New York Giants: Scout says Daniel Jones can win Super Bowl, but needs big help

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants might be able to win a Super Bowl without going out and getting another player to start at QB. But that’s only if they can put a good enough running game and defense around Daniel Jones to give him some help. At least, that’s the take that one talent evaluator told the New York Post.

The opinion is held by Dan Shonka, the general manager of the Ourlads Scouting Service. He says that, like in past years, it might be help from other areas like the defense that lets the Giants win a ring with Jones.

Is a title too much to ask for Daniel Jones?

“Yeah, I think he can. Quarterbacks, if they don’t make mistakes, if they don’t turn the ball over — yes, I think he can,” Shonka said when asked about whether Jones winning a title with the Giants would be possible. He mentioned that Eli Manning also won with talent and great defenses around him, rather than on his own.

“He’s gonna be a middle-of-the-road starting quarterback in the NFL, work his way into the 15-20 range. He’ll be a piece, I don’t think he’ll ever be a star that’s gonna carry a team. He’s got to have guys like Saquon Barkley and the receivers around him and have the running game,” Shonka continued.

The forecast isn’t what some Giants fans will want to hear. The NFL is an increasingly QB driven league, after all, and it’s not that easy to win a title with a mid tier quarterback. Many believe the Giants will be stuck in rebuilding unless they move on from Jones.

It looks like Texans QB Deshaun Watson will be on the move, and there’s been increased talk about the Giants QB situation this year as they may have a chance to acquire Watson and move on from Jones – if they can make it work with the cap.

A verdict on Jones

Turnovers have been a problem for Jones. And Shonka also mentioned that.

“I think he can be a really good game manager-type quarterback. What bothers me is he turns the ball over more than I remembered in college. Is he a turnover machine?” he said.

He also gave Jones some credit, however, but placed a high importance on the Giants having players around him.

“Daniel’s a smart guy, he’s a little more athletic than I gave him credit for coming out of Duke. He has a chance, but he’s got to have the team around him.”

The Giants have been making better personnel decisions over the past year or so, so having a talented team around Jones might not be so far away. But clearly, the clock is ticking. It’s been a while since the Giants were a playoff team. And most fans are getting impatient to see them get back to that spot.

Whether or not they do in 2021 will likely have a big impact on the ultimate verdict on Jones’ time with the franchise.

New York Giants might not be able to afford offensive playmakers in 2021 free agency

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants vowed to upgrade their offense this offseason. Both co-owner John Mara and general manager Dave Gettleman promised to find playmakers to help Daniel Jones. There are plenty of enticing options set to hit the open market once free agency begins in March. Fans are expecting the Giants to be involved in bidding wars, but New York might not have the cap space available to pursue any big options.

According to Zack Rosenblatt of NJ Advanced Media, the Giants are expected to be $3 million over the salary cap. Players on their rookie contracts are seeing their salary cap hits rise based on their performance. Will Hernandez, Lorenzo Carter, Isaac Yiadom, and B.J. Hill have all had their cap hits increase. This has put the Giants in a cap space predicament that might not be easily eradicated.

Can the Giants free up cap space?

The Giants will not stay over the cap for long, though. Rosenblatt points out that the Giants will get around $4.8 million in rollover cap from 2020 applied to their 2021 cap sheet. There are also a number of players in danger of being cut to free up cap space, like Golden Tate, Nate Solder, Levine Toilolo, and others.

New York is also likely to extend some of their players and free up immediate cap space. Players like Jabrill Peppers, Kevin Zeitler, and James Bradberry could get extensions or have their contracts restructured, as Rosenblatt points out. Additionally, the Giants could surprise people and extend Evan Engram to free up cap space as he enters his fifth-year option season, like Jabrill Peppers.

The Giants will get under the cap pretty easily. But they will not have as much money as fans originally expected them to. This could drastically alter New York’s offseason plans.

What does this mean for the Giants?

The Giants might not have enough cap space to re-sign their impending free agents and also add talent in free agency. Both Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson are impending free agents, in need of new contract extensions. Unfortunately, this new development within the Giants’ cap situation might force them to move on from one of these two big-name free agents.

If the Giants want to sign a premier wide receiver in free agency, they will almost certainly have to move on from one of their impending free agents. Players like Kenny Golladay, Allen Robinson, and Chris Godwin will not come cheap. All three of these players will earn contracts topping $15 million annually and Robinson could top $20 million.

This might force the Giants to focus on the offense in the 2021 NFL Draft. It seems more likely that the Giants will attempt to re-sign their free agent defenders in March, then beef up their offensive attack in April through the draft. There are plenty of talented offensive playmakers that will be available for the Giants with the eleventh overall pick in the NFL Draft. So while the Giants’ tight cap situation might complicate things in free agency, it should not prevent the Giants from acquiring talent on offense.

New York Islanders: 3 takeaways from win over Devils

New York Islanders, Mat Barzal

The New York Islanders prevail victorious once again after beating the New Jersey Devils with a score of 4-1. Everyone criticizes the Islanders’ ability to score, or lack thereof, but they scored in bunches last night. Yes, it does help to play against a goalie who hasn’t played in the NHL in 3 years. But Scott Wedgewood held his own and gave the Devils every chance to level the game, his defenders let him down. Lindy Ruff plays aggressive Hockey with his defenders. They normally pinch up way farther than any other team, and this leads to 2v1’s. The Islanders literally only score on 2v1’s. Nevertheless, it was a complete performance last night and proved many things to the fans.

Mat Barzal Can Shoot

When people look at the Islanders’ roster on paper, they say, “there’s no one who can score 30+ goals”. Enter a confident Mat Barzal, who is now shooting the puck. When Barzal shoots, the world stops for a second, and the other team prays it doesn’t go in. Last night, he walked down a defender and just sniped one into the toy department to open the scoring. Barry Trotz kept talking about how Barzal could have a 30 goal season, well if he keeps this play up, he certainly will.

Jordan Eberle is Getting Hot

Jordan Eberle has this ability to either be a top goal scorer for the Islanders’ or just completely forget how to shoot. This year, Jordan Eberle decided it’s time for him to play like playoff Eberle against the Penguins. When Eberle gets hot, it’s very hard to stop that first line. Mat Barzal laps the zone, hands it to Eberle, Eberle shoots it, and Lee taps the rebound in. That’s how this line works. This line is almost dependent on good o-zone play from Eberle. Also, I can’t forget to mention how good he’s played in the neutral zone. Stripping pucks and making hits, Trotz has to love it.

Pulock and Pelech are a Top Defensive Pairing

I don’t care if your a Ranger fan, or an Islander fan, or just a Hockey fan in general, if you do not believe that Pulock and Pelech are a top pairing, you simply don’t watch Hockey. These two defenders play so differently, but they complement each other really well. Pulock is that tough big man with a slapshot from hell and has great board control. Pelech is a smaller guy, but still big, and pokes nearly everything in his way. Jack Hughes has been a roll these past couple of games, these two defenders held him to 0 shots on the net. The two are a top pairing in the league, and it’s time they get their respect.

New York Jets: 9 quotes from Robert Saleh (and what they could mean)

New York Jets, Robert Saleh

Robert Saleh made his first appearance as the New York Jets’ head coach on Thursday. ESM has the big takeaways.

A new era officially dawned for the New York Jets on Thursday, as Robert Saleh made his first public appearance as the head coach of the New York Jets. Saleh appeared alongside Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson and general manager Joe Douglas to make his first statements as New York’s green football boss.

“When we met with Robert (Saleh), I was struck by his presence,” Johnson said, per video provided by the Jets. “He displayed an ability to engage with us in a virtual interview. He also clearly communicated a vision of this team that aligns with ours. When we met in person, it validated everything we believed following our initial meeting. Robert has shown through his journey here that he is a leader, one that will engage the entire team and will partner with Joe (Douglas) to continue building the culture of a winning organization.”

What can we gather and glean from Saleh’s first statements at the helm? ESM has the big takeaways from his first showing under the New York spotlight…

“For our organization, get used to the mantra, “All gas, no brake.” When we talk about, “All gas, no break,” we’re not talking about effort on the field, we’re talking about the process at which we do things. We’re talking about the way we prepare, the way we wake up every single morning, the way we rehab, the way we communicate, the way we speak to one another. 

What It Could Mean: Had it not been for Dan Campbell’s propensity for devouring kneecaps in Detroit, Saleh’s “All gas no brake” mantra could’ve been the quote of the day. These words from Saleh show he has little interest in a lengthy rebuild. It’s a tough love mindset that exudes a sense of intensity without taking to the extreme, almost absurd, lengths Campbell went to in his opening presser with the Lions. Saleh appears to be searching for intense competitors high in character and intensity, but without the baggage of say, a Gregg Williams. That process has begun with surrounding himself with familiar faces from his days in San Francisco, including Mike LaFleur and Miles Austin, each of whom will help oversee the offense.

To our fans, we embrace your passion, we embrace your expectations. We cannot wait to go on this journey with you. Please understand, we understand that we have a lot of work to do. But make no mistake that our goal is to win championships. And so again, I cannot wait to get through this journey with all of y’all. It’s going to be an exciting time, and I promise that you’re going to love what y’all see.

What It Could Mean: In other words…be patient. We’re only at the start of the NFL offseason…heck, it technically hasn’t begun yet with three games to go on the playoff docket…but it’s difficult to imagine the Jets will be able to make enough changes to re-enter the AFC playoff picture in 2021. Saleh’s gentle welcome back to the fans, however, is a decent sign of goodwill and will likely attract a few who might’ve been on the fence about his hire.

“When you look at the plan and what we have in place with regards to scheme, offense, defense, special teams and the mindset at which we’re going to do it, there’s an investment that’s going to be made to one another – coaches to players, players to coaches, organization to everybody – and there’s an investment that’s going to be reciprocated. But understanding that the all gas, no brake mentality that we’re going to have with how we wake up in the morning, how we rehab, how we prepare for meetings, how we take the practice field, how we’re deliberate in everything we do will lead to the results that you’ll see on Sunday. It will take time, but everything we do is going to be designed to win championships in the future.”

What It Could Mean: The Adam Gase era was likely the furthest thing from Saleh’s mind on Thursday, but it doesn’t take much stretching to see this as a bit of a jab at the environment his predecessor created in New York. Enough has been written about the phenomenon of Gase’s former proteges going on to find success away from his watch, but his negative effects were highlighted with former Jets receiver Robby Anderson admitted he was “was losing (his) love for football” in New York without mentioning Gase’s name. Gase’s strained relationships with Jamal Adams and Le’Veon Bell were also frequent talking points and led to each star’s respective departure. Saleh seems to have relative open-door endeavors in mind, seeking to make sure each player is used to the best of his abilities with a matter of respect involved. The theme of reciprocation was a strong buzzword in Saleh’s debut, as he brought it up in three separate discourses.

“What I can tell you with regards to Sam (Darnold) is that he’s got an unbelievable arm talent. There’s a reason why he was the number three pick in the draft. He’s fearless in the pocket, he’s got a natural throwing motion, he’s mobile, he’s extremely intelligent and he’s tough as nails. His reputation in the locker room is unquestioned, so just that in general, there’s a reason why he was the third pick in the draft and you can see all those qualities on tape and around the building and the way people speak about him.”

What It Could Mean: It was perhaps too much to ask for Saleh to have a concrete answer about Sam Darnold’s future on Thursday, as he said things were “premature” when it came to such an effort. But there seemed to be a hint of moving on to his comments, especially in his references to game-planning for Darnold and hyping his status as the third overall pick of the 2018 draft. It’s early in the process, but the non-commitment, necessary as it may be in a debut press conference, is only going to fuel speculation.

“With regards to a collaboration mindset, with regards to our communication with Joe and his staff – whether or not, who has control, all those different titles, what’s been made clear is that Joe and his staff want to be collaborative and they want to communicate at all levels. So, every conversation that’s had obviously with the staff and with Joe’s staff, there’s going to be a lot of discussions, there’s going to be a lot of different things are talked about. So, obviously Joe will always have final say, but I really see it in the way he’s communicating. I think when you communicate at the level that we have here, who has final say is irrelevant.”

What It Could Mean: In another, likely unintentional, jab at Gase, Saleh has dedicated himself to a working relationship with both Douglas and Johnson. This would contrast the brief, icy relationship Gase had with Mike Maccagnan, as their power struggle led to the latter’s post-draft firing in 2019. It’s safe to say that Saleh is looking for smoother relations this time around. He has also made it clear that while it appears that Douglas will have the final say in roster decisions, a system has been presented to him where having the final say would prove merely symbolic.

“I do believe that there’s a lot of talent on this roster. How those different pieces fit to the schemes that we’re about to deploy is going to be decided here in the coming weeks, but like I said, there’s a collaborative effort being made, obviously starting with Christopher Johnson and how he wants things to be run.”

What It Could Mean: While there’s no doubt that change is coming to the New York Jets, the fact that Saleh pointed out that he likes some of the names on the current ledger is intriguing. After all, one of the most common complaints of the Gase era was that he was unable to help holdovers from Bowles’ tenure reach the next level of their developments. The Jets’ defense is full of strong potential, including safety Marcus Maye, who took on a strong leadership role after Adams was shipped to Seattle. Those seeking to take that next step could be inspired to stay since Saleh appears to allow for some turnover from the team’s prior incarnation.

“I’m not going to be handling play calling duties on defense, got the utmost respect and confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to be able to do that…This is an organization that has to work locked in arms and work together and to ensure that the messaging and the way we want things done all the way across the board is there and maintaining that connection throughout, whether it’s offense, defense, special teams, business to football, somehow, some way, everyone’s got to find their connection to the player and with the mindset that we’re going to get these guys better every single day. And to be able to have that focus and ensure that the entire organization is moving in the direction that we want, I won’t be calling plays.”

What It Could Mean: The Jets announced the hiring of former San Francisco linebacker Jeff Ulbrich as defensive coordinator shortly before Saleh took to the podium. He got one of the brightest burning questions out of the way fast, announcing that Ulbrich will be calling plays on defense. It’s a bit of an early risk…the Atlanta Falcons let up over 398 yards a game in Ulbrich’s first and only seasons as a coordinator…but it shows that Saleh is willing to be hands-on in every facet of the game. That’s especially promising considering the prior season showed that nearly every major position is in desperate need of guidance.

“I’m going to be like me. And that was a challenge that Pete (Carroll) gave us when we were young assistance, was it’s easy to pick from different people and try to emulate what different people are, but in moments of adversity, your true character will always reveal itself. And so, the challenge was to identify with yourself and be who you are first because then when adversity hits, your authenticity will shine. And so, to tell you who you’re going to get, you’re going to get me. And this entire organization and what we’re going to try to get done is to be designed to win championships.”

What It Could Mean: Jets history has maintained an antiquated sense of “finding the next ____________”. They’ve been searching for the next Joe Namath ever since the legendary thrower fulfilled his promise at the Orange Bowl in Super Bowl III. Any slot receiver from a small school blessed with a catch has to endure Wayne Chrebet comparisons. Adams got out of New Jersey just before the Darrelle Revis analogies popped up. Saleh, however, is seeking to start completely fresh. He certainly thanked those that helped him get to where he is now…Carroll, Kyle Shanahan, Kris Richard, among others…but he’s not interested in being a new, say, Bill Parcells or Weeb Eubank. He wants to be the first Robert Saleh, a unique coach that leaves his own mark on New York. Saleh even mentioned in an earlier response that the perception of the Jets was “unfair, clearly”. Time will tell if Saleh can make that mark.

 “Players really want two things from a coach, I’ve always felt this way, one, they want to know that you care about their wellbeing, everyone says it’s a business, I get it, but it’s not, this is a personal investment to people. And the most important people are the ones who strap up on game day and step between the lines. And obviously, can you help them make plays on Sundays so they can get paid as much as possible and that is the goal of every single coach and everybody who has some type of impact on the players or has a connection to the players and that is going to be the goal of this entire organization, is to make sure we do everything we can to connect to their wellbeing and to help them make plays on Sunday so they get paid as much as possible. When you look at the connection part with these players, there’s an investment that has to be made, you got to sell everything you can, you got to give them everything you can and when you do, like I said, the reciprocation happens and when it does, it becomes personal, and that’s all you can ask for, to get this to a personal level where everybody’s has everybody’s back and everybody feels accountable to one another.”

What It Could Mean: The year 2020 was a year of reflection and reckoning, and the sports world was no exception to the phenomenon. Participants made it clear that they were human, not emotionless athletic machines, a realization many should’ve probably realized long ago. It’s great to see that Saleh understand such a concept. This is a coach that appears to truly care for his players in the early going, and that’s only going to make the Jets a better team. New York is a team that desperately needs unity after the Gase era left so many hurt feelings. When Bowles was let go after 2018, there was a true sense that players were not only losing a teacher but a friend as well. When Gase was hired, the strongest cheerleaders were perhaps the hot take artists like Colin Cowherd. But with Saleh, the tones of player appreciation have been on display ever since he was first connected to the Jets. Richard Sherman, one of his pupils in San Francisco, immediately sang his praises, as did Quinnen Williams. Getting these strong vibes of camaraderie back into the organization would go a long way, and it appears Saleh has started that process

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NASCAR: NBC Sports Network shutting down, events switching to USA Network

According to reports, NBC plans to shut down the NBC Sports Network by the end of the year. This has implications for NASCAR, as the NBC family broadcasts the final 20 races of the Cup Series season and the final 19 races of the Xfinity Series season.

The date that the channel is shutting down hasn’t been decided, but once it’s eliminated, NASCAR events scheduled to air on NBC Sports Network will air on USA Network, another channel owned by NBC.

In 2013, NBC and NASCAR agreed to a 10-year, $8.2 billion deal to air 39 NASCAR races a season beginning in 2015. After the 2021 season, it isn’t clear how races will be split between all of NBC’s networks.

However, the change isn’t expected to affect any scheduled NASCAR races airing on other NBC channels this season. 12 races between the two series are scheduled to air on NBC, and one race is scheduled to air on CNBC (Xfinity at Watkins Glen). As far as we know, Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Steve Letarte are still expected to remain NASCAR’s lead voices for NBC.

Despite being one of the top-grossing sports networks, NBC is likely shutting down NBCSN to help grow their streaming service, Peacock. Peacock is home to exclusive shows and sporting events that can’t be seen on linear television, and NBC has shown a desire to boost the service.

The decision to eliminate NBCSN will also affect the NHL and Premier League soccer, who each have mega-deals with the network. Additionally, multiple NCAA conferences that have deals with NBC and NBCSN will have to find a new home for events.


The New York Giants will have $4.8 million in salary cap rollover in 2021

New York Giants, John Mara, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants will have an additional $4.8 million in salary-cap space this year as a result of a surplus from 2020. Space gets rolled over to this year’s cap, giving the Giants a cap ceiling of $179.8 million for the 2021 season. That rollover figure helps a great deal but the Giants are still over the cap by a sliver over $2 million in the 2021 season.

Due to lost revenues as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the league, which had been raising the salary cap by approximately $10 million per season the past decade, needed to contract the cap from $198 million in 2020 to what could be as little as $175 million this year.

In his year-end address to the media, Giants CEO John Mara felt confident the team’s finances would not be an issue.

“We’ll be ok. We’re not ready to put a padlock on the door just yet,” Mara said. “I think we’ll survive just fine. It’s been a tough year from that point of view. But listen, there are people all over this country that are suffering. I’m not out here complaining or anything. We’ll be fine as an organization going forward.”

The biggest test this offseason will be retaining defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson or defensive end Leonard Williams or if the New York Giants decided to keep both.

UFC 257 Preview: Julianna Pena – Sara McMann

A UFC 257 matchup that’s been flying under the radar takes place tomorrow in the women’s bantamweight division. Two top ten bantamweights will battle it out as Julianna Pena (9-4) will take on the former Olympian, Sara McMann (12-5).

Sara McMann was an Olympic Silver Medalist in freestyle wrestling and she’s challenged for UFC gold during her tenure as a fighter. However, we haven’t seen much of her over the past couple of years.

Tomorrow night will be McMann’s third fight since the start of 2018. The former title challenger is looking to pickup her second consecutive win tomorrow night. The last time we saw McMann she won a decision over Lina Lansberg.

That fight took place almost a year ago exactly. McMann seems very focused and she seems intent on making another run towards a potential UFC title shot. She has a tough test in front of her if she wants to do that.

Former Ultimate Fighter winner, Julianna Pena, last fought back in October on Fight Island. The Venezuelan Vixen had a really good fight with top contender and former UFC champion, Germaine de Randamie.

Pena had some real bright spots in that fight. However, she was choked unconscious in the third round. Had Pena won that fight, she might’ve been the next in line to face Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title.

UFC 257 Prediction

This is a very good matchup and a very intriguing one at UFC 257. I’m very curious to see how the grappling exchanges go in this fight. Of course, we all know McMann’s pedigree as a wrestler.

However, Pena is one of the better grapplers at 135 pounds. She’s good on top and she’s good on her back. She poses a number of challenges for McMann when it comes to the grappling.

On the feet, Pena is going to enjoy a reach advantage at UFC 257. For her to get the better of the striking, she’s going to need to keep the fight at range and strike long tomorrow night.

I think Pena is going to have the advantage there. For McMann to win tomorrow, she’s going to have to do some damage in the clinch and control Pena on the ground. While I think she’ll have her moments, I see Pena scoring more over three rounds and edging out a decision.

Prediction: Julianna Pena by Unanimous Decision

UFC 257 Preview: Jessica Eye – JoJo Calderwood

At UFC 257 we will see a battle of two top ten flyweight contenders on the main card. Jessica “Evil” Eye (15-8, 1 NC) will take on Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (14-5) in a key battle at women’s flyweight.

2020 certainly didn’t go as planned for JoJo Calderwood. Calderwood started the year believing that she was going to get a UFC title shot. In fact, the UFC booked her against Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) for the title in June.

However, Shevchenko ended up having a knee injury and the fight was delayed. Calderwood wanted to stay active and decided to take a fight against Jennifer Maia (18-7-1). This proved to be a massive mistake as she was submitted in the first round and lost her title shot.

Calderwood is just 1-2 in her last three fights. However, both of those losses came to former title challengers. She will look to bounce back against another title challenger tomorrow night.

Jessica Eye also didn’t have a 2020 that went according to plan. She ended 2019 strong with a big win over Viviane Araujo (10-2). However, she was then tasked with welcoming Cynthia Calvillo (9-2-1) to the flyweight division.

Eye didn’t look good at all in that fight and she lost a five round decision to Calvillo. That was the only time we saw Eye in the octagon in 2020. It’s worth noting that she’s still one of the UFC‘s best flyweights having only lost twice since moving up to 125.

UFC 257 Prediction

This is a very intriguing matchup and I could see both of these ladies getting their hands raised at UFC 257. When it comes to the striking, I believe that Calderwood is going to have the advantage on the feet tomorrow night.

I believe she has a much more diverse attack especially when she mixes in her kicks. Jessica Eye has some pretty decent boxing, but we really don’t see her mix it up that much. That said, she does strike in bunches would could be key at UFC 257.

I don’t think either of these ladies is going to score a finish tomorrow night. To me, this is going to be a contest of who scores the most. If we stay purely at boxing range, I think Eye can pull this decision out.

However, I’m actually going to lean the other way in my prediction. I believe that Calderwood is going to come out with something to prove tomorrow. Maybe look for her to utilize the clinch and mix in her kicks. This fight will be close, but I’ll lean Calderwood on the cards.

Prediction: JoJo Calderwood by Split Decision

MLB News: Update on the death of baseball legend Hank Aaron

Earlier in the day, I reported on the death of MLB legend Hank Aaron at the age of 86. At that time, there were few details available. This is an update on that article. The hugely popular baseball player and Hall of Famer died earlier this morning from complications of a massive stroke being suffered. Sympathies are coming from all over the baseball world and beyond. The Atlanta Braves recently released this statement.

“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank,” Terry McGuirk, Braves chairman, said in a statement. “He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature. Henry Louis Aaron wasn’t just our icon, but one across Major League Baseball and around the world. His success on the diamond was matched only by his business accomplishments off the field and capped by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts.”

Within the hour, MLB Players Association director Tony Clark offered this statement:

“This is a profoundly sad day for baseball and indeed for our entire country. On the field, off the field, for 23 remarkable playing seasons and beyond, Hank Aaron was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the phrase. Generations of players have walked, and will continue to walk, on a trail that Hank Aaron blazed with his determination, courage, singular talent and grace. We send our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and legion of fans throughout the game.”

Hank Aaron began his career in baseball in 1951 with the Indianapolis Clowns of the negro leagues. Just seven months after starting with them, he signed with the Boston Braves. When they moved to Milwaukee and eventually to where they are now in Atlanta, he was with the team. He was the first baseball play in history to reach 500 home runs and 3,000 hits.

He was a player that transcended the sport. In 1974, Aaron hit home run number 715 in a game against the Dodgers, beating Babe Ruth’s record. He ended his MLB career in 1975 after hitting 755 home runs. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.


New York Yankees: Should the Yankees target Rockies RHP Germán Marquez (video)

Although earlier in the offseason, the New York Yankees said they were satisfied with the starting rotation they already had, which has not proven true. Last week, added two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber is still interested in adding more starters. There is no question that the Yankees. have a bright future ahead with some great pitching prospects, but most of them need more time to develop properly.

With the Yankees picking up Kluber and still looking for more help, the Yankees realized they could not depend on untested and inexperienced arms regardless of what they said earlier. Please don’t count on what they say; watch for what they do, and presently looking for more help. In an earlier article today, I exposed the Yankee’s interest in Jameson Taillon, a nice option that would cost the Yankees little in trades. However, even with him, the Yankees have not acquired or traded for a relief pitcher of the stature of Tommy Kahnle, who has left for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

If the Yankees truly want to beef up the bullpen beyond Chad Green, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman, they have to go after a reliever like Germán Marquez. Other than the risk involved in Kluber returning to his previous form, if he pitches well for the Yankees, he will be a free agent at the end of the season and likely want big money to stay with the team. The New York Yankees don’t have a lot of wiggle room going forward. If the Yankees trade for a premium reliever, they should get one that they will have team control over for several years. Marquez fits that bill. He will become a free agent in 2025. He would add $8 million to the payroll next year.

The problem may be prying him away from the Colorado Rockies if the Yankees can do that, it could give the Yankees a substantial arm for the long run. Like many pitchers, he didn’t have a great year last season going 4-6, but he did have a respectable 3.75 ERA, compare that to Jordan Mongomery’s 5.11. Marquez is also a healthy pitcher that started an average of 30 games from 2017 to 2019. He goes an average of six innings in most of his games. At age 25, he is not yet in his prime and will only improve.

Another consideration is that Marquez pitches at Miles High Stadium (Coors Field), where it’s a hitters game. His career ERA there is 5.10, but away more down to earth that ERA drops to 3.51. Marquez misses bats (9.1 career K/9), is stingy with walks (2.4 BB/9), his elite fastball velocity (95.9 mph in 2020, in the 85th percentile), and throws several good secondary offerings, including a curveball and a slider that both had a whiff rate over 40 percent last season. Every indication is that Marquez would pitch better at Yankee Stadium than he does for Colorado.

The big question is, what would the Yankees have to give up to move Marquez to the Bronx? The one sure thing is that it would take several of the Yankee’s best prospects to get a deal done. MLB Network’s Joel Sherman suggests this package:

  • RHP Clarke Schmidt or RHP Deivi Garcia
  • OF Clint Frazier or INF Miguel Andujar
  • RHP Luis Gil or RHP Luis Medina

It is doubtful that the New York Yankees would be all in on a trade that would include Clint Frazier or Deivi Garcia; the others suggested are certainly possibilities. Time will tell as the Yankees hope to improve the team further.