of the free time to work on his body and on refining his repertoire. His idea is to be ready whenever the actors described above decide that it is time to restart major league baseball.

And, thankfully, we get to see Chapman’s workouts and bullpens from his home. He has been uploading videos to his official Instagram account, @_thecubanmissile54, and to be fair, he already looks in midseason form.

The artist known as the “Cuban Missile” showed a glimpse of his lively left arm in his latest bullpen session last weekend, precisely on Sunday, from the sunny Florida. He looks great and showcased his trademark fastball and a very good slider.

 

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Chapman had a fantastic 2019 season with the New York Yankees. He had a 2.21 ERA with a 2.28 FIP in 57 innings. As always, he was among the leaders in the American League when it comes to strikeout rate. He fanned 13.42 hitters per each nine frames.

The Yankees are counting on Chapman

The Yankees’ star reliever wants to leave October memories behind, and he is working for it. He made the last pitch of the 2019 season for the Bombers, and it ended up being a home run by Jose Altuve to eliminate the Yankees in the American League Championship series, in Game Six.

Chapman has been uploading several videos pitching and getting ready for the season. He has also been keeping his stamina up with boxing workouts, and he has been using Instagram to show fans.

While the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting the world, and most notably the United States of America, the Yankees are hopeful that baseball can return in June or July, which are the months that authorities are considering. For now, though, we have to keep waiting for a resolution.