Three reasons the New York Giants can get win number three on Sunday

New York Giants, Wayne Gallman

The New York Giants take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, and they have a chance to win back to back games for the first time this season. The team followed up their first win of the season with close back to back losses to Philadelphia and Tampa – now, they’ll have a chance to change that track record and get revenge for their bad loss in Philly.

But why should we be confident the Giants will pull this one out?

Daniel Jones cutting down on turnovers

The most recent game for the Giants was the first one this season where Daniel Jones had one or more touchdowns and no interceptions. He also didn’t lose a fumble, getting him out of the game with no turnovers. Turnovers have been a big problem for Jones this season and have earned him plenty of criticism from fans.

During the team’s back to back losses picked up following their first win of the season, Jones threw three interceptions and lost one fumble. Taking more care of the ball is a different trend from the rest of the season, as Jones already has nine interceptions right now. If he can keep up the safer decision making, the Giants have a better chance of winning this one.

The Giants came close last time

The Giants should have won their first meeting with the Eagles. That’s not a biased statement, but the truth. The Giants only had to run the clock out and they would have walked away with a victory. However, the now infamous drop from Evan Engram cost the team a first down and the game ended as an unexpected loss.

These types of weird situations usually don’t happen twice. No one in the NFC East is a very good team this year and the Eagles should still be a beatable team. The Giants did alright the first time around when they played the Eagles. They made plays on offense just at the right time, and would have produced just enough to come away with a win if it wasn’t for the late drop that gave the Eagles another possession.

This time, the Giants might know better than sending the ball Evan Engram’s way if the team is in trouble late in the game.

High performance defense

Several defensive players for the Giants have stepped it up this season. One of them, linebacker Blake Martinez, is leading the league in tackles right now. Martinez has 92 tackles right now, an impressive accomplishment for a player that was considered a castoff from Green Bay and who faced skepticism after signing his deal with the Giants. Martinez had a big contribution to the Giants’ second win, with 10 tackles as well as an interception.

Another player stepping it up is Leonard Williams. He’s had sacks in back to back games and has had five so far this season. That’s a pretty big step up from his poor statistics last season after joining the Giants, and Williams has justified the team’s decision to keep him around for another year.

James Bradberry has taken up the top cornerback mantle from Janoris Jenkins and done good things in the role. He has 3 interceptions so far which ties him for 5th in the league and will likely be a factor in Giants wins going forward.

Can the Giants pull it off?

The Eagles barely managed a win in the first meeting between these two teams. That was with a home crowd at their backs and the advantage of facing a first time head coach with a new administration. This time, the Giants have a bit more familiarity with their opponent and experience crafting a game plan to face the Eagles. Daniel Jones also did better last time out avoiding turnovers and the top performers on defense haven’t let up in their performances.

There’s no guarantee that anyone will win any game in the NFC East this year, but it’s safe to say the Giants at least have a good chance to beat the Eagles and pick up their third win of the season on Sunday.

New York Giants: Golden Tate apologizes for outbursts following media silence

New York Giants, Golden Tate

The New York Giants were without Golden Tate when they picked up the second win of their season, not because of an injury but because of discipline. Tate was left out of the lineup thanks to the drama going on between him and the team. His desire to receive the ball more resulted in conflict as he had an outburst on the sidelines during the Tampa Bay game and his wife took to social media to complain afterwards.

That, and Tate liking tweets that criticized the team, landed him on the wrong end of disciplinary action. He missed the Washington game as the team opted to suspend him and the Giants went on to win without him on the field.

Now, Tate is preparing for a comeback but has broken his media silence to come out and apologize for his previous actions.

“If you know me, if you know my game, I play with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion. I just got caught up in the moment. I was wrong to draw attention to myself. I take full responsibility for that. I handled it the wrong way and, again, brought negative attention to our organization. It was something that won’t happen again,” Tate told reporters.

“I was definitely disappointed, but there are consequences for your actions. My actions were unacceptable, and I apologized to the team, GM, the coaches, the offense, and I’m excited to move forward,” he continued.

He might be back on the good side of the coaching staff for now, but it remains to be seen if he has a future with the team. The Giants did win without him in the lineup, after all, and Tate was one of the players that was reportedly on the trading block before the deadline.

No deal ever happened, but Tate ended up in a rocky position with the team regardless and the Giants have proved they have other receivers to catch the ball. Either way, Tate has a good motivation now to perform on Sunday and put the previous suspension out of everyone’s collective memory.

Bellator: Fedor Emelianenko will return in 2021

Fedor Emelianenko

We haven’t seen or heard much about Bellator‘s Last Emperor in 2020. Fedor Emelianenko has yet to step foot into the cage this year after competing back in December of 2019 at Bellator 237.

The 44 year old has been in a state of limbo much like the rest of the world. Bellator President, Scott Coker, had been asked in recent months about the return of Fedor. He never gave a clear answer on what would be next for Emelianenko.

There was talk of Emelianenko perhaps getting a rematch with Fabricio Werdum. Werdum was the man who snapped Emelianenko’s historic winning streak back in Strikeforce ten years ago.

Since then, Emelianenko has wanted to get that fight back. Werdum recently became a free agent and Bellator had been in talks with him about the rematch. However, reports are surfacing that the talks between Werdum and Bellator fell apart. 

With that, it looks like we are not going to get the rematch after all. However, Coker did shed some light on when Emelianenko would be making his return to the cage.

Fedor’s Bellator Return

Coker told reporters on Thursday, “We’d really like him to fight when there’s an audience available. But that can be challenging. So we’ll have to make a decision here pretty soon. But he’s going to fight in 2021 for sure, no matter what, because he has to fight and he’s got to keep going.”

Obviously there’s no word on who Bellator will pair up against Emelianenko, but I would expect it to be a high profile matchup. Perhaps Bellator can work things out and make the rematch happen with Werdum.

If they can’t make that happen, another good possibility could be Cheick Kongo. Kongo was close to getting a title shot, however, he just lost a decision to Timothy Johnson last month.

Either way, we know for sure that Fedor Emelianenko will be returning to Bellator at some point in 2021. I know Coker is wanting to wait for fans, but I think that’s something he might have to give up on.

Kevin O’Connor: Knicks interested in Celtics’ Gordon Hayward

It appears the New York Knicks are trying to acquire not only one but two stars in what is shaping out to be a quick rebuild under new team president Leon Rose.

On the heels of multiple reports coming out from New York that the Knicks have weighed on trading for Houston Rockets’ star Russell Westbrook, another star looms on the horizon.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer came out with another bombshell: the Knicks are interested in Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward.

“Gordon Hayward, who obviously — there’s already been rumors we’ve heard about maybe him wanting to move on. The Knicks are interested, I’ve heard…,” O’Connor said on The Ringer NBA Show The Mismatch.

Earlier this month, O’Connor’s colleague at The Ringer, Ryen Rusillo, posited on Bill Simmon’s podcast that Hayward is mulling opting out and entering the free agency bereft of superstars. If he opts out, he will become the most prominent name out there, with Toronto Raptors’ free agent Fred Van Vleet not far behind.

“I’ve heard Gordon Hayward does want out, but I don’t know if he’s gonna get the money. He’s not opting out of that huge number unless he knows he’s getting the deal.”

The 30-yeard old Hayward has a $34.1 million player option but maybe looking for long-term security after his stint with the Celtics have been defined by injuries.

The Knicks will still have a cap space to offer Hayward even if they absorb the remaining massive $132.7 million left in Westbrook’s original five-year contract.

Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 52 games for the Celtics last season.

The lure of New York for Hayward has become brighter after Johnnie Bryant, the former Utah Jazz assistant coach, joined the Knicks. Bryant is credited for Hayward’s development into an All-Star while he was in Utah.

Hayward has also been linked to Indiana Pacers in a potential trade for center Myles Turner.

Hayward’s future in Boston has become murky after O’Connor reported in his Mock Draft that the Celtics are planning to reroute their three draft picks for New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday.

“The Celtics have offered up their three first-round picks (nos. 14, 26, and 30) in trades to try and move into the lottery, but multiple league sources say they intend to reroute that pick to the Pelicans in exchange for Jrue Holiday. If Boston is able to acquire the necessary assets, it’d still need to add salaries to make a deal work. Could that mean Gordon Hayward or Kemba Walker could be on the move?” O’Connor wrote.

The league’s transaction window is expected to be open beginning Monday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Mets: Dom Smith is very impressed with Steve Cohen

The New York Mets had a Cy Young award finalist in Jacob deGrom, yet only one player finished in the top 15 of the National MVP voting. Dare to guess who that player is? No, it’s not Pete Alonso, or Jeff McNeil, or even Michael Conforto. It was Dominic Smith.

If you thought Smith would be the only New York Mets’ player in the top 15 of the NL MVP ballot, well, you could be related to Smith. But with hard work, an improved batting line (.316/.377/.616, with 10 home runs, a .412 wOBA and a 165 wRC+) and playing time that became available after Yoenis Cespedes decided to opt out, he managed to get two eight place votes, four nine place votes and a couple of 10th place ones to finish 13th.

He has become one of the Mets’ best building blocks. And he, along with other members of the organization, has been impressed with new owner Steve Cohen, a lifelong fan of the team that has said all the right teams to a hungry fanbase.

The Mets’ new owner has another fan in Smith

According to Bradford William Davis of the New York Daily News, Smith didn’t watch the whole press conference but was extremely impressed with everything he heard and saw. “Having an owner come in like that and say some pretty demanding things, and have high hopes for the organization the way he does, is definitely just a great sign.”

“You just want to pretty much work and give him everything he wants,” Smith said. “And he wants to win the World Series in the near future, that’s definitely a goal of everybody on this 25 man roster.”

Fellow member of the Mets Marcus Stroman was also impressed with Cohen’s remarks and involvement since he was approved by the MLB owners as the new leader. The two had a very pleasant Twitter exchange.

Smith said that the Mets are just a couple of pieces short of building something great. “If you look at the talent on the roster, over the last several years, we have a roster that definitely can do some things,” he said. “A lot of our team — we’ve done a ton of self-evaluations, and we were all going back to the drawing board. So to have a team that motivated going into (the) offseason, we can do just about anything.”

Knicks weigh Westbrook trade, Rockets star denies Harden rift

New York Knicks, Russell Westbrook

Despite Russell Westbrook coming out in the open to deny the supposed rift with James Harden, the trade chatter just wouldn’t die.

Westbrook replied on ESPN’s Instagram post quoting Stephen A. Smith’s claim of the alleged rift, denying that the Rockets’ superstars no longer want to play together.

”It’s my birthday, but I should say. This is completely fabricated. Y’all have a good night,” Westbrook said.

But even Westbrook’s denial couldn’t stop the trade chatter building up for what could be a blockbuster trade in this compressed offseason.

Marc Stein of the New York Times tweeted on Friday that the New York Knicks have weighed trading for Westbrook.

There’s a debate whether the Knicks are willing to absorb the massive $132.7 million left on his five-year, $206.8 million contract.

The Knicks are one of the only few teams who can absorb Westbrook’s contract without having to match salaries. The other teams who have cap space are the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons.

Jonathan Macri of the New York Film School, on the other hand, wrote in his Friday newsletter that a package centered on Julius Randle had been discussed.

“According to multiple league sources, the Knicks have discussed the specifics of a package that would bring the 2016-17 NBA MVP to New York. The sources indicate that none of the Knicks’ key young pieces are on the table (read: RJ, Mitch, and as far as I can tell, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina), nor will they be. The same goes for any of New York’s own draft picks. I’ve heard Julius Randle would be going, along with some sort of draft asset – maybe 27, maybe 38, maybe one of the Dallas picks – but I can’t confirm which,” Macri wrote.

Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Heavy.com also tweeted last night that the Knicks are not the only team in Westbrook/Rockets’ trade partner wishlist.

Robinson also reported that the Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers have also discussed trading Paul George in exchange for Westbrook and Robert Covington.

Westbrook, a nine-time All-NBA team member, had just turned 32 yesterday. The Rockets acquired Westbrook from Oklahoma City Thunder last year in exchange for Chris Paul. The Rockets also sent two protected first-round picks to the Thunder.

Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.6 steals in 57 games for the Rockets last season.

Earlier this week, ESPN reported that both Westbrook and Harden had expressed concern on the franchise’s direction after parting ways with former coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey.

The Rockets, who elevated Rafael Stone from assistant to general manager, and hiring first-time head coach Stephen Silas, have maintained they are still committed to contending for the title around their superstars.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Jets: What’s next for Mekhi Becton in 2020?

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

Mekhi Becton has an undeniable future with the New York Jets. But with injuries interrupting, what should they do upon returning?

A lot of uncertainty surrounds the 2020 New York Jets. Mekhi Becton is far from that firestorm.

For all the faults of the modern Jets (0-9), Becton is perhaps as far removed from the gridiron cesspool as one from New York possibly can. Chosen 11th in April’s draft, the blocker will forever go down as the first pick of the Joe Douglas era. Thus far, Becton has fulfilled the hype that caused Douglas and New York decisionmakers to pass on several high-profile receivers. He has earned positive reviews from both his teammates and the coaching staff. Becton recently went viral for a big block laid down in the Jets’ recent showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, when he lifted the 260-pound defender Frank Clark off his feet in making a block.

“I don’t care who you are, he’s going to try to finish you,” running back Frank Gore said of Becton, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “He’s an old-school lineman, a Larry Allen-type guy. Larry Allen, that’s a Hall of Famer. I don’t want to speak too fast because he’s a young player, but he’s got a chance to do special things.”

“With Mekhi, he’s so big, he’s so powerful,” head coach Adam Gase noted, per Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com. “Once he gets his momentum going and he has his hands on you, it’s hard to redirect and it’s hard to get off him.”

But even Becton isn’t fully immune to the Jets’ struggles. Injuries have taken their toll on Becton in the early going, including a chest injury in the early stages of Monday’s 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots. The ailment, which limited him to only 15 snaps in the nationally televised showdown, follows a shoulder injury sustained during the Week 3 defeat in Indianapolis. Just four days later, Becton was held out of the starting lineup in a Thursday night game against Denver but nonetheless dressed and entered the tilt when his replacement, sophomore Chuma Edoga, was lost to an injury of his own. Becton appeared to reinjure his shoulder against the Broncos and missed the Jets’ next two games entirely before returning for their home tilt against Buffalo in Week 7.

Heading into their bye, the Jets have been somewhat mum on Becton’s status moving forward, listing Becton as questionable after he visited the medical tent before going back to the locker room. Perhaps the best update has come from Becton himself, who mentioned that he was “good” and thanked fans for inquiring about his condition on Twitter.

But the Jets have an uncomfortable question…well, one of many uncomfortable questions that they’ll need to answer going forward: would they just be better off putting Becton in storage and waiting for happier times in 2021?

There are no indications that the Jets plan to make such a move, nor has Becton stated that he wants or would sit down the final seven games of this woebegone campaign. But there are certainly reasons why such an approach would be understandable.

Becton is perhaps far too great a competitor to buy into such a concept, but his injuries certainly give the Jets and their medical staff something to think about. The team already somewhat tempted fate by letting him into the Denver game, and this New England issue sounds somewhat more concerning.

According to head coach Adam Gase, Becton’s injury “caused him to have difficulty breathing”, per notes provided by the Jets.

“We went through all kinds of things to make sure that he was good,” Gase said. “Really at the end of the day, we decided not to put him back in the game, just making sure that he was okay. We were concerned that maybe there was something there we couldn’t figure out. We just wanted to make sure our trainers and doctors did everything they could to rule out any issues there. It’s no kind of muscle injury or anything like that, so we’ll take this next week to really kind of keep looking at that and hopefully get to a point where he’ll be ready to go for the next game.”

Gase didn’t want to play doctor but mentioned that the team medical staff didn’t say it was a lung or heart-related issue. He reiterated the team is “trying to put him in position to where he can play the next game”.

Becton is in a rare spot where his status in 2021, and likely beyond if he keeps playing at the current rate he’s created, is in no question. He’s one of the silver linings of this team and is ready to protect the franchise quarterback for years to come…be it Sam Darnold, Trevor Lawrence, or an unnamed third party.

There’s something tempting about giving Becton seven more consequence-free opportunities at game speed, just to truly hone his skills in his rookie campaign. But there have already been three occasions (Indianapolis, Denver, New England) where Becton has had to miss time due to injury. Sure, it’d be great for Becton to develop more chemistry with the offense…whoever sticks around for 2021, anyway…but at what point do you pull the plug on trying to salvage a lost season through him? When is the risk too great to keep the damage confined to this season alone?

Again, there’s no indication that any side has considered a Becton shutdown. If anything, Douglas indicated in comments made prior to Monday that his original draft pick wants to get in as many downs as possible before the year is out and that he wants to help the Jets put together anything that could be considered a positive or progress in 2020.

“He truly cares, and he truly wants to help,” Douglas said in notes provided by the Jets. “I think he is a player that is going to help us long-term. We’re excited about working with him every day, because you’re talking about a young man that loves football. He’s very smart, he’s tough as nails, and has a rare size and athleticism. And still, he’s just scratching the surface of what he can do physically. There’s a lot of desire from him to want to be the best player that he can be, so we’ve made it our mission to sort of bend over backwards to try to help him reach his goals.”

The Jets return to action on November 22 against on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills: John Brown is in the spotlight in return to Arizona

After coming up big against Seattle, Buffalo Bills WR John Brown hopes Sunday is just the start of something bigger for Orchard Park.

It’s not often that the athletic paths of Western New York and the Arizona desert converge. The most notable incident is probably a 2015 NHL showdown between the Sabres and Coyotes where hometown Buffalo fans cheered an overtime loss because it bettered the odds in the NHL Draft Lottery’s Connor McDavid sweepstakes (the gambit didn’t even pay off, as the Edmonton Oilers leapfrogged them both on lottery night).

John Brown serves as rare middle ground in the Buffalo-Arizona Venn diagram. The Division standout from Mars Hill and Pittsburg State entered the league as a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. Injuries prevented him from reaching his full potential after four seasons, leading a transfer to Baltimore in 2018 before settling in his current Buffalo surroundings through a three-year, $27 million deal with the Bills. Brown will face his original employers for the first time when the Bills meet the Cardinals for their quadrennial showdown at State Farm Stadium on Sunday afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).

Brown has had his share of success on the NFL level, posting four digits in yardage in both his Arizona and Buffalo incarnations, including a career-best 1,060 in his Bills debut. The aforementioned ailments, however, have stopped him from making a truly lasting mark on the NFL game, even if his likelihood of success could be considered astronomical considering his Division II roots. A knee and calf issue has already cost him two games this season, preventing him from capitalizing on his career year, when he led or tied for the lead in all major Buffalo receiving categories (also earning 72 receptions, six of which went for scores).

“I think the vertical presence that he has, the speed and the quickness that he has, he’s able to run some really good in-breaking routes,” quarterback Josh Allen said of his two years working with Brown, per Matt Parrino of Syracuse.com. “He’s another matchup that you have to focus on. You can’t just play man to man and roll somebody to (Stefon Diggs). You got to worry backside what John’s doing too.”

Last Sunday seemed to hint at Brown returning to full strength. The receiver played a large role in the Bills’ statement win over the Seattle Seahawks, earning a season-best 99 yards on eight receptions. None were bigger than a 33-yard tally on a screen pass on a 16-yard third down in the fourth quarter. It set the Bills up for a one-yard touchdown run from Zack Moss, a score that permanently put the Bills ahead by two possessions in what became a 44-34 victory over the NFC leaders.

In addition to the considerable amount of talent and potential he has left, the 30-year-old Brown brings a sense of veteran leadership and direction to a young team potentially on the cusp of something bigger. That was perfectly on display during a chaotic offseason where minicamps and preseason games were wiped out by the ongoing health crisis. When the Bills brought in UCF rookie Gabriel Davis in the fourth round of April’s draft, Brown was immediately on the case through mentorship.

“When I got drafted ‘Smoke’ took me in,” Davis said in reference to Brown, per Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com (no relation). “I was asked to stay at his crib for a few days to get with him on some football things.”

“That’s something I had to accept,” John Brown told Buffalobills.com about his new role in the locker room. “I couldn’t put myself first. The plays were going to come but helping others would help the team even more. It was a lot, but I got there.”

Brown’s impact is felt beyond the receiver room. According to Thad Brown (also unrelated) of RochesterFirst.com, offensive lineman Dion Dawkins referred to the receiver as one of “(his) my favorite players on this offense”, as well as a “silent sniper…an assassin”.

Brown will get a chance to reunite with the man who bestowed the knowledge of leadership to him on Sunday, Upon his arrival to Arizona in 2014, Brown worked closely with veteran Larry Fitzgerald, who’s in the midst of his 17th NFL season with the Cardinals. Fitzgerald has earned 261 on 33 catches thus far in 2020.

“I was able to help out because I know a lot from being around Larry Fitzgerald,” John Brown said in Chris Brown’s report. “I’m real thankful for Larry because I’m able to help these guys and I see them taking it in.”

Arizona (5-3) is coming off a 34-31 defeat at the hands of Buffalo’s divisional rivals from Miami.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Carson Wentz struggling ahead of crucial Week 10 matchup

The New York Giants will host the Philadelphia Eagles at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday for a crucial divisional matchup. The last time these two teams faced off was in Week 7 on Thursday night as the Giants suffered a heart-breaking defeat on primetime.

The Giants have not beat their rival Eagles since 2016. New York is looking to end that divisional losing streak this week. Luckily for them, Philadelphia’s quarterback, Carson Wentz, has struggled throughout the 2020 NFL season. The Giants could look to exploit this and come out on top in Week 10.

Carson Wentz’s 2020 Struggles

The Philadelphia Eagles sit atop the NFC East with an overall record of 3-4-1. The Eagles, like the rest of the NFC East, have struggled to find wins in 2020. Philadelphia has suffered from some key injuries this year, making things especially difficult for quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz has not had many playmakers to share the football with and has had to endure plenty of injuries on the offensive line. This has led to plenty of struggles this season for Wentz.

Carson Wentz has a completion percentage of 58.4%, the 32nd ranked in the NFL this season. But Wentz ranks towards the bottom of the league in multiple statistical categories. Carson leads the NFL with 12 interceptions and, according to Pro Football Focus, the most turnover-worthy plays in the NFL this season. PFF has Wentz graded as the 31st overall quarterback in the league.

Luckily for Wentz and Philadelphia, the offense will be replenished with a couple of healthy playmakers returning to the lineup. Miles Sanders and Alshon Jeffrey will return to the lineup this week to aid Carson Wentz and the offensive attack.

Currently, the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East. They have a narrow lead in the division, but the Giants could make up some serious ground with a win on Sunday. A win over Philadelphia could keep the Giants in the playoff hunt.

Yankees: DJ LeMahieu breaks silence, states why he loves playing in the Bronx

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

On Thursday night, New York Yankees star infielder DJ LeMahieu finished third in voting for the AL MVP award. Having won the batting title with a .364 average, including 10 homers and 27 RBIs, LeMahieu was probably wondering what else it takes to win the accolade. He has never won an MVP, but he’s ranked in the top five twice, and both of them happened in the last two years.

However, the Yankees are on the fridge of potentially losing their best player, offensively and defensively. Since signing a two-year, $24 million deal in 2019, LeMahieu’s stock has skyrocketed, and is expected to make more than double what he was making per season when he signed his previous deal with the Bombers. Owner Hal Steinbrenner stated after the World Series concluded that he understands the value that DJ brings to the team and hinted that re-signing him would be a necessity and priority.

The good news is, DJ wants to stay in the Bronx, having experienced only positive things the past few seasons.

“I enjoy it,” LeMahieu said of the Bronx. “Every game feels like a big game. You feel like you’re under the spotlight, not getting away with anything in New York. I just feel like it’s a city that loves baseball and baseball is my passion.”

The energy and confidence the organization bleeds often captivates the players, and LeMahieu fits like a glove.

“Absolutely,” LeMahieu said. “It’s those dog days of August. The day games. You get a packed house. Everybody’s on board. Everybody wants to win. I think it heightens the focus and it’s a lot of fun.”

There are other teams suitable for DJ, but his desire is to stay in pinstripes, and that ultimately depends on the Yankees’ desire to spend money this off-season.

The New York Yankees are preparing to take a conservative approach this offseason:

The Bombers’ revenue streams were hurt more than any other team due to COVID-19, Steinbrenner stated several weeks ago. However, they have $52 million coming off the books with three starting pitchers hitting free agency and $21 million being cleared from Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract. That should open up enough to retain LeMahieu, but they have other needs, and the rumors have been flowing around Francisco Lindor and potentially the acquisition of Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina.

LeMahieu will be expensive, but he is the one player that is worth every penny the Yankees would spend. If there’s anyone worth paying for, it is “The Machine.” After hitting him with a qualifying offer, which he obviously rejected, the Yankees have a bit of leverage in negotiations.