New York Rangers 2020 Playoffs: Who Starts in Goal?

When the New York Rangers return to action and face the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs, head coach David Quinn will have an interesting decision. With three capable goaltenders on the roster, he will have to choose one to start the series at their designated hub city. It will not quite be such an easy decision after the NHL has taken a long break due to the coronavirus pandemic. With players scattered across the globe in isolation, Quinn cannot be sure what will be returning to him when training camp resumes.

Ranger’s president John Davidson acknowledged this on Thursday during a video press conference. “I know that we’ll have the three guys here, [Georgiev], Shesterkin and Hank, and I think all three are excited,” Davidson said. “I know Hank has been skating. This is going to be a coach’s decision. That’s who it’s up to. The coaches make decisions. I think they’re going to watch and see how camp goes. This is going to be a battle.”

While acknowledging that the decision is going to be made during the resumed training camps, there is a case to be made for each of them heading into the resumption of play.

Henrik Lundqvist

It doesn’t matter that Lundqvist hardly played the final weeks of the season before the league was shut down. This could be about the experience, and the King has plenty of that.

He also has a solid track record against Carolina during the last two seasons. In 2018-19, he was 2-1 with a .964 save pct. and 1.34 GAA, while this season he went 3-0 with a .947 save pct. and 2.33 GAA. vs. the Canes.

As noted earlier, Lundqvist has actually been on ice while home in Sweden, skating with his brother. It is not known, but also not likely that Shesterkin or Georgiev has been on ice. This may give him a bit of an advantage heading into camp.

His effort on Nov. 7 against the Hurricanes was one that stands out, as he recorded 45 saves in a 4-2 win at PNC Arena.

“Without question, that one game down in Raleigh, he actually stole the game,” Davidson said. “He was outstanding. It was the best game I saw him play all season long.”

Lundqvist deserves and will get the chance to show that he should be the starting goaltender against Carolina.

Igor Shesterkin

Shesterkin was anointed the number one goalie by Quinn back in February, something that was well-deserved. Since being recalled from Hartford in January, he has compiled a record of 10-2-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .932 save percentage in 12 starts.

Shesterkin also has some playoff and international experience to help him. While playing Juniors in Russia, he had a 12–7 record in 19 playoff games, along with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage, along with four shutouts to help MHK Spartak win the league championship. Shesterkin also represented Russia and was one of the best goaltenders at the 2018 World Championships in Denmark. He finished with two victories, both shutouts, and a 1.46 goals-against average with a .942 save percentage.

The 24-year-old has faced the Hurricanes once this year, recording 27 saves in a 5-2 win at PNC Arena on Feb. 21.

Alexandar Georgiev

It is likely that the only way Georgiev gets the start is if he completely outplays the other two during training camp.

It is not like Georgiev has been poor this year, as he has gone 17-14-2 with a 3.04 GAA and .910 save percentage, but has also not faced Carolina this season.

Georgiev does have international experience, helping Russia win the silver medal at the 2016 World Juniors, and then helping the Russians take the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships.

“We’ve got three guys going in and I like our depth in that position,” Davidson said. “I can hardly wait, so whenever the puck drops for training camp, just to watch. There’s going to be a lot of subsets, a lot of small stories that are going to turn into big stories. Who is going to go and be the starting goaltender? If it’s a best-of-5 series, that’s not a long series and you want to get off to a good start. The coaches are going to have to make that decision.”

It is actually a nice decision to have, coming off an unwanted, long break in the season.

 

 

New York Yankees: Season or no Season the Yankees could look very different in 2021, details

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees, like all the teams in MLB, sit back and wait to see if there will be a baseball season of any kind this year.  The MLB and MLBPA (players union) are in contention on a plan to get the season going.  The longer they can not come to a compromise on money issues, the less likely we will see a season this year as time is running out.  The owners want an 82 game season, with players sharing in some of the losses they will endure.  The players want a longer season of about 100 games, with the owners sticking to the original prorated deal.

Regardless of whether there is a deal or not, the next postseason (20-21) could leave the Yankees looking like a very different team.  Yes, at the end of the season, they could lose Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Zack Britton, Brett Gardner, and J.A. Happ. Some will be free agents, while others will undergo options, either team or player options.

Although the New York Yankees will have newly acquired Gerrit Cole for the next five years before he has options, the loss of the seven players above will completely change the complexion of the team.  Each of these players has a slightly different situation to be dealt with.  Brett Gardner was signed on for another year of play with a team option for 2021.  Even though he had a breakout season in 2019, without play this year, he could end up off the team as he will turn 38 in 2021.

Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton presently two of our best pitchers will become free agents along with last seasons’ MVP DJ. LeMahieu.  If there is no season, it will not be a good situation for these players or for the Yankee front office.  One is the coronavirus that may not allow the pitchers to show what they have this year, and will most likely allow them less of a choice in free agency as teams will not have a lot of money to spend on free agents. If there is any good news here, it’s that the Yankees will look seriously on tying up DJ LeMahieu for another two years and probably before this season ends if there is one.

J.A. Happ is a different situation as if he threw 165 innings or made 27 starts; his vesting option would automatically kick in. Even if there is a season that likely will not happen. Happ’s option will not vest into another year with the Yankees at $17 million, and he will instead hit the open market at age 38.  At that age it’s doubtful he will see that kind of money again in his career with Yankees or any other team for that matter.

Zack Britton has been a key part of the New York Yankee bullpen last year.  Britton signed a three year $39 million contract but is only guaranteed for two years.  Season or not, the Yankees will have to exercise his option, or he is a free agent at the end of the 2020 season.  This won’t be a good time for Britton if the Yankees don’t except that option as he will hit free agency at a very downtime for free agents.  If the Yankees exercise the option, he will remain a Yankee for two additional years.

The Giancarlo Stanton situation is almost laughable. Technically he can opt-out of his $218MM contract at the end of the season.  However, the likelihood of that happening is as likely as baseball having a 162 game season this season.  There is no way he will take the chance that some other team will pay him that type of money.  For the Yankees, if he stays, they will be receiving $10 million being paid by the Marlins in the last three years of his contract.

As it now appears, Stanton and LeMahieu seem like a safe bet to be on the 2021 Yankees.  The other five players are questionable.  If for some freak of nature, all these players leave, the Yankees will be an entirely different team. Not anywhere as near the Championship like team they now have. Time will tell, but for most Yankee fans, they just want to see baseball this year and deal with these situations during the season or at season’s end.

New York Giants: Is Jabrill Peppers ready for a breakout 2020 campaign?

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney, Jabrill Peppers

What should the New York Giants expect from Jabrill Peppers in 2020?

The New York Giants invested plenty of capital into bolstering their defensive secondary, and strong safety Jabrill Peppers will likely benefit from the drafting of Xavier McKinney and the increase in experience from their 2019 draft picks. Peppers was traded to the Giants in the deal that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns.

The former first-round pick struggled and his first two seasons in Cleveland, playing both strong safety and free safety. However, under James Bettcher, he moved specifically to the strong safety position and put up substantial numbers in just 11 games.

His 76 combine tackles, five tackles for loss, five passes defended, three forced fumbles, and one interception showed an increase in nearly every court category from the year prior. In addition, he only allowed a 63.9% completion rate against and just one touchdown, decreasing his five TDs allowed in 2018 by four. While he does tend to miss some tackles, logging a 12.6% missed tackle right last season, he has the versatility and athleticism to improve across the board.

Paired with a trustworthy ball hawk in McKinney, Peppers should be able to move closer to the line of scrimmage and play more aggressively against the run, knowing his back is covered.

Clearly, the New York Giants believe they have something special and Peppers, considering they picked up his fifth-year option for 2021. This guarantees him to be on the team for at least two more seasons. While he only ranked as the 41st safety out of 71 in the NFL to play at least 500 snaps last season, according to PFF, his development was evident. He did earn the third-highest pass-rush grade out of that entire group of players.

I am most excited to see Peppers play closer to the line of scrimmage with McKinney in the deeper portion of the secondary. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will likely install plenty of three safety looks, moving Peppers, Julian love, and McKinney around the field. It is possible that Peppers could adapt to a de-facto linebacker position on passing downs, While McKinney and Love prowl of the secondary as ballhawks.

Graham likes to utilize man coverage schemes frequently, which could indicate Peppers matching up against tight ends in man. Nonetheless, the Giants are developing a nice trio of safeties, and Peppers remains an integral part of the defense.

New York Yankees: Will Giancarlo Stanton opt-out of his contract in 2021?

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

Could Giancarlo Stanton opt-out of his contract with the New York Yankees?

With the 2020 baseball season in jeopardy of happening at all, the New York Yankees will have to deal with a multitude of expiring contracts, including Zack Britton, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Brett Gardner, and Masahiro Tanaka.

Giancarlo Stanton, on the other hand, is in the middle of a massive 13-year, $325 million deal. Currently, he’s in the sixth season of this deal, earning $26 million with an opt-out after the 2020 season. Stanton’s contract only increases in annual pay, indicating that he will likely stick with the Bombers for the foreseeable future. His deal reaches a peak of $32 million for three consecutive seasons.

The primary issue is that Stanton hasn’t lived up to his contract in recent seasons, spending a majority of the 2019 campaign struggling to remain healthy. He suffered through biceps, calf, and other soft-tissue injuries, logging a minuscule 59 at-bats with 13 homers. This was the lowest number of plate appearances he’s ever recorded, showing relatively motivating injury-history before joining the Yankees.

I believe that the previous strength and conditioning regimen are at fault for Stanton’s injuries, as a focus on power might have forced specific muscle groupings to be overworked, increasing the probability of injury. However, the New York Yankees hired Eric Cressey to take over their strength operations, which should hopefully mitigate the concern the Bombers were forced to prioritize.

Nonetheless, Stanton’s opting out of his deal is extremely unlikely, since the Yankees represent the best opportunity for him to earn some World Series hardware and he can cash in big-time during the process.

Stanton’s deal will last until 2027, and he has a $10 million buyout or $25 million team option for 2028. He will ultimately remain a Bomber until he’s 37 years old, and physical degeneration remains a potential issue after his most recent injury concerns. He has dealt with knee injuries in the past, forcing him out for some time, but those issues seem to be a thing of the past.

Despite his troublesome 2019 campaign, Stanton did have a solid 2018 campaign where he smashed 38 homers and 100 RBIs. If he can replicate his past performance moving forward, the Yankees will be in good shape, despite the allocated funds.

UFC Vegas Recap: Gilbert Burns dominates former champion, Tyron Woodley

UFC on ESPN 9 marked the UFC’s return to Las Vegas and the main event featured former Champion, Tyron Woodley (19-5-1), and rising contender Gilbert Burns (19-3). This is a fight that was interesting for a number of reasons. There were a lot of questions going into the fight about just how good Gilbert Burns was and how motivated Tyron Woodley was. Early on in the fight, we got our answer. Burns took the center of the octagon early, and Woodley immediately through a huge power shot and whiffed. Burns landed a massive right hand that rocked Woodley early. The fight went to the ground where Burns possesses a huge advantage. Burns was able to get full mount, but he wasn’t able to really get a ton of damage done from the mount position. Woodley was able to regain his composure while being on the bottom. Woodley was able to explode up from the mount position and get the fight back on the feet with about 90 seconds left in the first round. However, he wasn’t able to accomplish much on the feet. Gilbert Burns could not have gotten off to a better start in the main event.

In the second round, Woodley came out with a lot of urgency landing some really big shots early. The two welterweights exchanged a few times in the second before Burns was able to land a big takedown with about two and a half minutes left in the round. Woodley was able to work his way back up to his feet using the fence. After Woodley worked his way up, both men stayed in the clinch the rest of the round with nothing significant happening as Burns coasted to his second straight round. The third round didn’t feature a ton of major moments as the two men stood and traded shots throughout the round. Burns continued to pressure the former champion, and Woodley seemed to be headhunting for a one-punch knockout. Woodley landed a couple of good shots, but this was another round where Burns seemed to be in control of the fight. The fourth round started really slow for both guys. The two engaged in a clinch for the first few minutes with not a lot of action. Referee Herb Dean separated two fighters, and after they separated, Burns completely took control. Burns popped Woodley several times with a few stiff jobs and momentarily dropped Woodley with a huge right hand. Burns took down Woodley towards the end of the round and almost ended things with a guillotine choke. Woodley looked completely lost heading back to his corner after losing his ninth consecutive round dating back to his loss to Kamaru Usman.

Coming out for the fifth, Woodley through with everything he had in the first couple of exchanges, but Burns was able to neutralize him against the cage. There wasn’t a ton of action the rest of the round. Woodley continued to look for a miracle shot, but that shot would never come. Gilbert Burns looked incredible, and the judges agreed giving him all five rounds and the unanimous decision victory. Burns made me a believer with that performance. His striking looked crisp, he was very fast, and his ground skills are elite. “Durinho” has now won six consecutive fights and called out the champion Kamaru Usman after the fight was over. It would be hard to argue against his case for a title shot after that performance. The UFC has been struggling to book Usman and Jorge Masvidal for July, and Burns just gave them another option for that card. Burns comes out of this fight without a scratch and he said he could fight in July. It will be interesting to see what the UFC does, but Gilbert Burns is for real and he made a believer out of me.

Fall From Grace

Just two fights ago, Tyron Woodley looked unstoppable. He had incredible power and a great wrestling base to dictate where any fight would take place. Since his submission of Darren Till, Woodley has not just lost two consecutive fights, but he’s been shut out in both fights. Woodley has lost ten consecutive rounds looking like a shell of the guy who was the champion. I’m really not sure where Tyron Woodley will go from here. Going into this fight, I thought if he showed up motivated, he could stop Burns. Instead, Woodley looked lost and out of it again. Maybe it was mental or maybe it was the first big shot that Burns landed. At 38 years old, you have to wonder how much is left in the tank for Woodley.

Prelim Recap

UFC on ESPN 9 took place in the same location where Dana White’s Contender Series takes place, the UFC Apex, and the fighters on the prelims fought like they were on the Contender Series. Everyone was going for the finish which led to incredible fights throughout the undercard. One standout performers was undefeated prospect Jamahal Hill (8-0) who stopped Klidson Abreu (15-5) with a huge knee to the body early in the first round. Hill is now 2-0 in the UFC since getting signed after his TKO win in the contender series. Chris Gutierrez (15-3-1) also looked incredible stopping Vince Morales (9-5) with a flurry of leg kicks in the second round. Gutierrez’s striking looked crisp and he put a beating on the lead leg of Morales which looked horrifying after the fight. Casey Kenney (14-2-1) was also able to pull off a slick guillotine choke on Louis Smolka (16-7) in the first round. The best fight we saw in the prelims was between Tim Elliot (15-11-1) and Brandon Royval (11-4). The pace was incredible in this fight and it was back and forth throughout. Elliot looked really good in the first round but found himself on the losing end of an arm-triangle choke in the second round.

Chookagian Bounces Back in Dominant Fashion

Katlyn Chookagian (14-3) and Antonina Shevchenko (8-2) was the fight I was the most intrigued by on the prelims. I thought it was going to be interesting to see how Chookagian would bounce back from her last loss and how Shevchenko would handle the step up in competition. The first round was shocking to watch as Chookagian immediately took Shevchenko down and took her back. The majority of the first round, Chookagian looked like she was seconds away from finishing the fight. She had Shevchenko in a fully locked in rear-naked choke a couple of times and she mounted Shevchenko and landed some heavy shots. The second round was very similar to the first round in that Chookagian immediately clinched and took down Shevchenko. Once they were on the ground, Chookagian immediately got to the mount position. Chookagian spent the rest of the round landing some pretty good ground and pound on Shevchenko, but never seemed close to finishing the fight. The third round made me raise my eyebrows a little to start. Chookagian decided to not go for the takedown for the first three minutes of the round after dominating the entire fight on the ground. As a result, Shevchenko was starting to build a little momentum landing some pretty decent shots. Chookagian was landing shots as well, but the former Muay Thai champ was getting the better of the exchanges. With about two minutes left in the final round, Chookagian finally shot in for the takedown. While she didn’t get one on her first attempt, she was able to get Shevchenko down before the round ended. In the final 15 seconds, Chookagian started dropping bombs and almost finished the fight. This was a huge fight for Chookagian coming off the loss to the champ, and she bounced back in a very impressive way winning on all three scorecards 30-25. Now that she’s back on the winning track, I think you’ll see Chookagian get a top 5 fighter in her next outing.

Main Card Recap

Kicking off the main card was a really good fight between Mackenzie Dern (8-1) and Hannah Cifers (10-5). Dern came into the fight as the biggest favorite on the card, and she showed why with a first-round knee-bar. Cifers came out and looked strong in the opening minute, but shortly after Dern was able to take control of the fight. Dern’s hands look much improved and she was able to land some pretty clean shots. The two got in a scramble, and Cifers seemed okay with trying to ground and pound the Jiu-Jitsu world champion which was not a good idea. Dern quickly locked up one of Cifer’s legs and finished the fight. This was such a big win for Dern after suffering her first career loss back in October. Dern struggled with her weight in her last fight, but her cut was no problem this time around. She made 115 pounds with ease and looked fresh in this fight. I would like to see a pretty quick turnaround for Dern with a step up in competition with a top 15 opponent.

Next up we had a lightweight fight between highly touted prospect, Roosevelt Roberts (10-1), and the entertaining Brok Weaver (15-5). There was a lot of heat before this fight with Weaver and Roberts let Weaver know he wasn’t happy about Weaver missing weight. The first round was pretty back and forth with both guys landing some clean shots. Roberts was talking to Weaver throughout the first round and landed the cleaner shots on the feet. Roberts was really showing off his speed in this fight. In the second round, Roberts was able to get the fight to the ground and that is where is ground skills took over. Roberts landed some heavy shots on the ground and was able to transition to a rear-naked choke. A very impressive performance for Roberts who is now 4-1 in the UFC. Roberts called out Matt Frevola (8-1) for his next fight. These two were supposed to fight back in April, and if Frevola can win on June 20th, this seems like the fight to make.

The third fight of the main card was a catchweight fight between Spike Carlyle (9-2) and Billy Quarantillo (14-2). Carlyle ran across the octagon as soon as the fight started and got the fight to the ground after a flying kick and some vicious elbows. Carlyle was able to get to the mount position and land some heavy shots. After going for an armbar, Carlyle lost top position and Quarantillo started to take control. Quarantillo was able to get Carlyle’s back and almost secured a choke. Carlyle was able to reverse the position and get back to the top. After that, Carlyle was able to control the rest of the round from the top position. There was a weird moment at the end of the round where Carlyle stood up as if the round was over and Quarantillo landed a clean shot that dropped Carlyle. In the second round, Carlyle landed a huge elbow early that rocked Quarantillo. After a scramble, Carlyle was able to get top position and control Quarantillo for a good portion of the round. Later in the round, after the fight was back on the feet, both men were able to secure takedowns. Quarantillo almost finished the fight with a triangle choke late in the round, but Carlyle was able to power through the choke. Carlyle was completely gassed going into the third round and Quarantillo was able to get the better of the grappling exchanges in the third round. Quarantillo through up several submissions early in the round, but Carlyle was able to slip out of everything and regain top position a couple of times. Quarantillo dominated all aspects of the third round even landing some very heavy shots on the feet. The two men fought to the scorecards in an incredibly close fight. I had Carlyle winning two rounds, but the judges saw this one differently giving Quarantillo the fight 29-28 on all three scorecards.

The co-main event of the evening featured a heavyweight battle between Blagoy Ivanov (18-3) and Augusto Sakai (14-1). The two heavyweights came out pretty slow in this one showing respect for each other. There were not a ton of exchanges early, but Ivanov rushed Sakai a few times throughout the round and was able to land a couple of clean shots. Sakai through some kicks throughout the first round, but seemed to be a little out of range early. Towards the end of the first round, Sakai was able to land some pretty decent leg kicks, one of which buckled the leg of Ivanov. In the second round, Ivanov came out pretty aggressive and landed some good left shots early. Sakai continued to land good leg kicks and seemingly found his range in the second round landing a few shots up top. As the round went on, Ivanov seemed to stay more on the outside feeling the effects of some of Sakai’s kicks. Sakai controlled most of the round with his striking, but Ivanov was able to secure a takedown near the end of the round. The takedown made the round closer, but this was seemingly a 1-1 fight going into the third round. Augusto Sakai was the much fresher fighter entering the third round and it showed. Sakai was able to stay on the outside and pick his shots against the labored Ivanov early. Ivanov did land a few good shots, but Sakai continued landing good shots even throwing a flying knee at one point. There was a little controversy in the third round where Ivanov was close to landing a takedown, but Sakai grabbed the fence to stop the takedown. There was no point deduction despite the obvious foul from Sakai. Ivanov seemed to get a second wind after the takedown attempt and really pushed the pace late landing some really good shots. Going to the scorecards, I thought Sakai one the fight 29-28 which two of the judges agreed with. Sakai won the fight via split decision, but one judge saw the fight 30-27 for Ivanov which was frightening to see.

Final Takeaway

The UFC’s return to Vegas was a successful one and they might have a new star on their hands. Gilbert Burns didn’t just open the door tonight, he kicked it in. I will be very interested to see what the UFC does with him next whether he gets a title shot or maybe a shot at Colby Covington. The card delivered in all aspects tonight and we get to turn around for another fight next week when we see UFC 250 headlined by the Lioness, Amanda Nunes. UFC 250 is completely stacked and I personally can’t wait to sit back down next week for another great night of fights.

New York Giants: What Should We Expect From Ryan Connelly In 2020?

New York Giants, Ryan Connelly

The New York Giants‘ defense suffered a devastating blow early in the 2019 NFL season. Rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly was outperforming his draft stock by a mile in the first four weeks of the season. Then, Connelly unfortunately suffered a gruesome knee injury. In the middle of an impressive Week 4 performance, Connelly suffered a torn ACL that would sideline him for the rest of the season.

This was a huge blow to the Giants’ defense. Ryan was demonstrating a lot of potential and talent in his rookie season. Since then, the Giants have made numerous changes to their linebacker corps. New York cut Alec Ogletree, signed Blake Martinez in free agency, and drafted four linebackers in the 2020 NFL Draft. So now, with an improved and crowded linebacker room, where does Ryan Connelly fit in?

Ryan Connelly Injury Update

The most important thing for Ryan Connelly is that he gets healthy. Fortunately, Ryan is on the right track in that regard. According to the NY Post, Ryan Connelly has stated that “there haven’t been any setbacks” in his recovery and that he will “be ready to go for training camp.” This is exciting, knowing the kind of talent Ryan can bring to the Giants’ defense.

Ryan Connelly’s Potential Role On The Defense

The Giants paid Blake Martinez big money, so he is locked in as their number one linebacker. But who will start alongside him? At the moment, it is safe to assume that David Mayo will have that job. The team gave Mayo a contract extension after a decent 2019 season. But there is a problem with a linebacker corps that features Martinez and Mayo on the inside: there is little pass coverage.

Martinez and Mayo are both excellent defenders against the run. However, both of them struggle in pass coverage. This is where Ryan Connelly could come into play. Admittedly, Connelly’s strength is also in run defense. But he certainly played better in pass coverage (in an albeit small sample size) than Mayo or Martinez did in 2019.

Ryan Connelly held opposing quarterbacks to a 22.6 passer rating in 2019. He allowed only 19 yards on a 57.1% completion percentage. On top of that, Connelly had a knack for finding the football, totaling 2 interceptions. Martinez did play a lot more coverage snaps in 2019 but he allowed an 83.8% completion percentage. Mayo allowed a 65.5% completion percentage.

The key to examining Connelly’s 2019 performance is remembering that he only played in 4 games. While he was highly impressive in those games, it is a super small sample size and not enough to bank on in 2020. Connelly, once healthy, is going to have to earn his spot back. It will not be given to him. But if Ryan can play at a similar level to which he played in 2019 and sustain it over a longer span of games, then the Giants’ linebacker corps will be in good shape next season. Ryan Connelly could provide the Giants’ defense with the pass coverage they need from the linebacker position, allowing Martinez and Mayo to thrive as run-stuffers.

MLB: Hundreds of minor leaguers being released amid pandemic

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball teams are releasing hundreds of minor leaguers. This is because many owners don’t want to pay minor league salaries and releasing them to save money.

This is disheartening and brutal for so many players with so much yet to come. The releases could be the end of many players’ careers before they even had a shot to prove themselves.

Many teams like the Dodgers and Mets are paying all minor leaguers through June, while organizations like the Marlins and Padres are paying players through August. The Reds and Royals have even announced that they will pay their minor leaguers all season.

Unfortunately, the Athletics announced that their minor leaguers would no longer be paid after May 31st. That’s almost just as bad as being released since you aren’t making money either way.

Right now, the MLB is in negotiations with the Players Association about the fate of the 2020 season. The players are working on a counter-proposal to the MLB that will include around 110 games with prorated salaries. The Players Association turned down the original proposal due to the lack of pay, with some players seeing 80% pay cuts.

All sides want to see a baseball season happen, but they can’t get on the same page about how it will happen. The players already agreed to prorated salaries, but it’s again the owners who are afraid to lose money for one season. What they fail to realize is how quickly they would make back all the lost money.

Hopefully, more teams will follow the lead of the Reds and Royals and will pay their minor leaguers all year. Additionally, the MLB and the Players Association need to strike a deal soon. If not, we may never see baseball in 2020.

 

The New York Rangers Place Sean Day on Waivers

MSG

The New York Rangers have placed defenseman Sean Day on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract, according to Cap Friendly. Day had split time in the shortened 2019-20 season between Hartford of the AHL and the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. He was the 81st pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Rangers.

Day was one of only a select few that was granted “exceptional” status in the CHL and allowed to play at a younger age. He had never lived up to that reputation in the Rangers’ organization and had fallen down their depth chart. He will always be remembered for being granted “exceptional” status of an underage player, an honor that has only been awarded to six players in the CHL, including John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Joe Veleno, Shane Wright and Day.

Day, who was considered to be an elite skater, didn’t dominate in the OHL like many expected, although he was still good enough for the Rangers to select in the third round back in 2016.

However, the 22-year-old’s play decreased. He played 46 games with Hartford and 19 games with Maine in 2018-19 but ended up playing more in Maine this past season (36 games), compared to Hartford, where he appeared in just 16 games with a goal and four points.

 

 

New York Jets: Rookie Denzel Mims brings an underrate factor to the offense

New York Jets, Denzel Mims

The New York Jets drafted Baylor stand-out wide receiver Denzel Mims for one primary reason, and that is to bolster the offense and increase Sam Darnold’s production. Over 13 games in 2019, Mims posted 1020 yards, averaging 15.5 yards per reception, and logged 12 touchdowns. He’s clearly entering the NFL as a productive wide receiver and can take the Jets’ offense to the next level, but he brings one underrated factor that could be significantly beneficial.

One of the Jets’ major issues in 2019 was their ability to run the football at a high-level. Le’Veon Bell, who is in the first year of his contract with Gang Green, posted a career-low 3.2 yards per attempt. Not to mention his 52.6 yards rushing per game, which was also career low for him.

At 28 years old in 2020, Bell needs to see a significant production increase if he is going to stay on the Jets long-term. However, Mims can help in the run game as a blocker, as he exerted incredible energy and motivation to utilize that skill set in his senior year with Baylor.

“I can say the strongest part of my game is really my blocking,” Mims said in an interview with Jets team reporters. “I am a guy that really loves to block and I take pride in that. You got to block for your running backs and your quarterback because if I want the ball and I want them to be able to trust me, I feel like I need to think the game when it comes to blocking first. Then, I will be able to catch the balls.”

It is expected that had Coach Adam Gase will utilize more of an outside-zone run scheme next season, which will clear the box and give Bell more time to make decisions in the backfield. Unfortunately, the Jets had a poor offensive line in 2019, contributing heavily to the limitations of Bell in the run game. Signing Greg Van Roten, Connor McGovern, George Fant, and drafting Mekhi Becton should significantly improve the unit as a whole.

With Mims posting a 4.38 40-yard dash, he is a high ceiling player that can contest footballs in the air but also block downfield at an elevated level. That will be a major benefit for the Jets and a reason why they drafted him in the second round.

Should the New York Giants extend interior defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson?

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

Should the New York Giants extend Dalvin Tomlinson beyond 2020?

The New York Giants will have a few decisions to make next off-season, including the extension or release of interior defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson. Tomlinson is on the final year of his rookie contract, and after posting favorable numbers in 2019, general manager Dave Gettleman, if he is still around, will have to make a tough choice.

While I don’t think Tomlinson will be astronomically expensive, he could earn a nice three-year contract making $8 million per season. In 2019, he had his best campaign, posting 49 combined tackles, nine quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.

They say the best ability is availability, and Tomlinson has yet to miss a game at the NFL level. His health and consistency remain a significant factor behind his success and development. However, the addition of Leonard Williams significantly impacted his performance. He nearly doubled his production during the second half of the season last year after Williams was traded for.

“I love Leonard, he is a great guy,’’ defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson said, per the New York Post. “I feel like we clicked off the field for the most part because we both love animated video games. We became instant best friends, I guess you could say. I love playing beside him, he is a great guy. He brings great energy. We have great chemistry. I’m looking forward to playing with him this upcoming season.’’

The influence of the former Jets allowed Tomlinson to more than double his sack totals last year and begin to unlock some of his hidden talents. At just 26-years-old, Tomlinson has plenty of time to continue improving, and if the New York Giants retain Williams on a long-term deal, I believe Tomlinson deserves the same. Nonetheless, they could elect to let him walk in free agency if they offer Williams an extension, as the Giants will be looking to spread out their money and maximize each position with more cap-space likely becoming available.

The Giants have yet to land Williams on a multi-year deal as he currently stands to make $16.1 million on the franchise tag, a high number based on his production in recent years. Gettleman sees the value of his play and chemistry with his surrounding defensive linemen.