Why the New York Giants might draft defense at eleven overall

Micah Parsons, new york giants

The New York Giants are entering another crucial roster-building offseason. The biggest point of emphasis for the GIants’ front office this offseason is to revamp the offense. New York’s offense was pitiful in 2020 and they need to fix that to find success in 2021.

This has led many fans and analysts to speculate that the Giants will spend their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on an offensive weapon. The Giants hold the eleventh overall pick in this year’s draft. This puts the team in perfect position to draft a top-tier wide receiver or tight end. But there are reasons to believe that the Giants could go defense with their number eleven pick in April.

Contingent on free agency

The Giants have a plethora of weaknesses on their roster. Ideally, fans would like to see the Giants add another talented cornerback to the mix and improve the pass-rush. Additionally, the Giants need to find their new offensive weapon. The Giants had interest in trading for Kenny Golladay back in October, so it is likely that they will pursue a wide receiver in free agency.

If the Giants do land one of those big-name free agent wide receivers, they could look to fill another one of those needs in the draft. The top of this year’s draft class features some prominent defensive prospects.

Deep wide receiver class

The Giants might not need to spend their first-round pick to get an offensive weapon. The 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with wide receiver talent. There are prospects that will be available in the second and third rounds that have the potential to be quality starters in the NFL.

New York needs a new primary wide receiver for Daniel Jones to rely on in the passing game. If the Giants are unable to acquire one in free agency, it is likely that they will draft one in the first round, but it is not necessarily a guarantee. There are some very talented defensive prospects that the Giants could consider at eleven, before drafting a talented receiving option in the second round.

Micah Parsons, Caleb Farley, Gregory Rousseau, and other defenders might be enticing options for the Giants in the first round. Parsons is a rare linebacker prospect that could revolutionize the Giants’ defense. Farley is an intriguing cornerback option that could fill a huge hole in New York’s secondary. And Rousseau is a talented pass-rusher that could fill another need for the Giants on defense.

Taking one of these players in the first round would open up the possibility for the Giants to take a second-round wide receiver prospect. The electric Rondale Moore could be available in round two, as well as the human-joystick Kadarius Toney. This is a year where a team could realistically find a number one receiver in the second round. This could allow the New York Giants to draft a defensive prospect in round one.

How the New York Rangers can fix their issues in net

New York Rangers, Igor Shesterkin

Blown leads, last-minute goals, and painful overtime losses have become a staple of the 2021 New York Rangers. They have held a lead in all but one of their eight games this year, yet they’re only 2-4-2, giving them sole possession of last place in the East division. There are a variety of reasons why they continue to give away games, but the biggest is obvious – poor play from their goalies. The struggles at the position have led the coaching staff to try unconventional ways of fixing the issue, yet all of their methods have failed thus far. In a 56-game season, every game matters. Here’s how the Rangers can fix their issues in net, and as a result, get their season back on track:

How the New York Rangers Can Fix Their Issues in Net

Make Igor Shesterkin the Full-time Starter

Very few Ranger players had as much offseason-hype as goalie Igor Shesterkin coming into 2021. The 25-year-old player from Moscow, Russia, had been advertised as New York’s goalie of the future last season, and in 12 starts, he looked the part. He went 10-2 as the starter, stopped 93.2% of the shots he faced, and surrendered 2.52 goals per game. Heading into 2021, it looked as though the Rangers, and Shesterkin in particular, were going to be a real force in the division.

Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, that offseason-hype has not translated to the ice this season. Shesterkin has struggled mightily this year, allowing 2.73 goals per game, stopping a measly 89.4% of shots faced and posting a 1-2-1 record. All of those numbers are bottom 10 in the NHL among qualified goalies. Because of those struggles, the team has shown no hesitation to put in their other goalie, Alexandar Georgiev. In most cases, this move would make sense. But not for the Rangers.

Georgiev has been even worse than Shesterkin so far in 2021, and he has shown no signs of improvement. He’s stopping only 88.6% of shots faced, giving up 3.27 goals per game, and has posted a 1-2-1 record so far this season. Yet despite his poor play, the coaching staff continues to give him opportunities. And in turn, they’re greatly halting the growth of their true No. 1 goalie – Shesterkin.

Get Shesterkin Consistent Reps

A number of NHL teams have adapted the goalie 1A/1B system over the years, and for some, it has worked very well. Dallas goalies Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger have both been among the best at their position so far, and their team is 4-1-0 through five games this season. The Stars had success using the same game-plan last year as well, but with Ben Bishop instead of Oettinger.

The Rangers are not the Stars, however.

New York is preventing Shesterkin from getting into any rhythm by swapping him out every single game. He had his best game of the season last Thursday night against Buffalo, allowing only two goals on 25 shots in a 3-2 OT victory for the Rangers, but what did he get as a reward for his stellar play? A seat on the bench for the next game. To make things even worse, Georgiev played terribly in said game, allowing five goals.

Help the Defense Build Some Confidence

There’s more to the goalie position than stopping pucks, though – and it appears head coach David Quinn has forgotten that. One of the most important aspects of the position is communicating with the defense and building relationships with your defenseman. It’s impossible for Shesterkin to do that successfully while sitting on the bench every other game. And as a result of Quinn’s inability to decide on a full-time starter, the defense as a whole is underperforming – particularly in big moments.

New York has blown a lead in five of their games this year, losing four of them. In each of those instances, it is clear the defense is not performing to their maximum potential. They haven’t had any opportunities to build chemistry with a goalie, and it would benefit them greatly if they got to play with Shesterkin for multiple games consecutively. Coach Quinn needs to recognize this before the season is too far gone.

There’s a reason Shesterkin was named the starter out of training camp – he is the future in net, after all. The Rangers must let him build confidence and rhythm if they wish to make the playoffs. The clock is ticking.

Knicks put up gallant stand against Clippers

Moral victories don’t count.

But the New York Knicks deserved a point in their rebuilding, earning respect from one of the league’s elite teams.

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett played like true All-Stars while rookie Immanuel Quickley continued his stellar rise.

But when push came to shove, the Los Angeles Clippers’ bona fide All-Stars put the game away to hammer down a 129-115 victory Sunday at the Madison Square Garden.

Kawhi Leonard put the clamps on the red-hot Quickley in the final seven minutes and hit big buckets on the other end as the Clippers earned their 11th win in their last 10 games the hard way.

The Knicks gamely engaged the Clippers in a surprise show of firepower.

It proved to be their undoing.

Entering the game as the league’s no.1 in points allowed (102.7), the Knicks allowed the Clippers to breach the century mark in just three quarters.

Quickley kept them afloat as he put on another electrifying fourth-quarter performance. The rookie guard’s personal 8-0 run brought the Knicks within two, 105-103, with under eight minutes left.

That’s when Leonard said enough is enough.

Leonard, one of the game’s top defenders, limited Quickley to a single free throw the rest of the way. The Clippers quickly restored a double-digit lead, 114-103, with a 9-0 answer behind their All-Stars, Leonard and Paul George.

Leonard finished with 28 points on 15 shots while George added 17 as three more other Clippers scored in double-figure.

The Knicks tried to keep up behind the trio of Randle, Barrett, and Quickley.

Randle continued to push for an All-Star selection finishing with his 14th double-double of the season. He had 12 of his 27 points in the opening quarter, with the Knicks grabbing a 27-20 lead before they settled for a 31-29 count.

The rejuvenated Knicks’ power forward hit 9-of-18 shots, added 12 rebounds and five assists.

Meanwhile, Barrett delivered another strong shooting performance with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting and took on the challenge to guard Leonard.

Quickley paid homage to his idol, Lou Williams when he entered the court. Then he proceeded to outplay arguably the best sixth man in the league history.

With his signature floaters and timely three-pointers, Quickley scored 25 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Williams had only nine in 23 minutes.

No other Knick punched in double-digit scoring as New York’s firepower failed to keep up with the Clippers’ elite offense.

The best three-point shooting team in the league, the visiting Clippers went 17-for-38 that kept the Knicks at bay.

The Knicks will have little time to recover when they travel to Chicago. An intriguing Monday night matchup against the Bulls and their rumored trade target Zach LaVine will keep their hands full.

But before playing on back to back, the Knicks deserved a pat on the back for hanging with one of the best.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Rangers: Sending a message by waiving Tony DeAngelo

The New York Rangers made a bit of a surprising move on Sunday when they placed Defenseman Tony DeAngelo on waivers. What made this somewhat surprising is that DeAngelo is in the first year of a two-year, $9.6 million contract that was signed just this offseason.

However, the 2-4-2 Rangers have not gotten off the start they wanted, and their poor play in the defensive end has been a part of their slow start. DeAngelo has one assist over six games this season after having a career season in 2019-20, scoring 15 goals and adding 38 assists over 68 games.

There could be many issues to this, starting with the idea that the Rangers may need to move on from an offensive type of blue-liner who is not helping the locker room culture.

In this case, offensive is referring to his skills in being a point-producing defenseman, not at all related to his political leanings that seem to send some in the Twitter universe into a frenzy. More on that later.

This appears to more of a case of a player who was not only underachieving but also someone whose antics have finally become more of a detriment to the team.

After the announcement of DeAngelo being placed on waivers, Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic posted an article that stated that DeAngelo got into an altercation with Alexandar Georgiev after the OT loss. The incident was a result of the fact that DeAngelo and Georgiev had a miscommunication on a loose puck almost immediately before the winning goal was scored. The inability to clear the puck did not allow the exhausted players on the ice to change up, which resulted in part in Sydney Crosby being able to win the game for the Penguins.

Georgiev was held out of practice for “maintenance” on Sunday.

However, one incident does not usually result in a player being put on waivers. Physical altercations sometimes happen with players in teams on all levels of sports. This is more about many factors contributing to this decision.

After Sunday’s practice, head coach David Quinn addressed this issue per Stephen Whyno of AP Sports: “There’s always rumors, I’m not gonna address rumors. This isn’t about one incident. It’s not about one thing.”

Translation: Yes, something happened and yes between his behavior and on-ice play, we may be moving on from this player.

DeAngelo does have some behavior history, most recently when he has benched two games for an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the opening night loss to the Islanders. This is on top of two known benchings in the last three seasons.

Yes, the team has talked to DeAngelo quite a bit about his social media postings, but this is only a small part of the issue. Playing poor hockey and provoking a confrontation with a teammate is not only unacceptable, but it is also more magnified when the team is struggling out of the gate of a new season.

DeAngelo’s antics have long followed him in his hockey career. He was suspended twice in juniors for violating the league’s harassment, abuse, and diversity policy for making inappropriate comments. He was also suspended in juniors and while a member of the Arizona Coyotes for abuse of an official.

At this point, the New York Rangers have to send this message to him and the team in order to maintain and/or promote a positive culture on a team that is struggling. It is bad enough when you are underachieving and losing. It cannot be compounded by a “hot head” who is not contributing to the team in a positive way.

The “fans” who are very happy about DeAngelo being put on waivers should not rejoice too quickly. It is not likely that he will be claimed by any team before noon on Monday.

More than likely, the Rangers will have some decisions to make.

Cutting him outright is not likely since the Blueshirts will probably not want to eat the cap hit this move would require. They could send him to Hartford but that is transferring the issues to another team.

The most likely scenario will see him being sent to the taxi squad, which could keep him away from the main group of players for a bit until DeAngelo can have some time to re-think how he wants to proceed with his hockey career and the behaviors that are associated with being a team player.

Until something can be figured out, Quinn has indicated that Anthony Bittero will replace DeAngelo in the lineup with Lidor Hajek next in line from the taxi squad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASCAR Cup Series Preview 2021: Stewart-Haas Racing

SHR’s NASCAR dominance went unrewarded at both the Cup and the Xfinity Series levels. They’re seeking revenge and even more wins in 2021.

2021 Stewart-Haas Racing Driver Chart
Driver Car No. Crew Chief Primary Sponsor(s)
Kevin Harvick 4 Rodney Childers Busch/Mobil 1/Hunt Brothers Pizza
Aric Almirola 10 Mike Bugarewicz Smithfield
Chase Briscoe (R) 14 Johnny Klausmeier HighPoint
Cole Custer 41 Mike Shiplett Haas Automation/Dixie Vodka

Two-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart united with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas in 2009. Haas, formerly a collaborator with Hendrick Motorsports, had been running a full-time team since 2003 but was struggling to find traction. Stewart joined him in co-ownership and, under the new name of Stewart-Haas Racing, joined the team alongside Ryan Newman. Driving the team’s No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart won his third and final Cup Series championship in 2011. Three seasons after, Kevin Harvick joined the team in the No. 4, formerly occupied by Newman under No. 39 branding. Harvick would win five races and earn his first Cup title that same year.

The team has raced Fords from the 2017 season onward. Stewart vacated the No. 14 the year before, giving way to Clint Bowyer for the last four seasons. Bowyer has since retired and will join Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon in the Fox Sports booth. The team’s No. 10 car, introduced in 2012, was driven for six seasons by Danica Patrick before Aric Almirola’s arrival. Elsewhere, the No. 41 arrived two years later and was driven by Kurt Busch and Daniel Suarez before Cole Custer’s takeover last season.

2020 in Review

The 2007 New England Patriots. The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors. Kevin Harvick’s 2020 endeavors.

These dominant efforts all went for naught, as the more controversial side of the NASCAR playoffs came to light when Harvick, the winner of a series-best nine races last season, wasn’t one of the four championship contenders at the championship race in Phoenix. His last two wins came in playoff events at Darlington and Bristol, but consecutive finishes outside the top-ten in the Round of 8’s latter stages doomed him to elimination.

As a whole, the 2020 season was a bit of a roller-coaster for SHR. Beyond Harvick’s efforts, Almirola was at least consistent, finishing in the top ten in nine consecutive races drummer the summer stretch. No wins followed, however, and he was eliminated after the Round of 12. Bowyer’s swan song was respectable, ending in a playoff berth after a runner-up finish in the spring Bristol race. Custer’s Cup debut was a bit of a disappointment, but he managed to steal a win at Kentucky, along with the playoff spot and Rookie of the Year title that came with it. He was eliminated after the first round.

Meet the Drivers

Kevin Harvick

Experience: 21st season
Career Cup Victories: 58 (last: fall Bristol, 2020)
2020 finish: 5th
Best standings finish: 2014 Champion

If anything, last season simply made Harvick a stone-cold lock for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Harvick’s Cup Series career began under the most harrowing of circumstances. It was he, after all, who was called upon to take over Dale Earnhardt’s car when The Intimidator tragically passed on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Prior to last season, he finished no worse than third in the final standings in eight of the last ten seasons. His Truck Series squad had also taken home two championships with circuit legend Ron Hornaday Jr. behind the wheel.

But, despite the lack of a championship at the end, 2020 may go down as Harvick’s greatest accomplishment yet. The way he dominated the circuit in a time where on-track preparation and adjustments were at an ultimate premium was extraordinary. The history was likely no consolation to Harvick, however, and that just makes this No. 4 team all the more dangerous in the future.

Last season’s win tally allowed Harvick to enter the top ten in the Cup Series’ all-time wins ledger. Up next on the list? Earnhardt at 76.

Aric Almirola

Experience: 10th full season
Career Cup Victories: 2 (last: fall Talladega, 2018)
2020 finish: 15th
Best standings finish: 5th (2018)

After wallowing in racing purgatory over at Richard Petty Motorsports, Almirola has been consistent since being granted stronger equipment at SHR. He has reached the playoffs in each of his three seasons behind the No. 10 and came home fifth in the 2018 standings. But when are expectations allowed to be raised? Almirola felt primed for a breakout at numerous points last season. He had remarkably strong luck in terms of starting position during the random draw portions and led a career-best 305 laps this season. Yet, Almirola remains mired in a 77-race win drought. SHR renewed his contract last season, but Almirola wants to kickstart things to a higher level.

“So far, I’ve been able to have some success (but) I still want more,” Almirola said prior to the playoffs last season. “I still have a burning desire to win more races, lead more laps, and ultimately win a championship…so far, we’ve been successful…I feel like we have the potential. We’ve been all around it, we just haven’t put it all together to win races, but we’ve been so close. We’ve led a lot of laps. We’ve run top five a lot and when you do those things, typically you’ll find yourself in victory lane, so maybe the Good Lord is just making me be patient.”

Chase Briscoe

Experience: 1st season (No prior Cup starts)
Career Cup Victories: N/A
2020 finish: N/A
Best standings finish: N/A

Much like his new teammate Harvick, Briscoe saw a dominant season go for naught, his own misfortune coming on the Xfinity Series level. Driving SHR’s No. 98 Ford, Briscoe won a circuit-record nine races but failed to take the championship at Phoenix. The most memorable victory came at Darlington in May, when Briscoe held off two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch for the win in the Xfinity Series’ return from the coronavirus-induced pause. Briscoe’s victory came shortly after his wife Marissa suffered a miscarriage.

Briscoe will now replace the retired Bowyer in the No. 14 Ford, a dream come true for the 2016 ARCA champion. As an Indiana youth, Briscoe was a die-hard fan of Stewart, taking in his endeavors from the 14 car from afar. Now, it’s Briscoe’s to command on race days.

“The goal and dream was always the 14 car, but I don’t think it was always necessarily believable that it was going to happen the way it all worked out,” Briscoe said in October. “I truly care about that number and the history of that number going from AJ Foyt to Tony and even Clint. There is a lot of pride in that number being a dirt guy and drive that car and drive for Stewart-Haas. It is still unbelievable.”

Cole Custer

Experience: 2nd full season
Career Cup Victories: 1 (last: Kentucky, 2020)
2020 finish: 16th
Best standings finish: 16th (2020)

Custer’s Rookie of the Year award wasn’t received well by some, as many noted that Tyler Reddick was the more consistent first-year man. But Custer was the only victory lane visitor with a yellow stripe on the back of his car, earning him the ROTY award. The shocker in Kentucky, NASCAR’s final visit to the Bluegrass State for the foreseeable future, did come during a short summer surge for Custer. Prior to the win, he posted his first career top five at Indianapolis and followed the triumph up with consecutive top tens after some bad luck in the immediate aftermath. Nonetheless, there’s going to be a bit of a target on this team’s back moving forward to perform on a more consistent basis.

Outlook

There’s little doubt that Harvick is going to insert himself in the championship picture. The only question is how many races he’ll take along the way. Almirola is also a potential playoff shoo-in but he needs to focus on getting back to victory lane, perhaps multiple times. Briscoe shouldn’t face too many obstacles in winning Rookie of the Year (his only competition, for the time being, is Anthony Alfredo in the underfunded No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford), so he can focus on keeping the No. 14 competitive in the post-Bowyer era. If Custer can’t make it back to the winner’s circle this season, placing the car in the top 20 in points would be a goal to be proud of.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

Report: MLB proposes 154-game schedule starting in May

According to a report, MLB submitted a proposal to the MLBPA, asking for a slightly shortened 2021 season with a month delay. The proposal calls for a 154-game schedule with an early May start while ending the regular-season a week later. Accepting the proposal would likely call for a condensed schedule with several seven-inning doubleheaders.

However, MLB’s proposal included full pay for players, meaning there wouldn’t be pro-rated salaries dependent on how many games are played. That’d be the major selling point for players, but the condensed schedule is likely the players’ main issue. Additionally, the proposal reportedly includes expanded playoffs for a second consecutive season.

MLB’s proposal comes after Cactus League officials in Arizona asked MLB to delay Spring Training due to high COVID-19 numbers in the Phoenix area. However, MLB players want to begin the season on time, and clubs are preparing to do the same.

Players believe that they can adapt the same safety protocols from last season to have another successful season during the pandemic. With the protocols in place, a full 60-game season was completed in 2020 with just minor hiccups.

As the currently scheduled start of Spring Training inches closer, players have slowly trickled to team sites to begin training. Multiple New York Yankees players are reportedly working out at the organization’s Tampa facility, and teams are already selling tickets for the season.

Although the Cactus League requested that MLB delay Spring Training, Major League Baseball cannot do so without the Players Association’s approval. Players want to begin the season on time, however, they are considering the proposal.

New York Yankees Player Profiles: Jameson Taillon is he an ace in the making?

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

Now that the New York Yankees have re-signed DJ LeMahieu, they have concentrated on improving the pitching, both starting, and the bullpen. The two significant changes in the starting rotation are indeed significant. First, they signed Corey Kluber, a two-time Cy Young Award winner. Shortly after that, they traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates to bring starter Jameson Taillon, pronounced Tie-own, to the Bronx.

Taillon could be a big boost to the New York Yankees rotation and probably will start in the number 3 spot behind Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber. Taillon brings another look to the rotation with an entirely different pitching style. If successful, it could give the Yankees a one, two, three punch at the top of the rotation that opponents will fear. In 2019, he relied primarily on his Slider (89mph), Fourseam Fastball (95mph), and Sinker (95mph), also mixing in a Curve (83mph) and Change (89mph). … His curve is much harder than usual and has a sharp downward bite—Taillon’s pitching results in many ground balls that fit Yankee Stadium nicely.

Frustrated by a second Tommy John surgery, the Yankees’ newest starter worked with a “village” of experts to revamp his delivery. He is ready to display it on day one with the New York Yankees. Let’s look at the journey that has led him to the Yankees.

Jameson Lee Taillon is 29 years old, born on November 18, 1991. He is a Canadian/American citizen, but he was born in Lakeland, Florida. His family moved to Texas, where the tall young man attended Woodlands High School in Woodland. He played baseball for the Highlanders. It was there that he got the attention of Pittsburgh Pirates scouts with his 22-6 record. In his senior year at Woodland, he threw a no-hitter, striking out 19 hitters. His 2010 senior record was 8-1.

Out of high school, Taillon signed a letter of intent to attend college but was drafted in the Pirates’ in the first round. Just hours before the deadline, he did choose the Pirates over Rice University for a $6.5 million signing bonus, the second-highest bonus in draft history at the time. Taillon made his professional debut on April 27, 2011. He joined the team on April 24 after staying in Florida for an extended spring training assignment. He spent the season with the West Virginia Power, going 2–3 with a 3.98 ERA in 23 starts.

Taillon was named to appear in the 2012All-Star Futures Game. He started the 2012 season with the Marauders but was quickly promoted to the Altoona Curve. In August, he was named the Eastern League pitcher of the week. In 26 starts between the two teams, he was 9-8 with a 3.55 ERA. He was promoted to the Indianapolis Indians, but after the season, he had his first Tommy John surgery to repair a UCL of the elbow, causing him to miss the entire 2014 season. He also missed the 2015 season with a sports hernia.

During 2016 Taillon spent his time between the Pirates and the minors going back and forth. He made his Major League Debut after 10 starts in the minors. Taillon went 4–2 with a 2.04 ERA, striking out 61 in 61.2 innings and walking only 6. In another Pirate’s start, he faced Noah Syndergaard; Taillon threw 6 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts, not receiving a decision in the eventual 6–5 loss. In his second start against the Mets, he threw 8 scoreless innings, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh before former Yankees Curtis Granderson broke it up, recording his first win in the 4–0 victory. He spent the remainder of 2016 with Pittsburgh. In 18 starts, he compiled a 5–4 record and 3.38 ERA.

In 2017 he was in the Pirate’s starting rotation, but he underwent surgery for testicular cancer in May. After just a few weeks, he was back with the club and finished the season with 25 starts; he had an 8–7 record and 4.44 ERA. He pitched the entire 2018 season uninjured with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts. His 2019 season was cut short when he required his second Tommy John surgery. He did not pitch in 2020 while rehabbing.

General manager Brian Cashman has a history of taking chances on previously injured players, as he has already done with Corey Kluber. In a worst-case scenario, both of these pitchers will be average pitchers, but there is also an excellent chance that they excel for the Yankees and prove their worth with minor investment.  This will give the Yankees a whole season to evaluate Domingo German and Luis Severino’s returning pitchers and further develop prospects Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Michael King.

At just 29 years old, Taillon is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher. He primarily utilizes a fastball that can top out at 98 mph, sinker, slider, and a circle curveball. He gets an impressive 50% ground ball rate, which plays well at Yankee Stadium. Taillon is not the pitcher in 2019; he has developed a new delivery to take the strain off his arm by using his hip more efficiently in his delivery.

“I kind of had like a coming-to-grips moment where I said, ‘My current set of mechanics and what I’m doing isn’t working,’” he said in a conference call with reporters. “That’s just the cold, hard truth. I need to change something or else my career is going to be over.”

Taillon has accomplished that working with the training staff, coaches, and a visit to the Florida Baseball Ranch, a facility in Lakeland, Fla., that uses diagnostics to improve health and performance. Over time, the pitcher refashioned his windup and delivery. Taillon declared that he was healthy and would be ready for spring training, whenever it starts. He has been throwing off a mound with the goal of preparation, not rehabilitation.

Taillon said that he now had more spin on his fastball and that his cut fastball had evolved into more of a true slider. He still relies on a sloping curveball, having discovered a comfortable grip on his evolving changeup, which gives him the potential for at least five pitches. Taillon has the ability to become a true ace. The New York Yankees have control of him through the 2022 season.

Jameson is currently dating his longtime girlfriend Claire Petratis; he spends a lot of time with her. They like to travel and go on vacations together. There are no rumors of an upcoming engagement. It is reported that he lives in the Pittsburg area but will be moving to New York. On his Twitter account, he has been asked for the places to get the best coffee in New York City. He has said he wants to visit all the New York sights. He is reportedly a great guy with a big heart. He is associated with charitable organizations, including “Lending Hearts,” a nonprofit org facilitating peer support, through educational & recreational activities & programs, to kids & teens with cancer and in remission from cancer. Baseball America has compared him to Stephen Strasburg and Burt Blyleven.

Taillon coming to the New York Yankees is a reunion of sorts, and he is now professionally reengaged with this long-time close friend Gerrit Cole. They pitched in the minors together and for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016 and 2017, where they became best friends. You can be sure Cole had something to do with Taillon coming to the Yankees. Cole said on Twitter:

“I told the Yankees that if you’re going to bet on someone, if you’re going to go into battle with someone, that Jameson is the guy you want next to you. He is not fazed. He makes the people around him better. He is one of the most resilient people I have evern known.”

New York Rangers waive D Anthony DeAngelo

Anthony deangelo

The New York Rangers made a surprising move as they placed defenseman Anthony DeAngelo on waivers on  Sunday afternoon.

The 25 y-year old registered one assist in six games with the Blueshirts this season. He has played in 206 NHL games for both the Rangers and the Arizona Coyotes. In his five seasons, DeAngelo has recorded 24 goals with 82 assists for 106 points.

The Rangers acquired the defenseman on June 23, 2017, along with Arizona’s first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft for Antti Raanta and Derek Stepan.

DeAngelo had a turbulent time in New York, never living up to the expectations the Rangers had for him. He had a rocky relationship with head coach David Quinn resulting in watching several games as a healthy scratch during his time in New York.

His offseason antics and political statements on social media platforms like Twitter have made his relationship with the organization stressful. Over the summer, DeAngelo deleted his Twitter account after several confrontations with fans and other media outlets.

The announcement adds more fuel to the fire that the team may be looking to acquire St. Luis Blues defenseman Vice Dunn.

Dunn, 24-years old, will be an RFA at the end of this season. His contract this year has a cap hit of $1.875 million.

Yankees News: Bad Luis Severino injury news, as Cashman is vague on his return

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees starting pitching rotation has been bolstered significantly off over the past few weeks, thanks to moves by general manager Brian Cashman. However, the moves he’s made are considered risky since both Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon are coming off significant injuries.

Both starters haven’t pitched over 40 innings in the past two years, so the Yankees are hedging their bet that they will escape without any serious injury complications moving forward. Cashman seems confident in what he’s built, despite not having the financial flexibility he’s usually accustomed to.

Despite their moves to improve the rotation, the Yankees are also looking to gain back Domingo German and Luis Severino for the 2021 season. With the addition of these two homegrown players and their acquisitions, they should be in good shape, but Cashman’s latest comments on Severino’s injury and rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery aren’t exactly motivating.

Cashman stated that the Yankees expect to gain Severino back in late July, but that timeline is a bit vague. He also mentioned late summer as a possible return point, which wouldn’t even give Severino half a season to regain his form to prepare for the playoffs. Considering he hasn’t pitched more than 12 innings in two years, I wouldn’t depend on Severino being a focal point and big contributor in 2021.

Now, if you feel comfortable rolling with Kluber and Taillon as your number two and three starters, you might either be a genius or a simple fool. Cashman has done his best with limited funds, but both pitchers seem to be healthy and prepared for the season ahead. Kluber stated after signing with the Yankees that he was looking for a contending team, as he feels good physically, but mentally he needs to find his way out of the rehabilitation mentality.

As for Taillon, he asserted he feels 100% healthy, and he should have a normal workload going into spring training, which is a great sign. The evidence reveals that Cashman made two stellar acquisitions, but most expected Severino to be ready earlier than the timetable given. That will be a major blow for the Yankees, as they look to hold the latter portion of the rotation together with youth and inexperience.

New York Giants: Should the Giants purse J.J. Watt this offseason?

New York Giants, JJ Watt

There is a new player in Houston that wants out, and his name is not Deshaun Watson. J.J. Watt seems to be on the move this offseason if it’s a trade or if the Houston Texans decided to release him. If the Texans decided to put Watt on the trading block or flat out release him, should the New York Giants make the move to bring Watt in New York?

The 31-year-old Watt is in the final year of a six-year, $100 million deal and is scheduled to make $17.5 million in 2021. So if the Giants were to be interested in taking Watt on, along with trying to re-sign Leonard Williams, they may have to get creative with the salary situation.

If the Giants would like to wait if Watt gets released, they could be in a bidding war with some other teams. One team that stands out to me would be the Pittsburgh Steelers. How awesome would it be if J.J. has a chance to play football with his two brothers, T.J. and Derek Watt?

What would the Giants have to give up to acquire Watt from Houston?

It honestly depends on what Houston wants. They currently do not have a first or second-round pick in the 2021 Draft. They may ask for a player-maker on offense if they decide to Watson long-term. Maybe tight end Evan Engram and no less than a fifth-round pick to Watt would be interesting.

Besides Watt’s play, what would Watt bring to the Giants?

What Watt would bring to the Giants is that missing voice they need in the locker room and on the field. He’s an on-field general who would lead by example, someone they haven’t really had since Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck. The Giants finally have a voice in the secondary in Logan Ryan, the linebackers have Blake Martinez, and now the defensive line can have Watt now as their voice.

What Watt also brings is his experiences. Watt has played in eight playoff games in his career, has been a 5x Pro Bowler, and a 5x All-Pro at the age of 31. Watt has also been a 3x DPOY winner. He brings a lot of impressive accolades with him to New York, many of the young guys will have a chance to listen and play with Watt would turn this team around.

Watt does so much more to a team than just perform on the field. He is a difference-maker on and off the field. Watt also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award back in 2017. Watt would be a player that I personally would be very excited to see in Blue and White!