New York Mets: Good Morning, It is Steve Cohen Day

New York Mets

The day New York Mets fans have longed for is finally here. At 1:30 p.m. ET, Major League Baseball’s owners will vote whether to approve or deny Steve Cohen’s bid to purchase the Wilpon/Katz group’s franchise. There has been plenty of noise in the last week, but everything is scheduled to go as planned for Cohen.

As reported, Cohen is expected to receive the votes needed for approval. It should come in the 27-29 “yes” range, with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf as the only confirmed no. Of course, Reinsdorf has close ties with Alex Rodriguez but will not convince enough owners to vote against Cohen. Reinsdorf cannot even keep the people in his organization happy (hiring Tony LaRussa), so working in collusion with other current owners is a major long shot.

Of course, Mayor Bill de Blasio had to throw his name in the mix to block the sale, but there is nothing he can do. Once Cohen gets approval, he owns the team at the 95% stake he agreed to. de Blasio comes in because the land Citi Field sits on belongs to the city. Since Cohen has no crimes to his name, he likely is hoping the owners vote against Cohen to get A-Rod back in the mix as well.

Stay Calm, Do Not Panic

Mets fans have learned not to take anything for granted and assume nothing. Despite the worries, all key sources say Cohen will get ownership of the team, and de Blasio is all talk. The Mayor cannot afford to get under the skin of any more people in his city. The vote should go as smoothly as planned since MLB desperately needs an owner who can spend plenty of money like Cohen.

As we inch closer to finding out the news on approval, there is nothing to do but check Twitter constantly and watch the hours tick away. Either way, we are in one of the most important days in the history of the New York Mets franchise, and Christmas might be coming early this year.

How will New York Giants supplement loss of Will Hernandez in week 8?

New York Giants, Will Hernandez

As if facing off against Tampa Bay wasn’t a big enough challenge, the New York Giants will travel into week 8 without starting left guard Will Hernandez. The third-year pro tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday evening, confirming that he will miss the Monday night contest against the Buccaneers.

The Giants, who are vast underdogs, have several ways they can supplement the absence of Hernandez, who has been problematic at LG this season through seven weeks. In pass protection, he’s struggling immensely, despite having moderate success in the category in 2019.

Hernandez currently has a 51.7 overall pass-blocking grade, but his run blocking has been a bit better in Jason Garrett’s newly installed scheme. He has always been known as a mauler in the trenches, dominating in the run game, but that simply hasn’t been the case this season, as he’s experienced a decrease in efficiency the past three seasons.

On Wednesday, offensive line coach Marc Colombo suggested that Shane LeMieux will begin seeing reps at guard, which most thought was a correlation to a potential Kevin Zeitler trade at the November 3 deadline.

The New York Giants have to re-think their strategy:

With Hernandez hitting the COVID-19 list, the Giants might not have a choice but to retain Zeitler and shift LeMieux into a starting role at LG for the time being. Of course, Hernandez well fill the voided spot once he tests negative for the virus, but this is a fantastic opportunity for the Oregon product to showcase his abilities.

Shane is best known for his gritty attitude and desire for aggression in the trenches. Colombo stated that his footwork simply wasn’t ready for a starting level job in the NFL, as his over-aggression caused imbalances and allowed defenders to exploit weaknesses. Being more patient in his pass blocking sets is essential, but he should be a force in the run game, which hasn’t been a significant factor in the Giants’ scheme the past few weeks.

Ultimately, the Giants need more support in pass blocking, as their tackles currently rank at the bottom of the NFL in pass block win-rate. Dave Gettleman’s unit currently allows the highest team pressure rate at 43.4%, which is 8% more than any team. With 2.5 years to solve this problem and inject fresh talent, it seems as if the line has taken steps back. It is almost unfathomable to believe that a line that consisted of Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart actually graded similar to the unit we have now with Andrew Thomas and Cam Fleming starting at both tackle positions.

Aside from the obvious deficiencies with the offensive line, the Giants could elect to move Fleming inside to the guard position and start Matt Peart at right tackle. This would allow them to ease LeMieux into his role, giving him gradual reps instead of injecting him into a starting role right off the bat.

That might be a more strategical and safe move than simply replacing him with Hernandez straight up for week eight against a dominant Tampa defense.

Yankees news/rumors: Zack Britton’s option picked up, 4 Yankees nominated for All-MLB team

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees got off to an exciting start this week, as four of their starting players have hit the free-agent market. However, it was relief pitcher Zack Britton that saw most of the attention following the end of the World Series.

Britton, who signed a three-year, $39 million deal back in 2019, had a player option after the 2020 season, but since the Yankees have the ability to accept the club option for 2022, they were able to secure control over him for next year.

That means Britton will stay in pinstripes next season at $14 million, which is great value for one of the best bullpen arms in all of baseball. He finished the 2019 campaign with a 1.91 ERA, striking out 53 batters and allowing three homers over 61.1 innings. This past year, he was even more impressive, finishing with a 1.89 ERA, 16 strikeouts, and didn’t give up a single long ball. Retaining him is a big deal for a bullpen that struggled throughout the campaign.

Keeping as many talented players as possible is how the Yankees plan to operate, but their financial flexibility has been slashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With DJ LeMahieu still waiting on a contract extension, I expect things to move rather slowly heading into the hot stove months. LeMahieu will command a ton of attention after the past two seasons, and it’s possible the Bombers miss out on his talents as his price-tag continues to rise.

Four Yankees are nominated for the 2020 All-MLB team:

For their extravagant performances, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, infielder DJ LeMahieu, slugger Luke Voit, and sharp as a tack third baseman Gio Urshela were all nominated for the accolade. Without them, the Yankees would be a completely different team, which is why retaining LeMahieu is such a big deal.

Urshela, who continues to rise above expectations after being traded by the Toronto Blue for cash considerations two years ago, has been remarkable. He finished his 2020 campaign with a .2989 average, including six homers and 30 RBIs. He enjoyed a .858 OPS, 136 OPS+, and a 1.9 WAR. Urshela has three years left of arbitration before the Yankees lose control over him, but that gives the team plenty of time to develop him and watch him grow on the hot corner.

It takes no brain surgeon to figure out how valuable Cole and DJ are to the team, but Luke Voit is another surprising name. Battling through a foot injury this season, Voit hit .277 with a league-high 22 homers. That’s one more homer than his 2019 season where he had an additional 275 at-bats.

Defending champion Chiefs praise New York Jets as Week 8 matchup looms

No one was more complimentary to the New York Jets than their Sunday opponent, the defending champion Chiefs.

It’s hard enough for New York Jets fans to say anything nice about their team these days. Their upcoming opponents, on the other hand, were more than happy to offer pleasantries.

Murphy’s Law personified, the Jets’ season from the depths of the football underworld gets scarier just in time for Halloween, as they’ll take on the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Kansas City’s first Super Bowl title in five decades might be enough to give Jets fans the slightest hope they can end their own championship drought, but this season has shown that New York is further from a championship than East Rutherford is from Paris of the Plains. The Chiefs’ title defense has gotten off to a strong start, as they sit atop the AFC West with a 6-1 mark. Patrick Mahomes has returned to the fold, but he surprisingly was responsible for only one touchdown in their most recent victory over Denver. New on-field studs have risen, including rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (the NFL’s second-leading rusher behind Derrick Henry) and a defense that has forced 13 turnovers (second-best in the NFL behind Cleveland).

Those factors and more have inflated the spread for Sunday’s match, with many expecting a massacre. FanDuel currently lists the Chiefs as 19.5-point favorites, and their attempts to cover may be one of the few attractions for viewers outside of Kansas City and New York. Jets fans may hold a macabre interest in the performance of Le’Veon Bell, the running back dismissed from the Jets just 17 games into a four-year, $52.5 million contract. Bell made his debut in red last weekend, earning 39 yards on six carries in the win over Denver. The stage could well be set for an embarrassment of epic proportions.

But if Kansas City is indeed taking the Jets lightly, they certainly haven’t shown it in the lead-up to Sunday.

The most jaw-dropping comments came from Kansas City defender Chris Jones. According to ESPN’s Adam Teicher, Jones referred to the Jets as “a very good football team”, an idea that “people tend to forget that because they haven’t won a game.” Per video from SNY, Jones had further praise for his quarterback prey Sam Darnold, remarking that “he doesn’t get the credit, but he’s a very, very good quarterback.”

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid only added to the toasting of the Jets, even offering kind words to his embattled counterpart Adam Gase.

“We look forward to the challenge of playing the Jets. They’re a good football team, well-coached,” Reid said, per Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire. “This league is all about parity. That’s what the league strives for. It’s never as good as you think and it’s never as bad as you think. Whether it’s driven by the gambling or the media or whatever it’s driven by that presents those numbers… I don’t pay attention to them first…I go off of what I see on tape.”

“Every week, somebody gets picked off that was one of these ‘favorites’ or whatever. So you go back and you focus on your agenda. You study the opponent, you respect the opponent and then you get yourself right and make yourself get better every week. If you lose focus on that, then you have a problem in this league. These are good football players and good coaches, the best in the world, right? You don’t lose focus on that.”

It’s bulletin board material for sure, though perhaps more of an inspiration kind rather than antagonistic.

But competition will nonetheless ensue at Arrowhead, where the Jets haven’t won since 1998. It will be a game driven by revenge, not only from Bell’s point of view but perhaps from that of the deadly Mahomes as well. 

The Texas Tech quarterback was on the board when the Jets chose sixth in the 2017 NFL Draft. But the Jets instead went with LSU safety Jamal Adams, who would later go on to share MVP honors with Mahomes at the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando. Adams spent three strong years with the Jets but his time in New York came to an unceremonious end this offseason, vocally demanding a trade in the latter stages of the summer. The Jets eventually granted Adams’ request with a trade to Seattle, six months after Mahomes and Chiefs topped San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV in South Beach.

Mahomes took the time to recall his positive experiences during that draft process with the Jets this week, though his words may only cause Jets fans more pain than reassurance.

“I definitely thought there was interest there,” Mahomes said of the Jets, per Pete Grathoff of KansasCity.com. “Whenever you get on those visits, you know they’re pretty interested in doing their due diligence, so I mean I definitely thought there was some interest there. At the time they drafted a great player in Jamal Adams so you can’t really argue with that one.”

Though the aging Josh McCown would start the 2018 season, the Jets were apparently convinced that their quarterback of the future was already on the roster, likely through 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg. But the Penn State product never appeared in an NFL game and was later let go in 2018. Hackenberg would spend time in Cincinnati and Philadelphia’s systems before flaming out with the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags