MLB: Max Scherzer tweets displeasure about negotiations

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

On Wednesday, Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer voiced his displeasure about negotiations with the MLB on saving the 2020 season. The star for the reigning World Series champs has been representing the Players Union during talks with the league and the owners.

He tweeted that “there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions”. This means that the players will not accept anything less than prorated salaries.

The owners have been encouraging a 50-50 revenue split, however, the players are strongly against that. Owners are against prorated salaries because in their minds, they would lose too much money. What owners fail to realize is that they would make the money back quickly after the 2020 season. It would be a one season revenue loss.

“There’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received,” added Scherzer.

From what we have heard, the Players Union will likely submit a counter-proposal to the MLB including a season as long as 110 games. The players will still ask for prorated salaries. Even though more money would be used for salaries, it would give the teams more games to make revenue from TV deals and other services.

It’s certainly a messy situation, but all parties remain confident that a deal will be completed. It looks bleak for fans, but everyone within baseball still thinks a deal will be completed. A deal would need to be completed by early June to start Spring Training again on June 10th, as previously suggested.

Both players and owners have a lot of work to do, but hopefully a deal will be completed soon.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley Taking No Days Off With Unbelievable Squats Workout (VIDEO)

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The NFL offseason is at its dryest point. Right now there is just about nothing going on. This dry period has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are even fewer sports going on and even less NFL news to report on. But in the dryest points of the NFL offseason is when legends are made.

The game’s best players do not sit back and relax during their offseasons. Instead, they seize the day. That is exactly what New York Giants superstar running back Saquon Barkley is doing: carpe diem!

Saquon’s Crazy Squats Video

In this video, Saquon Barkley is squatting well over 500 pounds- and he is doing it with ease. The running back, also known as Saquads, is showing off superior lower-body strength and proving why he is deserving of his nickname.

Saquon Barkley is already one of the best running backs in the NFL. But this young man is not satisfied- he is determined to get better. Saquon’s work ethic is inspiring and could foreshadow another dominant season out of the main star in the Giants’ backfield. The coronavirus pandemic has surely given Americans more free time. It is encouraging to know that the Giants’ best player is using this free time to prepare himself for success in the upcoming 2020 NFL season.

New York Mets: Dom Smith praises Marcus Stroman and says he is looking “nasty”

New York Yankees, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets‘ players are working out at their respective homes, with the renewed hope that MLB and the union can soon iron things out and agree on the necessary condition for the season to start in early July.

Most of them are isolated with their families, but that isn’t the case of Marcus Stroman and Dominic Smith. They have been working out throughout this MLB suspension, and the first baseman and outfielder is impressed from what he has seen of the starting pitcher.

It is not surprising, since Stroman is actually one of the most talented and competitive pitchers in the major leagues.

When he is on, his stuff can be very difficult to square. The Mets’ 2019 acquisition has a wide array of tricks, deceptive delivery techniques, and a deep arsenal to mess with hitters.

On the latest episodes of The Cookie Club, quoted by SNY, Smith raved about Stroman’s current form.

“I’ve seen him throw all his bullpens and I’ll step in,” he said. “He doesn’t let me swing yet. He doesn’t want it right now. No, I’m just playing.”

The Mets’ starting pitcher has unmatched energy

Smith said he wants to stay around Stroman because of the energy he brings to his workouts day in and day out.

“Stroman, he’s nasty, man, and he’s locked in,” Smith said. “I’ll step in and his stuff looked really good. He was running cutters in off my hands and throwing sinkers down and away. His ball, it really dances up at the plate and I can see why hitters cannot barrel him up.”

Smith, a first round pick by the New York Mets back in 2013, is getting more outfield work in preparation for the season. His path to playing time at first base, his natural position, is blocked by Pete Alonso, and he will have to share a hypothetical designated hitter with plenty of batters. So, he needs to hone his skills out there.

Let’s hope we get to see the New York Mets this year. With the way negotiations between the MLB and the players’ association are going, it is difficult to know for sure if it will be a possibility.

New York Yankees: The story of Derek Jeter’s struggles in his first taste of MLB

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

Before embarking on a Hall of Fame career that saw him earn Rookie of the Year honors in 1996, New York Yankees‘ legend Derek Jeter had a brief stint with the big club in 1995. His manager at Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Bombers, surely remembers the moment.

In a fascinating recollection of events by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, we are met with the fact that Derek Jeter, the man that broke so many postseason records, actually had to fail for a brief period of time before reaching stardom.

Jeter was the New York Yankees’ top prospect when he got the call to fill in for an injured Tony Fernandez. “I made him aware that he was going up there for the time that Tony was hurt, and when Tony was able to come back, he was going to come back to me,” said Evers, now serving as the Twins’ catching instructor on the Major League coaching staff. “He was excited to go there for the first time and be the guy.”

Jeter was Baseball America’s Minor Leaguer of the year in 1994, but the Yankees called up Robert Eenhoorn first. He went 0-for-7 and GM Gene Michael called up Jeter on May 29, 1995 for a series in Seattle.

“I was always criticized for not sticking with our young players,” George Steinbrenner told the New York Post days before Jeter was called up. “I was always accused of giving up our young talent. We’ve got some fine young talent. Now we’ll find out about them.”

Evers went to Jeter’s hotel room to tell him he was going to be a big leaguer. “I told him, ‘The simple fact is that you’re getting the opportunity, so make the most of it. Come September, if they need you, you’ll be ready to go back up there. After that, hopefully things work out and you can be the guy.’ He was going up there and prove to them that they were making the right choice.”

Buck Showalter, the New York Yankees’ manager back then, wrote Jeter’s name in the ninth spot in the lineup.

“I was trying to figure out how he was going to help us,” Showalter said in 2014. “I knew he would run and steal a base, and we felt like he could catch the ball. I mean, this was two years removed from making 60 errors in Greensboro.”

Jeter went 0-for-5 in that game, including a strikeout in the 11th inning with the winning run at third. The Yankees lost.

Jeter went for a bite to eat with his father Charles, who had flown to Seattle to see Derek’s debut. They settled for McDonald’s.

“It was the only place that was open,” Jeter told The New York Times in 2009. “I treated.”

The next day, Jeter went 2-for-3 with a walk, but the Yankees were swept. He was struggling, yet Showalter saw something in him.

“The big thing everybody felt comfortable with is that he was going to be as good as he was capable of being,” Showalter said. “That’s a great accolade to pay somebody, because that’s what keeps managers, coaches and front offices up; ‘I wonder if he’ll ever reach his potential.’ Then the sky is the limit.”

The Yankees gave him one more shot

Fernandez returned on June 8, but the Yankees wanted to take a longer look at Jeter. So they had him start 13 straight games, and he batted .234 with three doubles, a triple and six RBIs, with as many hits (11) as strikeouts (11) in 47 at-bats.

And right when he was supposed to play in Detroit (close to his hometown) in front of his loved ones, the Yankees decided to send him down alongside Mariano Rivera.

“I think I was guilty by association,” Jeter said in 2014. “They sent us down. Our bags were packed and we were going to Detroit, so there was a lot of friends and family that had to change their plans.”

“Man, me and Mo were so depressed,” Jeter told the New York Post in 2010. “It was terrible. You never want to be sent down, especially when you’re somewhere you think you can play.”

“We were devastated; we were almost in tears,” Rivera said last year on MLB.com’s Full Account podcast. “The feeling we were feeling that day, we didn’t want to feel that again ever. That moment was difficult; it was hard, it was tough. We had never been sent down from nowhere; Minor Leagues, we always went up. Both together the same day; if you ask him, he would tell you it’s my fault because I didn’t do my job. It was something we both had to go through to understand the abilities and the capacity that we had to get better.”

That’s the story of how Jeter had to fail to experience success later on. In 1996, he slashed .314/.370/.430 with 10 homers, 14 steals and 104 runs scored en route to the ROY award. He made the New York Yankees proud.

New York Yankees’ Adam Ottavino thinks having no fans in games will help the Astros

New York Yankees, Adam Ottavino

New York Yankees‘ reliever Adam Ottavino believes that the current stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic is actually helping the Houston Astros, who were found guilty of stealing signs back in 2017.

Ottavino, one of the Yankees’ highest leverage relievers, thinks the Astros are being let off the hook for what they did in 2017. The current coronavirus outbreak, and the negotiations between the league and the players’ association are taking all the headlines.

“I don’t think people are going to forget it, but I think it’s helping them because that was the story of spring training up until the virus,” Ottavino said Wednesday on “The No-Sports Report” podcast. “That was all day, every day. It was already to the point where it was exhausting. And, I think that once the season started, they were going to be in for a lot of hatred from fans around the country.”

The New York Yankees’ reliever doesn’t want you to forget

Ottavino, who didn’t have a particularly good first postseason with the Yankees even though he had a fantastic regular season, thinks that because fans likely won’t be able to attend 2020 games, they won’t show the team the treatment it deserves after what they did.

“So, to me, I think this is helping them, especially when they come back, there are definitely not going to be any fans in the stands,” the right-handed pitcher said. “So, I think that helps them. Some of (the Astros) have kind of come out of the cave and went back on social media, doing all their stuff, and, you know, good for them, power to them.”

Before COVID-19 took the scene as the hottest topic of the moment, the Astros did receive very negative feedback from players and fans alike around spring training. Some players even threatened to retaliate in the field given that they though the punishment that MLB handed was too soft.

Obscure All-Stars to Play for the New York Mets: Michael Cuddyer

Michael Cuddyer was an all-around good person on top of his solid 15-year career. His two All-Star appearances came after turning 30 as he played his best during the back end of his career. Cuddyer ended up spending the final season of his career with the New York Mets.

Cuddyer spent the bulk of his career with the Minnesota Twins before heading to the Colorado Rockies to play in another cold climate. He hit .307 with a batting title during his three seasons in the Rocky Mountains, which earned him a two-year, $21 million contract heading into 2015.

Veteran Presence

Cuddyer joined Curtis Granderson and David Wright as another great leader in the Mets clubhouse. He and Wright shared a close relationship as Wright idolized him back when he was in high school. Wright always wanted to shadow him and shared his characteristics.

On the field, Cuddyer struggled to find his footing and was not producing at his expected rate. He only slashed .244/.294/.367 but still played every day. Cuddyer picked things up during the second half of the season in more of a platoon role. The combination of a knee injury and the additions of Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes limited his playing time.

Through 39 games in the second half, he hit .302/.352/.458 and proved to be a useful pinch hitter. He batted .316 in those opportunities. Despite not living up to the contract given to him he found ways to help the Mets to the playoffs.

Cuddyer only had one hit in the postseason but was most play playing against lefties at that point. With the Mets outfield going into the 2016 season, it was clear Cuddyer did not fit into the equation.

He did something extremely rare for any player, let alone one expecting $12.5 million dollars. Cuddyer said he could not play up to his expectations anymore and decided to retire. The decision to retire shows the type of player and person he was. He probably could have stretched out his career another couple seasons but made a noble decision and called it quits.

New York Jets: Offensive expectations for upcoming season

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

Last season was riddled with ups-and-downs, breaking news and even mono. Through it all, the New York Jets managed to finish 7-9, which was better than most expected. In Adam Gase‘s second season, and Sam Darnold’s third, the offense should be able to improve. After all, they can’t go anywhere but up after finishing with the last-ranked total offense last season. Let’s take a look at what should be expected from each offensive position group this upcoming campaign:

 

Quarterback

Even though the team finished with a losing record at 7-9, Sam Darnold was 7-6 as a starter. That’s far better than his 4-12 record as a rookie. He also increased his touchdown amount from 17 to 19 and threw two fewer interceptions, down from 15 to 13. Those aren’t major improvements but they’re improvements nonetheless. That’s a good sign, especially since the improvements were with a new head coach and a somewhat thin supporting cast.

Darnold’s final stat line from last season was 3,024 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 13 games. If he didn’t miss games due to mono, there’s no doubt that he would’ve had over 20 touchdowns. Barring any injuries or illnesses this upcoming season, fans should expect to see Darnold throw over 20-25 touchdowns and move toward 4,000 yards. With recent signee Joe Flacco hopefully mentoring and improvements to surrounding playmaking positions, Darnold should take a nice leap for the Jets.

 

Running Back

Last offseason’s signing of Le’Veon Bell sparked a lot of excitement heading into the season. The former All-Pro running back was one of the biggest names in free agency, if not the biggest. He was expected to be a huge part of the offense and, well, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Two seasons removed from 1,291 rushing yards, 655 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns, Bell posted the second-fewest total yards of his career. In 15 games, he totaled 789 rushing yards, 461 receiving yards and just 4 total touchdowns. With more familiarity and an improved offensive line, Bell should get back to around 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards. He probably won’t be posting numbers similar to his career-best, but he should post better numbers.

Fourth-round pick Lamical Perine and free-agent signee Frank Gore should be able to provide situational help for the run game. Gore isn’t nearly what he once was but can still provide spot-help if needed. He shouldn’t be expected to surpass 400, or maybe, even 300 yards this season since his usage will be lessened. He could see time as a late-down option, such as on third-and-one scenarios, for example.

Perine is an interesting player because he could be sprinkled into different scenarios like Bilal Powell was used to. Perine can run between the tackles but can also provide some assistance in the passing game. I expect Perine to see more field time than Frank Gore simply because of his limited wear-and-tear.

 

Wide Receiver

Robby Anderson was one of the top options from last season, but he is now in Carolina. I say “top option” here with a grain of salt because he posted just 52 receptions for 779 yards and 5 touchdowns across all 16 games. Sure, that is not all on him, but those numbers should be higher for one of the better options on the outside. I believe those numbers could easily be replicated by second-round pick Denzel Mims. The Baylor product should be expected to become a major part of the passing attack from the get-go. His speed, deep ball tracking ability and reliability in college should allow Darnold to rely on him from the beginning. He should be expected to grab at least 50 receptions for around 750-800 yards, at least.

Jamison Crowder posted solid numbers in his first season with Gang Green. He totaled 78 receptions for 833 yards and 6 touchdowns while working mostly from the slot. Aside from his playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, Crowder provided last-resort help for Darnold while he was under duress. Crowder should post similar numbers, though possibly with a slight decrease, due to numerous additions.

Free-agent signee Breshad Perriman was brought in to replace Robby Anderson. Perriman, in 14 games, posted career-highs with 36 receptions, 645 yards and 6 touchdowns last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those numbers definitely don’t jump off the page but he was not brought in with the expectations of a 1,000-yard receiver. He’s a guy who could see a slight jump in numbers and have between 700-750 yards.

Other additions, such as Josh Doctson, could provide fill-in assistance in small doses but shouldn’t be expected to drastically improve. Doctson is somewhat of a mystery, in terms of production, and will most likely be used sparingly. Regardless, expect Mims, Crowder and Perriman to be the top options, maybe in that order. The receiving group will be working collectively to produce for New York.

Tight End

The tight end position should be controlled by Ryan Griffin and Chris Herndon throughout the season. Griffin didn’t have spectacular numbers, but when used, he provided much needed receiving help. He totaled 34 receptions for 320 yards and 5 touchdowns on his way to a new three-year, $10.8 million contract. Griffin shouldn’t be expected to drastically improve in production and should most likely produce similar numbers, especially if Herndon plays.

Chris Hernon has shown some flashes of playmaking ability while on the field. However, he played in just one game last season due to a suspension and injuries. He has more upside as a playmaker than Griffin but needs to stay on the field. If he ends up staying on the field, he should be expected to post similar numbers to Griffin. He may exceed him a little, potentially closer to 400 yards. He’s capable of more, but as we’ve seen throughout the years, tight end isn’t a high usage position for this offense.

 

Offensive Line

The Jets have been towards the bottom in offensive line rankings for some time. It has been a position group that has needed to be revamped and it may have finally happened. Connor McGovern was brought in to become the new starting center after starting all 16 games for Denver last season. The team also signed tackle George Fant and guard Alex Lewis. Perhaps the biggest addition though, in both ability and size, is the 6-foot-7, 364-pound tackle Mekhi Becton. He was selected with pick 11 in the draft and helps solidify the left side of the line.

The offensive line shouldn’t be expected to become one of the top lines in the league but could finish as a middle-of-the-pack unit. If that happens, that could cause a major improvement for the whole offense. Le’Veon Bell could run more patiently, which he likes, and Sam Darnold would have more time to go through his progressions. This new starting offensive line should be improved and should be held to higher expectations than fans have been used to.

Bottom Line

With all of the additions to the offense, the Jets should make games more exciting and should be expected to put more pressure on opposing defenses. They probably won’t be a top-10 offense this upcoming season, but fans should expect the team to exceed their average of 17.3 points-per-game last season.

New York Jets: Daniel Jeremiah expect breakout season for Quinnen Williams

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

From a practical standpoint, New York Jets’ former first-round pick Quinnen Williams is primed for a breakout season 2020. His rookie campaign in 2019 was littered with average play, as he tallied only 2.5 sacks, 28 combine tackles, four tackles for loss, and a 9.7% missed tackle rate. He only managed to play 46% of defensive snaps over 13 games, which limited his sample size and overall impact on the game.

However, Williams has the tangible traits to develop into one of the best interior defensive tackles in the NFL. The former Alabama star was rated above Nick Bosa in the 2019 draft but failed to live up to his name as a rookie.

Bosa, on the other hand, played in 16 games, tallying 9.0 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 25 quarterback hits. He helped lead the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl, starting off his career with a bang and showing he was deserving of the number two overall pick last year.

Can the New York Jet get the most out of Williams moving forward?

“This is a forgotten guy, Quinnen Williams. You remember what we were saying about Quinnen Williams coming into that draft? We had Bosa over him but he was in the conversation. He was right there,” Daniel Jeremiah said. “He had 2.5 sacks last year, did not have a big-time impact at all for the Jets. I don’t know how great he is as a fit in Gregg Williams’ defense but Gregg Williams has been a good defensive coordinator in this league for a very long time. He’s going to get more comfortable with him and how to use him. Quinnen Williams will be able to make that adjustment. I just can’t believe that we’re not going to see a better version of this kid. As dominant as he was in the SEC, the best division in college football. They couldn’t block him. It didn’t matter who they were playing against. Quinnen Williams was unblockable. I just have to believe that we’re going to see that player emerge here. We’re going to see more from him. That was disappointing last year. I thought we’d see more out of him.”

Ultimately, if Williams doesn’t fit well into Greg Williams’s system, it is possible he has another average year with Gang Green. Nonetheless, he has the traits to explode and serve as one of the better players on the Jets’ defense, and they need him to step up against the run and put interior pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Did the New York Giants land a steal in UDFA WR/TE Rysen John?

Going to a big-time college is not a requirement to partake in the NFL draft, and while the New York Giants looked to some bigger schools to draft top-tier talent, they did snag a few unknowns as undrafted free agents. Simon Fraser University offered Rysen John, who waited patiently for his name to be called as he played Uno with his family several weeks ago. The draft came and went, without Rysen being snagged off the board. However, he wasn’t too surprised and was preparing for a team to call based on his incredible frame.

At 6-foot-7 and 237 pounds, John logged 861 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019. That is not to mention his 4.60 40-yard dash at his private pro day. His rare combination of size, speed, and athleticism makes him a promising prospect for the Giants.

However, the Giants didn’t sign John to be a traditional wide receiver, they want to test him at tight end due to his frame.

“They looked at my film and saw my body type and they all agreed that they would try me as a tight end,” John said, via Newsday. “But I was willing to do it . . .  It’s gonna be a little bit different, but it if makes me more involved in the offense and makes me more of a weapon, that’s fine with me.”

Being 6-foot-7 gives John a significant advantage heading into the NFL.

“It made me the tallest guy on the team and usually on the field, so I had a sense of confidence every time I was out there,” John said. “That helped me out a little bit. But being big on the field and using my body any way I can to my advantage against any matchup, that’s really where it helps. I am a problem and I try to be a matchup nightmare any time my name does get called.”

The New York Giants could use more depth of the tight end position, which has changed over the course of this offseason with retirement of Rhett Ellison and Kaden Smith expected to take a more significant role. Despite John’s contract, he has a long way before he is cemented on the active roster let alone the practice squad. Projected as a pass-catching tight end at the NFL level, if he can develop into a solid blocker with his size, he could be extremely valuable for Big Blue in the future. New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett loves to play in the 12 personnel, which heavily features tight ends, making it one of the more important positions on the team.

With Evan Engram atop the tight end depth chart, Levine Toilolo and Kaden Smith are right behind him. He will have to battle it out for a back-end roster spot, but even if he lands on the practice squad with his lack of TE knowledge, he will have the time to refine his abilities and hopefully emerge as a potential starter moving forward.

MLB: Players counter with more games, more pay, check it out

The MLB, New York Yankees owners, and the other owners of the other 29 baseball clubs presented an offer to the MLBPA (players union) that replaced the previous revenue-sharing request with even more drastic pay cuts, cutting high paid players by as much as 75%.  Through the Atlantic’s Evan Drellich, the players are countering with full per game percentage pay while playing more games.

The MLBPA plans to respond to MLB’s request for additional pay cuts by insisting players receive their full prorated salaries and proposing a schedule of longer than 82 games, according to sources with knowledge of the union’s thinking.  Drillich and Ken Rosenthal reported that the players were united in calls involving the MLBPA executive committee and a larger group of players. United in their call for full pay on a prorated basis and a call for more games equalling more pay.

Max Scherzer, a member of the MLBPA executive sub-committee, tweeted on Wednesday night that the players are not satisfied with MLB owner’s claim of financial distress.

“After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players, there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions,” Scherzer said. “We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a second pay cut based upon the current information the union has received.

“I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”

The union also wants an increase to 100 games, which would end up being a two-week extension of the season.  MLB sees that as a risk of more injuries, more COVID-19 exposure, and a loss for the owners for every game about the proposed 82 games.

Ultimately MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the coronavirus will determine when and if a season is started and how many games will be played in the season. The player’s proposal may not be accepted by the owners, but at least it leads to more conversation and discussion on how to proceed with a baseball season.  Both sides, however, have an artificial deadline in being able to start a season that will require 3 to 4-week spring training.  The clock is ticking at least the sides are talking to get that accomplished.