New York Giants cautious on planning Daniel Jones return

New York Giants, Daniel Jones, Golden Tate

Whether or not Daniel Jones can play might be one of the biggest factors in whether or not the New York Giants can beat the Seahawks.

Seattle recently took down divisional rival Philadelphia, and it’s easy to imagine the 8-3 Seahawks rolling over another NFC East team if the Giants offense isn’t able to perform to the same standard without Daniel Jones. But obviously, the future is more important than just this season and the team doesn’t want to risk further injury to Jones.

Right now, there’s no definitive answer on whether Jones will play or not.

“Today is going to be kind of a practice work hybrid structure,” said head coach Joe Judge on Wednesday, noting that Daniel Jones came into practice ready to work.

“Some early practice, individual and group periods. Then we’re going to have kind of a team walkthrough on the backend today after some conditioning. We’ll kind of see what he’s able to do, and that will really help us plan out more tomorrow and Friday going forward.”

Both 11 year veteran Colt McCoy and practice squad quarterback Clayton Thorson took snaps in practice, with McCoy having the majority of them. With Jones potentially missing Sunday’s game, McCoy is the only real option the team has to take over for him.

McCoy has only played in the Bengals game this season, and threw for only 31 yards on 6 completions – not the most encouraging numbers going into the Seahawks game.

“I think my approach has always been to try to get back as soon as possible,” Jones himself said about his injury. “You understand where your body is, what you can do and I think every injury is different. You’ve got to listen to your body, but at the end of the day, as soon as I can get back on the field and recover, I want to be out there. So, that’s my goal.”

But for now, there’s no saying exactly when Jones will make his return. That may be for the Seattle game and it may be after it, but at the current moment, we’ll have to wait and see until closer to the game itself to find out.

Yankees non-tender Jonathan Holder; avoid arbitration with Luis Cessa and Ben Heller

New York Yankees, Jonathan Holder

The New York Yankees reportedly decided to tender a contract to catcher Gary Sanchez prior to tonight’s 8 pm deadline. However, they opted not to retain longtime reliever Jonathan Holder, making him free to sign with any team.

The news was reported by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Holder had been with the New York Yankees since he made his big league debut back in 2016. In his career, he has a 4.38 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in 176.2 innings. He has a 8.41 K/9 mark and has handed 2.70 BB/9 so far in his big league tenure.

Holder could make for a nice reclamation project for some other team, as his right arm isn’t short on talent. In 2017 and 2018, he had two straight seasons with an ERA and FIP lower than four.

However, after an inconsistent 2019 that saw him finish with a 6.31 ERA, and a bad 2020 (that actually started off well) in which he had a 4.98 ERA, the Yankees decided to move on from the big righty.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Yankees were planning to tender a contract to Gary Sanchez ahead of the deadline. He is expected to make a little over $5 million in arbitration next season.

Other Yankees’ transactions

In another transaction, the Yankees avoided arbitration with fellow right-handed reliever Luis Cessa after agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

For Cessa, it was his first year of arbitration eligibility. He has been a full-time reliever for the Yankees in the last few seasons and has gotten better results thanks to an increased usage of his slider.

The Bombers also agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Ben Heller.

Several useful major leaguers are entering the market as teams are announcing their lists of non-tendered players. The Yankees could turn their attention to some of them, most notably relievers Archie Bradley and Ryne Stanek, or designated hitter/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, among other potentially useful players in various positions.

New York Giants: Week 13 matchup with Seahawks would be favorable for Daniel Jones if healthy

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are uncertain of their starting quarterback’s status heading into Week 13. During the team’s crucial Week 12 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Giants lost quarterback Daniel Jones with a hamstring injury. Jones has not practiced this week, but is likely to practice in some capacity on Friday with the hopes of playing in Sunday’s matchup with the Seahawks.

If Daniel Jones is not ready to play by Sunday, that would be a huge loss for the New York Giants. New York is set to play the formidable, 8-3 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. This would be a tough game for the Giants to win anyway, but Daniel Jones could have given New York a real shot.

The Seattle Seahawks’ defense is one of the worst in the NFL. They have allowed opposing quarterbacks to tear their secondary to shreds, week after week. It is hard to imagine Colt McCoy continuing that trend, though. But Daniel Jones has really improved his play in recent weeks and will be looking at a favorable matchup on Sunday if he is able to play.

The Seattle Seahawks Secondary

The Seattle Seahawks’ secondary is allowing, by far, the most passing yards per game in 2020. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging 328.8 yards per game against Seattle this season. This is happening despite the team’s key acquisition of star safety Jamal Adams.

Jamal Adams has not had the huge impact on this defense that many expected him to. He has allowed a 76.9% completion percentage in coverage this year and surrendered 330 total yards in 7 games this season. He is also missing tackles at a higher rate than he ever has, posting a 13.0% missed tackle percentage. Adams has earned an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 63.9, indicating a clear regression in performance from last season. In 7 games this season, Adams has surrendered 20 completions. In 14 games last season, he surrendered 21 receptions.

The Seahawks’ secondary has struggled all season long. Seattle is allowing opposing offenses to score 27.6 points per game. This could have been a big week for Daniel Jones, who has come into his own in recent weeks. Daniel Jones has not turned the ball over in the Giants’ last three games. Playing his best football, it would  be an exciting matchup for Jones as Seattle owns the league’s worst secondary in the NFL.

If Daniel Jones is healthy enough to play on Sunday, the Giants absolutely should let him play. Of course, there are risks that come along with that. Letting Jones play this week risks him reinjuring his hamstring and being out an even longer period of time. But if Jones is able to play against this terrible Seahawks secondary, he could lead the Giants to a potential upset. New York is racing a tight race to the playoffs right now. They need to get as many wins as they can and do everything they can to obtain these wins. One can only hope that Daniel Jones is healthy enough to play against a week Seattle defense on Sunday.

Make New York Knicks Great Again: Austin Rivers embraces the challenge

New York Knicks, Austin Rivers

The New York Knicks haven’t attracted a superstar since Amar’e Stoudemire signed a five-year, $100-million deal in the 2010 free agency.

The Knicks haven’t been to the playoffs since Carmelo Anthony led them to the second round in 2013.

If there’s such seventh heaven, the last seven years have been the opposite for the Knicks fan base. They have been through hell year after year. They’ve been praying for a superstar to come and save the city from going deeper into obscurity.

This offseason looked like another disaster.

Knicks’ new team president Leon Rose and his front office have struck out in their top free-agent targets. As a consolation, they’ve brought in veteran players who can shepherd their young core.

Rivers of hope

Austin Rivers, one of the Knicks’ free agency pickups, isn’t a superstar that brings salvation. But Rivers offer a sliver of hope in a stopgap year.

“We’re caught in an era where everyone likes riding a wave. People want to go to places that are already on the rise or go to franchises that are already doing really well. And people have lost interest in going somewhere and making something great again. I don’t understand someone not wanting to play for a city like New York. I just didn’t get that. I don’t understand that. For me, the opportunity was obvious. To play in a city that is regarded as the mecca of basketball, with the fans they have, why not try to be part of something special,” Rivers said in a virtual press conference Wednesday.

Listening to a free agent who genuinely and passionately wants to become a Knick has been refreshing.

Changing the perception

Rivers said he rejected at least three playoff teams to come to New York.

For so long, players around the league have spurned the Knicks. But Rivers embraces the challenge of changing that perception and building a culture that would make New York attractive.

That appeal, coupled with his faith in coach Tom Thibodeau and Rose’s front office, has intrigued Rivers.

“Everything right now is headed in the right direction from the hiring of the coach, from the hiring of the management, and assistant coaches, and the picks that they have drafted, and the players we’ve established this year, we’re building. So to be part of something special. It’s easy to go somewhere where everything is already set up, and they’ve been to the playoffs for five years in a row. I’ve been on those teams. And those are great experiences. But I want to take those experiences and those lessons and help this team, and this organization in as many ways as possible,” Rivers said.

“I think that the era of people not wanting to come here, our job is to change that. We got to make it attractive. We will,” he vowed.

Leadership role

Rivers, 28, will be bringing in a combined five years of playoff experience with the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The team isn’t stacked with All-Stars compared to Rivers’ past teams, but he believes that if they buy into Thibodeau’s philosophy, good things will come.

“We don’t have superstars on this team but we have talented young players and you never know what can become on this team,” Rivers said.

Rivers, the third-oldest on the roster, is expected to compete for a starting spot at the backcourt. But he said he’s also willing to accept a role off the bench.

“My role is going to be to help the team win. If they start me, great. If they don’t, I’m still going to be in there competing every night. Regardless, for me, it’s never been about starting the game. It’s been about finishing the game,” Rivers said.

Blueprint for success

Rivers pointed to the Clippers’ resurgence under his father, Doc, where they traded away their superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and rebuilt from the ground up. He said the blueprint is to have a solid group of role players that will attract superstars.

That blue-collar Clippers team went to the playoffs and stretched the Golden State Warriors that became their golden ticket to the Kahwi Leonard sweepstakes.

Thibodeau, who worked under Doc Rivers in Boston during their 2008 championship run, knows what it takes to build a team like that. While the odds are stacked against them this coming season, having a passionate player and a culture-builder like Austin Rivers should be a good start.

“This would be a place where people want to play. If you’re a real hooper, if you really like playing on the biggest stage, this is it,” Rivers said.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Jack Hermansson was going to fight at UFC Vegas 16 no matter who the opponent was

It’s been a wild journey for Jack Hermansson (21-5) leading up to the UFC Vegas 16 main event. The promotion’s fourth ranked middleweight is getting his third headlining fight, but he’s had to stay on his toes on who he’d be facing.

Originally, the UFC announced that Hermansson would be taking on Darren Till at UFC Vegas 16. These two men had some fun back and forth over social media and it was a fight that the fans were really excited for.

However, Darren Till sustained an injury and he was forced to pull out of the fight. The UFC went to work and decided to have Hermansson fight Kevin Holland. Holland has made a strong case for fighter of the year going 4-0 in 2020 thus far.

Kevin Holland was nicknamed loudmouth by Dana White because he simply doesn’t stop talking in the cage. Holland was getting the biggest opportunity of his career headlining against a top UFC middleweight like Hermansson.

Hermansson had no issues taking the fight against Holland. Then, last week, Holland tested positive for COVID-19 and he was forced out of the UFC Vegas 16 main event. That is when the promotion turned to Marvin Vettori (15-4-1).

Vettori was scheduled to take on Jacare Souza at UFC 256, but the promotion wanted him to move up. Once again, Hermansson didn’t care about who the replacement was. Without even thinking about it, Hermansson accepted the fight. 

It’s just about a UFC fight for Hermansson

There has been so many cases in the history of the UFC where a fight gets scrapped altogether if one person falls out. Sometimes the UFC can’t find a replacement opponent and other times the main event fighter doesn’t want to fight the replacement.

Hermansson is not one of those guys. He appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show today to talk about the wild ride leading up to this weekend. Helwani asked Hermansson about the opponent changes and if he ever thought of saying no.

“It didn’t matter who it was, you know? As long as I have a fight, I’m all good. I’m here in Vegas to fight and they can put anyone in front of me now,” Hermansson told Helwani.

If you weren’t a fan of Hermansson before, how could you not love the guy after an answer like that. One of the best middleweights in the UFC and he doesn’t care about who the opponent is, he just wants to fight.

Marvin Vettori is no joke and this fight is not expected to be an easy one for Hermansson. However, as he said, he doesn’t care about who the opponent is or how hard the fight will be. For Jack Hermansson, it’s just about getting in there and fighting on Saturday night.

New York Yankees News: Luke and Tori say baby Voit is on the way

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees Luke Voit and his wife Tori have announced they are expecting their first child, as reported by Luke today on his Instagram account. The pair married in 2019 after being engaged for two years.  They both attended the same school, Lafayette High School. Interestingly, Luke was on the baseball team, and Tori was a cheerleader for the school team. Luke has a younger brother John, who played defensive tackle with the Army Black Knights football team. Luke, after his banner year with the Yankees, has to be on the top of the world today.

Luke Voit is a 29-year-old first baseman. Luke has had a relatively unremarkable baseball career, but how he got to the Yankees and what he has done while here is interesting. Luke was born in Wildwood, Missouri, and attended Lafayette High School there. In high school, he played football as a fullback and middle linebacker. He also played baseball, where he got a lot of experience. In his first three years, he played first base and third base. Interestingly in his senior year, he played catcher. Shoulder injuries while in high school ended any career he may have had in football.

Throughout his minor league career, he was always on the edge of being good. In June of 2017, the Cards promoted him to the bigs. In July of 2017, In his very first at-bat, he was plunked in the back. After 114 at-bats, he hit his first home run. He ended the season with a batting average of .246 with four home runs and 18 RBI’s, still unremarkable but good enough to be used in a trade by the Cards to get players they needed.

In July of 2018, the Cards traded Luke Voit to the New York Yankees and bonus pool money to get pitcher Chasen Shrive and Giovanny Gallegos. The Yanks assigned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yanks swiftly promoted him to the majors, in part to play first, in the absence of Greg Bird, but after batting .188 in five games, they demoted him back to Scranton. After playing better in the minors and with the injury to Didi Gregorius, he was again called up to the Stadium. This time something happened; he seemed to embrace the limelight and energy of New York.

Playing for Greg Bird, he soon had hit ten home runs, and after hitting .458, he was named MLB player of the week on October 1st. He ended the season hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI’s in just 39 games. In the 2018 Wild Card game, he hit a two-run triple to help the Yankees win 7-2. That triple seemed to have given Luke a place as a Yankee favorite.

Voit didn’t escape the injury plague that hit the team in 2019. An abdominal injury right around the London series sidelined him, continued to be problematic upon Voit’s return, and eventually required surgery once the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. Voit was dreadful after getting hurt, but I think his performance pre-injury gets overlooked easily. Voit in 2019 was out for two stints. That injury caused him to play in only 118 games. Before his season was derailed, he led the New York Yankees, he led the team in home runs and was having a better season than Miguel Torres or DJ LeMahieu. At the plate, he seldom wasted an at-bat. He doesn’t swing at bad pitches and only had one pop up in the first half of the season.

Fast forward to the bizarre 2020 baseball season.  Luke played well in spring training and summer camp.  When the shortened season started, Voit got his first hit in the last game of the Washington Nationals series, and it was a home run.  Little did the New York Yankees know at the time that that hit would start a season for Luke Voit that might make him this year’s Yankees MVP. In the next series against the Orioles, he would get two hits, one of them a homer that drove in four runs.  At the beginning of the season, it was assumed that Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge would have the most significant impact on the Yankees. As it turns out, neither of them could stay healthy enough to stay on the field.  Voit had been healthy, and he has had his best play in his three years with the Yankees while still playing through a foot issue.  He ended the season hitting .277 with 22 home runs.

New York Yankees Breaking News: Catcher Gary Sanchez will remain a Yankee for 2021

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees had until 8 pm tonight to tender catcher Gary Sanchez an offer, and they have just told Sanchez he will be tendered a contract according to Bob Nightengale MLB insider and columnist for USA Today. Gary Sanchez will be a Yankee during 2021. Of course, it is still up in the air as to if he will be the starting catcher. Much of that may have to do with how he does playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and if the Yankees make any other moves to bolster their catching for next season.

Sanchez is coming off a horrible season when he only hit .147 and continued to fail to block balls at home plate. He did hit 10 home runs during the season, but other than that, he failed badly and was eventually hitting ninth or sitting out games.

There is no question that the Yankees lost faith in Sanchez as the past season progressed in favor of Kyle Higashioka. That being true, the Yankees still believe in the talent that Sanchez processes. On the hot stove, manager Aaron Boone all but said that Sanchez would remain in pinstripes as he sang his praises and belief that the crazy 60 game coronavirus season was a blip in his performance. They continue to believe they can again unlock that talent.

There is no question that Sanchez is trying to improve, as demonstrated by him playing in the winter league in the Dominican Republic. If they do indeed tender him, it is this writer’s opinion that it will be a mistake.  In four years, they haven’t been able to improve his defense. The guy just can’t hit for contact. In contrast, most players have trouble with offspeed stuff and usually make contact with fastballs. Many of Sanchez’s strikeouts come off of pitcher’s fastballs. Nevertheless, the Yankees did tender him.

I like Gary Sanchez; I just feel he can’t get the job done. I hope he and the Yankees can change my opinion of him this coming season. To stay abreast of the latest New York Yankee news, stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com

Could we see advertisements on New York Ranger jerseys?

Recently, the New York Rangers and the NHL released their new reverse retro jerseys. What might be missing from that jersey is some kind of ad patch placement, an idea that is being kicked around in some circles for the upcoming season.

Although the NHL has said nothing publically, the league is looking for ways to increase revenue from a season that is sure to be without fans in the stands for at least most of the season. At this hour, insiders are saying that the NHLPA has really stuck to its guns and has not agreed to anything beyond the terms already negotiated four or five months ago with the MOU (memorandum of understanding) and the CBA extension. That could change, but at this point they are very much in their resolve in believing that the NHL should honor those terms.

If this holds true, the NHL will need to look at ways to increase revenue, and ad patches on jerseys are just one of the many ideas that are circulating.

The NBA had recently done this, in a way that does not offend fans who worry that their team’s favorite jerseys will end up looking like a NASCAR driver’s gear, something that is done in other leagues around the world.

The NHL is not the only league that may be looking to do this in 2021.

 

Traditionalists cringe at the thought of any kind of advertisement on a jersey or helmet. The NHL has been reluctant to go this route.

“It’s not an active discussion among NHL clubs,” commissioner Gary Bettman said about jersey ads in 2017. “I always said we wouldn’t be first. OK, great. The NBA is doing it. But it would take an unusual circumstance – which I would define as a lot of money that I’m having trouble comprehending right now’ – for us to even be thinking about it.”

However, things are different in 2020 than they were in 2017.

One of the major proponents of this idea is Sportsnet hockey insider Elliot Friedman.

“If you look at the NBA there’s a small little logo near the top of the jersey and you can see it, but it’s not all over the place. It’s enough you know it’s there,” Friedman said.

“If I’m a player I’m saying ‘Yeah I understand, but it’s time.’ No more of this ‘it’s tradition, we don’t want to touch these jerseys.’ If the Boston Celtics can have it, and the New York Knicks can have it…

“If I’m a player I’m simply saying it’s time. If you want us to agree to give back money you have to agree to maximize revenues.”

It will also be important to know that if the NHL follows the NBA, jerseys purchased at retail outlets will generally not have the advertisement logo on them.

Last summer, Ken Rosenthal best summed up the idea of putting ads on MLB jerseys that would probably mirror what some New York Ranger and NHL fans are feeling: “Traditionalists would hate it, but the pandemic has created exceptional financial circumstances and such ads would be an easy way to make money.”

 

 

 

New York Yankees Report Cards: Gleyber Torres, where will he play in 2021?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees didn’t re-sign Didi Gregorius after the 2019 season; instead, let him become a free agent and join Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies. Meanwhile, the Yankees slotted in Gleyber Torres at shortstop. It should be remembered that Torres, a second baseman, never asked to be the shortstop; he agreed to it for the sake of the team as they had no other viable options.

During spring training and the summer camp, the Yankee continually touted that they had faith that Torres could do the job adequately. What happened is that he didn’t perform well in his new position. At one point in the season, he had the most errors at short than any other shortstop in baseball. Add to that the 2019 home run leader who had 38 home runs during that season stopped hitting for whatever reason. He got only 3 home runs, and his batting average dropped from .278 to .243. Torres is still very young and has the ability to return to the player he was in 2019. The Yankees are hoping this is just a blip in career.

Gleyber Torres report card: C

Where Torres will play in the 2021 season has yet to be determined. The New York Yankees know he has a lot of talent and wants to see him back at second base, his natural position. But, the is in question; it depends on if they can land a better quality shortstop and if the Yankee re-sign DJ LeMahieu, which is one of their priorities.

Gleyber Torres made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. On May 4th, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. During 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team. He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936.

On June 29, 2019, he hit the 39th home run of his short career. On August 2nd, he hit his second Grand Slam. To end his 2019 campaign, he batted .278 and led the New York Yankees with 38 home runs with 90 runs batted in. In his two years in the majors, he has been a New York Yankees All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination. He finished the 2019 campaign he ended with 62 home runs for his three-year career and 167 RBIs.

Torres played well in the 2020 spring training and the later summer camp. The New York Yankees had great hope for their young, new shortstop would repeat his excellent performance. The Yankees hoped for the best as he tried to follow in the footsteps of Yankee all-time star Derek Jeter, and last year departing Didi Gregorius, who is now a Philadelphia Philly.

Fast forward to the coronavirus shortened baseball season.  Has all the 2019 magic disappeared from that new guy at short? Well, it appears there certainly have been some struggles that he has suffered, from both behind the plate and at his new position.  Before Torres went on the IL with both calf and hamstring strains, he led the league in errors at short and was hitting just .231 with only one home run and a measly six RBIs.

On August 21, Torres went on the 10 day IL. In  Baltimore against the Orioles, Gleyber Torres returned to the Yankee lineup. He had three at-bats and managed a double in the game. In the entire month of August, he didn’t get a single home run.  In September when he plays in all games he had eight games when he didn’t make a hit. He was somewhat better in the postseason hitting 4 hits in the seven games, two of them home runs. One season does not make a career. This season may be a blip in his journey to becoming a Yankee star.

 

Report: Yankees planning to tender Gary Sanchez prior to 8 PM deadline

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees have control over catcher Gary Sanchez until 2023, whether or not he is in their long-term plans remains a mystery. Nonetheless, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Yankees plan to tender Sanchez a new contract for one year.

Sanchez, who recently joined some teammates in the Dominican Republic for winter baseball, is hoping to spark his development once again. His last stellar campaign was in 2017 when he had 33 homers, 90 RBIs, and finished with a .278 batting average. However, he is gradually fallen off offensively, finishing the 2020 season with a .147 average and a career-high 36% strikeout rate. This was also the first season he finished with a negative WAR at -0.1.

Sanchez, who still ranks among the best in the MLB at catcher based on potential, simply can’t manage to regain his confidence and health. Injuries have taken their toll on the 28-year-old, especially regarding his lower back.

The New York Yankees are doing everything they can to help Sanchez:

The Yankees brought in former Twins catching specialist Tanner Swanson to help change Gary’s mechanics behind the plate, but they once again resulted in poor defensive performance. He finished 2020 with a .986 fielding percentage, five errors, and five past balls. The Yankees eventually elected to start Kyle Higashioka for a majority of the postseason and made him Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, which did not benefit Sanchez at all.

There have been reports that the Yankees are intrigued by future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina and Chicago White Sox alternative James McCann. Both would represent upgrades over Sanchez based on his 2020 performance, but one is an aging commodity and the other an inconsistent player with a minimal sample size of quality play.

Of course, there is a slight chance they pursue JT Realmuto, the best catcher in baseball, during free agency, but his price tag is way over the Yankees’ head. Considering how much they spent on Cole last year to establish their race, I don’t imagine they will be breaking the bank in 2021.

Also, happy birthday to Gary Sanchez!