Hindsight is always 20/20, and the New York Yankees are likely wishing they never acquired Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in 2018. Stanton, who had a stellar first year with the Bombers, hitting .266 and 38 homers, has since fallen off astronomically over the past two seasons. While his average is decent, he has only played in 41 games, totaling 166 play appearances.
To give you some perspective, Stanton enjoyed 705 played appearances in 2018, more than quadruple his number from the last two seasons. To add, Stanton has essentially been factored out of the defense, as injuries have taken their toll end disallowed him from playing in the outfield.
The Yankees are now on the hook for $29 million in 2021 and 2022 before his salary takes a leap to $32 million per season. At the time, acquiring Stanton was a behemoth move, considering he had just won the MVP and hit 59 homeruns in 2017. The Yankees are probably wishing they never made this deal, considering his inefficiency and inability to stay healthy.
Now, the Yankees are faced with an interesting dilemma, as owner Hal Steinbrenner wants his team’s payroll to be less than next season’s $210 million luxury tax threshold.
Since the team lost more money than any other squad in the MLB due to COVID-19, their financial flexibility is strapped. Gaining back the lost revenue will be a priority this off-season, and with the expectation of a full 2021 campaign, ownership can’t get there fast enough. I wouldn’t expect the Yankees to drop big money on any high profile players but rather supplement the loss of their starting pitchers hitting FA.
The New York Yankees need to find ways to lower their payroll:
Currently, the Yankees have starting pitcher Gerrit Cole taking up 21.42% of their payroll and Stanton 17.26%. Their luxury tax on Stanton is $22 million, with his payroll at $29 million. Stanton alone is earning more than the entire Tampa Bay Rays squad, which gives you an idea of how disappointing his performances have been the past two years.
Out of 60 games in 2020, Stanton only managed to play in 23, dealing with hamstring issues. If he cannot remain healthy, it will be incredibly disappointing considering the Yankees plan on making him their specific designated hitter. Even utilizing just his bat, Stanton has picked up ailments and missed time.
With Giancarlo picking up his player option after the 2020 campaign, the Yankees are on the hook for seven more seasons until the club has a $10 million buyout in 2028. At that point in his career, he will be 38 years old, and the Yankees still paying him over $25 million per season.
Some believe that the New England Patriots’ coaching tree is untrustworthy when hired around the NFL. Others think that the genius of Bill Belichick rubs off on Patriots coaches, making them sought after targets, including teams like the New York Giants, who hired Joe Judge to be their head coach.
While Judge and the New York Giants are 1-6 on the season, he has done a stellar job keeping them focused and competing during hard-fought games. His team isn’t too far behind from edging out these victories, but there are still a few players away from being considered a respectable team in the NFL.
Of course, one of the bigger factors in the degradation of the team has been general manager Dave Gettleman, who has found ways to give away draft picks at every corner. Whether it be sending a third and fifth-rounder to the Jets for Leonard Williams during a lost season or spending a third-round pick on Sam Beal during the supplemental draft in 2018, his moves haven’t paid off in wins.
The Giants’ belief in Judge means they will stick with him for at least another two seasons, especially after showing a brand new culture and discipline within the organization. However, some believe that the Giants could fire Gettleman and target another Patriots staffer.
The team has long had interest in Caserio, who has withdrawn from opportunities to take general manager positions in the past and been prevented from pursuing others. New England is nearing a potential full-scale rebuild, while the Giants continue to lose games and struggle to contend even in the lowly NFC East. There were some within the organization who believed the Mara family should have made a general manager switch a year ago, when Joe Judge was hired to replace fired coach Pat Shurmur, and that pressure is mounting again, sources said, with the Giants plodding through what is shaping up as another lost season.
As La Canfora states, the Giants have had a long-term interest in Caserio, who is currently an executive and the director of player personnel for the Patriots.
There is an argument against Caserio, as the Patriots have only had four players play in the Pro Bowl since 2013. This more attests to the coaching staff and how they demand perfection in every facet of their scheme. Of course, it requires great personnel to fit the mold of their game plan and system.
Judge is following a similar mold, focusing on the details of his team’s system and fitting players to that mold. Having a general manager who is on the same page is essential for success, so the Giants’ interest in Caserio does not surprise me.
Tonight on the UFC Vegas 12 broadcast, it was officially announced that The Ultimate Fighter would be returning in March of 2021. The Ultimate Fighter will feature fighters in the men’s bantamweight division and the middleweight division.
The UFC‘s reality show will air exclusively on ESPN+. On the broadcast, it was announced that the UFC is currently conducting virtual auditions for the show. The announcement was made tonight for the show, but there was one thing missing.
The UFC did not announce who would be the coaches for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. There has been plenty of speculation about who could be the coaches. However, we were left in the dark on that one.
The show has produced some of the best fighters the promotion has ever seen. Guys like Kamaru Usman and Tony Ferguson are two that come to mind. UFC champions have been bred from The Ultimate Fighter, and it’s very exciting that the UFC is officially bringing it back to ESPN+.
Who will be the UFC’s coaches?
While there were no official announcements from the UFC, we can certainly start to speculate on who will coach the next season of TUF. One option that sticks out in my mind would be to have Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns coach the next season.
The two were originally supposed to fight at UFC 256, however the fight was scrapped due to some lingering injuries for Burns. We don’t know when exactly the fight will take place. However, if it can’t take place until April, that would be an option for the promotion.
A sexier option could be to have Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington coach the next season. Masvidal has blossomed into one of the biggest stars in the sport. Colby Covington who’s his former friend has turned into his biggest rival.
Another possibility would be Israel Adesanya and Jan Blachowicz. Tonight, the promotion announced that Adesanya would be moving up to light heavyweight to challenge Blachowicz next year. Could be another avenue for the promotion to build up one of their biggest stars.
Tommy Kahnle and the New York Yankees may be parting ways
The New York Yankees have outrighted Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle has been with the Yankees for four years; during that time, he has been one of the better Yankee relievers, going 6-3 with an ERA of 4.01. Last season he pitched in only one game before undergoing Tommy John surgery in August. Under most circumstances, that would mean that Kahnle would miss most if not all of the 2021 season. The Yankees decided to offer him an assignment to the minor leagues. Kahnle refused and opted for free agency.
This action does not preclude him from being in pinstripes again, but it does allow him to test the free-agent market for his services. What interest he draws is yet to be seen, as he won’t be available to pitch in the 2021 season. Any team that wants him will be looking for his help in 2022. With so little funds available to teams, it will be interesting to see how giving teams will be in acquiring free agents. He is free to talk to any team with his free agency, including the New York Yankees, should they decide to negotiate with him. We may not have seen the last of Tommy at Yankee Stadium.
Why is the stove so hot?
That’s an odd question for a baseball discussion, but that’s really what it is, a baseball discussion. For the last hundred years or so, the baseball offseason has been called the “hot stove.” According to the year, that stove can run hot or cool according to how much there is to discuss. After a season with no fans in the stands, the MLB teams don’t have a lot of money to spend to better their teams, and that includes the New York Yankees, which would lead you to believe that this season the stove will run cold.
Not so, with so many free agents on the market, sportswriters like myself and fans alike will have much bologna to throw around. And most of it will be bologna, as predicting what teams will do this early in the postseason is like predicting the first snowfall. But the question remains, why is this period called the “hot stove?” Back before the turn of the century when there was no television or internet, fans of all sports would meet on weekends at their local post office or general store and gather by the wood or cold fired pot belly stove to discuss the sports news of the day, thus the “hot stove.” This offseason, the stove is sure to run hot.
Bauer, Kluber, Gausman, or somebody else?
No matter how you try to configure the New York Yankees pitching rotation, the bottom line is they need help. That help should come from a group of premium pitching free agents. And there are many available, but probably only a few that the Yankees will target. Trevor Bauer would be the logical choice as he is the best in the free-agent market, but he may be too good for the Yankee budget.
There has been a lot of talk this week about the Yankees targeting Corey Kluber or Kevin Gausman. Kluber is coming off two injury-riddled seasons but is healthy now. Kluber, the 34-year-old righty starter, went 4-3 with an ERA of 3.97 with the Cleveland Indians before signing a contract with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers failed to exercise his 2021 option for $18 million. He broke his arm, had an oblique injury, and appeared in only one game for the Rangers, resulting in a shoulder strain that kept him off the mound for the entire season. If the Yankees go after Kluber is will only be for a low-cost, prove-it type contract.
Kevin Gausman is a different story. Gusman had a fine year with the San Francisco Giants. Gausman is a veteran righty who went 3-3 with an ERA of 3.62 in 10 starts; he also pitched out of the bullpen. Of the three pitchers mentioned, Gausman will be the economy pick. He is a solid pitcher but could hardly be called a premium pitcher. If the New York Yankees decide to go after him, it will cost them something in the $8-10 million range.
Is the Yankee pitching situation really dire?
The New York Yankees pitching situation is a hot topic this offseason. The Yankees lost Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ to free agency. Although many sportswriters predict that the Yankees will resign Tanaka at a discount, they will still be short pitchers. With Cole, Tanaka, and Mongomery, they will have to fill two slots. One of them will be filled by Luis Severino, who will most likely take the second place behind Cole.
No decision has been made on the off suspension Domingo German. They did install him back onto the 40 man roster, but owner Hal Steinbrenner has said that he will have to prove that he is a changed man in order to join the pitching staff. The big question is, how will Severino and German pitch after not pitching for over a year? If they both pitch well, the Yankees are actually in great shape in the future. But are the Yankees willing to take that chance, or will they try to add a premium arm to the rotation?
The DJ LeMahieu complicated and tangled web
All New York Yankees fans know that the Yankees need to keep DJ LeMahieu on the payroll. The Yankees know they want him on the team as well, but at what cost. DJ has been everything the Yankees could have wanted and more. Considering his stats and awards the Yankees stole him from the Colorado Rockies. He signed a two year $24 million contract and now he is a free agent.
As a free agent in this no money postseason, LeMahieu will nevertheless want a big raise. Most believe that will, be in the $20 million a year range and for no less than four years. If he wants much more than that, it is very possible the Yankees will let him walk. If he does walk that will allow the Yankees to solve one problem by moving Gleyber Torres to second base, his natural position, but they would lose a shortstop. This could lead them to take another look at the Indians star, Francisco Lindor, one of the best shortstops in the business. He would likely want a shorter contract, but at the same money LeMahieu would ask for. The Yankees really have a tangled web of decisions to make.
The New York Giants are going to need everybody to compete against Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night in what is sure to be a blowout.
Tampa has positional advantages across-the-board, and the Giants are currently dealing with several injuries that could affect their game plan significantly.
As of Saturday, running back Devonta Freeman, who suffered an ankle injury early on against Philadelphia Eagles, has been ruled OUT. Considering the challenge ahead, resting him one more week should be the priority.
RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) and WR Sterling Shepard (turf toe/shoulder) both "have a chance" to be ready for Monday night vs. Bucs, per Joe Judge. Shepard is almost expected even though he's been limited. Freeman hasn't practiced this week. #Giants
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard suffered a turf toe injury against the Chicago Bears in week two, and he missed the next four games due to the injury. He returned last week against Philly, hauling in six receptions on eight targets for 59 yards and a touchdown. He was an influential factor and boosted the offense’s ability to move down the field exponentially. Having him in the lineup is important for Big Blue, and it is believed that despite his limitations during practice this week, Shepard will be a full go against Tampa.
How does Sterling Shepard help the New York Giants’ offense?
As one of the best route runners in the NFL and undoubtedly on the Giants, Sterling opens up the field in many different ways. He is elite in a red zone and getting into open space, as well as activating web routes during offense of drives. He currently has 135 yards this season over three games, but the Buccaneers have a stellar defense with fantastic coverage corners.
Against the Green Bay Packers in week six, the Buccaneers held star receiver Devante Adams to just six catches and 61 yards, forcing one of the worst statistical performances from Aaron Rodgers in recent years. He threw for 160 yards and two interceptions, failing to find the end zone.
Even if Shepard is able to play, it doesn’t seem as if it will make much of a difference, as the Giants are severely outmatched.
On the defensive side of the ball, slot corner Darnay Holmes is also expected to play with a long week’s rest. Having injured his neck in week five against Dallas, he missed the victory over Washington lost and the loss to Philadelphia. Having him back to mark up Scotty Miller in the slot would be a nice boost.
The New York Yankees have several pitchers on their way back in 2021, including Luis Severino and Domingo German. Severino has been rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery while German was living out the rest of a suspension he picked up last year due to a domestic violence case.
The Yankees were noncommittal when it came to the retention of German — justifiably so. However, the addition of Severino will be a significant deal, as he should pair well with Gerrit Cole.
Severino has been a bit inconsistent the past few seasons, with a notable 2017 performance, when he finished with a 2.98 ERA, striking out 230 batters over 193 innings. He backed up his performance in 2018 with a 3.39 ERA. He pitched just 12 innings in 2019 before being shut down and suffered another significant injury this past spring training.
With the Yankees losing three starting pitchers to free agency, including James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, JA Happ, signing another option is essential. That is where former Texas Ranger pitcher Corey Kluber comes into play.
Corey Kluber is now a free agent. Could the Yankees be his next team? Pitching coach Matt Blake worked with Kluber in Cleveland, and Kluber has worked out in previous offseason with Eric Cressey, who is New York's Director of Player Health & Performance.
Kluber pitched just one inning this past year for the Rangers but had been stellar for the Cleveland Indians in a larger sample size. He pitched nine years with Cleveland, with notable performances between 2016-18. In 2017, he finished with a 2.25 ERA, striking out 265 batters over 203 innings. He won the Cy Young award and ranked seventh in MVP voting. He’s only three years removed from his most impressive performance, so the Yankees investing minimal capital on him as a high upside player is not a bad idea.
This past season, Kluber was on a one-year, $1 million deal with the Rangers after being traded by the Indians. He is now a free agent, and the Yankees might be inclined to invest capital on him for one season.
The Rangers declined his $18 million club option for 2021, which opens the door for the Yankees, who are in need of starting pitching. He did suffer a broken forearm in 2019 and a grade 2 shoulder tear in 2020, which has significantly dampened the optimism around his game. It will take time for him to return to form, but it is possible he never sees the same caliber performances he enjoyed in 2017, but he could still be of value.
If the Yankees are looking to save salary cap after a tumultuous 2020 campaign due to COVID-19, taking a flyer on Kluber is not a bad idea.
The New York Rangers have a bit of a player personnel decision coming up. as on November 5, they have an important arbitration hearing with 27-year-old Ryan Strome.
The Blueshirts would probably want Strome back for one year, maybe two. However, there is the issue of the pesky flat salary cap.
The other issue for the Rangers is what Ryan Strome are they paying for? The one that had a great deal of success playing with Artemi Panarin? Or the one that underachieved in Edmonton?
There is still a possibility that the two sides could settle before the arbitration date. However, if the arbitrator awards Strome an amount that does not suit the Rangers, they could just walk away and let him be an unrestricted free agent. The two sides are about a million dollars apart, with Strome reportedly looking for 5 million and the Rangers likely offering 4 million.
The Rangers generally would like to keep Strome to see if he could reproduce last season’s numbers, but the flat cap might make that impossible. Enter the “inexpensive replacement” for Strome.
Matthew Barzal – C – Islanders
Replacing Strome with someone from your crosstown rivals would be a very nice signing. The RFA was an $863,333 cap hit last season, but GM Lou Lamoriello sent a message to any GM thinking of floating an offer sheet Barzal’s way when was asked by a fan if he’d match any competitive contract offer for his top centerman.
“It is our intention to not allow it to get to that point, but should that happen, the answer is yes,” Lamoriello replied.
Whether or not they can is another matter, but Barzal brings a lot to the table. He has scored more points (60) and points per game (0.88) than any other impending RFA, despite playing in a system that emphasizes defense. Barzal skates more than 20 minutes a night and has three consecutive 60-point seasons and three seasons as the Isles’ top scorer. Plus he brings something that the Rangers greatly missed last year: a gutsy performance in the playoffs.
Anthony Cirelli – C – Lightning
Even though Tampa Bay would love to keep him, they have salary cap issues themselves. Last season, Cirelli was a $728,333 cap hit in Tampa Bay.
The 23-year-old came in fourth place in 2020 Selke Trophy voting for his two-way game. His points per game and plus/minus have increased every season and he is in the top-five among all NHL forwards in penalty-killing time (2:49 per game).
The Lightning would love to have him back but will probably not be able to fit everyone they want under the cap.
Pierre-Luc Dubois – C – Blue Jackets
It would be great to reunite him with Panarin as Dubois exploded for a 61-point campaign skating mostly alongside the Breadman but the reality is that Columbus does not have a salary cap problem and will likely want to keep him at almost any cost.
Derek Brassard – C – Unrestricted Free Agent
The 33-year-old, NHL journeyman and former Blueshirt played in 66 games where he has 10 goals and 22 assists and has a -2 plus/minus for the Islanders. He was a non-factor in the playoffs for the and was omitted from the lineup four times as a scratch, during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
His contract would likely be around a million dollars but his veteran presence may be welcomed.
Dylan Strome – C – Blackhawks
The younger brother of Ryan is a restricted free agent. While the Blackhawks may sign him, there has not been a big rush to do so, possibly as the brass in Chicago ponders what to do with their rebuild and their tight salary cap.
The younger Strome would cost about half as much as his brother and has posted 51 and 38 points respectively during his last two seasons in Chicago. Common wisdom should indicate that he could at least duplicate if not improve on those numbers playing with Panarin.
Jack Roslovic – C – Jets
Reports out of Winnipeg have stated that Roslovic has expressed an interest in a change of scenery. The 23-year-old has steadily improved in his three years in the league with the Jets. He posted career highs in goals (12) and assists (17) and has been starting to show the potential to be a No. 2 center on the team. This could mean that he would be a lower cost to Strome but could at least maintain the productivity.
It will be an interesting week to see what transpires between the Rangers and Ryan Strome. It is a tricky situation with the arbitration, a flat salary cap, and figuring his true value having a lot to do with whether Strome remains a Blueshirt or the Rangers part ways with him.
The New York Jets’ draft class is making its way to the field. Their prescience should fuel the team and fans over a trying ten weeks.
Even when adhering to social distancing, autumn in New York…and New Jersey, for that matter…is blessed with enough open space that one has the luxury of choosing Sunday activities beyond football. Sure, it’s a time-honored tradition for many households in the metropolitan area, but with one of their teams seemingly destined for NFL infamy (and the other really isn’t much better), a healthier fall activity is strongly encouraged in these trying times.
After all, why raise your blood pressure? The New York Jets are 0-7, the lone winless team left in the NFL. They probably won’t be favored in any of their final nine games, and a 19.5 line against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS) somehow seems like if too low. Even if the Jets somehow earn a win, they’ll lose, fall in the endeavor for Trevor (Lawrence) standings. Sure, tuning into the Kansas City showdown might go along with the theme of watching horror movies on Halloween weekend (with Le’Veon Bell perhaps playing the role of the threat back from the dead to wreak havoc), but there have to be better ways to spend one’s time in this area.
Perhaps the most brutal aspect…or merciful, depending on your point of view…of this most recent chapter of the Jets’ perpetual rebuild is the fact that none of these games appear to be truly close, their average margin of defeat coming by three possessions. No one said this was going to be the Jets’ season…even one of the extra wild card berths seemed like far too much to ask for…but they could at least provide hope for the future by giving opponents all they could handle and at least make the quest for the win difficult. Last week’s 18-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills’ might’ve fit the criteria of such a constructive defeat, but the Jets offset any good that might’ve emerged by earning a mere four yards in the second half…a figure made all the more depressing by the fact they earned a 13-yard rush on their first drive of the segment.
But, those who are dedicated to this team, those opt for, need the three-hour escape that is Jets football…salvation may be on the horizon.
The Jets’ final weeks may become football’s ultimate example of “trick or treat”. With this brutal 0-7 ledger, one that has the Jets further from the AFC playoff picture than driving from East Rutherford to Kansas City, a macabre gift arrives in the form of nine free weeks of research and development. Risks can be taken, assessments can be made…all in the name of playing relatively consequence-free football from a team standpoint.
It’s time for the Jets to unleash the rookies.
The modern New York draft class is a bit of an uncanny situation for general manager Joe Douglas. Overseeing his second full season with the team, Douglas is still working with his inaugural draft group obtained in April. Adding to the discomfort of the situation was the fact that the general manager was in an awkward position at 11th overall, one that gave the Jets a perfect opportunity to fill one of their most crucial needs: protection for Sam Darnold or get him a receiver. The fact the Jets had that many needs to fill with that single pick just goes to show where they were as a franchise. If Douglas satisfied one need, he would anger supporters of the other. It came to pass that when he opted to use the selection on Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, he passed on several talented receivers, such as Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb. For all intents and purposes, it seems like Douglas let the right one in with Becton (the same could probably be said about sixth-round punter Braden Mann) and he was able to whet the appetite of the pro-receiver crowd by opening the day two proceedings with the selection of Denzel Mims out of Baylor.
In typical Jets fashion, their 2020 draft class appears to be a star-crossed group, done in by factors both in and beyond their control. Injuries have plagued the class, Becton was controversially inserted into the Jets’ primetime game against Denver despite dealing with a shoulder issue suffered against Indianapolis a week prior. Mims injured both of his hamstrings and missed most of training camp, as did Jabari Zuniga. Even the Jets’ handling of their healthy rookies left something to be desired. With Bell injured and later released, the time seemed perfect to hand over the rushing reigns to touted fourth-round project La’Mical Perine, but the Florida alum has been forced to share carries, and even sit behind, a 37-year-old Frank Gore.
But rookie reinforcements are coming in. It’s time for the youth to revolt. These youngsters, even if it comes merely through the fact they’ve been dealt few snaps than their veteran compatriots, are the least guilty parties in the Jets’ early demise. It’s players like these that will shape the future and will be counted on to lead the potential glory days. Even if these players aren’t the answer, they deserve to at least get a chance to prove otherwise rather than sticking with veterans who clearly aren’t working. T
Such a strategy played in the Jets’ favor last Sunday. With offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains calling plays, Perine and Mims (making his NFL debut) earned extended opportunities. The receiver wound up being the Jets’ top aerial threat (42 yards on four receptions) while Perine (11 carries for 39 yards) wound up scoring the team’s only touchdown. They would unite on that play, as Mims’ crucial block afforded Perine the necessary yardage to give the Jets a short-lived 10-0 lead.
Speaking with Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com after the game, Perine expressed his excitement in taking the field with fellow premier picks Becton and Mims and seems quite keen for such endeavors to become more regular.
“It was great to see Mims out there just because he hasn’t been out there the whole season, he didn’t have a training camp. For him to be as confident as he was, I wasn’t surprised but it was just good to see. And Mekhi, he’s a great dude, a great player who’s always going to work hard and be the guy he is. They drafted him in the first round for a reason and he’s putting everybody on notice.”
Out of these darkest hours, a golden opportunity has emerged in the form of a silver lining. The Jets must wisely seize it while it’s still on the table.
Hand it off to Perine. Target plays for Mims as much as possible. Run to Becton’s side. Allow Zuniga an opportunity to rush the passer.
Some of these opportunities could well become necessities, as the Jets are dealing with several injuries leading into their dire deposition against Kansas City. For example, Ashtyn Davis could see a bigger role with Bradley McDougald down. It’s an opportunity that head coach Adam Gase has noticed. Developing talent in the rookie class could well be the last chance Gase has to truly save his position, if he’s not too far gone as is.
“I know (Douglas) is excited to see these guys play,” Gase said this week, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “We’ve been waiting. I think we were one week where it was like Perine might have been the only guy that was available, and that’s frustrating because we really like this draft class and we feel like these guys can help us a lot. For us to have injuries or whatever it’s been at the beginning of the year, to get all these guys out there that’s a step in the right direction.”
The Jets season, or what’s left of it, is going to be a draft no matter what lies ahead. One of the few ways to prevent this endeavor from truly becoming a waste is to prepare for the future…in the dreary present.