How the Yankees should be utilizing Giancarlo Stanton in 2020

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The Yankees have a crowded outfield, and that’s good for their depth. In the event of an injury, they have several capable bodies that are talented enough to fill in either in the short or in the long-term.

In total, they have three capable, starting-caliber center fielders in Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman, and Zack Granite as insurance. Of course, all of those names could play in the corners if needed, plus Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier.

If the Yankees are going to maximize that depth, they should be taking advantage of the DH spot and plugging Stanton there in a near-everyday basis.

The Yankees should protect what they value

Last season alone, Stanton suffered a right knee sprain, a left biceps strain and a calf issue, which prompted to him appearing in only 18 regular season games. Of course, sticking to DH duties won’t fully eliminate the risk of suffering an injury, but it will diminish it and that’s what the Yankees are looking for.

And, considering that they have at least four or five other bodies who can capably play his position, playing Stanton exclusively as a designated hitter makes too much sense.

Of course, the Yankees should be looking to minimize injury risks given that Stanton is signed through 2027, with a 2028 club option, to a heavy contract, among the priciest in the league.

Even in a short season, the Yankees should be using him strictly as a DH, with only an appearance or two in left field here or there. There is simply too much at stake to lose him for a significant period of time.

The fact remains that, in the long-term, the Yankees need Stanton to be productive at the plate. But in order to be there, he needs to be healthy.

New York Yankees’ young pitcher shooting up the roster, could claim starting role

New York Yankees, Michael King

The New York Yankees are being very picky with who they choose to add to their 30 man active roster for the condensed 60 game season. They have already made surprising changes with some players, optioning Jordan Montgomery to an alternate training site.

The expectation is that Montgomery will be a part of the taxi squad, who the Yankees will eventually elevate to the active roster. In his absence, though, the Yankees made one interesting move to give a youngster an opportunity.

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On Tuesday afternoon, field manager Aaron Boone announced that Michael King would make the Opening Day roster. At 25 years old, King will feature on the active roster as they travel to Washington to face the Nationals on Thursday night.

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In 2019, King appeared in just one game. However, he is climbing the roster and has proven himself to a point where they feel comfortable supplementing Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka took a 112 mph comebacker to the head off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton several weeks ago. He’s projected to return at the end of this month. With that reality striking, the Yankees have elected do utilize their third game of the season against the Nationals as a “bullpen game.”

Schmidt beat out both Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, who seemingly weren’t ready to play at the MLB level just yet. Garcia was thrashed against the Philadelphia Phillies, lasting only 1.2 innings on Monday evening.

Despite Schmidt being sent down to Scranton, Boone believes the young arm could impact the club at some point this season. He would be the first man up aside from Montgomery to supplement any further injuries.

With that being said, the Yankees have a solid starting rotation, especially when everyone is healthy. The bullpen will play a significant role in helping to limit fatigue. However, a hot and heavy Gerrit Cole will be unleashed in a shortened campaign. Expect to see him every few days and to get better with each passing game.

As for King, I don’t anticipate Boone putting him in an over-strenuous position. Iff you make the active roster, though, you should be prepared to play.

Have the Yankees finally found the antidote to their biggest problem?

New York Yankees, James Paxton

It is not a secret that the 2019 season was a difficult one for the New York Yankees when it comes to injuries. The team lost players such as Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Ben Heller, Miguel Andujar, Giancarlo Stanton, CC Sabathia, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Jonathan Loaisiga, Domingo German, Luke Voit and Brett Gardner, Jordan Montgomery, plus others, for different periods of time.

Tommy John surgery, strained and pulled muscles, shoulder issues, knee maladies and lots of other ailments plagued the Yankees all season long during 2019. Prior to this season, the organization decided to make it all change and brought one of the best in the strength and conditioning department.

New strength and conditioning coach Eric Cressey was hired to help the Yankees get rid of the dreaded injury bug. Have the team found the antidote to that problem? It may be too early to tell, but the early returns are promising.

Last year, the Yankees set a Major League record with 30 players (39 stints) appearing on the injured list. That figures to change this time around.

The Yankees got a specialist

Cressey is very famous in the world of performance coaching. He has helped stars such as Corey Kluber, Noah Syndergaard and Max Scherzer while emphasizing kinesiology and biomechanics.

The Yankees new head of strength and conditioning is also famous for his Cressey Sports Performance training centers, located in Hudson, Mass., and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Even pitching coach Matt Blake, the club’s new pitching coordinator, occupied the same position for Cressey Sports Performance.

Both men were brought in as reinforcements by the Yankees to modernize their methods and approaches towards training and pitching. And there is nothing wrong with using up-to-date methods.

So far, the only notable injury in summer camp was Tanaka’s mild concussion, and that one is fluky and impossible to prevent. Let’s hope the Yankees can enjoy better health going forward thanks to Cressey.

Rumor: New York Knicks could pursue DeMar DeRozan in free agency

New York Knicks, DeMar Derozan

The New York Knicks have struggled to attract attention from star players in the NBA, ranging from Kevin Durant to Kyrie Irving. Both signed with the Brooklyn Nets last off-season, passing on a superior Knicks franchise, some might say.

However, with the firing of Steve Mills several months ago in favor of former CAA super-agent Leon Rose, the team is headed in a different direction. Rose has fantastic connections with players across the league, including ones that categorized as stars.

The Knicks desperately need more offense of efficiency, and bringing in a player like DeMar DeRozan could fit the bill.

What would DeRozan bring to the New York Knicks?

DeRozan hasn’t averaged less than 20 points per game since the 2012–13 season. He will be 31 years old next year, which indicates a potential drop off in efficiency. However, his scoring remains consistent and effective, averaging 22.2 points per game this past season before the shutdown.

Luring a fringe-star like DeMar would be a huge add for the Knicks, but his age would force them into a short term agreement. Two-three years max would be likely contract for the current San Antonio Spurs.

The Knicks have a strong young core consisting of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. Building around them is a necessity. They also have multiple first-round picks 2020 and a ton of long-term cap space.

If DeRozan declines his player option to stick with the Spurs, he could cash in with a team like New York. An opportunity to sign an All-Star would be a huge development for the Knicks, and one they desperately need after missing out on several big-time players last off-season. His player option is worth about $28 million for the 2020-21 season.

IIf DeRozan is able to secure a similar amount with the Knicks over multiple years, it would benefit him the most considering his age. There’s a case to be made that signing the Spur would be a stepping stone in the overall development of the team’s image. With star players ignoring the Knicks all together last year, a player of his magnitude might change the course of their history rather quickly.

New York Mets: Pete Alonso to be Mic’d Up All Season

The 2020 Major League Baseball season is already one we have never experienced. Ballparks across baseball will be empty, and the only sounds from the game are the natural baseball sounds and stadium speaker crowd noise. New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is looking to bring the fans unprecedented access by wearing a microphone all season and posting it on his YouTube channel.

Alonso is partnering with MLB to make this happen, which is a big step towards gaining a younger audience. The NFL and NBA not only mic up players for their games make separate content out of it. Our of the four major sports in North America, the MLB has the least amount of individuality with their players and is levels below the social media marketing of the other three sports.

Mic’d Up Memories

When thinking about the best mic’d up moments in baseball, the arguments of Earl Weaver and Terry Collins come to mind. Jomboy Media has done his best work, breaking down arguments, reading lips, and using “hot” mics to bring new content to baseball fans. For Alonso, his Spring Training moments on ESPN had fans craving for more content, and they will have it from every game in 2020.

Hopefully, we see more players follow Alonso’s trend. Baseball has plenty of downtime in between pitches, and potentially bringing mic’d up players to multiple broadcasts will help keep fans engaged throughout the 60-game sprint. There are plenty of personalities across baseball who we would love to see content produced around them. For the Mets, guys like J.D. Davis and Dom Smith would play great wingmen to Alonso on the videos.

Not only will fans receive the fun conversation, but they’ll get the sounds of the game. It could be a terrific learning tool for getting in the mind of a prolific home run hitter while in the batter’s box. That perspective is new to fans and should make Alonso’s YouTube channel as popular as Trevor Bauer’s.

The New York Giants already have their rock on the offensive line

New York Giants, Kevin Zeitler

Continuity on the New York Giants’ offensive line has been difficult to come by. A revolving door at left and right tackle led the team to spend the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft on shoring up the position.

Just two years ago, the Giants featured Ereck Flower at one of the most important positions. Don’t forget about Chad Wheeler and Jamon Brown attempting to hold down the right side.

Since that mess of a protection scheme, the Giants have taken positive steps forward. They attempted to supplement the left tackle position with Nate Solder, which at the time seems like a good idea. Personal issues and a failure to transition from a New England style offense has enabled struggles most didn’t anticipate.

While a majority of the line remains developing, there is one building block that represents consistency.

His name is Kevin Zeitler, and he represents the only positive mark on the line from 2019.

Offensive line coach Paul Alexander, who featured on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast had great things to say about Kevin Zeitler:

“He is the team leader that you want. I’m going to be honest with you, when we let him go with the Bengals, which I was furious about, that hurt us. And it hurt Cleveland when he left there. To me, I thought that was a great pickup by the Giants.

“He’s the type of guy that you build a championship around. He’s a winner.”

”Kevin Zeitler should be a Pro Bowl player. He plays at an elite level. He’s big, strong, tough, very productive, excellent technician, very dependable… He is the team leader that you want.”

According to PFF, his first season with the Giants was his best to date. He was the highest-rated pass-blocking guard with a 91.7. In his eight seasons in the NFL, Zeitler’s past-blocking grade has landed in the top-15 seven times among qualifying guards.

At the very least, the Giants know they have a stud at right guard. However, it takes a lot more to achieve continuity in the trenches. The drafting of Andrew Thomas should help to some degree, and I believe we will see an improved unit in 2020.

New York Yankees: Slugger Aaron Judge on being out of his comfort zone, and much more

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees will be on a train this morning on their way to Nationals Park in Washington D.C.  Aaron Judge has talked about why he was comfortable at spring training in Tampa, Florida, and at summer camp at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. When the spring training was shut down by MLB and the coronavirus, Judge elected to stay at the Steinbrenner training complex in Tampa. He stated that he felt most comfortable there, and reiterated the statement about being at Yankee Stadium.

When he talked about traveling to different ballparks during the regular season, he had this to say:

“Leaving that bubble is going to be a little difficult, but this is what we signed up for,” Judge said. “We wouldn’t have signed up for this if we weren’t aware of the risk and what we had to face these next couple months. The Yankees have prepared us well; they’ve given us the do’s and don’ts. As a team and organization, we’re going to do our best to keep everybody safe.”

The Yankees are taking the train to Washington, D.C. They are scheduled to take their first flight of the season when in Baltimore.  They will fly from Camden Yards to Tropicana Field home of the Tampa Bay Rays on August 4th in their chartered Delta Airlines jet.  The Yankees players are expected to stay in their hotel rooms and be bused back and forth from the games to the hotel during the season.

Masahiro Tanaka progressing but not ready for his first start

Tanaka threw a 20 pitch bullpen from the mound Tuesday. At first, he was nervous about that first pitch, even though he opted not to use a screen.  When that first pitch crossed the plate, the smiling Tanaka had a sign of relief.  It was the first time he faced hitters since July 4th.

Tanaka, on July 4th, was hit in the head by a 112mph comebacker off the bat of slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Tanaka immediately hit the ground and lay motionless for minutes before being helped off the field.  He was taken to the hospital where tests were negative.  Nevertheless, he was put on the concussion protocol after the incident.

It is expected that he will be ready for his July 31 start but not for his first scheduled start of the season this Sunday.  The New York Yankees are likely to use an opener in the game and have mentioned, Chad Green who has a lot of experience doing that as he did it 15 times last year with the Yankees winning 11 of those starts.  Manager Boone has also mentioned Jonathan Loaisiga and Michael King for the job.

Pitching sensation Michael King makes Opening Day roster

One of the New York Yankees up and coming pitchers Michael King has made the 40 man roster for Opening Day.  Manager Aaron Boone has said the King was outstanding in spring training and summer camp.  With being assigned to the roster, he will be under consideration to pitch as an opener in Sunday’s game with the Nationals.

“He really needed to show something, and I feel like he more than did that,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s in a great spot right now. I feel like he’s throwing the ball really well. I feel like he has a chance to really impact our club this year.”

Judge shines, Deivi  Garcia Struggles in an exhibition game

Aaron Judge homered for his second night in a row in the last exhibition game against the Philadelphia Phillies.  The night before, he had two homers in the Mets game.  Judge is showing no signs of discomfort from his healing rib fracture.  Manager Boone said he is definitely ready for the season.

Starting against the Phillies right-hander Deivi García struggled mightily in a 1 2/3-inning effort, permitting back-to-back doubles to Didi Gregorius and J.T. Realmuto in the first inning that accounted for the Phils’ first run. Then he allowed a Roman Quinn run-scoring hit in the second that followed an off-center pickoff attempt.  For his effort, he got sent down to Scranton Wilkes/Barre to work on his continued development.

News and Notes from New York Rangers Camp

New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin

One week out from their exhibition game with the Islanders, the New York Rangers continue to work toward getting in game-ready shape for their playoff tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes. Recently, Ryan Lindgren told the media that “Coach Quinn talked about it today before the practice that we need to amp it up. This week’s going to be huge for us.” With that in mind here are some other bits of news that have surfaced recently concerning the Blueshirts.

Panarin named a finalist for Hart Trophy.

Artemi Panarin, along with Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon have been named finalists for the Hart Trophy.

The annual award is given “to the player judged most valuable to his team” and is voted on by Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Concerning the nomination, head coach David Quinn said that “He has injected us with an awful lot of passion and enthusiasm. There’s no more of a deserving player than him to be in that conversation.”

If he wins, Panarin will be the fifth Rangers player to win the Hart after Buddy O’Connor, Chuck Rayner, Andy Bathgate, and Mark Messier.

Panarin finished fourth in scoring with a career-high 95 points and finished 20 points ahead of his next-closest teammate. The Blueshirts posted a 24-16-4 record in the 54 games Panarin registered a point and a 3-12-1 record in the other 16 games that he did not. He led the NHL in even-strength points (71) and was second in the league in assists (63) and plus/minus (plus-36).

Lemieux suspended for two games

The NHL has handed Brendan Lemieux a two-game suspension in the aftermath of the winger’s elbow to the head of Colorado Joonas Donskoi at the 17:08 of the third period the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime defeat in Colorado in the club’s final game on March 11.

While many were not surprised, the pause in the action in March had many forgetting about this incident.

Lemieux was also fined $2,000 earlier in this season for an elbow to the head of Cody Glass in Las Vegas.

Buchnevich returns to practice

Ranger fans took a sigh of relief when winger Pavel Buchnevich returned to action after sitting out Sunday’s scrimmage.

The NHL teams are not very forthcoming on injury information and speculation led to the possibility of something that may have been related to COVID-19.

However, that was not the case as the Rangers have stated that having missed one day on the ice was due to an apparently minor physical issue.

 

 

 

 

 

UFC: Gilbert Burns Healthy And Back In Line For The Belt

UFC 251 wasn’t a good time for current welterweight contender Gilbert Burns. He was supposed to be one of the headline fighters in the event, and in fact, it was originally going to be titled “UFC 251: Usman vs Burns.” That all changed, however, when Burns was diagnosed with a positive case of coronavirus and was pulled from the event only days before it happened.

The title shot against Kamaru Usman he’d been waiting for vanished into nothing, and Burns was once again back in the contender list as the fight was changed to one between Usman and Jorge Masvidal. We all know how that went. Just as Burns predicted, Usman controlled the fight and came away with the victory.

Now, Burns is healthy again and is once again in the running to fight Usman.

“I’m very happy with the results from the test after being quarantined for two weeks at home,” Burns said to MMAFighting. “I’m thankful and very happy I can go back to my regular routine.”

Elsewhere, Burns spoke about already talking to Dana White. According to him, White is on board with the plan for him to fight Usman, which was the fight that was originally scheduled before Burns’ diagnosis threw the plans off.

Despite the minor bump in the road, Burns does have the record to earn this title shot, with his last fight being a victory against former champion Tyron Woodley. He also entered the Woodley fight on a five fight winning streak that includes a victory over Demian Maia, who is recognized as one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world.

But can Burns handle a champion that was able to push Jorge Masvidal aside with ease? The answer to that question is still up in the air, and hopefully, there won’t be a surprising interruption this time to keep us from finding out.

Should UFC Legend Joseph Benavidez Retire?

Joseph Benavidez, UFC

There comes a time in every professional’s life where they have to retire. UFC legend Joseph Benavidez is at the point in his career where retirement becomes a very real question. Benavidez recently lost to Deiveson Figueiredo in a fight for the vacant UFC Featherweight championship for the 2nd time in a row. With Benavidez coming up on 36 years old, is it time for him to finally hang up the gloves?

Why Benavidez Should Retire

Benavidez has nothing to prove to anyone; he’s been a nearly unstoppable force throughout his entire 12-year professional career. I say “nearly” for a reason, Benavidez has had four opportunities to win the title, he has failed on all four times. Benavidez lost those fights to legends like Dominick Cruz and twice to Demetrious Johnson. Plus, there is no one else left for him to fight in the Featherweight division.

The division as a whole is a failure, but that’s another story. Brandon Moreno is obviously fighting Figueiredo next, but who’s left for Benavidez? The matchmakers could possibly feed him Brandon Royval for an “easy win”, but I don’t see Benavidez winning that fight. It seems like the right time to finally call it quits, and most likely head to the hall of fame.

Why Benavidez Shouldn’t Retire

Benavidez could make a final run for the title. Maybe just maybe, he puts together 3-4 wins to finally get his final shot. Hypothetically, let’s say he beat Royval as his first opponent, then he beats Alex Perez, and finally, he beats Alexandre Pantoja and gets his last shot against Figueiredo. Win or lose, Benavidez can ride off into the sunset, knowing he gave it his all in his final run. The problem with this is that dreams aren’t realities. We all want to see UFC legends have a happy ending, but it doesn’t always happen.

Conclusion

I believe that Benavidez should retire. Winning the belt just isn’t in his cards, and it’s better to retire with dignity, or you’ll end up like BJ Penn. Benavidez will retire as a legend most definitely, but he will also retire as a gatekeeper. So close to winning the title, but never could string it together.