New York Giants: New System Reminds Dalvin Tomlinson Of Alabama Days

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

There’s a lot that the New York Giants could learn from the Alabama Crimson Tide. As the Giants declined through the second half of the 2010s to enter the new decade in a rebuilding phase, Alabama has been one of the most dominant college programs in the country during the same span. Alabama is known for winning not because of a few exceptional players, but because of reliable systems. And coaches who know those systems have been hired many times by other schools looking to replicate the same success.

The Giants did that, in a way, when they hired Joe Judge. While Judge was with the Patriots when he was hired by the Giants, he also has past experience as a special teams assistant at Alabama from 2009 to 2011. It’s likely that the Giants considered that when they made the hire, and it looks like that decision might already be paying off.

According to Dalvin Tomlinson, the new defense headed by coordinator Patrick Graham reminds him of his days at Alabama.

“The technique kind of reminds me of my Alabama days. You can only pick up so much on virtual meetings and things like that so I feel like I’ve picked up the playbook pretty well over the virtual meetings,” Tomlinson said to Sirius XM NFL Radio.

But Tomlinson is still feeling the effects of the virtual offseason just like anyone else. “The experience of just being on the football field and going through drills and things like that can’t really be replaced. Just going against another person on the field every day makes you a whole better player.”

“Your technique has to be precise. If you take one wrong step, it could be a bad play and bad down for you and the whole defense. So working on and critiquing your technique day in and day out is pretty crucial. You have to drill it in day in and day out even when you’re not even practicing,” Tomlinson continued further, referring to playing on the defensive line.

Tomlinson is projected to be the starter at nose tackle by ESPN, which puts plenty of pressure on him to improve his technique in the way that he spoke about. Training camp is the first chance we’ll get to see Tomlinson and the others back in action on the field, and if everything goes to plan, that will be as soon as late July.

UFC: John Kavanagh on Conor McGregor; “As for now, he’s retired”

Conor McGregor, UFC

It has almost been a month since the UFC‘s most popular fighter of all time, Conor McGregor, took to Twitter to announce that he had retired. This is not the first time or the second time that McGregor has done this. Counting this occurrence, McGregor has retired three times. Because of that, many (including myself) doubt the sincerity. McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, was recently asked about his star’s retirement.

“Is Conor retired?” Kavanagh said. “Yes, he is as far as I can tell. That’s what he said, isn’t it?” When pressed by another who asked him to convince McGregor to fight, Kavanagh followed with, “I can’t convince Conor to do sh*t.”

The reality is that Conor McGregor is going to do what Conor McGregor wants to do. Do I believe that he’s retired? Absolutely not. However, until he says he’s coming back, you have to assume he’s not. I think that’s what Kavanagh is doing at the moment. McGregor is the type of person who is filled with surprises, so no one should be surprised by anything from the UFC‘s first double champ.

Status of McGregor and the UFC

There are several big fights waiting for McGregor if he decides to continue fighting. He is likely the next guy in line to fight for the UFC lightweight championship following the title fight in September. He could also fight Nate Diaz or Jorge Masvidal. McGregor is frustrated right now because he wants to stay active, but the UFC is not giving him the chance.

The UFC does not want to lose out on a Conor McGregor gate which usually double anyone else’s. UFC President, Dana White, came out and said that it’s tough to lose out on a McGregor gate. Now, it’s not been made public why McGregor wasn’t given offers, but it’s easy to make the connection. The UFC does not want McGregor to fight without a crowd. McGregor wants to fight now, and because of the disconnect, he’s “retired”.

New York Giants: New Offensive Scheme Will Lead To A Dominant Season By Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants have one of the NFL’s most talented players on their roster. The second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Saquon Barkley, is one of the NFL’s up and coming stars and, in only two seasons, he is one of the top running backs in the league.

Barkley, nicknamed “Saquads” for his massive leg muscles, is a superhuman athlete. Saquon’s offseason workouts recently made waves on the internet:

Since the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, they have found little success in the win-loss column. Barkley has been a human highlight reel but his incredible performances have rarely led to team victories.

An Injury-Riddled 2019

Saquon Barkley was nearly unstoppable as a rookie in 2018. In his first season, Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 total yards from scrimmage. He also racked up 15 total touchdowns. Saquon’s main job is to run the football, yet he still managed to break a Giants franchise record with 91 receptions in his rookie season.

Giants fans did not see that same version of Saquon Barkley in 2019. In the team’s Week 3 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saquon suffered a high ankle sprain that would keep him sidelined for three games. Upon his return to the starting lineup, Saquon struggled to replicate his prior success.

Even though he missed three games in 2019, Saquon Barkley still managed to top 1,000 rushing yards on the season. But it was not hard to notice that Saquon was not at full health during the 2019 season. Saquon admitted this offseason that the injury nagged him and kept him from performing at his highest level.

“In the first game I came back I ran a rush to the right side of the field and I kinda got rolled up on it again,” Barkley said. “Luckily it was wet, it was a rainy game, so I didn’t get stuck on anything but it was just nagging. It happens.

“It was tough to deal with. Once we got to the offseason and I got some time to myself to work on it and be happy with it, it made me feel a lot better.” – Saquon Barkley on his 2019 injury

A New And Improved Scheme In 2020

Saquon Barkley was not only held back by his ankle injury in 2019. He was also held back by the Giants’ offensive scheme. Former head coach Pat Shurmur served as the team’s play-caller on offense. Considering Shurmur was fired after this past season, it is safe to say he was not doing the best possible job as the team’s play-caller.

Pat Shurmur’s rushing offense was bland. When a coach has a back like Saquon Barkley on his roster, it is the coach’s job to call plays that maximize the back’s talents. One way that some of the best NFL teams get the most out of their running backs is through the use of pre-snap motion. Teams with top rushing offenses, like the Ravens, Chargers, Rams, and 49ers, use pre-snap motion a high percentage of the time. All these teams rank in the top-ten team rates of motion at the snap for the 2019 season.

The New York Giants’ offense ranked on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Giants emplored pre-snap motion on 5% of their offensive snaps, ranking 27th in the NFL. While pre-snap motion does correlate to rushing success, the Dallas Cowboys’ offense did not feature pre-snap motion enough to rank them in the top-ten. However, they were not in the bottom ten either. Jason Garrett’s offense does feature more pre-snap motion than Pat Shurmur’s did, but he still does not use pre-snap motion at an extremely high rate.

One area wherein Jason Garrett will help the Giants’ rushing offense is the diversity of the rushing direction. The Giants ran the ball up the middle 63% of the time in 2019, one of the highest rates in the NFL. The Cowboys ran the ball up the middle 50% of the time, one of the lowest rates in the NFL. The Cowboys ran the ball off the left tackle at one of the highest rates. Compared to league averages, Dallas ran the ball off the right end, right tackle, and left tackle at a higher rate than average. They ran the ball up the middle and to the left end at a below-average rate.

The Giants ran the ball off the left tackle at one of the lowest rates in the NFL last season, another opposite to the Cowboys’ rushing scheme. The Giants ran the ball to the left end only 5% of the time. They ran the ball to the left tackle, left end, and right end at a below-average rate. They were well above average in their rushing percentage up the middle and also well above average in their run percentage off the right tackle.

Saquon Barkley is one of the hardest players to tackle in the NFL. Very rarely does a defender tackle Saquon Barkley in a one-on-one, open field situation. Barkley is a professional ankle-breaker. For this reason, the Giants would be wise to run the ball outside and get Saquon out in space. Shurmur preferred to shove Barkley down the middle of the defenses’ throats. In 2020, the Giants will run the ball outside more often. This will lead to a breakout season from Saquon Barkley.

MMA: Eddie Alvarez And Ben Askren Offer Career Advice Over Twitter

MMA isn’t the easiest sport to make it in career-wise, as many fighters have found out. Many find that the sport doesn’t pay as much as an outsider might imagine, and even at the highest level, there’s concerns about fighter pay and whether or not the UFC’s practices are fair.

Few know this struggle with forging a successful career better than fighters that have been around the sport for a long time and experienced it all, and that includes former UFC wrestler Ben Askren and current ONE lightweight Eddie Alvarez.

Both of those fighters have taken to Twitter to offer advice to other current fighters about things such as taxes and money management.

The line of conversation started with Ben Askren tweeting a warning to new fighters that, depending on their state and their income, they could end up losing as much as half of their earnings just from taxes. His sentiment was added to by SBG Ireland coach John Kavanagh, most known for training former champion Conor McGregor.

But current ONE Championship lightweight Eddie Alvarez, who formerly competed in the UFC’s lightweight division, also had something to add on to that. He provided a number of tips, not just on taxes but on keeping money in reserve and investing it.

Alvarez also revealed that his own investments are spread across multiple things rather than being placed in one specific thing that could lose value.

Many athletes are able to live off just their paychecks without having to worry too much about other things such as investments, but that’s not the case for most of the MMA fighters outside the top echelon of the UFC. And with the league struggling somewhat financially thanks to the loss of ticket sales at the gate in recent months, it doesn’t look like that situation will improve anytime in 2020.

With these circumstances, all fighters can do is continue to push for more attention to their cause and manage their own assets smartly.

New York Giants: How Lorenzo Carter can improve in 2020

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants’ defense needs the best version of Lorenzo Carter in 2020. Over the past two seasons, Carter has been nothing more than an average player. The Giants will need him to start at OLB if Markus Golden goes elsewhere. Through his first two seasons, the Giants have not seen the full potential of Carter, but a new defensive scheme could benefit him, and the new additions to the defense could play a big factor as well.

Lorenzo’s 2019 season stats may seem very average, but there are several areas he needs to improve. In 2019, Carter played in 15 games and started in 12. Also, had one forced fumble, 13 quarterback hits, and 25 solo tackles. I think the solo tackle number needs to be a lot higher. In the NFL, an OLB is responsible for containing the edge and not letting running backs bounce outside the tackles.

Needs to improve his pass coverage

The Giants’ defense has struggled in the passing game over the past three seasons. Especially linebackers in general, Lorenzo Carter, was not used a lot in pass defense, but when targeted, he struggled. In 2019, Carter was targeted five times and allowed three completions for 35 yards. Now, I know it may not seem like a lot, but this is a 60% completion percentage allowed when targeted. Overall, Carter did improve from 2018, but he needs to be better if Markus Golden is no longer a Giant.

An improved secondary

This offseason, the Giants made it a focal point to fix the secondary. With the additions of Xavier McKinney, James Bradberry, and Darnay Holmes, I see the Giants having a top-20 defense in the NFL. There is a lot of young talent on defense; this is a significant factor when it comes to the development of chemistry and coalition. These three guys will be huge in the secondary for Lorenzo Carter, they will allow Carter to focus on rushing the passer and making tackles in the backfield. There will be times where Carter gets stuck in coverage, but the secondary will be behind him to bail him out if anything goes wrong. This year’s secondary is a lot more promising than 2019’s; a healthy Jabrill Peppers looking to shock the world, and McKinney, who is going to put on a show.

Increase snap count

At the end of the day, the only way Lorenzo will get better is by being on the field more. Last season, Carter played in 723 defensive snaps (65%). I want to see Carter on the field for 85% of defensive snaps. Not only will the reps help improve his game, but this will also build his confidence. I think that’s the biggest problem, Carter being confident in the defensive scheme. Hopefully, the new defensive scheme with coach Graham will fit Carter’s playstyle better. Joe Judge is all about making players’ skill set match what his plans are.

New York Knicks: Bruce Pearl sings Jared Harper’s praises

Bruce Pearl

The New York Knicks recently acquired point guard Jared Harper off waivers from the Phoenix Suns, subsequently releasing guard Kadeem Allen. In an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said that Harper, a three-year player at Auburn, was courted by the Knicks in the 2019 NBA Draft process and that he would’ve been a first-round pick if he returned for his senior season.

“I talked to a number of Knicks scouts when Jared was here at Auburn,” Pearl said. “They had a lot of interest in him when we were making the run to The Final Four. They were one of the teams he thought he’d play for in the summer league.”

“If Jared was a senior he would’ve absolutely, without question, been drafted in the first round this year. They’re getting a first-round talent.”

Harper played for the Suns’ G-League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, this season. He averaged 20.2 points, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game across 34 contests.

Pearl thinks Harper will welcome the opportunity to play for the Knicks and that he doesn’t need to spend another season in the G-League.

“I think he actually will decide to sign with the Knicks because he sees the opportunity,” Pearl said. “Even if they get (LaMelo) Ball in the draft, he would complement them really well. Those guys can score as well as run a team.

“I don’t think he needs another G League season. If you want fast, if you want someone who can pull up (for a jumper) as soon as he crosses the eight-second line and you’re willing to let him score? He’s really hard to guard and he can play-make.”

Pearl thinks Harper, 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, is effective within his frame.

“When you’re the smallest guy on the floor, you have to have an edge,” Pearl said. “He’s got an edge Isiah (Thomas) had and Muggsy Bogues had. He’s got a toughness to him defensively.

“You can try to go down there and post him up. The challenge is his size. He’s got really long arms and he’s really tough. He’s hard to take advantage of. He knows how to use his quick feet. He’ll make plays defensively.”

Harper averaged 13.5 points, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game across his three seasons at Auburn. The Knicks point guard rotation currently includes Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton, who has a $8 million team option for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Cam Newton and the Patriots: How it affects the New York Jets

Taking down the New England Patriots was always going to be a chore for the New York Jets. How does Cam Newton affect those plans?

For the New York Jets, the evil emitting from Foxboro never vanished…it simply evolved.

The autumn of Jarrett Stidham has instead given way to the summer of Cam Newton, as the eternal defending AFC East champion New England Patriots added the former NFL MVP to their roster on Sunday. Newton’s departure from Charlotte has now given rise to renewed hope for the Patriots, who are, of course, looking to replace the Tampa-bound Tom Brady. 

Of course, every New England matter, especially one this major in this period of transition, has ripple effects throughout the east coast, particularly in the New York area, where the Patriots’ green rivals reside. How does Newton’s northeast arrival affect the metropolitan area? ESM investigates…

An Elite Pass Rush Is More Important Than Ever

The halls of One Jets Drive and the Sunday parking lots of MetLife Stadium are graced with the likenesses of New York backfield invaders of yesteryear. Lately, however, the modern Jets haven’t been making Mark Gastineau, Shaun Ellis, John Abraham, Mo Lewis, and company proud with their sack exploits.

Since 2016, the Jets rank 29th in the NFL in sacks and have been haunted by rushing quarterbacks. In that span, only three Jets (Jordan Jenkins, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams) have accumulated at least 10 quarterback takedowns. It has been enough of a challenge facing off against Josh Allen twice a year, for example, (the Buffalo Bills are 11-3 when Allen scores at least one rushing touchdown) and now they must deal with another multi-faceted threat in Newton, who brings a sense of mobility that Brady never had.

As has been the case with many running quarterbacks, Newton can be neutralized with a relentless rush. Carolina was 3-11 when Newton was sacked at least five times, which includes the merciless onslaught he saw from Von Miller and the Broncos in Super Bowl 50. Rare as it was, Brady (who has been sacked 5+ times on only 10 occasions in a nearly two-decade career) wasn’t immune from pressure-induced yips. Both the Jets and Giants played the trope to perfection in their respective victories in the 2011 AFC divisional playoffs and the Super Bowl XLII. To cap it off, New England’s new quarterback, be it Newton, Stidham, or otherwise, is walking into a decent situation on the offensive line regardless. The Patriots have built a solid foundation in front of their thrower. Marcus Cannon and Shaq Mason bring a combined dozen years of experience to the right side, while All-Pro left man Joe Thuney was franchise tagged. In contrast, it’s very possible Sam Darnold could start Week 1 without a single starting blocker leftover from his rookie season in 2018.

Blocking exploits were understandably the Jets’ top priority on the free agent wire this offseason but they addressed the rush with the very affordable re-signing of Jenkins (1-year, $3.75 million) and will also welcome back fellow linebackers C.J. Mosley and Blake Cashman from injury. Another offseason addition was Baltimore transplant Patrick Onwuasor, who is set to bolster the interior pass rush, as was third-round draft pick Jabari Zuniga, who continues New York’s youth revolution on the offensive line (joining second-year men Quinnen Williams and Kyle Phillips). Battling Brady was bad enough, but if Newton recaptures the electrifying brand of multi-talented football that made him a superstar, the Jets’ New England nightmare could be extended by another year and possibly beyond.

New York Giants, Bill Belichick
Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches the game against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

There’s Definitely a Chance to Instill Major Worry in the Patriots

In the grand scheme of things, how much does Newton truly change the Patriots? As we mentioned after Brady’s departure in March, they still had a strong supporting cast to surround whatever poor soul had the unenviable position of walking in Tom Brady’s footsteps. There’s a strong rushing attack left behind in the form of Sony Michel and James White. Even when Brady was starting to show signs of age last season, the defense assured that things remained one-sided (the Jets found this out the hard way in a 33-0 Monday night shellacking last fall that saw Brady post a pedestrian 80.7 passer rating). Newton or no Newton, counting the Patriots before a single 2020 game was played was foolhardy at best.

Still, it’s fair to say there’s lingering doubt in the New England camp if and when the 2020 campaign commences.

While he’s undoubtedly an upgrade over Stidham, there’s no denying that Newton isn’t at the form we saw in his 2015 MVP season. Things probably never should’ve reached “is Kyle Allen a franchise QB” levels in Carolina, but time will tell if Newton can regain his game-changing form.

Every team in the NFL should have an unwritten rule that dictates that they should have a quarterback on their roster that they see as their start in three years. Stidham was a major question mark, but Newton’s impressive resume can at least put the Patriots in a more comfortable spot. The 2020 season is almost one of no consequence to the Patriots. They’re still relatively decent on paper, they’ve accomplished more in the last two decades than some franchises earn in their entire existence, and expectations are lowered with the emerging powerhouse developing in Kansas City. A Cam Newton with nothing to lose, especially one blessed with relative youth at 31, could spell doom for anyone looking to take New England’s crown of NFL dominance.

Having said that, this makes the Jets’ 2020 matchups with New England all the more crucial. Wins must come to knock New England off their perch. Strong performances can not only give the Patriots second thoughts about their current plan of turning over the future Newton or the unproven day-three pick whose NFL impact to date is an Adams pick-six. Any doubt the Jets can plant into the brains of a team that viewed their AFC East slate, including the yearly visit to East Rutherford, as a Sunday drive is good doubt from a metropolitan standpoint.

The Outlook

In the grand scheme of the things, the Jets’ task of a divisional coup doesn’t change drastically because of Newton. That’s not a slight on Newton at all; even if he’s not at 2015 levels, his signing was long overdue and if he’s going to get his career back on track, New England is perhaps the best place to do it.

Looking at the New England dynasty from a wider perspective, the Patriots have been able to be a continuous force in the NFL because they take care of business against divisional foes and reinforcements rising to take the place of a fallen comrade. Newton undoubtedly makes the task of rising up a bit harder, but the Jets’ primary concerns should rely on shutting down Newton’s support staff, one that has already dealt with years of Bill Belichick training.

The best move New York can make when it comes to Newton is upping their pressure and making him as uncomfortable as possible, creating feelings that can leave both an immediate and long-term impact on New England moving forward. Should all go according to NFL plan, the Jets will get those opportunities on November 9 and January 3.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

New York Mets: Prospects Who Can Make an Impact

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Over the last few hours, the New York Mets added multiple veterans to their 60-man player pool for Spring Training 2.0. Throughout the field of players, the Mets have a small number of prospects who have a chance to make the major league roster. As the roster spots dwindle, it seems unlikely the Mets will use players within their organization to fill those spots.

Andres Gimenez is the first prospect that pops out of the Mets player pool. With the current set up of the Mets infield, he is a backup player. What he does bring is speed and an above-average glove, which is valuable for a weak defensive team. Gimenez also played exceptionally well in the Arizona Fall League, and he should make the 30-man roster. He will like to get cut when it drops to 28, but he seems to be a more reliable option than Eduardo Nunez or Jed Lowrie.

Extra Rotation Options

David Peterson is an intriguing option for the Mets because of their lack of starting pitching depth. As a left-handed pitcher, he could make the bullpen as a second left-handed reliever but projects better as a starter. If the Mets need rotation help for an extended period, it would be a better decision to turn to Peterson over Walker Lockett or Corey Oswalt. Lockett and Oswalt have career ERAs of 8.84 and 6.43, respectively. With the expectations that low, there no reason not to give Peterson the opportunity.

Kevin Smith and Franklyn Kilome are two other pitching prospects who could make an impact. While Kilome projects more as a reliever, Smith’s potential as another lefty is exciting. His 2.75 ERA through his minor league career is impressive and also serves as a better option than Oswalt and Lockett. Though only pitching less than 50 innings in double-A, he is a fringe candidate for the 30-man roster.

New York Yankee Player Profiles: Jordan Montgomery to anchor the rotation?

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

 

The New York Yankees Jordan Montgomery is another Yankee player that has kept much of his private life private. The 27-year-old was born in Sumter, South Carolina. Monty is tall, 6’6′, and weighs 225 pounds. He played baseball as a boy. When in Sumter High School, he played baseball, and, in his senior year was named the state’s player of the year.

After high school, he enrolled in the University of South Carolina. He played for the South Carolina Gamecocks, where he again received awards, this time Freshman of the week and Freshman All-American. He played well enough in college to warrant the attention of major league baseball scouts.

In the 2014 major league baseball draft, Jordon Montgomery was selected in the fourth round by our Yankees. After his college year, the New York Yankees limited his pitching to 19 innings as he went 1-1 with an ERA of 3.79. In 2015 Jordan was promoted to the Charleston River Dogs, but shortly thereafter he was promoted again to the Florida State League for the advanced A Tampa Yankees. Montgomery’s pitching continued to impress the Yankees, and in 2016, he began the season with the Trenton Thunder but was soon promoted to the AAA Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders. While there, he pitched the triple-A National Championship game in which he won for the Rail Riders.

On April 12, 2017, Monty was promoted to the major leagues, where he made his New York Yankees debut against the Tampa Bay Rays in a no-decision outing. In his second game, he earned his first major league win against the Chicago White Sox. On June 9th, he pitched a career-high seven innings while striking out eight against the Orioles. Prior to the All-Star Break, Montgomery pitched to a 3.65 ERA, striking out 87 batters in 91 and third innings. On July 25, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Reds. In 29 starts in 2017, Montgomery finished with a 9-7 record and a 3.88 ERA.

After six starts when he was 2-0 with an ERA of 3.86. on May 1, he left a game against the Astros with elbow tightness. He was put on the IL and it was discovered that he had a flexor strain and that he would be out 6-8 weeks. But in June other problems arose and he was scheduled to have Tommy John surgery which typically takes a year to a year and a half to recover from. In 2019 he started the season on the 60 days IL and has been recovering from the surgery. Recently his recovery accelerated with him pitching in rehab games. Boone has let it go slow with him, so he could gain full pitching strength as well as extending him in innings.

Montgomery has two nicknames, “Gumby” that he got in college and “Monty” used by many of his fellow players. He has two older Brothers. He has received many awards in his short career: Other than the awards mentioned earlier he has received the Pitcher of the Week twice, once for the Dogs and once for Trenton, Baseball America double-A All-Star, and Postseason All-Star while at Trenton among others.

Last year Monty recovered well enough to pitch in relief in two games for a total of four innings.  His career average ERA is 3.91.  Any MLB pitcher that can keep his ERA below four, can have a successful career in baseball.  During spring training earlier this year he started one game and was used in relief in three games for a total of 11 innings in which he allowed five runs.  With the exit of Luis Severino to Tommy John surgery, Montgomery will be in the five spot of the New York Yankees pitching rotation at least as the start of the season.

New York Mets ink outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

The New York Mets have taken the veteran free agent market by storm since they published their 60-man player pool on Sunday evening. Kidding aside, they have made a few depth signings that will sure come in handy during the shortened calendar and in the event that injuries strike.

Earlier on Monday, the Mets announced the return of right-handed jack-of-all-trades pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, who pitched the spring training with them; and deals with pitcher Hunter Strickland and infielder Gordon Beckham. Now, they are also reinforcing the outfield corps with veteran Melky Cabrera.

Cabrera, who started his career with the New York Yankees and then played for the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates, is now a 35-year old veteran who is capable of hitting for average, but not much else.

The Mets are betting on Cabrera’s contact ability

For his career, he has slashed .285/.334/.417 with 144 home runs and 101 stolen bases in 1887 games. He has a 101 wRC+, which is essentially average production. However, last season he had an 85 wRC+ mark and a rather mediocre .280/.313/.399 line with the Pirates.

He didn’t play the spring training with any team this year and is hoping to earn some at-bats in a crowded New York Mets offense.

Cabrera’s best asset at this point is probably his ability to make contact. In his career, he has a very low 11.8 K%, and last season, it was 10.3. However, it comes at the expense of his power, as evidenced by his .119 ISO in 2019.

The Mets’ outfield corps are very deep this season, as they have Brandon Nimmo, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Jake Marisnick, Ryan Cordell, Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis and now Cabrera under contract. Johneshwy Fargas and Jarret Parker are also in the 60-man player pool, which means that the team has the position covered by at least 10 players.