Yankees: John Sterling torches Astros over cheating scandal on live television

John Sterling, Yankees

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last year, you’re well aware of the cheating scandal against the Houston Astros. With the New York Yankees playing a big part in the history of their cheating, having lost the ALCS to the Astros back in 2017 and 2019, Yankee fans and fans across baseball want to see karma get the best of Houston.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly took the karma situation quite literally, throwing at the head of Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. This subsequently induced a benches-clearing situation, as Kelly made several aggressive facial expressions toward Astros players while exiting the field.

However, disdain towards their organization stretches far into the corners of baseball. Even long time announcer John Sterling for the Yankees, couldn’t hold back from making a joke about their cheating.

Sterling was breaking down why facing off against pitchers like Gerrit Cole is difficult.

He mentioned that batters have to cheat with their bat, but not like the Houston Astros cheated. Good one John, it’s nice to have you back. These are the small sleights that make commentating that much more fun. At 82 years old, Sterling seems to have plenty of life left in his bones.

The Astros are currently 6-8 on the season, struggling to get anything going after losing Cole to the Yankees and their star players failing to produce at the plate. While the negativity circling their team might have a significant impact, the cheating has brought them back to earth. Seeing their mortality is definitely a nice slice of revenge for fans across the country.

New York Giants make two signings, boost WR and CB positions

New York Giants, Ross Cockrell

The New York Giants have been proactive over the weekend, making two moves to add competition to wide receiver and cornerback. With DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal likely missing the 2020 campaign, the Giants have been looking to supplement the corner position. With the lack of a better experience and a void at CB2, Big Blue hosted Ross Cockrell on Friday.

Cockrell last spent time with the Giants in 2017, when he played in 16 games and started in nine. He racked up 50 tackles, 11 passes defended, and three interceptions. He is a high character player with a great work ethic.

New York Giants sign a corner:

According to Art Stapleton, the Giants agreed to terms with Cockrell, who will compete at cornerback with Julian Love, Darnay Holmes, Corey Ballentine, and Chris Williamson.
Cockrell has spent five seasons in the NFL, playing with the Carolina Panthers in 2019. Starting int 11 games, he logged up 62 combined tackles, three tackles for loss, eight passes defended, two interceptions, and a 55.2% completion rate against. Allowing just one touchdown, he was actually quite efficient for the Panthers in coverage. His lofted 16.2% missed tackle rate was the most glaring negative of his statistics.

However, having started so many games last season, he’s a perfect fit on a cheap deal for the Giants.

With the team saving $9.9 million in cap space due to Nate Solder opting out, the ideal move would be to move as much money as possible over to the 2021 season.

The Giants made another move on Saturday, signing former Michigan State wide receiver Cody White. Over 13 games, he posted 922 yards and six touchdowns over 66 receptions.

The Giants have brought in a bevy of undrafted free agent wide receivers to compete for the number four spot on the roster, including Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Derek Dillon. White will now insert himself into the mix, but without a preseason to work with, it will be difficult for these players to earn a spot on the roster. However, the practice squad seems like the end result for most of the UDFAs.

 

 

 

New York Yankees lose star slugger with hamstring injury

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

Same story, different year. The New York Yankees lost star slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a hamstring injury on Saturday evening. After sliding into second base, he came up a bit gimpy. He tried to shake off, which seem to be a slight hamstring injury, but manager Aaron Boone stated after the game, he would likely be headed to the injured list.

“[I’m] hurting for him, period,” Boone said. “I know what he’s done to be here. I know obviously his play speaks for itself. So hopefully it’s something that doesn’t end up keeping him down too long.”

Stanton has been unable to remain healthy for the Yankees in recent years, having injured his calf earlier this spring. The calf injury kept him out for weeks, and the postponement of Opening Day ultimately helped him return to health and prepare. Last season, he played in only 18 games with the Bombers, recording three home runs and 13 RBIs. Stanton is three-years removed from his previous MVP caliber season, and four years removed from being the best player in the league.

Who should the New York Yankees utilize to replace Stanton?

Ultimately, the Yankees have plenty of offense of weapons I can supplement standing with. Since he was serving as a DH, the first choice options would be Mike Ford, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman. Of course, one of those players will have to be in left field, but Boone has his choice of defensive quality and who he believes will fill the DH spot adequately. Personally, I would like to see Ford fill in during Stanton’s absence, as he brings a power hitter mentality to the lineup.

Replacing him with a player like Ford would ensure that the Yankees don’t miss out on Stanton‘s power at the plate. Currently, Ford is hitting .200 with a .400 slugging percentage. He has one home run and three hits over 15 at-bats. Getting him more action at the plate will only help his consistency and efficiency offensively. However, the Yankees will undoubtedly miss Stanton. In game one of a doubleheader on Saturday, Stanton blasted a solo homer.

It was his third home run of the year and represented a spark for the Yankees’ offense. The Bombers will take on the Tampa Bay rays at 1 PM on Sunday afternoon, but they will be missing one key player in their batting order. Hopefully, the injury is nothing too serious, and they can find a way to supplement his production in the meantime.

New York Yankees Previews: Paxton faces Morton as Yanks try to even the series

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The New York Yankees have been in a bit of a downturn during the past week.  In their last six starts, they are 2-4. This weekend the Yankees have lost two games against the Tampa Bay Rays.  This afternoon at 1:10 pm, they will try to even up the series at two games apiece before moving on to Yankee Stadium and two games starting on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves.

The game today will be at Tropicana Field, a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Many consider the aging stadium as one of the worst parks in all of baseball. It does have it’s pluses everyone knows about the stingray touch tank, but what many don’t know, is that it is a mini Cooperstown with historical baseball exhibits throughout the stadium.  The big plus is that the weather is never an issue in this air-conditioned dome. The 1:10 pm game will be broadcast on the YES Network and Fox Sun.

Today the Tampa Bay Ray will send one of their best pitchers out to face the Yankees.  Charlie Morton of Astros’ fame will face the Yankees James Paxton. Morton is a twelve-year veteran pitcher that has pitched with many teams.  Most notably with the Houston Astros during 2017 and 2018.  Last year for the Ray he went 16-5 with an ERA of 3.05.  In his last three years, he has gone 45-15.

This year he is 1-1 in three games started.  He has had a bit of trouble with the velocity of his four-seam fastball. It did improve in his last outing against the Boston Red Sox.  He will have to watch out for DJ LeMahieu (.389) and Brett Gardner (.333), both having faced him twelve or more times.

The New York Yankees will start James Paxton in his first two starts of the season has gone only 1 and 3 innings respectively, while giving up six earned runs.  Paxton’s main problem seems to be his fastball that is coming in about four miles per hour slower this year than last.  There is a big difference when a major leaguer faces a 95 mph fastball, and a lesser one at 91.  His ERA this year sits at 13.50.

The reason for Paxton’s reduced velocity is of concern to Paxton, although he and pitching coach Matt Blake cannot find the reason for it.  Paxton underwent back surgery earlier this year, but he feels he has completely recovered from that injury. Paxton is the Yankees number two starter and they need to get him right. The Yankees tonight will hope that Pax, the “Big Maple” can get his first win of the season.

If the Yankees put out their best “A” lineup today, it will not include Giancarlo Stanton that suffered a hamstring injury in game 2 of yesterday’s doubleheader, a definite disadvantage for the Yankees. The loss of Stanton is substantial as he has hit three home runs and had an OPS of 1.036.

 

New York Giants could pursue Dre Kirkpatrick as a DeAndre Baker supplement

New York Giants, Dre Kirkpatrick

Things only seem to get worse for the New York Giants after DeAndre Baker was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and reserve corner Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 season. Supplementing the loss of two potential starting players is never an easy thing, and head coach Joe Judge will likely have to make a move.

While it is possible the Giants stick with their youth players like Julian Love, Darnay Holmes, and Chris Williamson, there’s also a good chance they look to a free agent.

Here’s one free agent, the New York Giants, should consider:

Reports have indicated that the Giants could supplement the CB2 spot with a free agent. The name Logan Ryan, Ross Cockrell, and Dre Kirkpatrick have all entered the fold following Baker’s increasingly problematic legal issues. While Ryan’s statistics are extremely enticing and Cockrell played well for the Giants back in 2017 (3 INTs), a cheaper, more reliable option would be Kirkpatrick.

Dre has spent the last eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, playing as a boundary corner and starting consistently throughout his career. A six-year span between 2013 and 2018 saw him miss just eight games. Last season in 2019, Kirkpatrick missed ten contests, playing in just 31% of defensive snaps. Injury significantly limited his production last season, but that might open the door for a cheap contract with the Giants.

How much cap space do the Giants have?

The Giants currently have about $21 million in cap space available, and the smart would move would be to roll over as much as possible into the 2021 campaign. Signing a veteran on a cheaper deal is the most efficient transit, and Kirkpatrick would fit the bill nicely with his experience in the NFL.

At 31 years old, he’s no spring chicken, but two years ago, in 2018, he recorded a 50% completion rate against an allowed two touchdowns over 774 snaps. He would pair nicely with James Bradberry, the Giants’ high-priced free-agent signing. On a one-year deal, it would give the Giants some time to work out the CB2 spot and not put their defense in danger.

The secondary has been extremely volatile the past few seasons with rookies and inexperienced players manning key positions, and adding an established veteran to compete would be a positive move. An incentive-laden deal with Kirkpatrick makes the most sense, paying him more if he starts a specific number of games for Big Blue. It would be a win-win for both sides, and the New York Giants would feel more comfortable going into the regular season without a preseason to iron out the position.

The New York Rangers Might Be Wise to Keep All Three Goalies Next Season

When the New York Rangers were eliminated in the Stanley Cup playoffs, many thought that this was the last time we would see Henrik Lundqvist in a Rangers uniform. Conventional wisdom dictates that the Rangers would not keep three goaltenders on the active roster when the 2020-21 season commences.

However, we all know that we live in a time where conventional wisdom does not always apply.

That was evident when Igor Shesterkin was deemed “unfit to play” for the first two games of the playoffs, which allowed Henrik Lundqvist to start and play fairly well. While it was not the Lundqvist we had seen in the past or had hoped to see, either he or Shesterkin were the major factors in the Blueshirts exit in three games.

You will be hearing the words “unfit to play” quite a bit in the coming months, thanks to COVID-19. The NHL already allows teams to be cryptic about what that term means. Nowadays, it could mean an injury or a positive test for coronavirus, something that many were wondering what it meant for Shesterkin until it was later revealed he had a groin injury.

If you think the pesky coronavirus is going to go away soon, you are mistaken. While hopes of a vaccine reaching people in the next couple of months are possible, it is unlikely that it will make everything go away by the time the NHL hopes to start their next season around Dec. 1. That season may or may not be or start in a bubble.

This is why there are whispers that the NHL might rework their roster rules next year, allowing for more flexibility to help teams deal with the added concern of COVID-19. It seems to be working for the MLB and allowing players to back-and-forth to Hartford might be enough to give Alexandar Georgiev enough work to keep him sharp in case he is needed, or if Lundqvist decides to retire at the end of next season, join the expected Shesterkin-Georgiev tandem for 2021-22.

The Rangers would be wise to keep the King around. His leadership for such a talented young team would be of immense value. His teammates know it as well. “Consummate professional,” Chris Kreider said of Lundqvist after the Rangers were eliminated. “Unbelievable human being. Unbelievable competitor. The kind guy you want to be in the trenches with. Wants to win more than anyone I’ve ever met. I mean, it’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure to get to know him as a person and as a teammate. To play with him as long as I have and to see how he goes about his business on a daily basis, I have the utmost respect for Hank as a person and as a player.

The monkey wrench in all of this is the King’s contract, which will carry an $8.5 million salary-cap hit.

The second issue is, does Lundqvist really want to stay in New York and be a back-up?

Being the classy individual he is, Lundqvist does not generally air his laundry out in public, so we have no way of knowing what his feelings on this subject are. There had been some speculation that he may want to go back to Sweden and play with his brother Joel, on the Frolunda team where he started his wonderful career.

But we have a post-COVID wrinkle in the NHL timetable for buyouts. Under normal circumstances, an NHL player would be bought out and then have time to decide whether to sign in Europe. Not anymore. The NHL buyout period will be held after the Swedish Hockey League season begins.

Lundqvist could retire, but he would give up over $5 million dollars owed to him.

There are many things that could happen between now, the buyout period, and the targeted start of the season, as well as possible tweaks in roster rules. That is why the New York Rangers would be wise to at least give consideration to keeping three goaltenders, and allow one of New York’s marquee sports figures the exit he deserves.

 

New York Yankees Recaps: Yankees split with the Rays, but Giancarlo Stanton was injured

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees started out game one of a doubleheader with ace Gerrit Cole on the mound, looking for his fourth win in a row to start the season.  That did not happen. Yankee fans watched a Cole that again didn’t seem to have his best stuff.  At times he struggled and looked frustrated.  The first inning set the pace as it took him 19 pitches to get through the inning.  He ended up throwing a season-high 107 pitches in just 4.2 innings. Through the fourth, he was scoreless with 10 strikeouts, while making the pitches he had to, to keep the Rays from crossing home plate.

On his 107th pitch, appearing tired, he gave up a three-run homer to Jose Martinez. Chad Green came in to close the inning but allowed an additional run. He pitched a scoreless sixth inning, and Adam Ottavino came in in the seventh to close out the Yankees 8-4 Saturday afternoon game.

On the offensive side, Gary Sanchez continues to struggle behind the plate. In the first inning, he game to the plate with the bases loaded with Yankees and two outs. What is becoming all too common with Sanchez, he struck out leaving the bases loaded, and a huge opportunity to get the early lead.

At the top of the third inning, Mike Ford stepped to the plate and blasted a 430′ two-run homer into the stands at Tropicana Field. The long ball did not fail the New York Yankees in this game as Giancarlo Stanton homered, as did Aaron Judge. for his eighth home run of the season. In the seventh and final inning, Gio Urshela drove in the final run with a sac fly.

The final score was Yankees 8 and the Rays 4.  Chad Green got the win and Tyler Glasnow took the loss.  Cole for his part was denied his fourth win in a row, as he fell short 1/3 of an inning to get the win.

Game two:  The Yankees took the loss in game two 5-3.  Michael King got the start in the game. He loaded the bases in the first but got out of the inning only allowing one run to score. He allowed two additional runs in the fourth inning.  Albert Abreu in his major league debut gave up the other two runs in the game. King took the loss in the game.

The New York Yankees had eight hits in the game but failed to get them across the home plate when they had the chance. The bad news in the game other than the loss is an equally bad loss, the loss of Giancarlo Stanton with a probable hamstring injury.  Stanton walked in the fourth and was eventually driven in by Luke Voit. Stanton crossed home plate gingerly.

Stanton was sent for an MRI, but will likely end up on the 10 day IL. For the first time in a long time, the Yankees have enjoyed having Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the field at the same time.  Now it’s back to the next man up mentality. Stanton was on the IL twice last year and only ended up playing in 18 games.  Stanton was really showing what he could do when healthy. He’s had better plate discipline with lots of walks, three home runs, and an OPS of 1.038.

Manager Aaron Boone had this to say about Stanton after the game:

“[I’m] hurting for him, period,” Boone said. “I know what he’s done to be here. I know obviously his play speaks for itself. So hopefully it’s something that doesn’t end up keeping him down too long.”

The New York Yankees started out the season with a bang, going 8-1. but in their last six games, they are 2-4, dropping them from first in all of baseball, to fourth tied with the Minnesota Twins at 10-5. They still lead the East Division. Starting pitching has been a problem for the Yankees, something that they must solve if they are to get to the 28th World Championship.

 

New York Giants: DeAndre Baker No Longer Appealing Exempt List

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

It’s a bad offseason so far for New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker. The corner was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List when a warrant was made for his arrest, due to accusations of armed robbery. For a while, everyone wondered whether the case would be dismissed. That seemed to be what Baker’s legal team thought would happen.

However, that prediction was off as Baker was charged with four counts of robbery, while Quinton Dunbar escaped without charges. Dunbar is being removed from the exempt list and presumably will play. It’s hard to say the same thing about Baker and his chances of playing this season.

The legal case will continue, and Baker has the chance of being sentenced to life. Granted, it’s unlikely that a life sentence would actually be handed down for a robbery at a party where no one was hurt, but the fact that it’s an option shows the hot water that Baker is in right now.

Baker will remain on the Commissioner’s Exempt List

While Baker was previously appealing the decision to place him on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, him and his team have withdrawn that appeal according to Ralph Vacchiano.

Since the Exempt List is basically paid leave, Baker apparently considers it a better option than going off the list but not being able to play this season. And based on his situation, it looks like he might just have to sit out this season while the legal proceedings happen. That’s whether he’s innocent or guilty, but Baker’s innocence is a bit harder to argue for after he was charged and not Dunbar.

Apparently, prosecutors believe they have more of a case against Baker than they do against Dunbar. With that being said, the public still doesn’t know what evidence they have or don’t have, so it’s hard to make predictions.

The Giants will just have to prepare to play the season without their number two cornerback, a major blow thanks to their thin depth at the position. It’s also, however, a chance for another player to step up in Baker’s place.