Knicks still ‘eyeing’ Victor Oladipo ahead of trade deadline

There is no question the New York Knicks could use a player upgrade before the March 27 trade deadline. They’ve been connected with a bevy of star players, including Zach LaVine, Bradley Beal, and more.

However, one name continues to return back, and it is Victor Oladipo of the Houston Rockets. With the Rockets potentially looking to shed some weight and add draft capital, Oladipo could be on his way out within the next few days. He’s averaging 21.1 points over 32.9 minutes this season, but his injury history is a bit toxic. The former Indiana Pacer hasn’t played over 36 games since 2017 but went on the floor, he is an offensive producer. Averaging over 20 points per game is exactly what the Knicks need from a player-acquisition, as better teams with stronger defenses are simply phasing out Julius Randle.

There are still players available for the taking, and it is clear the Knicks will be involved until the final day.

According to Ian Begley, the Knicks are still in the market for a productive player to add to their roster.

“You’d expect the Knicks to continue to be aggressive and try to find ways to upgrade their roster via trade”

Coming up short in back-to-back losses against playoff-caliber teams, the Knicks feel good about their current roster, especially with Derrick Rose on the return. However, they lack that extra star to push them over the edge, especially one that can hit clutch shots at the end of games.

Randle hasn’t had much success closing out contests with the ball in his hands, and Immanuel Quickley launched a three-pointer which fell to waste against the 76ers. Those few additional points are the difference between winning and losing, and Tom Thibodeau has done such a fantastic job putting this team together; adding one more piece could be the final catalyst.

New York Giants nab another low-risk, high reward player in Ifeadi Odenigbo, here’s what he brings

ifeadi odenigbo, New York Giants

The New York Giants have quietly added a few solid pieces to their roster, with the latest being a pass rusher from the Minnesota Vikings. Ifeadi Odenigbo is a 6-foot-3 and 258-pound defensive end, and at 26 years old, posted 3.5 sacks over 15 games with Minnesota last season. He’s earned 10.5 sacks combined over the last two years with 28 quarterback hits. He was one of the few bright spots from arguably the worst pass rush unit in the league last year in Minnesota.

The Giants landed Odenigbo on a one-year, $2.5 million deal, and he will compete for starting reps on the defensive front. His aggressive style as a pass rusher will help with a weak outside linebacking unit that struggled to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season. Coordinator Patrick Graham knows how to utilize defenders that fit specific molds. However, as a defensive end, they may try to move him into the interior to mitigate fatigue for guys like Dexter Lawrence.

Another low-risk, high reward deal for the Giants, as they also signed wide receiver John Ross on Tuesday afternoon. While these might not be flashy moves, they will benefit the Giants in 2021, and Odenigbo has a few hidden traits that Graham might be able to extract.

New York Rangers rally behind substitute coaches in beating the Flyers 9-0

On an unusual night, the New York Rangers showed some unusual offensive prowess in beating the Philadelphia Flyers 9-0.

What made this game unusual was that head coach David Quinn and assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver, and Greg Brown were not available for the game. They are were out due to the NHL COVID-19 protocol guidelines.

Kris Knoblauch, coach of Hartford of the American Hockey League, the Rangers’ affiliate, replaced Quinn as acting coach for the game. Hartford associate coach Gord Murphy and Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury were the assistants.

The Rangers responded in a big way with their 9 goal output. In his post-game Zoom interview, goalie Alexandar Georgiev said of the nine-goal effort: “I have no words, to be honest. It was surreal. I obviously tried to focus on my job but you could not ignore how unbelievable the guys were playing.” Georgiev stopped all 26 shots to earn the shutout victory. This was a big win for the young goaltender after being pulled in his last two games.

Mika Zibanejad tallied six points in the New York Ranger victory

Mika Zibanejad was nothing short of brilliant in tying an NHL record by scoring six points in the second period of the New York Rangers’ win. Zibanejad scored a natural hat trick and had three assists to join former New York Islanders center Bryan Trottier as the only players to score six points in a period of an NHL game.

Pavel Buchnevich scored four points (two goals, two assists) after missing the game Monday, a 5-4 overtime loss against the Flyers because he was on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. Buchnevich was only told of him being eligible to play this morning. After the game, he told the media that “I don’t know what was going on there, I have the antibodies.”

Artemi Panarin, Brendan Lemieux, and Filip Chytil also scored goals for the Rangers.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Zibanejad talked about how the team came together after hearing about the coaches who were placed on the list. “You get a little shock when you hear that, you just have to be able to adapt. We came together as a group and played for each other.”

They will need to come together regardless of who is on the bench as the Rangers travel to Washington on Friday and Saturday to take on the division-leading Capitals.

 

 

 

 

Diaz (Not Edwin) Blows Save in Mets 3-2 Walk-Off Loss to Marlins

The New York Mets sent Joey Lucchesi to make his first start of the spring, and he headlined a game marked by pitching. In the 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins, Met fans had traumatic flashbacks of a “Diaz” allowing a walk-off home run.

Lucchesi was incredible as he continues to make his case to earn a starting spot. He pitched three hitless innings and struckout four Marlins. Through five innings, Lucchesi has only allowed three walks and punched out seven. Robert Gsellman followed with two innings out of the bullpen and his only blemish was a Jazz Chisholm solo homer.

Yennsy Diaz got the opportunity to record the save but a leadoff walk spelled trouble in the ninth. Joe Dunand made him pay with a line-drive two-run homer to walk it off for the Marlins. Dunand has put together a nice spring training. He is 5-for-17 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

The Mets bats were quiet after an impressive offensive output against the Houston Astros. Albert Almora provided the lone runs with his double in the fifth inning. Three of his five hits this spring have gone for extra bases. Francisco Lindor talked about finally getting into a good hitting position during Monday’s game and it continued to carry over. Lindor recorded two more hits to get his batting average up to .280.

The Washington Nationals venture into Clover Park for a 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY. Jon Lester makes his first spring training start against Marcus Stroman (1-0, 3.24 ERA).

The New York Yankees 2021 rotation is seemingly falling into place

New York Yankees, Domingo German

With just two weeks until Opening Day, the New York Yankees starting rotation is seemingly falling into place. Five pitchers have stood out from the rest, and we have a very clear picture as to who will become the starters. Here’s what the 2021 New York Yankees rotation seems to be as Spring Training is winding down.

Gerrit Cole

You don’t need any Spring Training stats to show that Gerrit Cole deserves to be the Opening Day starter for the New York Yankees. The first-year Yankee had a 2.84 ERA last season in 12 starts with the team and is arguably the best pitcher in the American League.

Corey Kluber

The Yankees took a flyer on Corey Kluber this off-season, signing the two-time Cy Young Award winner to a one-year, $11 million deal. He’s coming off two consecutive injury-plagued seasons and needs time to get built back up. So far, Kluber has made two Spring Training starts and has given up two runs over six innings.

Jameson Taillon

Much like Kluber, the Yankees took a flyer on Jameson Taillon. He’s overcoming his second Tommy John surgery, and also needs time to get built back up. Taillon has looked incredibly strong this spring, pitching 5.2 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and a 1.41 WHIP. If he can stay healthy, Taillon can be very effective in the rotation.

Domingo German

Coming off a suspension that sidelined him for the entire 2020 season, Domingo German has pitched lights out this spring. His status with the team was unknown coming into camp, but he’s seemingly regaining the trust of his teammates and pitching well. In nine innings, German hasn’t allowed a run and has punched out 13 with a 0.67 WHIP. German pitched very well in 2019, and it seems as if he can continue that in 2021.

Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery, despite being the only lefty in the mix, has had to work his way into the Yankees’ rotation. He’s done extremely well in Spring Training thus far, giving up just one run over ten innings. In Wednesday’s victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Montgomery pitched five no-hit innings, all but securing his spot in the rotation.

As Spring Training is coming to a close, the Yankee starting rotation is all but decided.

New York Giants: 2020 made Markus Golden consider retirement

New York Giants, Markus Golden

2020 was not the ideal year for former New York Giants OLB Markus Golden – at least before his trade back to the Cardinals. Golden started out with the Giants after not finding another team in free agency, and came back to them as their sacks leader from 2019. It looked like Golden was poised to have a similar performance due to a lackluster pass rush for the Giants, but instead it was Leonard Williams that stepped up in the new system and Golden fell to the wayside.

Golden would only register 1.5 sacks with the Giants in 2020 and hardly made an impact in the tackling game either, as one of the few players on the defense from last season that didn’t benefit from the change to defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

And before he was traded back to the Cardinals where his performance would pick up, things seemed bleak for Golden career wise.

We’re learning now that Golden thought about retirement at least once last season due to not getting playing time, and he said that he felt the experience rubbed him the wrong way. It’s easy to see why Golden might feel that way, given the difference in how the Giants used him compared to the Cardinals.

Of course, under a new defensive coordinator, not everyone is going to be happy. Patrick Graham was able to get the best out of some players like Leonard Williams – but naturally, someone will fall through the cracks. Last season, that was Golden.

Whether his lack of play was due to a lack of adjustment on his part or because of team mismanagement, we won’t know without having more insider information. But the situation resolved itself when the Giants made a mid season trade to send him away to his former franchise.

Now, Golden is playing on a line with J.J. Watt and Williams is staying with the Giants on a long term deal that may finally let them hold onto a pass rusher again for more than a couple years.

New York Giants in talks with Kenny Golladay, expected to bring him in for a visit

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay

The New York Giants are fully in on top free-agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay. According to Ian Rapoport, the Giants “have been in talks” with Golladay and they are likely to bring him in for a visit prior to signing him to a deal. Rapoport reports that there is “mutual interest” between Golladay and the Giants.

Ian Rapoport followed this report up, saying that Kenny Golladay will spend time with Giants head coach Joe Judge and the team’s brass. This visit could result in a deal being made. The Giants have been in the market for a new number one receiving threat, and Golladay could fit the bill.

Kenny Golladay is the top free agent on the market and will not come cheap. Thankfully, New York freed up cap space this week by restructuring Nate Solder’s contract and signing Leonard Williams to a contract extension. The Giants have the space to make a deal work with Kenny Golladay. Now, it is just about ironing out the details and making that deal happen.

The New York Giants do not have a top receiving threat like Kenny Golladay. The former Detroit Lion topped 1,000 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons (2018 and 2019). Golladay was a Pro Bowl wide receiver in 2019 that led the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns.

Kenny Golladay is coming off of a season-ending hip injury in 2020, which is part of the reason why the Giants want to meet with Kenny before they sign him (per Jordan Raanan of ESPN). The Giants want to check on Kenny’s hip and get some questions answered regarding the way his time in Detroit ended. Raanan states that a signing probably would not happen without a visit.

This visit is a huge step for the New York Giants. If all goes well, the New York Giants could walk away from the 2021 free agency period with the market’s top wide receiver. This is an intriguing situation to monitor in the coming days.

The Yankees have renewed faith in Jonathan Loaisiga, and it’s starting to show

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

After throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday’s Grapefruit League action, Jonathan Loaisiga is shaping up as a crucial piece in the New York Yankees’ pitching puzzle. It’s clear that, barring a series of injuries, he won’t make the rotation, but the young righty can be a valuable contributor in a multi-inning relief role.

So far, Loaisiga has thrown 8 1/3 scoreless frames for the Yankees, and his command, which is what has set him back all these years, is starting to improve, despite walking a pair of batters on Tuesday.

“I’ve always been pretty open in telling them that I’m here to pitch and help in any way possible,” Loaisiga said to MLB.com through an interpreter. “That could be multiple innings, that could be middle relief, it could be starting. To me, it’s just being available and putting myself in a position where I can help, regardless of what that may be.”

The Yankees know that, after Zack Britton’s injury, there is a huge hole in the late innings that someone will need to fill. Manager Aaron Boone has said it will be a team effort, but it’s nice to know that Loaisiga is good enough to be one of the pitchers with that duty.

The Yankees know he can be an important piece

The right-hander wasn’t bad at all in 2020, with a 3.52 ERA in 12 games, but faltered during key moments in the postseason and is looking for another chance.

“He’s been a guy that has had varying degrees of success these last few years, but that we feel really good about,” Boone said. “With the length that he can give you in the pen, that role becomes really important. He’s a dynamic pitcher with great stuff and the ability to fill up the strike zone.”

The Yankees’ skipper encourages Loaisiga to attack the strike zone and stop nibbling around the corners, which often leads to walks. Loaisiga believes his changeup has developed into a reliable third pitch, and continues to tinker with a slider.

“I’ve felt really good in camp,” Loaisiga said. “This year I feel that physically that I’m at 100%. My arm feels really good.”

Mets’ outfielder Dominic Smith dealing with a wrist injury

dom smith, mets

The New York Mets have incredible depth in the position player side of things, which is why they were forced to try Dominic Smith, a first baseman by trade, in the outfield given Pete Alonso’s emergence in 2019.

Smith had his own breakout season for the Mets in 2020, but with Alonso blocking him at first base, he was used mainly as an outfielder and designated hitter en route to a .316/.377/.616 line and 10 home runs in 50 games and 199 plate appearances.

He became one of the Mets’ best hitters last season, which is why any injury news about Smith will be worrisome for fans. In this case, he was scratched from Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Marlins due to wrist soreness.

The left-handed slugger was replaced in the Mets’ lineup by Mallex Smith. Manager Luis Rojas is calling him day-to-day with the ailment, and the skipper did tell reporters that the player did defensive work before the game.

The Mets expect it to be a short-term absence

If there are no setbacks, Smith should be in the lineup for the Mets’ Opening Day tilt.

With the absence of the designated hitter (at least so far) for the 2021 season, it will be a challenge for the Mets to fit Smith in the everyday lineup, but given his considerable offensive contributions (he did, after all, had a 164 wRC+ last season) they better do it.

Smith should be the Mets’ left fielder most days when the real action starts, but he will also make some starts at first base on the days that Alonso rests. He should also be the designated hitter when the Mets play in American League parks.

With a two-hit performance by Mets’ shortstop Francisco Lindor, New York won Wednesday’s game against the Miami Marlins, backed by a fantastic outing by rotation hopeful Joey Lucchesi.

New York Yankees: Montgomery gets the job done in Yankee’s eighth win in row

The New York Yankees traveled to Dunedin, Florida today to face the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark. Jordan Montgomery faced Thomas Hatch. The game time at 1:07 pm was not televised. The Yankees won their eighth game in a row behind Mongomery and Jhoulys Chacin’s excellent pitching. The Yankees shut out the Jays 1-0.

Montgomery had a hitless first inning. He pitched the first five innings of the game, the first Yankee pitcher to pitch five innings in a row. Over those five innings, he allowed only 1 walk, no hits, and no runs. Entering the game, he had an ERA of 1.80. With his performance today, he brought his ERA down to 0.90. He looked sharp in all five innings. Montgomery is not a strikeout pitcher, but in this game, he struck out 4 Jays. Montgomery got fly out after ground out after line out.

Jhoulys Chacin followed Montgomery and went 2.2 innings while striking out 3 Toronto Blue Jays. Lucas Luetge came in and finched off the Toronto Blue Jays in his 1.1 innings. For the eighth game in a row, it was all about the New York Yankees pitching as the Yankee lineup had a tough time hitting off the Blue Jays pitchers. They could only muster up one run today, and that was when Judge walked; Hicks then reached on a fielding error. Gleyber Torres then grounded out, Stanton struck ground out, scoring Judge from second. Jay Bruce struck out, ending the scoring in the game.

The Yankees bats were pretty quiet in the game, but Giancarlo had another good game. He singled twice and walked once as he continued his hot start in this spring training. Gary Sanchez struck out twice and flew out twice in the game. But he again showed off his rocket of an arm, throwing out Lopez when he tried to steal second base. DJ LeMahieu, who had no hits in 4 plate appearances, stole a base and had the only error for the New York Yankees; he played third base today. He scored the error on an errant throw to first base.

The final score reflecting the shutout was the Yankees 1 and the Jays 0. The winning pitcher was Jordan Montgomery, the loser Milone, with Lucas Luetge getting the save.