Yankees News: One interesting Jameson Taillon connection could be fueling trade with Yanks

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is moving heaven and earth to find another starting pitching option to add to the rotation. Currently, the Yankees have a group of players that have missed significant time due to injury or suspension, so feeling confident might be a bit optimistic. Nonetheless, the rotation was a significant weakness going into the off-season, especially after losing James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ. However, Cashman has done a solid job adding as much talent as possible with cost efficiency in mind.

Ownership has made it clear that they want to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, so Cashman is working with serious limitations. He landed Corey Kluber on a one-year, $11 million deal after he impressed scouts during a bullpen session a few days ago. In his prime, he is a Cy Young caliber pitcher but has only pitched 36.2 innings over the past two years. If he does return to form, the Yankees will be in great shape at the top of their rotation, but there are no guarantees.

Again, finding cheaper contracts attached to quality is how Cashman is operating, which brings up the latest rumored trade, Jameson Taillon of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A Yankees/Taillon trade is imminent:

The Yankees are getting extremely close to trading for the Pittsburgh starter, and at 29 years old, he is another arm coming off Tommy John surgery. This is his second time undergoing the surgery, having missed the entire 2020 season. However, he should be ready for Opening Day, but it could take additional weeks for him to find his groove.

His most recent significant body of work came in 2018, similar to Kluber. They have pitched a very comparable number of innings over the past two years, so the Yankees are taking a massive risk with so many former injured players in their starting rotation. However, two years ago, Taillon posted a 3.20 ERA with a 46.2% ground ball rate, which is fitting for Yankee Stadium.

An outside factor playing a part in his courtship:

There could be one external factor that is playing a part in the Yankees’ courtship for Taillon. Way back in 2010, when he was selected number two overall, he developed a close relationship with current Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. They date back to the Pittsburgh minor-league system, so it is possible Cole is vouching for his talents.

Having a familiar face and a friend is always beneficial for morale, especially if Cole and Taillon can work off each other. While the Yankees and Cashman are taking an optimistic and risky approach with all of these injured pitchers, if it does pan out, they could have one of the best starting rotations in baseball. As always, though, it’s a big “IF.”

After getting stopped at UFC 257, what’s next for Conor McGregor?

Conor McGregor, UFC

Last night at UFC 257, the fight world was turned upside down. Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) utilized a beautiful game plan and stopped Conor McGregor (22-5) in the second round of their rematch.

McGregor had a lot of success in the first round at UFC 257. Upon rewatching the fight, I noticed that McGregor appeared to briefly wobble Poirier a couple of times in the first round. However, he never pushed the action afterwards.

It appeared that McGregor was a little too patient in there. Meanwhile, Poirier took McGregor’s shots and he wouldn’t go away in the first. In the second round, Poirier really started to connect with devastating leg kicks.

A couple of minutes into the round and McGregor buckled after a brutal kick from Poirier. Sensing that McGregor was badly hurt, Poirier swarmed. McGregor dodged some big shots at first, but Poirier was able to land a brutal combination to end things.

The loss at UFC 257 was the first time that McGregor has been stopped by strikes in his career. In reality, it was the first time we’ve seen him really hurt badly on the feet. He’s been stunned a couple of times, but Poirier put him out.

What’s next after UFC 257?

I was very encouraged to hear McGregor at the UFC 257 post-fight press conference. McGregor made it clear that he doesn’t plan on walking away. He also said in his interview in the octagon that he believes inactivity really bit him in this fight.

After last night, it will be back to the drawing board for McGregor. Fortunately for the former UFC champion, the problems from last night are easy to identify. His inability to properly check Poirier’s leg kicks is what did him in.

If the main event was just a boxing match with MMA gloves, McGregor was getting the better of it. McGregor was even getting the better of some of the grappling exchanges that occurred in the fight.

However, a very poised Dustin Poirier found a weakness in the McGregor armor. When he found that weakness, he attacked it viscously. Unlike McGregor, Poirier fought with a killer instinct and he won because of it.

I think the UFC has a very clear next step for Conor McGregor. The next step is the trilogy fight with Nate Diaz (20-12). Diaz is returning to the lightweight division and both men are coming off losses. It’s a massive fight and really the only one that makes sense for Conor McGregor at this time.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: The Jameson Taillon story, what you need to know (video)

The New York Yankees have improved their starting rotation after the loss of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ to free agency. Last week they hired the services of two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber who will likely be the number two starter behind ace Gerrit Cole. Although the Yankees have a bevy on young arms, either MLB ready or close to it, the Yankees are reportedly still looking for another starting arm. A month ago, I suggested in an article that Jameson Taillon should be a target, and just two days ago said that the rumors on Taillon going to the Yankees were heating up.

Although both the Yankees and Pirates have been mum on the trade possibility, there is much smoke on the internet. It’s my experience that when there is enough smoke, fire is usually not far behind. Both MLB executives and at least one player (not Taillon’s) agent have suggested that the Yankees are close to a deal landing him in the Bronx. Of course, details are lacking. It wouldn’t be a shock if New York Yankees’ general manager had a surprise up his sleeve. Taillon has come back from his second Tommy John surgery. Cashman is known for taking a risk with players returning from injuries to add to the club with little investment.

With a deal seemingly imminent, even within the next few days, it’s time to get to know the Jameson Taillon story. Jameson Taillon was born in Lakeland, Florida, on November 18, 1991, to Canadian parents. Taillon holds dual citizenship in both Canada and the United States. 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. If the New York Yankees can trade for Taillon, both he and Corey Klubler will become free agents at the end of the season. This will also 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. Beat writer Bryan Hoch singled out Taillon this week as someone that the Yanks have done a lot of due diligence on, which doesn’t generally happen if the team’s plans aren’t pointing in one direction. The question of if a deal can be made is what the Yankees will have to send to Pittsburgh.

The New York Yankees can afford Taillon; he would add only $2.25 million to the Yankees payroll. A deal for Taillon would likely include Miguel Andujar, Estevan Florial, and either Luis Gil or Luis Medina. The Yankees would most likely want to keep Medina. If a deal can be reached, it could be finalized as early as today or in the next few days. Taillon’s nickname is “Jamo” He is tied to longtime girlfriend Claire Petratis. He owns a black F-150 pickup and is a coffee freak. The Video below was at the beginning of Taillon’s rehab.

 

 

 

 

New York Giants Draft Scenario at 11: Kyle Pitts or Jaylen Waddle?

New York Giants, Jaylen Waddle

As the off-season progresses toward the 2021 NFL draft, the New York Giants are in a position to land a premium offensive weapon to help quarterback Daniel Jones reach his potential. Over the past two seasons, the Giants have lacked talent on offense, especially with star running back Saquon Barkley playing injured in 2019 and missing a majority of the 2020 campaign. Jones was gifted with an inadequate pass-blocking offensive line and inconsistent receivers that failed to create separation and make splash plays.

However, ownership has committed to helping the offense this off-season, so we should expect the Giants to utilize the 11th overall pick and possibly some free agency money to increase their talent levels.

The draft offers a number of stellar prospects they can choose from, including quintessential pass-catching TE Kyle Pitts from Florida and even star Alabama receiver, Jaylen Waddle. The expectation is that both Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith will be off the board by the time the Giants pick at 11, but that doesn’t mean they can’t land a stellar playmaker at their spot.

In this scenario, the Giants have their choice of Pitts or Waddle, two players who immediately rejuvenate the offense with some playmaking ability. It is a difficult choice, so here’s a look at both players and what they bring to the table.

Who would help the New York Giants more?

Jaylen Waddle:

Waddle suffered an ankle injury in 2020, limiting him to just six games, where he posted 591 yards and four scores. In fact, he was expected to be the better prospect over Smith, who remained healthy and posted one of the best college seasons for a receiver in history.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t take away from Waddle and just how talented he is. His ability to play “X” receiver on the outside and line up in the slot makes him extremely dangerous. Designing plays for him should be a necessity for whichever team lands him in the draft. He has Tyreek Hill explosiveness, and while I’m not comparing him to the Chiefs’ star receiver, his elite speed and vision on the field make him a threat with the ball in his hands. Utilizing him on and-around runs and drag routes across the middle — simply getting the ball to Waddle is enough to spark a big play.

However, some might make the argument that the Giants need a big body receiver, and Waddle being 5-foot-10 might not fit the bill. I would counter, saying Waddle plays above his size and is capable of making contested catches in traffic.

The attention he draws from defenses makes him a stellar decoy, which would open up the running game for Saquon Barkley and provide Sterling Shepard with more man coverage matchups.

Waddle’s ability to run the entire route tree is what makes him such an attractive prospect. There is room to grow, as he needs a bit of polish on the intermediate routes, but he’s so elusive and dynamic, he can be an immediate impact player for the Giants.

Kyle Pitts:

While the Alabama receiver brings a lot to the table, a player like Kyle Pitts can’t be overlooked. Considering the Giants already have Evan Engram, it would be surprising if they allocated the 11th overall pick toward Pitts, but not if you really read between the lines.

Pitts is not just an ordinary TE, he is the perfect modern-day player at the position, with elite pass-catching ability and fantastic size. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Kyle has room to grow regarding mass.

What makes the Florida star such a fantastic talent is his ability to play in-line, slot receiver, and on the outside. Utilizing him in different alignments is exactly what an NFL team will look to do with Pitts, who has Plaxico Burress size and 50-50 catching abilities. Bringing back that big body red zone threat would be perfect for Jason Garrett and his offense, assuming that the Giants retain him as their coordinator. His ability to high-point balls in the air and run routes like a receiver are simply extravagant traits.

There are not many tight ends in the NFL they can line up as a wide receiver and dominate against corners in man coverage. Pitts can do it all, and that type of diversity is exactly what the Giants like with their change in mentality under head coach Joe Judge.

The one con regarding Pitts is his blocking abilities, which are underdeveloped. You can make the argument they hover in the average range, but if the Giants did draft him and retain Engram, utilizing them in 12-personnel sets would be devastating for opposing defenses.

Just imagine Pitts lined up in the “X” spot outside and Engram in-line — opposing defenses would have no idea what the Giants are doing with the football and that they have a 6-foot-5 monster TE who can run routes like some of the best receivers in the NFL.

Yankees Rumors: Jameson Taillon trade imminent, Yasiel Puig a serious consideration

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman works quickly, and when there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Recent reports have connected Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to the Yankees, as they desperately need a more consistent arm with potential. He will only be on the books for $2.25 million in 2021, with control until 2023.

At just 29 years old, Taillon is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher that recorded a 4.10 ERA in 2019. However, his sample size of 37.1 innings doesn’t say much. His most recent full campaign was in 2018 when he logged a 3.20 ERA over 191 innings. His 46.2% ground ball rate fits well in Yankee Stadium and his career-high 3.9 WAR two years ago shows he can be of quality.

The expectation is that the Pirates will move him soon, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB Network.

Considering the Yankees have been in contact with Pittsburgh regarding his services, I am under the impression that Cashman is looking to acquire the young starter. However, depending on what they’re asking for, Cashman should be conservative. Pittsburgh may look at a player like Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar as potential parts of the deal. I would be OK giving Andujar, but Frazier has earned his right to starting reps in 2021.

However, another rumor is going around that the Yankees are also interested in slugging outfielder Yasiel Puig. Their interest in Puig is surprising, but it could indicate that Cashman is willing to part ways with Frazier for a starting pitcher.

The former Los Angeles Dodger didn’t play in 2020, but in 2019, he recorded a .267 batting average with 24 homers and 84 RBIs. At 30 years old, he has plenty of quality baseball left in his bones, and he would add significant power to the outfield to pair with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He has had some troubles in the past in the locker room, but if the Yankees can corral him, he would give them that extra edge they need in the batting order.

Defensively, Puig recorded a .977 fielding percentage in 2019, committing six errors and recorded 244 putouts. Again, the Yankees’ interest in him is extremely surprising, and the only justification is that they’re willing to trade Clint with his stock at an all-time high after finishing 2020 as a Gold Glove finalist and putting together some solid at-bats.

 

Buffalo Bills: AFC title game is culmination of team efforts

The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs are armed with MVP QBs, but their AFC title trips were earned through team efforts.

Save for the argument over what constitutes a catch, no modern professional football argument gets more heated than that of Most Valuable Player.

In a perfect world, MVP would be awarded to the player who best personifies its middle initial. But the honor becomes a popularity contest, often awarded to the best-trending player on a winning team. The Super Bowl MVP Award named after Pete Rozelle is particularly guilty of this, evidenced by the accolades sent to, say, Ray Lewis in Super Bowl XXXV (four tackles, five pass breakups in a 34-7 win over the Giants). Other times, the award goes to the player with the best highlights or statistics. The NFL has thankfully steered clear of this, but there was something questionable when Alex Rodriguez took home MLB’s title after his Texas Rangers mustered 73 wins in 2003.

It’s a delicate question and one Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes might have to deal with at the virtual NFL Honors on February 6, a day before one of them partakes in Super Bowl LV. Each is expected to be up for the seasonal MVP award, but they’ll first do battle in the AFC Championship Game when Allen’s Buffalo Bills visit Mahomes’ Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday evening (6:40 p.m. ET, CBS).

The NFL, frankly, couldn’t have asked for a better “final four” as an uncanny season nears its end. This could be the first of several showdowns between Allen and Mahomes with a Super Bowl trip on the line, while the other side of the bracket features one of the last opportunities for us to see Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers go at is. Each thrower’s name will undoubtedly be brought up in the MVP conversation. If Mahomes takes home the title, it would be his second league MVP award after first earning for his efforts in the 2018 campaign.

But, frankly, if we are truly defining MVP…neither AFC competitor should take it home.

There’s no doubt that Allen and Mahomes have been integral to their respective sides’ success. The pair constantly battle for supremacy at the top of not only the NFL’s statistical ledgers but the SportsCenter Top 10 as well. There’s no way of knowing if we would have a Bills-Chiefs matchup on Sunday if you removed only Allen and Mahomes from the equation, but let’s just say both Buffalo and Kansas City are undoubtedly glad that they don’t have to figure it out.

But what makes the AFC title game matchup so intriguing is not only the Allen-Mahomes matchup…it’s the fact that the 2021 postseason tournament has left zero doubt that these are the two best teams in the conference. This is not a battle between the Allens and the Patricks; it’s a struggle between the Bills and Chiefs. Look no further than last week’s Divisional playoff action. When Allen and Mahomes were shown to be human…or at least the closest they’ll ever be to human, anyway…their teams rose to the occasion to have their backs.

The cruel winter of Orchard Park got to Allen last week, his trademark deep balls getting lost in the Western New York winds. All in all, Allen did manage to post respectable numbers (23-of-37, 206 yards, and a score), but they were still far from the figures Bills fans have grown accustomed to. Buffalo remains in such a precarious position, one where they could be regarded as Super Bowl contenders one week and also-rans the next by a football-loving public that refuses to look beyond a team’s most recent showing. But the Bills have shown how far they’ve come in Allen’s three seasons at the franchise quarterback helm. Over their first two seasons, the Bills were 6-13 in his first two seasons as a starter when he posted a passer rating under 90. That included a dismal showing in last season’s AFC Wild Card playoffs in Houston, a game in which he failed to lead the Bills into the end zone after scoring through trickery on their first possession.

To his credit, Allen has cut down on such games, turning himself into a bona fide star and franchise man. But Buffalo victories no longer flow solely through him.

The Bills’ Divisional victory over Baltimore earned a massive exclamation point through the efforts of Taron Johnson, one of several day three draft picks making a difference in the Orchard Park football revolution. Jerry Hughes, one of the longest-tenured Bills on the team, has earned multiple sacks in two of his last playoff contests, including two of the Ravens’ mobile throwers Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley last weekend. It was part of a stellar defensive effort reminiscent of the Bills’ 1992 AFC title game efforts, one where the offense struggled to the tune of a single field goal, but earned a 10-7 victory headlined by Carlton Bailey taking a John Elway interception back 11 yards for a majority of the Bills’ scoring.

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Allen’s protection has been assisted by the rise of Daryl Williams, who took over for an injured Cody Ford over the final quarter of the season. Williams also recovered a crucial Allen fumble in the Wild Card triumph over Indianapolis. Opposing defensive attention may center on names like Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, but the reserve receiving ranks include a 1,000-yard catcher in John Brown and a master of trickery in Isaiah McKenzie, not to mention rookie Gabriel Davis, who has become one of the most dangerous red zone targets in the league. In their tight end corps, Dawson Knox has joined Davis as a reliable target close to the goal line. Hughes’ partner in longevity, Lee Smith, has been one of the team’s most reliable blockers.

Shocked as the football world may be at the emergence of so many, Buffalo’s depth was of no surprise to head coach Sean McDermott or Diggs, one of the most impactful on-field contributors.

“You’ve got to be able to count on depth,” said head coach Sean McDermott, per team reporter Chris Brown. “You’ve got to have depth in this league, this year in particular, with not only injuries occurring but the virus, knocking people out. So, it’s highly critical.”

“I feel like we’ve got a lot of guys that can play well at the receiver position,” Diggs added in the same report. “A lot of guys can make plays, and not even just at the receiver position. Whether it’s (running back Devin Singletary) out wide or (Dawson) Knox out wide. It’s somebody that you’ve got to account for because guys can make plays on the outside. As far as lining up four wide, it isn’t just one of us out there. There’s a lot of us out there.”

On Sunday, the Bills face a team that has matched their team efforts, albeit having done so on a higher level thus far. Their six-year playoff streak is the longest active endeavor in football, one that began long before Mahomes’ arrival. There’s no denying that Mahomes, acquired through a pick the Bills sent to Kansas City, has brought the Chiefs to the next level, but the Chiefs have proven they’re equally dangerous if he’s unavailable for whatever reason.

When Mahome was forced to leave Kansas City’s Divisional tilt against Cleveland with a head injury, the insertion of Chad Henne could’ve led to certain doom for the Chiefs. Instead, not only did Henne wind up playing an integral role in the victory…in part thanks to head coach Andy Reid’s confidence in him, bringing the theme of a team effort full circle…but he was assisted by reserve rusher Darrel Williams, more than a year after Damien Williams took over Super Bowl LV while Mahomes struggled with the San Francisco defense. The defense also rose up to the occasion, holding Baker Mayfield and an upstart Browns offense to get no further than a 22-17 final.

“The thing I’m proudest about, is the guys persevering through and winning games. You kinda go back and look at the schedule you had and there’s some pretty good football teams that we the opportunity to play against. To be able to get yourself in a position to win each and every week, that’s pretty good, you’re headed in the right direction, at least,” Reid said of team unity on 610 Sports Radio (KCSP-AM) this week. “It’s tough enough to win one game in this league, let alone win 14 of them. I’m proud of them for that, maybe most of all, I’m proud that they’ve taken a humble approach to everything. They haven’t sat there beating their chest and said, “We’re the Super Bowl Champs and you can’t beat us. That’s not the way they’ve gone about it, they’ve not let up an inch on the process of getting ready to play each team.”

One team will emerge victorious on Sunday, advancing to Super Bowl LV. Not one player…but a team.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

K’Andre Miller is getting very comfortable with his improvement for the New York Rangers

While most of the focus has been on another rookie, the New York Rangers have seen another rookie make great strides during this beginning stretch of the season. Defenseman K’Andre Miller had an outstanding performance in Friday night’s shootout loss to Pittsburgh and has shown steady improvement since his shaky opening night game.

Miller himself noted the improvement during his Friday night post-game Zoom conference in describing how things have changed since that first night. “Obviously, those first-game nerves…… you dream about playing in the NHL your whole life, and once the opportunity comes, there are nerves that come with it. But with four games under my belt, I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can be and help the team in whatever way I can.”

Friday night’s game was certainly an indication of that consistency as Miller was one of the better Rangers on the ice, which includes 21:17 of ice time, five hits, two shots, one takeaway, one blocked shot, and his first NHL point, as well as a shift in overtime as the lone defenseman in the 3-on-3 format.

It is the sort of start that many had hoped for when Miller was the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 draft. Miller had used his 6-foot-5 frame to bully opponents off the puck for Wisconsin in the NCAA last season and is also a terrific skater for his size. Many NHL insiders felt that Miller has all the physical tools to excel as a shutdown defenseman.

It was these skills that head coach David Quinn noticed in the post-season bubble, as well as at the start of training camp when Quinn said of Miller that “From a defending standpoint, he’s like a praying mantis with that stick and his arms and his legs. He’s tough to get around. When you think you have him beat, there he is with his stick. There’s just an awful lot to like about him, and let’s not overlook his elite skating for a guy that size.”

Quinn’s praise of Miller was also seen in Friday night’s post-game Zoom conference when the head coach said: “I just love the way he played today. You know, he wasn’t afraid, regardless of who was out there, whether it was Malkin or Crosby or whoever. He was playing hockey. And it’s nice to see a kid that age play with that type of swagger.”

Miller credits much of his early success to practicing with outstanding teammates, something that helped prepare him to play against top stars like Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Miller also gave praise to linemate Jacob Trouba. “Obviously working with Troubs, kidding of working with that older mentor who has been through the game, who has logged a lot of minutes and a lot of games in the NHL, it’s helped me a ton.”

Continued improvement for Miller and all of the Rangers will hopefully be evident as they face the Penguins again on Sunday night, with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

UFC: If Khabib stays retired, Poirier will fight Chandler for the title per Dana White

UFC, Dana White

What a night it was at UFC 257. We saw some shocking results and some incredible fights. Of course, the headlines everywhere will be talking about how Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knocked out Conor McGregor (22-5) in the second round.

After a good first round for McGregor, Poirier really started to hurt him with leg kicks. A couple of minutes into the second round and McGregor really wobbled from a big calf kick. Poirier swarmed and landed some shots up top that put McGregor down. 

Poirier proved he’s the best lightweight in the UFC not named Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). Just one fight before Poirier, Michael Chandler (22-5) announced his presence against Dan Hooker (20-10) in the co-main event.

Chandler knocked out Hooker with a vicious left hand and follow up shots. There were a lot of questions about Michael Chandler entering UFC 257 and he answered all of them tonight.

During the post-fight press conference, Dana White was asked about the champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. White said that it didn’t look positive in terms of Khabib coming back to fight again which means the UFC‘s lightweight title is up for grabs. White already has a plan for the title.

UFC’s next lightweight title fight

Dana White told the media after UFC 257 that Dustin Poirier would be fighting Michael Chandler for the lightweight title next. This is of course assuming Khabib decides to stay retired.

Both men are coming off of incredible performances on the biggest stage possible. It makes perfect sense for the UFC to capitalize on the momentum of both fighters after such a massive event.

There are a lot of fans who will probably feel for Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira is currently riding a eight-fight win streak at lightweight. He just dismantled Tony Ferguson (25-5) back at UFC 256.

However, Ferguson is really the only big win that he has. Ferguson’s stock is also not as high after he was destroyed by Justin Gaethje (22-3) earlier in 2020. My guess is that the promotion will book Gaethje – Oliveira.

I think the fight that makes the most sense for the title is Chandler – Poirier. Two incredible performances and two athletes that will bring it for the UFC. 2021 should be a fun year for the lightweight division.

New York Yankees sit as the “apparent frontrunner” for Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

According to multiple sources, the New York Yankees are the “apparent frontrunner” to land Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon in a trade. Although a deal hasn’t been completed, it’s expected a deal will happen within the next few days.

It’s not a shock that the Yankees are in serious trade talks as they need to boost their rotation and remove two players from the 40-man roster. Two spots need to be cleared off the 40-man to officially sign DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber.

Taillon missed most of the 2019 season and the entire 2020 season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery. His last full season, 2018, saw him pitch to a 3.20 ERA with a 1.178 WHIP, 3.46 FIP, and a 122 ERA+.

Taillon would be an amazing fit in the Bronx for not just his talent but his salary. The 29-year-old is set to make just $2.25 million in 2021, a number that would boost the Yankees chances of staying under the luxury tax. It’s believed the team currently sits a few million dollars under the luxury tax after the signings of DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber, whose salaries will combine for $26 million in 2021. Including this season, Taillon has two years of team control remaining.

Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar are names that fans have speculated could be traded, but the Pirates reportedly have interest in acquiring a young catcher. That could mean current back-up Kyle Higashioka or even 2020 first-round pick Austin Wells could go the other way in a deal.

The Yankees have the assets to give the Pirates in a potential trade, so nothing should really stop an agreement from happening unless the Pirates receive a better offer. If the Yankees deal the right players, the team could get an amazing talent in Taillon and cut the payroll.

Dustin Poirier knocks out Conor McGregor at UFC 257

In the main event of UFC 257, the biggest star in the sport made his return. Former two-division champion, Conor McGregor (22-4), took on Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) in a rematch of their first fight that took place at UFC 178.

McGregor was fighting for the first time in almost a year exactly. He took on Cowboy Cerrone back at UFC 246 to kickoff 2020, but that was the last we saw of him. The promotion held out to try and get him in front of fans, and as a result, he briefly retired.

McGregor went through some hard times with the UFC, but the relationship has been prepared and McGregor was back tonight. With a win over Poirier, McGregor would solidify that he’s still one of the very best fighters in the world.

UFC 257 was a massive opportunity for Dustin Poirier. After that first loss to Conor McGregor, Poirier moved up from featherweight to lightweight. His career has taken off and he even became the interim UFC champion.

Over the last few years, the only man to get the best of Poirier was Khabib Nurmagomedov. This rematch was a big chance for Poirier to right the wrong of six years ago and prove that he’s the top contender at 155 pounds.

UFC 257 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 257 main event kicked off with a quick start from McGregor. McGregor opened with a clean jab and a left hand but Poirier took it well. Poirier landed a nice right hand counter on McGregor.

Within 30 seconds, Poirier shot in for a takedown and got McGregor down. McGregor worked his way back up to the fence, but Poirier was holding him well. McGregor worked his way up and reversed Poirier against the fence.

Poirier was popped with a clean shoulder strike from McGregor. McGregor was then reversed against the fence by Dustin Poirier. Poirier was putting all his weight on McGregor against the fence here in the first round.

McGregor landed a very solid knee to the body as Poirier continued to look for a takedown. Poirier tried hard for the takedown, but McGregor was able to reverse the position again against the fence.

McGregor landed a clean elbow as the two men broke. Once they were at distance, McGregor landed a clean left hand that forced the shot from Poirier. McGregor started really opening up and catching Poirier.

The speed advantage was very evident in the first round. Poirier landed a few really nice leg kicks that caught McGregor’s attention. Both men land in the final ten seconds. Despite the takedown, I lean McGregor in round 1 at UFC 257.

Round 2

The second round at UFC 257 kicked off with another push forward from McGregor. McGregor opened with a jab, but he was wobbled by a leg kick. Poirier was briefly wobbled by a right hand, but he recovered well.

Both men then traded massive leg kicks. Poirier badly hurt McGregor with a big leg kick and McGregor wasn’t checking any of them. He tried to throw another but McGregor caught it and threw a big counter.

Poirier continued to pound the leg kicks that were hurting McGregor. A massive leg kick buckled McGregor and he stormed McGregor with hooks. McGregor was badly hurt and a massive hook puts him down for good. Goodness gracious Dustin Poirier knocks out Conor McGregor at UFC 257

Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor by KO – Round 2