New York Giants: DeAndre Baker Receives Support From College Coach

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

The New York Giants have more than one area that has to step up this season, but one of the first to come to mind is the secondary. At times, it seemed like opponents could pass on the Giants at will, both on shorter slant routes and on deeper ones near the sidelines. Part of the problem was the play of rookie DeAndre Baker. Baker had a rough rookie season – he would improve later on, but earlier in the year, there was talk pretty quickly about Baker not living up to his first round pick status.

Still, Baker is part of the team’s plans going forward. The Giants did bring in James Bradberry, but they also lost Janoris Jenkins, leaving them with Baker as the second ranked corner on the team once again if things pan out as expected.

But one name familiar with Baker thinks that the cornerback will adapt well to the challenge: Baker’s own college head coach, Kirby Smart.

“I’ll say this, there’s not many rookie corners that aren’t going to struggle in that league. It’s not like they’re giving out Rookie of the Year to corners real often. Because when you’re doing your job, you don’t get a lot of credit, and when you’re not doing your job, you’re a sieve. So it’s usually going to go to a pass rusher or a linebacker who can put great statistics up there,” Smart told the New York Post about Baker and his struggles.

“When you’re on the back end you’re the last line of defense so that’s what everybody sees. Those three corners who were picked [in the first round this year], they’ll probably be the same way. They’re going to be under the limelight a lot more. I know DeAndre will get better and he’ll keep working at it,” continued Smart.

The combination of Bradberry and Baker will be an entirely new one for the Giants, with the former being new to the team. It still remains to be seen how the two players will mesh together, but barring big changes, they enter the season as the number one and two cornerbacks respectively on the roster.

A step up from Baker seems to be the expectation going into his second year. He did, after all, show some improvement in the second half of 2019. Now, the main challenge for the second year player is to keep that trend going in 2020.

New York Giants’ HC Joe Judge gives us answers about the new offense and more

New York Giants, Joe Judge

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge held a Zoom media session today. He discussed a wide range of topics with the New Jersey media and provided plenty of insight on important topics. Here is what Joe Judge had to say:

On Virtual Meetings

Joe Judge is not able to evaluate his football players. He will not be able to do that “until we get on the grass.” But he can evaluate his men. Judge explained that you can learn a lot about an individual during a Zoom call. You can see how they are set up in their homes, whether or not they are making eye contact, and if they looking down at their phones. This allows Zoom calls to be a great judge of character because the players “really can’t hide.” The Giants’ head coach described the situation as a “1×1 box.”

“There’s no shortcut to success.” – Joe Judge

Joe Judge is eager to get back to football, as we all are. But he is human and has human safety concerns regarding the resumption of football, stating, “I have a tough time right now asking a player to fly across the country from California when I probably wouldn’t be the first one most willing to throw my two sons on the plane to go the other way.”

On The New Offensive and Defensive Schemes

Joe Judge made a splash on offense this offseason, hiring former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator. According to Judge, he and Garrett will be implementing a completely new offense with “no carryover in any way shape or form.” The offense will be “similarly based” on what Jason Garrett ran in Dallas.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants hired defensive coordinator Patrick Graham this offseason. Judge stated that Graham was their “top choice.” He also discussed what Graham’s scheme would look like for the Giants. Judge explained that Graham’s scheme will follow what he did in Miami last year and “will be multiple by game plan.”

On Markus Golden

The Giants’ free-agent edge rusher Markus Golden is a fan favorite. Today, Judge confirmed that the Giants “have talked about possibly adding him to the roster” and that they do “have an interest in him,” according to Paul Dottino.

Former Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia shows slimmer figure in latest picture

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia retired last season after giving everything he had to several organizations, most notably, the New York Yankees in the second half of his career. He was one of the most important players in the 2009 title and managed to resurrect his career after a bad stretch between 2013 and 2015.

Of course, New York Yankees’ fans remember him, besides his on-field success, for the extra weight he carried throughout his career. After he retired, he vowed that he would slim down and rock a more svelte figure, a promise that he has kept so far if we see the latest photograph that hit the Internet.

After the picture appeared on social media, his podcast co-host Ryan Ruocco confirmed it is authentic. The photograph portrays CC Sabathia in a sleeveless muscle shirt. Ruocco went to his Twitter account and posted the following message: “The big fella has been getting after it during quarantine!”

He has made strides since his early Yankees’ days

Weight had begun to be an issue late in Sabathia’s career and, more importantly, in his life, for health-related reasons. Before the 2019 season, doctors discovered a 90 percent blockage in an artery leading to his heart, so he had to undergo an angioplasty in December 2018.

CC, who is currently 39 years old, was listed at 300 pounds in the 2019 season, and he went 5-8 with a 4.95 ERA in 23 games.

A change in his lifetime – he went from eating boxes of Cap’n Crunch in the first few years of his Yankees tenure to a vegan diet with no alcohol recently – made a big difference in his life.

“It took for me to get out of baseball to get in shape, you know what I’m saying?” Sabathia said last week on his podcast. “I’m trying to get right for Vegas, for the Raiders, when I come to the games.”

Here is the photo:

Former New York Mets’ star Matt Harvey claims he’s matured and wants another chance

Matt Harvey, the man that New York Mets‘ fans enjoyed on a stellar performance level from 2012 to 2015, fell out of favor with the team and continued his career elsewhere without much success. Now a free agent, he is trying to find a team that gives him an opportunity to start all over again, but hasn’t been able to secure a deal.

When the coronavirus pandemic forced MLB to halt its season for the foreseeable future, the former Mets’ star went to the East Coast. However, he didn’t leave a spring training complex, but instead, he left Scott Boras’ training facility in California.

Harvey is looking for a job in professional baseball, but it has been an uphill battle. His last successful season was 2015, when he went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA in a career-high 189.1 frames with the New York Mets.

He worked out for the Toronto Blue Jays in February, but left without a contract. Finding a team is even harder now with the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.

The good thing is that he is currently free of any injuries and he is still 31 years old. While not particularly young, he is still in what’s supposed to be the prime of a player, maybe in the end of it, but still prime.

The Mets want no part of him, but Harvey is working to return to baseball

The former Mets’ “Dark Knight” knows, however, that another opportunity may not come. He told the New York Post: “I have thought about it here and there. I haven’t not had a job in 10 years. It’s definitely different, but it’s exciting at the same time because I feel so good mechanically.

“I hope somebody gives me a shot. I feel like I have many more years in me.”

For what it’s worth, the New York Mets recently said that they haven’t considered giving Harvey another chance. After all, he and his agent Boras had a public battle with the front office about innings limit in 2015. Harvey needed thoracic outlet syndrome surgery the next year and his performance dipped considerably.

Further disciplinary incidents led to an ugly breakup with the Mets. Last season, he had a 7.09 ERA with the Los Angeles Angels. The Oakland A’s scooped him but he’s not tied with the organization anymore. He’s currently a free agent.

“I’m throwing bullpens once or twice a week,” Harvey said. “I hope I get the opportunity. I feel like I’m in high school again, where I have to showcase myself and start all over. I just want to put myself in position to be ready and if it doesn’t work out, to know I put the effort in to make a comeback.”

“I’ve grown up and matured on and off the field,” Harvey said. “There are a lot of things I’d do differently, but I don’t like to live with regret.”

Former New York Yankees’ star believes players should accept owners’ offer

New York Yankees

MLB owners have already submitted a proposal to the players’ union for professional baseball to return around July 4th. The season would have 82 games and a 50/50 revenue split between owners and the MLBPA. Yes, there are several hurdles to clear when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus, but if the union agrees, there could be baseball soon. Will they? According to former New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, they should.

Back in March, both parties agreed to pay players $170 million regardless of the season status or fate. If action resumes, the players would get a prorated sum of their contract based on games played, per USA Today.

Per the renewed offer, players would split revenue in a 50-50 ratio. Without fans in the stands, revenue is expected to be drastically reduced. The leader of the union Tony Clark sees it as a salary cap and has no interest in signing off.

Via The Athletic: “That the league is trying to take advantage of a global health crisis to get what they’ve failed to achieve in the past — and to anonymously negotiate through the media for the last several days — suggests they know exactly how this will be received. None of this is beneficial to the process of finding a way for us to safely get back on the field and resume the 2020 season — which continues to be our sole focus.”

The Yankees’ former star sees the offer as “reasonable”

Teixeira, a mainstay in the New York Yankees’ lineup for years until he retired in 2016, thinks that what the owners are offering is “reasonable,” and players should be on board.

“These are unprecedented times and the owner’s 50/50 split is not unreasonable…I think players need to understand just this one time, one time in the history of the union…They can bend a little bit.”

“From a player’s standpoint, I want 100 percent of my salary for every game played – but unfortunately, these are unprecedented times. And the owners’ 50/50 split is not unreasonable. If you really think about where the finances of baseball have gone, the players are actually getting less than 50 percent of the revenue from the sport in a regular season. If we didn’t have a pandemic this year and played 162 games, the players would have actually gotten less than 50 percent. So the owners, themselves, they’re making the best offer they can make, and I think it’s a very reasonable offer.

“I think players need to understand, just this one time – one time in the history of the union, since Curt Flood, they can bend a little bit and say ‘you know what, we’re going to do what’s best for the sport, what’s best for the country. There’s people out there that are risking their lives on the front lines. There are people that are losing their jobs, losing their savings. And we know this might not be a great deal for us, but it’s better than sitting at home and not playing baseball at all.’”

Only time will tell if we get to see the New York Yankees back in action this season. But one thing seems true: Teixeira, a former star, appears to understand the owners’ side this time around.

New York Jets can land Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford on relatively affordable deal

New York Jets, Larry Warford

While the New York Jets spent valuable draft capital and plenty of money in free agency to solve the puzzle that is the offensive line, there could be moves left to be made to boost the unit further.

So far, the Jets have signed guard Greg Van Roten, center Conner McGovern, tackle George Fant and drafted with the 11th overall pick, Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. This completely overhauled the unit, despite some of the players being fringe starters. Both Van Roten and Fant are average players at best, with McGovern and Becton being the two with the highest ceiling.

This could indicate that the Jets could still be in the market for a guard, which is where newly released player, Larry Warford, enters the picture. The former New Orleans Saint was cut for cap reasons, and according to NFL analyst Ian Rapoport, Warford is looking for about $7 million per season. The three-time Pro Bowl selection would be an excellent fit for the Jets, who could use Van Roten as depth given the injuries that have plagued the team in recent years.

Warford has been extremely healthy throughout his career, with both the Detroit Lions and Saints. The most games he has missed in any given season is three, and that was back in 2014 and 2015.

At 28 years old, Warford could fit the bill, but the Jets currently have Brian Winters at right guard, cementing the position. They could theoretically move Warford over to the left side, where Van Roten is expected to start.

This would inject a high-caliber guard into the position and further assist in Sam Darnold’s development. Ensuring that he is given the protection required to play at a high-level must be a priority, and it has been for general manager Joe Douglas.

Aside from Warford, the Jets are also close to signing cornerback Logan Ryan on a one-year deal, according to the New York Daily news.

The New York Knicks can still make the playoffs in this new proposal?

If the NBA season resumes, the New York Knicks can still make the playoffs?  According to the New York Post’s Marc Berman, there’s a chance, unlikely but possible.

The scenario is wild in itself.  NBA commissioner Adam Silver proposed a play-in model.  Every team who’s already out of the playoffs, like the Knicks, still have a chance.

Here’s the proposal, which apparently, all NBA are on board for.  According to Berman, ‘One instance is teams ranked nine through 12 in each conference staging a four-team single-elimination tournament.  The winner of that event gets the right to play the current No. 8 seed to get the final spot inside the formal 16-team playoff.’  Can you imagine the Knicks sneaking into the playoffs like this? This would be so Knicks too.

Despite Knicks fans getting excited of this proposal, there’s no way.  There’s no way the Knicks sneak into the playoffs, even with a short play-in tournament.

Well, technically there is.  The Magic currently hold the 8th and the Knicks have played them tough this season.  It’s the other bottom teams that the Knicks would have to worry about.

The Knicks play above-average teams, decently, tough.  It’s the teams they should beat is where they get into trouble.  The Knicks should be closer to the 8th seed then where they currently sit, 12th in the East.  They love to play down to their opponent and ultimately can’t finish close games down the stretch.

We joked about the Knicks getting hot right before the season was suspended due to COVID-19.  3-3 in March and fans thought maybe they started turning the corner after that thrilling overtime victory against the Rockets at the Garden.

However, even if this play-in model were to happen, it be tough to see the Knicks making the playoffs.  They play their worse game against the worst competition.  This scenario certainly doesn’t favor the New York Knicks.

 

 

Projecting the New York Giants’ starting offensive line in 2020

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 in 2020:

General manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge made it apparent that solving the offensive line was their primary focus going into the 2020 NFL Draft, and they stood their ground in the first round by selecting Georgia tackle, Andrew Thomas.

Drafting Thomas puts Nate Solder in a peculiar situation that could result in him swapping sides or losing his position altogether. The Giants also drafted tackle Matt Peart, out of UConn, who’s a tangibly great prospect with the potential to earn a starting role sooner rather than later. Oregon guard Shane LeMieux has also taken snaps at center, which could indicate he could slide into a position battle with Nick Gates, Jon Halapio, and Spencer Pulley.

Nonetheless, here is a projected offensive line unit for Big Blue:

Left Tackle: Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants didn’t draft Andrew Thomas to sit on the bench or play right tackle; they expect him to slide in at left tackle immediately, despite what head coach Joe Judge might say about the situation. Developing the chemistry between Thomas and Daniel Jones must be a priority, as they are the future of the team and offense. Thomas is a gritty lineman who can anchor down in both the pass and run game. He had the highest floor of any tackle prospect in the draft, but his ceiling is also exciting. I fully expect him to be the starting left tackle by week one of the regular season.

Left Guard: Will Hernandez

Hernandez regressed a bit in 2019, mainly because Nate Solder and Jon Halapio were playing alongside him. He wasn’t given much support at guard and suffered because of it. With Thomas and a new center likely filling in for the consistently injured Halapio, we can expect the third-year player to have a successful 2020 campaign. He undoubtedly needs to show his toughness and ability this upcoming season, and he finally has the pieces in place to play his best football.

Center: Nick Gates

The Giants are looking to create a position battle at center, with Halapio, Spencer Pulley, Shane LeMieux, and formally undrafted Nick Gates. I believe Gates is the best fit for this position, having practiced at center this off-season. He showed potential at guard and tackle, two vastly different positions but adaptability shined. I believe he can overcome the obstacles and cement himself as a starter in the middle of the offensive line, which would help the Giants tremendously in a quest to solving the puzzle.

Right Guard: Kevin Zeitler

Zeitler is a sure-fire starter for the New York Giants, having been their best guard and lineman in 2019. At 30 years old, Zeitler is still in his prime and playing at an elite level. According to PFF, he allowed three sacks and committed just two penalties last season.

Right Tackle: Nate Solder/Matt Peart

The right tackle position will be a bit of a conundrum for the Giants moving forward. They drafted Matt Peart in the third round and still have Nate Solder and his astronomically high cap hit on the team. I believe they will swap Solder over given his experience, but Peart could earn starting reps sooner rather than later. I anticipate he will utilize the 2020 season for his development and eventually take over at 2021.

However, Solder struggled significantly last season and cannot be trusted. Cutting him doesn’t make much sense considering his dead cap-hit, but having him on the roster as a backup or as their starting right tackle will suffice for now.

New York Rangers F Brendan Lemieux, others could be non-existent if rumors become reality

New York Rangers, Brendan Lemieux

The New York Rangers are in danger of losing several players amid recent rumors:

The NHL is still trying to figure out if there will be a reactivation to their season.  The questions of where games could be played or if the regular season will be completed were the main topic of conversation until a so-called change in play was mentioned Monday night.

Possible restructuring of how the game of hockey could look may have a significant effect on the New York Ranger’s hard-nosed and intimidating style of play. One that could have a player like Brendan Lemieux sitting on the bench instead of agitating the opposition.

The tweet in question was posted by Ryan Rishaug, a TSN reporter for the Edmonton bureau.

Rishaugh brainstormed with an infectious disease specialist who tries to give a vision to the fans of what the NHL may look like should the league be able to resume the 2019-’20 season. It is not the game we had before the shutdown in march.

The Breakdown

At first glance, things look pretty good. Players might be told that full-face shields would be worn to help prevent the spread of droplets. The hockey version of a face covering.

The next step mentioned, no fighting. No scrums after whistles to prevent linesmen from having to break them up.

Now wouldn’t that be great hockey?  Artemi Panarin flies down the ice dishes the puck to Ryan Strome and BAM, Panarin is flying across the ice surface after a late hit. But it’s ok, Lemieux or maybe Chris Kreider can’t do anything about it. No getting into his face talking garbage, no standing up and defending one of the best players on the ice. Just move along, guys.

Ridiculous to even comprehend.

The coaches would have to social distance on the bench wearing masks. No word on the trainers, I guess they can social distance in the hallways. If a player needs equipment repair or medical attention, they can have a coach move out of their path and help the player out.

Here is a fun one to try, the wingers would need to maintain a two-foot distance on face-offs instead of the traditional way of standing in front of one another with their sticks crossed.  Here is another reason not to dress Lemieux or a tough player like Julien Gauthier.

This is called the “let’s all get along” face-off draw.

Lastly is suggested no spitting on the ice or the bench.

To be fair, NHL’s Bill Daly did comment on these potential changes to play.

“We consider anything our infectious disease experts and advisors might recommend, but I’m not sure given the circumstances of our game that any dramatic modifications would rally be necessary.”

Why bother playing?

If all of these possible scenarios are even in the realm of possibility to get hockey back this season, the NHL and NHLPA should walk away and cancel the season. The idea that so much would have to change on the ice just to get the season restarted just to play will tun this great game into a mockery.

This is hockey. No fighting, well, that can work even though the traditionalist fans would rebel against it. No scrums after whistles will never work, especially during a playoff hockey game.

Fighting is always reduced during the playoffs, but pushing and instigating after whistles happens all the time.  It is as much of playoff hockey as is lacing up the skates to play the game.

There has to be a breaking point, a time when the league may just have to throw in the towel on say “no mas”!

The fans are already out of the equation for the foreseeable future. Now it’s truly up to the NHLPA, and it’s players to protect the game for its fans.

It is hard enough to comprehend how the NHL could start up with so many questions off the ice to consider, but if some of these topics are deal-breakers, the league might be better off moving on to next season now.

For the intimidators and hard-hitting players like Lemieux. Kreider or a Ryan Lindgren changing the rules of the game now would change the style of the game these guys play every night.

New York Yankees Player Profiles: Miguel Andujar a season of questions

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees Miquel Enrique Andujar was born on March 2, 1995, in San Cristobal, the Dominican Republic. Not much is known about his parents as he lived his childhood with his Grandmother. He played baseball in the sandlots near his home. As a child, his baseball hero was Adrian Beltre, a fellow Dominican that was with the Texas Rangers. His other hobby as a kid was fishing.

Miggy didn’t finish high school where he was learning English, as, when playing baseball locally, he was seen by a Yankee scout that was impressed with his hitting. The Yankees signed Miggy to a minor league contract at the age of just 16 in 2011. After a short time at the Yankees training facility in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, he was sent to Florida. In 2012 he made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Yankees.

In 2014 Andujar was promoted to the Charleston River Dogs. In 2015 he played for the Tampa Yankees and then promoted to the Trenton Thunder in 2017. He ended his season with a .312 average, hitting 7 homers and batting in 52 in 67 games. But up at Scranton, Gleyber Torres suffered an injury, and Miggy was promoted to the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders. After playing just seven games with the Rail Riders, he was called up to the Stadium to replace the injured Matt Holliday as DH. In his game, he went 3-4 with four RBIs and a walk, breaking the Yankees’ record for most RBIs in a player’s first game. So that he could continue to play daily at third base, he was sent back to the Rail Riders where he had batted .317 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs in 58 games

He began the 2018 season with the New York Yankees Rail Riders case AAA affiliate but was promoted to the Yankees on April 1, 2018. He hit his first major league home run on April 17. On April 23, Andújar hit a solo home run against the Minnesota Twins, marking his 7th consecutive game with an extra-base hit. On June 5, he hit his first major league Grand Slam. On September 29, Andujar hit his 45th double of the season, breaking the Yankees’ record for most doubles by a rookie, previously held by Joe DiMaggio.

He finished the season batting .297 with 47 doubles, 27 home runs and 92 RBI’s. New York Yankee fans were calling him a doubles machine. If it wasn’t for Aaron Judge’s 52 homers that season, he would have been the number one star of the team. But there was one glaring flaw, his defense of the hot corner at 3rd. He committed 15 errors, showing that he lacked range and an accurate throwing arm. That probably caused him to come in second for the rookie of the year award.  None, the less the Yankees, saw Andujar becoming a future New York Yankee star.

As the 2019 season started, on April 1, he injured his shoulder and was put on the 10 day IL. On April 30 he was sent to the Florida Tarpons to rehab, but on May 4th, he was reactivated, but he again injured the shoulder on the 13th. On the 21st, he was transferred from the 10 day to the 60 day IL due to a torn Labrum, which caused him to have season-ending surgery.

He was reactivated on November 4, 2018. Now the question for the Yankees is what to do with him since while he was out, Gio Urshela became the Yankees man in the hot corner with his Gold Glove type play and above average hitting. GM Cashman has spoken to the subject suggesting they may try him at first or in the outfield. My guess would be, the less than cat-like abilities at third will also show up at first. It is possible that the center field might make more sense for him.

Andujar took part in an intensive, three-day clinic l in Tampa designed to focus on defense. Ulises Cabrera of Octagon, who represents Andujar, employed Mariners first base/infield coach Perry Hill to work with Miggy. Hill has among the best reputations in the game when it comes to improving the defensive work of infielders, and Cabrera recognized questions linger about the fielding work of Andujar. Andujar worked exclusively at third base with Hill, but in gym sessions is beginning to work on items like footwork to better prepare for first base and the outfield if necessary. “Andujar is giving himself a shot by making himself as versatile as possible,” Cabrera said.

As a 2020 baseball season approaches, it appears that Andujar will platoon with Giancarlo Stanton in the left field.  That and using him as a DH while Stanton plays left field will keep both bats in the lineup.  The Yankee expect big things from Andujar at the plate.  They see him about to get at least 30 home runs and dozens of doubles.  Although Miggy underperformed in the shortened spring training, he did a decent job in left field where he played most of his eleven games.  The Yankees will do everything possible to keep his bat in the lineup, especially with Aaron Judge not being expected to be ready at the season’s start.

Wherever they place Andujar, it will be interesting to see how this highly talented player adapts to the changes. Those results could very well determine Miggy’s future with the Yankees.

Miggy, like many Yankee players, is private about his life away from the field. We don’t know of a wife or girlfriend but he does have a young daughter Emma. He likes deep-sea fishing when in spring trading. During the season, he often wears a chain and pendant that his Grandmother gifted him to remind him of her and his Christian faith. Despite having little training, he speaks pretty decent English in interviews.