New York Giants wanted deal with Dave DeGuglielmo, but it fell through

New York Giants, Dave DeGuglielmo

The New York Giants don’t want to look for a new offensive line coach, but they are as of now. Based on the reports coming out of the organization, O-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo will be out this offseason following his arrival midway through the year.

However, he’s not leaving because of a firing. The situation is quite the opposite. The Giants wanted to bring DeGuglielmo back for another year or more, but the two sides haven’t been able to reach an agreement.

The situation seems unusual since keeping the offensive line coach position on a full time basis would be an upgrade from the position DeGuglielmo was originally brought in for. He was set to take over as assistant O-line coach, but was promoted after the firing of Marc Colombo.

Colombo grew heated over Joe Judge’s perceived attempts to undermine him by bringing in his own candidate for assistant, and the resulting events led to DeGuglielmo taking over as the main offensive line coach without spending any time in the previous assistant role.

Under DeGuglielmo, the Giants offensive line was far from perfect but had more stable performance than it did under Colombo. Whether the line will trend upwards or downwards under yet another coach remains to be seen.

Andrew Thomas in specific will have it hard after coming out of college last season only to play under two different O-line coaches during his first season in the NFL.

But if the Giants can’t come to a deal with DeGuglielmo as reported, they’ll have no other option but to let the position remain a revolving door and look for someone else to fill it.

New York Yankees sign another pitcher to shore up their depth

Just a few days after adding fellow starter Corey Kluber on a major league contract that will pay him $11 million in 2021, the New York Yankees made a low-profile signing that could, eventually, have some upside. The Bombers signed right-handed pitcher Asher Wojciechowski to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale broke the news via Twitter on Thursday afternoon. The Yankees keep adding necessary depth pieces to their rotation, as their current group is talented, but not without question marks.

The deal will pay Wojciechowski a $750,000 salary if he makes it to the big leagues, per Nightengale. The hurler is 32 and had a 6.82 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 31/15 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work (seven starts, three relief appearances) last season with the Baltimore Orioles.

Wojciechowski’s career MLB ERA is 5.95.

He had a 4.92 ERA in 2019, in 82.1 innings, with a 8.74 K/9 and a 3.06 BB/9 in 17 games, 16 of them starts.

The new Yankees’ starter has home run issues

Wojciechowski’s biggest issue in the majors has been, by far, the home run ball. In 198 frames in the bigs, he has allowed an alarming two home runs per nine innings. If he wants to succeed with the New York Yankees, he will have to find a solution.

He represents an intriguing project for the Yankees’ director of pitching Sam Briend and pitching coach Matt Blake.

Stuff-wise, Wojciechowski throws a low-90s fastball that averages around 91 miles per hour. He complements that with a curveball and a slider. He rarely (around 5 percent of the time) uses a changeup.

The Yankees will try to parlay his 11.0 swinging strike rate (SwStr%) which is actually not bad at all, into more strikeouts and, hopefully, consistency. Asher Wojciechowski is a low-risk signing for the organization that will, at the very least, solidify the overall organizational depth.

Buffalo Bills: Three reasons why this isn’t the same team from October

The Kansas City Chiefs topped the Buffalo Bills in one-sided fashion back in October, but a lot has changed in Orchard Park.

Why is the NFL even bothering to play the AFC Championship Game on Sunday afternoon? We already saw what a nationally televised matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs (6:40 p.m. ET, CBS) had to offer back in October.

The Monday late afternoon tilt in Orchard Park (wth health protocols moving the game from its original Thursday night slot) wasn’t as close as the 26-17 margin in Kansas City’s advantage indicated. The defending champion Chiefs outgained Buffalo 466-206 and Josh Allen’s box score (14-of-27, 122 yards) was conjured from the sweetest dreams of his detractors. To make things even scarier, the Chiefs’ comfortable victory came with megastar Patrick Mahomes posting relatively pedestrian numbers (225 yards, two scores). Mahomes’ status for Sunday remains in question after he left last week’s Divisional round victory with a head injury.

With their loss, combined with a listless showing in Nashville the week prior, the Bills had apparently missed their chance to prove why they belonged amongst the NFL’s elite. Sure, they were content to win an AFC East featuring the woebegone Jets, declining Patriots, and developing Dolphins, but keys to the AFC penthouse would have to wait, granted only to Kansas City and their guests from Tennessee and Pittsburgh.

But a lot has changed since October. Vaccines to combat the ongoing health crisis were still in the development stages. In the Star Wars galaxy, Grogu was still known as “Baby Yoda” and, as far as we knew, Boba Fett was still in the belly of the Sarlacc.

The Bills, meanwhile, have cleaned themselves up…

 Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Their offense has gotten better at controlling the game

Offensive control goes far beyond the yardage battle, though the BIlls are handling their business in that department. Since putting up only 206 against the Chiefs in October, the Bills broke the 300-yard mark in each of their next 11 games, a streak that ended in the Orchard Park winds of the Divisional playoff victory over Baltimore. In that span, Buffalo eclipsed 400 six times, including a whopping 534 in their playoff-clinching win over Denver.

Perhaps more important, however, is what Buffalo can do in the time of possession affairs. When one leads such a battle, it means their offense is still on the field and that the opponent’s unit…in this case, one featuring Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and other scoring titans…can only watch from the sidelines.

If any franchise knows the value of winning the time of possession column, it’s the Buffalo Bills. Scott Norwood’s memorable miss in Super Bowl XXV could’ve been avoided bad the Bills had held the ball for more than 20 minutes. The New York Giants, reduced to a backup quarterback, methodically milked the clock with a rushing attack headlined by MVP Ottis Anderson. They wound up keeping the ball for over two-thirds of game time (40:33) to secure a 20-19 victory. The Giants kept their offense on the field while Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, and Co. could only helplessly look on.

The modern Bills have appeared to have taken that lesson to heart. Though they’ve lost the battle in each of their postseason pair thus far, odds considerably tilt to their favor when they hold the ball longer. The Bills are 6-0 when they hold the ball for at least 33 minutes, notably keeping it for 41:17 in their Week 1 win over the Jets. In contrast, Buffalo had only 22:15 of offense during their prior excursion against the Chiefs. Winning the TOP struggle has proven effective in neutralizing a Mahomes offense before. Kansas City has lost nine games with Mahomes under center since he took over the starting role in 2018. The Chiefs have lost the time of possession battle in all but one of those games. Included in the negative tally is their overtime defeat to New England in the 2018-19 AFC Championship Game.

(Photo: Getty)

They’ve cracked down on opposing rushing efforts

How did Kansas City manage to look so dominant with Mahomes looking uncharacteristically average? Simple…they’re known as the Kansas City Chiefs, not the Kansas City Mahomes (more on this from a Buffalo standpoint later).

The Chiefs have built their new NFL dominion through a team effort. Though Mahomes has obviously played a role in the Chiefs’ ongoing success, new heroes have surfaced in times of trouble. Sub-Mahomes efforts, or even his medical-induced disappearances, are not immediate causes for on-field panic. Kansas City’s run game has routinely stepped up when Mahomes is held in check. That was true during the early stages of last year’s Super Bowl, as Damien Williams put up 104 rushing yards and the final two touchdowns in the 31-20 victory. When Mahomes had to leave the Divisional proceedings against Cleveland, the unrelated Darrel Williams put up 47 yards on seven carries to help take the pressure and load off backup Chad Henne, ticking precious time off the clock in the process.

In the first Buffalo meeting, it was first-round rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire who rose up with 161 yards on the ground, while Darrel Williams put in a second-half touchdown that gave the Chiefs a two-possession lead. If Mahomes plays but isn’t at 100 percent on Sunday in Missouri, there’d be little surprise in

But the Bills defense has cracked down since Edwards-Helaire’s Western New York stampede. While it’s still not at a level they’re truly satisfied with the betterment has nonetheless played a role in their success. Only two rushers (Damien Harris and Kenyan Drake) have gotten to the century mark since Edwards-Helarie’s infantile career day at 102 and 100 respectively. They additionally held another stud rookie rusher, Jonathan Taylor, to under four yards a carry during their Wild Card victory over Indianapolis (21 carries, 78 yards). Buffalo later held Baltimore’s top-ranked run game in check in the Divisional round, allowing no rushers greater than 15 yards from Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and Lamar Jackson.

“We said, OK, we’re going to dare them to stay with the run game, and lo and behold, they stayed with it, and had a lot of success running the football,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said of the October game, per Jourdon LaBarber of BuffaloBills.com. “You know, we learned a lot from that ballgame, hopefully some lessons that will help us going forward, but that was the strategy going into game. We’ll have to find a balance, do a better job against the run than we did in that first encounter.”

 Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

They’ve improved far beyond Josh Allen

In a cruelly ironic twist, would an MVP Award for Josh Allen actually hurt the Bills?

In a perfect world, distribution of Most Valuable Player awards would truly live up to its definition. But it too often simply goes to the best players on the best team or relies solely on stats. Magnificent as Mahomes has been, Kansas City has shown that they’re more than capable of competing when a backup quarterback like Henne or Matt Moore has to take the reins.

Since his drafting in 2018, the Bills fortunes have been perceived as rising and falling through the play of Allen. That’s ridiculously unfair in a sport that relies so heavily on team antics, but those who believe in such philosophies had evidence through Allen’s shortcomings. Over his first two seasons, Buffalo posted a 6-13 record when Allen posted a passer rating of 90 worse. That tally included his 69.5 posting in the Bills’ Wild Card defeat in Houston last year.

Granted, Allen has improved himself to the point where he’s not posting these kinds of numbers on a regular basis. Additionally, his jaw-dropping highlight reels often speak for themselves. But, as mentioned above, the 2020 version of Allen has gotten by with a little help from his friends. Buffalo’s record now stands at a much more tolerable 4-3 when Allen’s passer rating is at that precipice. A perfect example came last week against Baltimore in the Divisional tilt. By typical 2020-21 standards, the game was a struggle for the Bills offense, which put up only 220 yards and 17 first downs.

The defense, however, had Allen’s back, upping the pressure on Jackson and providing the most crucial score through Taron Johnson’s 101-yard interception return for a touchdown. They likewise added four sacks, including two from Jerry Hughes, his second multi-sack game in his last three postseason contests. Momentum-shifting turnovers have been nothing new in Buffalo. Since picking up only one in the Kansas City loss, the Bills have earned multiple turnovers in six games.

As for blocking, Allen’s pocket has been relatively clean, having been sacked four times in the two playoff showings. When the pressure has raised a few octaves, to the tune of a pair of fumbles that could’ve shifted the courses of those games, but Darryl Williams and Dion Dawkins each came up big with recoveries.

In short, since their pair of defeats…the Bills could well have been holding a 12-game winning streak if not for Kyler Murray’s miracle…the Bills are providing a whole new meaning to “All-22”. Time will tell if it’ll be enough to topple the budding dynasty in Kansas City. But it won’t come through relying solely on the prescience of Allen.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Yankees reportedly ‘doing their homework’ on Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have a good rotation. They have ace Gerrit Cole, southpaw Jordan Montgomery, youngsters Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, and fireballer Domingo German. Additionally, they recently added Corey Kluber on a one-year, $11 million contract for the 2021 season.

However, and perhaps except for Cole, every one of those starters comes with a question mark. Can Montgomery pitch closer to his 2020 FIP (3.87) than ERA (5.11)? How will German look after more than a year without pitching in the majors? Can Garcia maintain the control gains he made in 2020? Is Clarke Schmidt ready for the bigs? How about Kluber’s health?

That’s why it is a good idea for the Yankees to remain engaged in the free agent and trade markets. Both still have options, especially the former. But if the team doesn’t want to pay big bucks, they can try and find a partner to do business with.

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently traded first baseman Josh Bell and starter Joe Musgrove, but they still have enticing pieces on their roster. Jameson Taillon is a name that is surely in the New York Yankees’ radar.

The Yankees are interested in Taillon

Yankees MLB.com beat writer Bryan Hoch recently posted on an Instagram story that the Yankees are looking to add at least another pitcher and have done their homework on Taillon.

The right-hander is a talented hurler with an interest in analytics and looking for ways to improve. He is also cheap, as he is owed $2.25 million for the 2021 season. The red flag is that he has had Tommy John surgert two times already.

The 29-year-old hurler has a 3.67 ERA and a 3.55 FIP in 466.0 career innings, with a 21.5 K% and a 6.0 BB%. He is not an ace, but the Yankees don’t need one. They need talented pitchers to lengthen the rotation, and Taillon fits the bill.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones was an improved QB in 2020

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

To the naked eye, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones did not improve in his second NFL season. He threw 13 fewer touchdowns, his passer rating dropped 7.7 points, and his team finished 6-10. But despite those notable regressions, he improved in a number of areas as well – including the one that plagued his rookie year. By no means did Jones take a monumental leap in year two like some of the quarterbacks in recent years, but progress was made, and the Giants should be confident in their QB of the future heading into 2021.

How Daniel Jones Improved During His Second Season:

He stopped turning the ball over:

During his rookie year Daniel Jones turned the ball over 23 times, tied for the second-most in the NFL. The Giants lost multiple games in 2019 strictly because of Jones’ inability to keep the ball in his teams’ hands. Heading into the 2020 offseason it was clear that protecting the pigskin needed to be worked on.

After turning the ball over 11 times in the G-Men’s first seven games of 2020, it looked as though Jones hadn’t made any progress with his biggest weakness. But as the season went on, his hard work finally started to show on the field. In his final seven starts, the former Duke signal-caller turned the ball over five times, six less than the first half of the year. Even more impressive though was in his final six starts he coughed the ball up only three times, one of them being a perfect pass that was dropped by tight end Evan Engram in week 17.

When the season was all said and done, Daniel Jones had turned the ball over seven less times than his rookie year. His NFL-leading 11 fumbles in 2019 shrank to six in year two, and his interceptions dropped from 12 to 10. He turned the ball over 1.14 times a game, a sizable decrease from 1.77 in 2019. Of course there’s still plenty of room for improvement in 2021, but the Giants should be pleased about Jones’ development in the turnover area.

He became a real threat with his legs:

After a rookie season that saw Jones rush for 279 yards and two scores on 45 carries, it was clear an elite running ability was present. His 4.82 40-yard dash speed was on full display in 2020, as he ran for 423 yards and a score on 65 carries. That uptick in production was huge for the Giants in a number of games this past season. His 49-yard run against Washington in week six led to a field goal, his 80-yard scamper against Philadelphia in week eight led to a touchdown two plays later, and his 34-yard sprint in week 11 against Philadelphia resulted in his lone rushing touchdown of the season.

Not only did Jones set almost every single Giants QB rushing record in 2020, but he was also one of the best running quarterbacks in the NFL. His 6.5 yards per rush led the NFL among players with at least 60 rush attempts and his top speed of 21.23 MPH on his 80-yard run against the Eagles was the fastest speed reached by any QB since 2018. Jones’ running ability needs to be a focal point of the Giants’ offense in 2021. His ability to read a defense on the option is awe-inspiring.

The other categories that saw modest improvement:

The two aspects of Jones’ game mentioned above were the most significant areas of development, but there are plenty of others that saw progress in 2020. His completion percentage increased slightly by .6%, his QBR increased significantly by 5.8 points (largely due to the decrease in turnovers and increase in rushing yards), and he accounted for 3,366 total yards, 60 more than his rookie year.

His improved record:

On top of his individual statistics, his record as a starting QB improved as well. He was 5-9 in 14 starts in 2020, equivalent to a .357 winning percentage. While minimal, that was an improvement from a 3-9 record and .250 winning percentage in 2019. More importantly though, Jones was 4-2 against the NFC East. For a Giants team that has finished above .500 against their division only once since 2010, those four wins are huge. Jones and Big Blue also managed to beat the Cowboys and Eagles for the first time since 2016.

Despite having to play without star running back Saquon Barkley for 14 games, getting sacked on 9.1% of pass attempts (second-highest in the NFL), and struggling to find success in offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s terrible scheme, Daniel Jones made progress in his second year.

 

 

What’s next Michael Chiesa after UFC Fight Island 8?

Yesterday, Michael Chiesa (18-4) remained unbeaten at welterweight. In the main event of UFC Fight Island 8, Chiesa took on Neil Magny (24-8). Magny entered the contest on a three-fight win streak after a sensational 2020.

Both men ranked just inside the top ten of the UFC‘s welterweight division. Whoever won this fight was poised to make a run at a top five opponent in their next one. Originally, I thought Magny would have the advantage in a decision fight.

Magny has five-round experience while Chiesa has never gone past the third round. Combine that with the fact that Magny had an active 2020 while Chiesa recovered from injuries and I thought this was going to be Magny’s fight.

I was wrong about that one. At UFC Fight Island 8, Michael Chiesa delivered a fantastic performance that saw him win four of the five rounds on all three judges scorecards. Chiesa looked incredibly in the UFC main event yesterday.

I was really impressed with his ability to land shots on Magny while closing the distance. In addition to that, Chiesa also did a number on Magny in dominating the grappling exchanges. Michael Chiesa made a statement with his win and his callout yesterday after the fight.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 8?

In his post-fight interview, Chiesa made a big callout of Colby Covington (16-2). The former interim UFC welterweight champion currently doesn’t have a fight lined up and Chiesa made it clear that he wants that fight.

Unfortunately for him, I don’t believe he’s getting that fight. The UFC has made it very clear that they are trying to book Covington against his rival and former friend, Jorge Masvidal (35-14).

With Covington not an option, the UFC has a couple of options in my opinion. In a few weeks, Kamaru Usman (17-1) is defending his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns (19-3). Depending on how that fight goes, I could see the promotion giving Chiesa the loser of that fight.

Another option could be Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (16-4-1). Wonderboy also doesn’t have a fight, but he’s dealing with some injuries and his timetable for a return is uncertain. Should he be able to go relatively soon, that would be another fun matchup for Chiesa.

New York Islanders: It’s time for Oliver Wahlstrom to play

The New York Islanders have only played 3 games this season but have the same problem as last season. They can’t seem to figure out how to put the puck in the back of the net consistently. I know the Isles scored 4 goals against the Rangers in the first game. But, in the last 120 minutes of gameplay, they’ve only scored 1 goal.

The Islanders aren’t going to go make a trade for a top goal scorer. So, this player must come from inside the system. The answer is obviously Oliver Wahlstrom. No other winger has goal-scoring abilities as Wahlstrom has. Where would he fit in the lineup, though? Also, how would this impact the current gameplan?

Replace Ross Johnston

Ross Johnston’s best ability is his physicality, and this is a known fact. But he only has 11 hits in 3 games this season. The fourth line has been doing their thing and together have 27 hits in 3 games.

Even Kieffer Bellows has 10 hits in 3 games. It’s not like the Islanders need more checking. They need more goal scoring. And I also believe the reason why the third line gets a lack of minutes compared to the other lines is the fact that Ross Johnston is on it. I’m not calling him completely useless. But, as a wise man once said, “Johnston can do nothing just as much as he can do something.”

The Positives of the Change

When good players get the puck in space, there’s a scoring chance to be had. And when the puck gets on the net, good things happen. The third line takes the fewest amount of shots on net, with just 5 all year.

The puck needs to get on the net, and with a crafty player like Wahlstrom, it most certainly will. Teams don’t know how to gameplan for Wahlstrom. But, they know how to stop Johnston and make him slip up. All the Isles need is a confidence boost. If the Islanders can get Bellows and Wahlstrom to feel comfortable, the third line can be one of the deadliest in the league.

What’s next for Neil Magny after having winning streak snapped at UFC Fight Island 8?

There aren’t many welterweights in the UFC that had a better year in 2020 than Neil Magny (24-8). After having a lengthy layoff, Magny made his return to the octagon in 2020 and went a perfect 3-0.

Magny’s winning streak found him ranked ninth in the welterweight division. Yesterday at UFC Fight Island 8, Magny got the opportunity to take on the eighth ranked welterweight in the division in Michael Chiesa (18-4).

Chiesa was also riding a three-fight winning streak at welterweight. However, he hadn’t competed in almost a year due to some injuries. With Magny’s point style fighting and his 2020 activity level, I favored Magny in the matchup.

However, the fight didn’t go as I thought it would. I figured Magny would try to fight from distance a little more. However, the UFC main event mainly took place mainly in close quarters. In the grappling exchanges, Chiesa got the better of Magny throughout the fight.

In the third round, Magny finally started to pick it up. Just as you thought Magny would turn the tables and use his cardio advantage, Chiesa flipped the script and won the final two rounds at UFC Fight Island 8. Magny lost 49-46 on all three scorecards snapping his winning streak.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 8?

As mentioned, Magny had a three-fight winning streak heading into yesterday. Had he been able to defeat Chiesa, he could’ve been looking at a top five opponent in his next fight inside the octagon. However, that didn’t happen.

So what should the UFC do with The Haitian Sensation? A fight that could make a lot of sense is a battle with Geoff Neal (13-3). Neal and Magny were originally supposed to fight in 2020, however, Neal had to pull out of their original matchup.

Neal just lost to Stephen Thompson so both men are in a very similar position. Both are coming off of losses and their ranked in similar spots in the UFC’s welterweight division. That’s the fight that makes the most sense to me.

MLB News: Yankee’s Cashman my be good but the Padres Preller has worked magic

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

The New York Yankees went out in 2019 and made the biggest heist in baseball, acquiring arguably the best available pitcher in baseball in Gerrit Cole. The year before that, Cashman got a little known player by the name of DJ LeMahieu. Outside of that Yankee general manager, Brian Cashman has little to sing about. When the Yankees were making a run for the 2020 postseason, he did nothing by the trade deadline when the Yankees obviously needed pitching help. This offseason, with the Yankee’s priority being resigning DJ LeMahieu, Cashman got that deal down on the cheap. He also signed pitcher Corey Kluber to a one year deal but has done little else.

The San Diego Padres and their general manager A. J. Preller has been the biggest movers and shakers in baseball for the last two years. Last year by the trade deadline, they signed nearly a whole team of players. Major ones included Mike Clevinger and Greg Allen from Cleveland; Austin Nola, Austin Adams, Dan Altavilla, and Taylor Williams from the Mariners; Jason Castro from the Angels; Mitch Moreland from the Red Sox; and Trevor Rosenthal from the Royals. That’s four relief pitchers, two catchers, one outfielder, first baseman, and starting pitcher apiece. If you’re not doing the math, that’s 26 players to the Yankees zero players.

This year the Padres have become a true contender for the Los Angeles Dodgers, making more headline trades than any other baseball team. First, they traded for the Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell to head up their pitching rotation with Clevinger out for the 2021 season. Next, they traded for the Cubs co ace Yu Darvish. But the Padres weren’t done; they just traded for Joe Musgrove of the Pirates. These trades have given them one of the best starting trios in baseball, plus they will have Clevinger back next season.

In both of these years, the San Diego Padres spent little money but basically traded away their one deep farm system. That pantry is now pretty bare, but the Padres are going for their first World Series, a Championship they have never won.

The San Diego Padres were founded in 1969. Since then, they have had 15 winning seasons. They have won 5 NL West Division titles and two NL pennants. They went to the World Series twice in 1984 and again in 1998 but came away winless. The Padres have been so bad at times that they had become the laughing stock of the National League. Not the case anymore. In 2019 they went 70-92. In 2020 they were 37-22 and came second in the West only to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The fact is that the Padres were a better team last year than the New York Yankees; they were 33-27. General manager A. J. Preller has certainly done his job improving the club big time and turning them into a true contender in the upcoming season. Yet the Yankees have yet to make moves that will improve the team from last year. Although the Yankees have won more World Championships (27) than any other baseball team, they haven’t been World Champions since 2009. That team was built by Gene “Stick” Michael, not Brian Cashman.

New York Mets have been reluctant to offer Brad Hand a multiyear deal, per report

New York Yankees, Brad Hand

The New York Mets may have missed out on George Springer, but all signs point at them remaining active in the free agent market, despite adding catcher James McCann, reliever Trevor May, shortstop Francisco Lindor, starter Carlos Carrasco, and a bunch of arms for the bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, the New York Mets remain focused on improving that area. After adding Marcus Stroman and Carlos Carrasco, it is a given that Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman will join May, closer Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances, and others there. However, after Justin Wilson departed via free agency, a lefty is needed.

Brad Hand, who was 16-for-16 in saves situations last year with a sparkling 2.05 ERA and 1.37 FIP, has been on the Mets’ radar for months now. He remains in play, even if several teams, including the hungry Toronto Blue Jays, are still in on him.

According to SNY, the Mets have at least $20 million to spend before they hit the luxury tax threshold. The plan is not to exceed the number, although things can change at any moment.

“Everyone seems to want to know about Brad Hand and Jackie Bradley Jr. Both are possible for the Mets, but both bring complications. Hand and the Mets were deep in serious talks last week, and then Hand switched agents. He will sign a multi-year deal somewhere, and the Mets haven’t been willing to do that yet with him. Alex Colome is one of several alternatives who would command slightly less,” Andy Martino of SNY wrote.

The Mets most pressing needs

With his track record of excellence, Hand figures to get the multiyear deal he desires, so the Mets would probably need to step up if they want to secure their man.

The Mets need a center fielder, as well, but Martino warns that Jackie Bradley Jr. may not come as cheap as people think.

“At the beginning of the offseason, Bradley’s asking price was said to be extremely high (there is a rumor of a number going around that is so astronomical that we can’t publish it in good faith). Mets fans thinking, ‘Oh, we missed on Springer, let’s just grab JBJ at a discount’ are overly optimistic. He doesn’t expect to come cheap,” he explained.