New York Giants: Players that could move to clear cap space after Logan Ryan deal

New York Giants, Golden Tate

The New York Giants are bringing back Logan Ryan for another few seasons. The defensive back is set to sign a three year contract with the team after originally joining them on a one year deal. However, the Giants still have some other upcoming free agents that they need to make a decision on. The new deal for Ryan ties up some of the cap space that may be needed to keep some of the team’s best defenders.

It’s worth taking a look at which players the Giants could shed if they want to make sure there’s cap space to bring back Leonard Wiliams and Dalvin Tomlinson in addition to Logan Ryan.

Kyler Fackrell

With the Giants needing a pass rusher, they signed Kyler Fackrell on a one year deal before the season. There was some initial skepticism due to his failure to remain a competitive player in Green Bay, but he’s been an alright addition to the Giants with 3 sacks this season. However, Fackrell has a $4.6M cap hit if the Giants sign him on a deal with the same value as his current one.

There’s a chance that he looks for more money thanks to his increased stats since leaving Green Bay, and the Giants may not be in a position to offer a deal like that if they’ve set upon the goal of bringing back both Tomlinson and Williams. We may just see Fackrell walk in free agency this offseason.

Golden Tate

It doesn’t look like there’s a way Golden Tate will be a Giant next season. While things around the wide receiver have since calmed down, his public tantrums about not receiving the ball enough didn’t endear him to head coach Joe Judge. He’s also liked a Tweet asking the Giants to cut him, and peculiarly enough, the Giants are able to do that without paying him guaranteed money.

Tate’s suspension last season for performance enhancing drugs voided the guaranteed money on his contract, and it looks like the Giants will move on from Tate both to save on cap space and to get rid of a player that hasn’t flourished under the new administration. Otherwise, they face a $10.3M cap hit going into next year.

Nate Solder

Nate Solder didn’t have a good first season with the Giants at all. It looks like the Patriots moved on from the player at just the right time, because his performance immediately dropped off after joining the Giants and his role has largely been replaced by now by Andrew Thomas. Solder hasn’t played this season because he opted out beforehand. And he may not play for the team again.

While Solder has a disproportionately large contract for the level of play the Giants have been able to get out of him, he’s said that he’s enjoying life with his family right now and that retirement isn’t off the table. That’s not a guarantee,

Solder has said that he might retire in two years or three years instead. But if he comes back, he does face an uphill battle to get back into the lineup. It’s quite possible we might just see the left tackle walk away instead.

New York Giants extend safety Logan Ryan on 3-year deal

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

Merry Christmas! The New York Giants extended star safety Logan Ryan, on a three-year, $31 million deal, with $20 million guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport. Ryan bought into himself in 2020 with the Giants, accepting a one-year offer at safety, a position he transitioned to from cornerback.

The Giants believe Ryan is an irreplaceable defensive player and one who has brought the Giants to new heights in 2020 with Patrick Graham as their defensive coordinator. Through 14 games, Ryan has 83 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, 1.0 sack, nine passes defended, and three forced fumbles. He also has one interception.

Overall, the Giants will have to find ways to open up more cap space, especially if they want to bring back players like Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. Free agency will be tough to maneuver, especially with the salary cap expected to drop this offseason due to COVID-19 complications.

Nonetheless, Ryan has made the transition to safety an excellent fashion, becoming a staple in the Giants’ defense. He will not pair with Xavier McKinney and Jabrill Peppers for the foreseeable future, a trio that has proven to be extremely efficient and productive in recent weeks.

Yankees’ target Josh Bell was traded: Could Joe Musgrove or Jameson Taillon be next?

Joe Musgrove, New York Yankees

Several good starters are still unsigned. Trevor Bauer, Jake Odorizzi, Taijuan Walker, Corey Kluber, and others still populate the free agent pool. However, the trade market has been gaining steam as an alternative option for contenders to get the guys they want. It’s something the New York Yankees should be considering, as they badly need some reinforcements for the rotation.

On Christmas Eve, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to trade first baseman Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a couple of young right-handers. Bell had been linked to the Yankees earlier in the winter, together with starting pitcher Jameson Taillon.

Pirates’ general manager Ben Cherington gave a hint on the team’s future plans after trading Bell and left the door open for more transactions in the coming weeks: “This probably won’t be the last of them,” he said, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh had the worst record in Major League Baseball this year and isn’t particularly close to fielding a team that can compete in the National League Central division. That’s why the club opted to trade their slugging first baseman and is eager to move more assets as they look for future chips with lots of years of team control.

Will the Yankees make a move on one of Pittsburgh’s starters?

For the Yankees, this could mean that Taillon and fellow righty Joe Musgrove will become stronger possibilities as we inch closer to spring training. Ideally, Pittsburgh will deal those hurlers before the start of the season.

Lots of teams are interested in top-notch pitching: the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Angels could be suitors. Musgrove and Taillon wouldn’t come without risks, but they offer tremendous upside and shouldn’t cost the Yankees too much in terms of prospects. They won’t be cheap, but it likely won’t be, say, a Chris Sale-like return.

Taillon is 29 years old and missed the whole 2020 campaign while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but should have no restrictions in 2021. He has a 3.67 career ERA (3.55 FIP, 3.93 SIERA) in 466.0 innings, with a 8.09 K/9.

Musgrove, meanwhile, is perhaps one of the National League’s most underrated starters. He struck out 12.48 batter per nine innings in 39.2 frames in 2020, with a 3.86 ERA (3.42 FIP, 3.50 SIERA.) He can miss bats with multiple pitches and would represent a fantastic option for the Yankees’ rotation.

Mets will make substantial investments in tech resources to facilitate player development

New York Mets’ owner Steve Cohen has made fan interaction a priority ever since he took over the club. He has used his Twitter account to engage with fans in a fun and clever way, earning thousands of followers in the process.

This week, Cohen answered fans’ questions in a Q&A organized by the Mets and hosted by radio voice Howie Rose (link to SNY article here.) In the sesseion, Cohen talked about various subjects, but one of the most relevant ones was how he wants to implement more tech resources and apply them to player development.

“I’m going to have to approve a capital expenditure budget. It’s going to be for buying technology, improving back-end databases. I know they’re talking about putting in those pitching cameras that can measure a pitcher’s bio-mechanical — how they pitch, how their arm throws the ball. So there’s a lot of new stuff out there — cameras and technology out there — that people are using. …They’re going to have everything they’re going to need.”

The Mets are doing the right moves

So far, the new Mets’ owner has made all the right moves. He knows his stuff about the organization, and when he does not know something, he makes sure he surrounds himself with qualified people.

As of now, the Mets have added several upside starters and relievers hoping to strike gold with one or two of them, but the highest-profile additions have been Trevor May, a bullpen piece, and James McCann, the starting catcher. The team also named Jared Porter, a rising young executive, as the general manager.

He made it clear what he would view as a successful Mets season in 2021. “That we have a playoff caliber team and that we’ve improved our performance in a significant way this year,” he said.

He is also focused on improving the Mets’ minor league talent. “Right now our farm system isn’t where — at least the upper levels — we want it to be. We don’t have as much depth as we would like in the farm system to support the team. So we have to bridge that gap and that’s the art and I leave that to the baseball people.”

Have the New York Knicks finally found their star scorer?

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks have been looking for an elite scorer for quite some time, dating back to the age of Carmelo Anthony. When management signed Marcus Morris and Julius Randle last year, they anticipated a great one-two punch on the offense, but they ended up trading Morris for a first-round selection and retaining Randle, who became a ball-hog as the season progressed.

Now, the Knicks are left with Randle and new head coach Tom Thibodeau trying to piece together a starting five he can be confident with. The problem is, the roster is littered with youth and a lack of chemistry, so Thibodeau has his work cut out for him.

One player who has stepped up this preseason and showed his offensive abilities in the opening loss to the Indiana Pacers is second-year player RJ Barrett. That was one of the lone bright spots in the loss, going 8-for-8 in the first half and finishing 11-of-15 and 3-for-3 from three-point land. He also earned eight rebounds and five assists over 34 minutes.

Barrett only had two shots from the free-throw line, missing one of them, but showed significant progress during the preseason. I believe over a larger sample size, we will see incredible improvements in multiple categories, including from the line. Barrett worked this off-season tirelessly to improve that portion of his game, and it will evidently pay off.

“I just got a lot of reps in,’’ Barrett said on a Zoom call. “It’s definitely something that bothered me from last season. I got a lot of reps. I haven’t done anything yet. I got to continue to be consistent.”

The New York Knicks need RJ Barrett to take big steps:

The Knicks desperately needed a premium scorer. Barrett has shown a solid shooting ability and strength driving to the rim. He is quickly learning the style of the NBA and the physicality required to be a good player. He put on a bit more weight this past off-season and looks stronger and driving to the paint.

“I always set goals for myself, but I’ll keep that to myself,’’ Barrett said. “I’m feeling good about the season, really good. We got a hard-working group and hard-working coaches. I’m excited to see what this group will do this year.’’

Defensively, Barrett did struggle in the opener, allowing the Pacers to breach 120 points. With a team centered around suffocating defense, it’s not a great sign to see them open in such poor form. I believe as the players gain chemistry and adapt, things will improve, but at the very least, the Knicks can feel confident with RJ’s early points production.

Yankees News/Rumors: Trevor Bauer contract expectations, Christmas wishlist

New York Yankees, Trevor Bauer

If the New York York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman really want to improve their chances of winning a World Series in 2021, they need to find starting pitching, but the problem is, they still have the DJ LeMahieu contract lingering over their heads. DJ is looking for over $25 million more than the Yankees are willing to spend in years and average, creating a road-block between the two negotiating sides.

Ultimately, Cashman has stated that they feel LeMahieu will remain in Pinstripes, even if it takes some time for the deal to come together, but other teams are now interacting with DJ’s agents and there’s serious interest from teams around the league. The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets are two clubs to keep an eye on as Cashman draws out the process into January.

However, pitching remains a serious need, and unless DJ walks, Cashman will likely settle for cheaper, more cost-efficient players with an injury history. Despite gaining $52 million back with the departures of James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ, all of that money is going toward fueling the Yankees’ finances after a tough 2021 season and potentially LeMahieu.

In the case that DJ walks, we could see the Bombers take a gander at star Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer. His agent updates SNY’s Jim Duquette on what kind of deal he’s exploring. Bauer reportedly wants more than a one-year deal, something he preferred early on in his career as he bounced around a bit. At this point in time, though, coming off a great 2020 campaign, Bauer is looking to cash in as the best pitcher on the market. Clearly, his reps believe waiting out December was beneficial, so I expect things to start picking up after Christmas.

New York Yankees Christmas Wishlist:

The Yankees need some depth at specific positions and upgrades, but I’m going to incorporate price into these wishes.

1.) DJ LeMahieu

We all know the value DJ brings to the team landing a .364 average this past season, and he’s already considered one of the best hitters in baseball, let alone his three Gold Glove awards.

2.) ST Corey Kluber

Kluber hasn’t pitched much (36.2 innings over two years) the past two seasons, but he’s a cheaper option who, when healthy, was considered one of the best starters in baseball. Signing him would give the Yankees a high-upside player at a bargain price.

3.) Roberto Osuna

While Osuna might be out of the Yankees’ price-range, if they can somehow manage to unload Adam Ottavino and his $9 million for the upcoming season, the former Astro could make perfect sense. He’s one of the best relief arms in baseball, and Otto has been a liability in relief recently.

Yankees: Hitting coach Marcus Thames explains Gary Sanchez’s struggles and is convinced he will rebound

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

New York Yankees‘ hitting coach Marcus Thames discussed Gary Sanchez’s struggles in the shortened 2020 season. The All-Star catcher produced a meager 69 wRC+ and struck out in 36 percent of his at-bats. Although he hit 10 home runs, his offensive performance was bad to the point he was benched in the playoffs.

“He felt like 2020 was a disaster for him,’’ New York Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames said to the New York Post this week. “He knows it.’’ After the season ended, the backstop called Thames and decided to start hitting in the team complex in Tampa. His desire to get better is such that he is currently playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic.

“The fact he’s playing there says a lot,’’ Thames said. “Not a lot of guys with his credentials play down there. It shows you how much he wants to get better and get back to where he was.”

The Yankees’ hitting coach believes he spotted what ailed Sanchez

The road to making improvements started with Thames and assistant hitting coach PJ Pilittere. They looked at video, together with Sanchez, to try to determine what went wrong.

“We watched a lot of video and he wasn’t slowing the game down with his lower half,’’ Thames said. “He wasn’t staying behind the ball and he wasn’t recognizing pitches, so he was swinging at a lot of bad pitches, and swinging and missing. He normally doesn’t do that. We detected some things and I think he’s back.”

The Yankees’ slugger is doing good in winter ball with Toros del Este, six extra-base hits in 48 at-bats.

“It still feels new to him, but he’s making good moves to the baseball and looking like the Gary I’ve seen and we’ve been used to seeing,’’ Thames said.

“I never lost confidence in him,’’ Thames said. “I’d tell him, ‘You’re a pretty good player. You’ll figure it out.’ We only had 60 games last year, so it’s a little hard to evaluate. Those were the cards we were dealt and now he has to put it behind him.’’

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Trevor Bauer won’t be signing a one year deal with the Yankees

trevor bauer, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are one of the teams interested in the Cy Young Award-winning Trevor Bauer. It has been described that the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, and the Toronto Blue Jays are the insiders looking for a deal, and the New York Yankees are still outside looking in. The Yankees would most likely be interested in a one year deal, however lately, Bauer has made it known that he will not accept a one year deal this year.

The Yankees, with so many unknowns for their pitching rotation for the upcoming season, are looking for a solid veteran presence to follow Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. After the World Series, the Yankees let Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ walk into free agency without giving any qualifying offers to those pitchers.  All three had sub-par 2020 seasons.

If the New York Yankees entertain bringing any of the three back, it will be Masahiro Tanaka that for the part has been solid for them over the last seven years. Tanaka was never the true ace that thought he would be, but nevertheless, he has been good for them. Shortly after signing Tanaka, he developed a partial UCL tear; he rehabbed but avoided Tommy John surgery. However, every time he takes the mound, it is of concern. Over the last few years, Tanaka has not been able to go deep into games.

Much to Yankee fans’ frustration, the Yankee front office has been sending a bunch of mixed messages as to the importance of rebuilding both the starting rotation and the bullpen. Owner Hall Steinbrenner has said he wants to stay below the luxury tax threshold of $210 million. At the same time, it has been known that the Yankees were considering Charlie Morton among others, but several of those targets have already been signed. General manager Brian Cashman has recently said that he will likely wait to spring training to make any moves.

If he holds to that stance, the main question is what will be left on the market that can make a difference for the Yankees. The more general stance of both manager Aaron Boone and Cashman is that they are relatively happy with their rotation. That would be Cole, German, Montgomery, and the newbies like Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt. But it is unknown how all of those would perform in a 162 game season. Mid-season Luis Severino will help shore up the rotation, but it is also unknown how he will pitch after not pitching for two seasons.

With Trevor Bauer stating that he will not accept a one year contract, it pretty much takes Bauer out of the picture for the Yankees as they will likely not talk on a big-money contract with their main priority being re-signing DJ LeMahieu that appears to be most costly than the Yankees would have liked. Those negotiations are at a standstill as the sides are still far apart in both dollars and contract length.

 

 

New York Mets Best Outfield Options On The Free Agent Market

New York Yankees, Kevin Pillar

The New York Mets desperately need a center fielder, and George Springer perfectly fits the mold. If the Mets strike out on Springer, what are their other options to fill a huge need in the outfield?

1. George Springer

There is no more convincing for the Mets to sign Springer. He is an improvement defensively and brings a proven postseason bat for a roster that lacks postseason experience. Springer is also a much needed right-handed power bat in the Mets lineup that perfectly balances their offense.

2. Kevin Pillar

Kevin Pillar is a significant downgrade from Springer, but his offensive production has improved over the last two seasons. Pillar has 27 home runs and a .440 slugging over the last two seasons. While Pillar’s defense has declined over the last few seasons, he is still an update from Brandon Nimmo. No disrespect to Pillar, but anyone not named George Springer would be a complete failure for center field.

3. Jackie Bradley Jr. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. is still a good defensive center fielder, but his offense is filled with inconsistency. 2020 was Bradley’s first season with an average over .270. His power numbers have also fluctuated over his career, which does not project him to be a major upgrade in center field. Bradley would be a lower walk rate, better defending version of Nimmo.

4. Joc Pederson

Joc Pederson is always a tremendous power threat but his center field days might be far behind him. Pederson only hit .190 in 2020 but came alive in the postseason with 15 hits. If the Mets choose to move J.D. Davis or the DH is implemented in the NL, Pederson is very much worth a look.

5. Michael Brantley

Michael Brantley is a huge shot in the dark for the Mets. But if you are going to have a horrible defense, why not try to win with overwhelming offense. The Mets offense would become the best in baseball with a .470+ sugging percentage hitter at every position. Signing Brantley would all but end Davis’s tenure in New York. Nimmo would remain in center while Brantley man’s left (if there is a DH). But you have got a better chance of landing a Play Station 5 than the Mets signing Brantley.

New York Giants: Is Jason Garrett running out of time as offensive coordinator?

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants have one of the worst offenses in the NFL through 15 weeks, as they average a measly 17.4 points per game, less than the Cincinnati Bengals, who are without their star quarterback and just above the New York Jets, who have a historically bad offense.

While teams across the league are setting unprecedented numbers in points and yards per game, the Giants are falling behind in a league that is focusing on downfield throwing and stretching the field. The Giants do have some positives on offense, notably their running game and the development of their offensive line, two factors that have fallen behind in recent years.

However, their passing attack is abysmal, averaging 185.7 yards per game and have scored single digits in the last two performances against the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns, two teams who have average defenses at best.

Nonetheless, a lot of the blame falls on offensive coordinator and play-caller Jason Garrett. After spending over a decade with the Dallas Cowboys as an OC and head coach, he was fired last season and brought his talents over to Big Blue. So far, the results have been underwhelming, and the Giants might even consider moving on from him after this season due to an inefficiency in most categories.

The New York Giants are still rolling with Garrett this week:

Garrett contracted Covid last week and missed the contest against Cleveland, and while he’s not expected to be in attendance against the Baltimore Ravens in week 16, there’s a solid chance he calls place regardless. Last week, tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens took over as play-caller, pushing the ball down-field and successfully driving on the Browns on multiple occasions. Garrett’s playcalling is a lot different, focusing on short-yardage routes and dink and dunk play style.

After reviewing plenty of film on Garrett, it is clear that his scheme and route concepts are simply lackluster. Receivers are unable to gain separation on the short routes, and the blends he’s using simply don’t make sense. Take a look at the clip below, showing a side-by-side view of Garrett’s short-yardage playcalling and Cleveland Browns’ Kevin Stefanski’s.

The one thing Garrett has going for him is the running game, as the Giants have earned seven games this season with 100+ rushing yards and four with 140+ yards on the ground. They average 113.5 yards per game in the category, indicating that Garrett has managed to develop a solid running game with two reserve backs in Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris. If they can resolve this passing issue, the offense can take a massive step forward, so the Giants might even consider bringing in a passing game coordinator rather than allowing Jason to continue forward as the primary play-caller.

Either way, Garrett hasn’t proven to me he is capable of running this offense at a high-level, and the Giants have plenty of talent to work with, they simply aren’t utilized properly. If it were me, I would let Jason go and find a more downfield style coach who will utilize a nice blend of running but also pushing boundary receivers downfield to stretch the defense. I believe he’s running out of time to prove his worth, and his next two games will tell us everything we need to know if we haven’t seen it already through 15 weeks.