New York Yankees: Top 10 2021 predictions and my 2020 results

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

Every year before the season starts, I make my predictions on what the New York Yankees season might look like, who will star, and who will bomb. Last year I bombed out several times but still had a 50% winning percentage. Here are my predictions for the 2021 season and my results from 2020.

1. Gerrit Cole will not perform as expected!

Last year I predicted that Cole, in the shortened season that he would not lose a game. I was wrong; he went 7-3 and gave up 14 home runs. This year after his average spring training performance, I predict he will go 15-6 with at least 24 home runs given up. He will also leave several games early.

2. DJ LeMahieu will be good, but not as good!

Last year I made this prediction and surely bombed out. I said he would not be as good; it turned out that he was even better in the short-season than in 2019. He was the New York Yankees MVP and was all of baseball’s batting champ, hitting .364. I again make the same prediction this year. He will start the season slowly and will shine after the All-Star break.

3. Clint Frazier will shine in his first full season!

I made that prediction last season and was only partially correct. Where I was wrong was that he didn’t play a whole season in the majors. I was correct because his defense would significantly improve, and boy did it ever; he was even nominated for a Gold Glove Award. His quick bat prevailed, hitting .267. This season I predict the same, except that he will have a better batting average.

4. Aaron Judge will have an injury-free season

Last year I predicted that Judge would have an injury-shortened season, and I was correct; he played in only 28 games while nursing injuries. This year in what will probably prove to be my most foolish prediction, I am saying he will play in at least 135 games and stay healthy for most of the season, hitting over 35 home runs.

5. Gleyber Torres will lead the Yankees in home runs

I made this same prediction last season and bombed out on that as much as Gleber Torres bombed out on his whole season. In 2019 Torres had 38 home runs, which I based my prediction on, as it turned out he only hit 3 homers. This year he is in much better shape and has been an outstanding player in spring training. He had 5 home runs in the spring. He will lead the Yankees with 45 home runs.

6. Domingo German will be the winningest pitcher

This prediction does not involve results from last year as German didn’t pitch at all in 2020 while serving his suspension for breaking the MLB’s domestic violence policy. But this year, after what I have seen in spring training, I predict he will be the Yankees’ winningest pitcher. He will have a 20 game winning season as he returns to his 2019 form.

7. Jonathan Loaisiga will be the Yankees’ best reliever

Loaisiga has been growing in Yankee importance for the last few years. This spring training, he has been just short of perfect. He didn’t allow a run in his first 6 games. He has a tiny 1.26. He will outshine all the other relievers and give up less than 30 earned runs in the 2021 season. I will add a caveat that that could be affected by the number of innings he throws.

8. Gary Sanchez will prove the Yankees wrong

Last year I predicted that Gary Sanchez would have the second-most home runs of any Yankee player. I was correct; he shared that stat with DJ LeMahieu. This year I am saying that the New York Yankees made a mistake in tendering him an offer to stay with the team. As much as I would like to see him prevail if his spring training performance is any indication, he will not. Gary gets into long slides that make him ineffective as a hitter. Although he got 10 homers last year, he batted a miserable .147. I predict he will have another poor season that may seal his fate with the Yankees.

9. The Yankees will win 108 games

Last season, a 60 games season, I said that the Yankees would win 48 games, they only won 33. I fell substantially short of my prediction. In 2018 and 2019, they won 100 and 103 games. This year with improved pitching, they will exceed that and win 108 games.

10. The Yankees will win their 28th World Championship

Last year I made this same prediction and was very wrong; they didn’t even win the East Division. However, this year I will stick with the same prediction for several reasons. One is that at least the beginning of the season, most all the Yankees are healthy. With their new pitching staff and the return of both Domingo German and Luis Severino, the New York Yankees will prevail over the greatly reduced Tampa Bay team, with the Toronto Blue Jays coming in second in the East. The Yankees will go on to beat the San Diego Padres in the World Series in seven games.

Notes:

I made other predictions last year that Giancarlo Stanton would play similarly to how he played in 2017; I was totally wrong; he played in only 18 games. I also said Gio Urshela would show that his 2019 season wasn’t a fluke; I was correct. I said that Nick Nelson would end up in Aaron Boone’s circle of trust; I was correct. Finally, I said that Jordan Montgomery would be the second-best pitcher in WAR; I was wrong; he had the Yankee starters’ lowest.

The Yankees’ Opening Day roster is almost set

As the New York Yankees’ spring training comes to an end, more than a month of roster battles is also approaching the finish line. There are 26 players that will be on the team when the Bombers face the Toronto Blue Jays this week, and the team has decided on 25 as of Tuesday morning.

Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, explained yesterday on a conference call that reliever Michael King and utility infielder Tyler Wade have made the roster, and that there is one remaining decision to make.

“Tyler Wade is on and Michael King is on. That puts us at 25, and we have a 26th and final decision. That will be made here at some point but probably not [Monday]. Basically, it’ll be who is going to replace [Justin] Wilson once he’s officially [on the IL].”

The Yankees’ GM also announced that Derek Dietrich and Robinson Chirinos will be joining the organization in minor-league assignments, while they also released Jhoulys Chacin.

Will the Yankees give Luetge a chance?

At this point, Lucas Luetge is seen as the favorite to land the remaining spot in the roster. Not only is he a reliever like Wilson, but he is also a left-hander, which comes in handy.

Luetge increased the spin rate on all of his pitches and looked very good during Grapefruit League play, so he has a leg up in the Yankees’ final spot competition.

Speaking of Wilson, Cashman confirmed he won’t be ready to start the season. “Wilson is going to start the season on the [IL]. He’s doing really well, but it’s one of those circumstances where we mapped out getting him his bullpens, and now his live sessions. So that’ll bleed into the start of our season. Physically he feels like can go, but in terms of making sure we got him fully finished off, we’re not going to let Opening Day dictate that.”

Jay Bruce will cover for the injured Luke Voit in first base until May.

Islanders’ poor starts lately affecting them where it hurts the most

The Islanders came away with no points last night as they were defeated 2-1 by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite them dominating the final 40 minutes of the contest, it was once again another slow start which doomed them early.

This is becoming a concerning trend, one where it’s hurting the Isles where it matters most: in the standings.

“We’re not getting off to the best of starts,” said forward Matt Martin, whose goal was all the Isles mustered offensively last night. “We have a lot of character in the room. We eventually get to our game, find our game and there’s no quit in our game, but it’s not a recipe for success in this league to play from behind.”

Monday night’s defeat marked fifth time in their last six games outside of their 6-1 smashing of Philadelphia the Islanders dug themselves a 2-0 hole; this recent loss being the third straight game it’s happened in the opening period. Slow starts are common during the grind of an NHL season, but those types of numbers aren’t doing the Islanders any favors. They got lucky last Monday because of Ilya Sorokin’s heroics and because of the Flyers ineptitude, and last Thursday in Boston on the back of Semyon Varlamov and their excellent penalty kill.

Even with the cushion the Islanders have given themselves in the East — it’s a ten point gap between them and the  fifth-place Flyers — their starts lately have cost them premium points to keep pace with the division-leading Capitals. Washington seems to not lose at all now, having won ten of their last 11 games. Now granted, the Isles are still in second place as of this morning. But Pittsburgh has turned their season season around and are tied with them after last night. The season series is done between the two teams, something that could be a blessing in disguise for the Isles.

Still, the last two games and this recent stretch leave you a bit worried because as we know the team’s offense sometimes doesn’t have the firepower to get back into games. There is such a small margin for error because of their style of play. That dynamic is only ratcheted up more because of captain Anders Lee’s absence.

The Islanders are at their worst when they are chasing the game. They seem to be doing it almost every night. It was evident during the first stanza against Pittsburgh and it put them behind the 8-ball in another crucial spot.

With Washington up next, the Isles can’t afford to let this trend continue.

These last 20 games are going to be a dogfight for positioning as the postseason approaches. Starting of games in the wrong manner have compounded in leading to the Isles losing important games and being able to keep compiling points.

It need to change and it has to be now.

The Islanders’ faltering a bit over the last few weeks — one regulation win their last six — hasn’t been for the lack of trying, but their attack has stymied after what was a terrific month prior. Some of the outlying numbers of late aren’t very encouraging:

Nelson one goal in his last nine games. Pageau two goals in his last 14. Barzal two goals in his last 16. Cizikas has three goals in the last 24; Clutterbuck with two in that span. Josh Bailey has four goals in the last 27 contests. Ryan Pulock still hasn’t scored. And Jordan Eberle has just 2 goals in his last 13.

Matt Martin continues to have an excellent season. The lone power play tally was his sixth goal of the year. As Brendan Burke pointed out last night too, the goal was just the second power play marker of his 11-year career.

New York Mets: The latest in the Francisco Lindor contract extension negotiations

New York Mets

The New York Mets want to sign All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to a long-term deal. The infielder, so far, has given every indication that he likes New York and the club, so he is interested in staying for the long haul. The two sides are negotiating.

Yet, Lindor doesn’t want to negotiate once the regular season starts this week, so the Mets only have a handful of days to get a deal done. Otherwise, they may lose their star to free agency, as other teams will be able to enter the bidding after the World Series is over.

New York Mets’ owner Steve Cohen had dinner with Lindor over the weekend, and the extension likely was a conversation theme during the evening. There is some hope that they can get something done this week, but it is not a given by any means.

In fact, multiple outlets reported in the last few hours that the Mets and Lindor’s camp are still far in negotiations. The team is offering a 10-year, $325 million deal, whereas the shortstop wants something closer to $400 million, which would be nearing Mike Trout territory.

The Mets’ put an offer on the table

The latest news has Lindor lowering his demands to 12 years and $385 million, but the Mets would have to think twice about having a 40-year old shortstop at some point in the deal.

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com said the 10-year pact that Lindor currently has on the table was the Mets’ “best and final” offer.

While a phone call from either side might change the outcome of the negotiations very quickly, it’s clear that there is still a significant gap between the two parties.

Lindor, 27, is having a nice spring, and even though he didn’t have a particularly good 2020 season, he is a career 118 wRC+ hitter with speed and elite defense. A resolution could be coming in the next few hours, one way or the other.

After losing his fourth straight at UFC 260, what’s next for Tyron Woodley?

This past Saturday at UFC 260, Tyron Woodley (19-7-1) was looking to snap his losing streak. The former welterweight champion took on Vicente Luque (20-7-1) in the co-main event.

A couple of years ago, Woodley looked like he could retire as the UFC welterweight champion. He had dynamite in his hands and his wrestling ability made him a nightmare matchup for anyone in the division.

However, something drastically changed. Starting with the Kamaru Usman fight, Woodley just appeared lost in the octagon. Entering UFC 260, Woodley had lost three fights in a row and didn’t win a single round.

There seemed to be no urgency from the former champion and he just looked lost. However, that is not what happened on Saturday night. Woodley immediately ran to start the fight with a massive right hand.

The former UFC champion was extremely aggressive and he was looking for a finish. Woodley landed a massive shut that buckled the legs of Luque and he went in for the kill. However, he left himself open for counters and Luque landed an even bigger shot.

Woodley looked out on his feet and Luque took advantage. The former UFC champion shot in for a sloppy takedown when he was out of and Luque locked up a choke to get the first round finish. Tyron Woodley has gone from one of the best in the world to losing four straight.

What’s next after UFC 260?

The one thing we know for sure is that Woodley’s UFC career is over after Saturday night. UFC 260 was the final fight on Woodley’s contract with the promotion and I cannot see any scenario where they would resign him.

The promotion has had their issues with Woodley and with him having lost four in a row, they will let him walk. I was very encouraged by what I saw in terms of the urgency from Woodley on Saturday night.

Yes, he lost in the first round. However, that was the best version of Tyron Woodley I’ve seen since his Darren Till title defense. So, where does the former UFC champion go from here?

I think there are likely two options. He is either going to retire or he’s going to Bellator. Woodley already has a relationship with Scott Coker from his Strikeforce days and I could see there being mutual interest.

Something tells me that Woodley doesn’t want to go out on his performance at UFC 260. I think the former world champion is going to want to go out with a victory. That could very well come in Bellator if he decides to keep fighting.

Yankees News: Brian Cashman questions Gary Sanchez’s spring training performance

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees offered catcher Gary Sanchez one more opportunity to prove that he can be their long-term solution at the position. In fact, they gave him a slight raise, signing him to a one-year, $6.35 million extension this past off-season. General manager Brian Cashman believes that he can be the future, but Sanchez has taken consecutive steps backward the past few seasons. In 2020, Sanchez hit .147 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. He logged a career-high 36% strikeout rate and negative WAR for the first time.

However, Sanchez believes his spring training has gone well, especially on the defensive side of the ball where his fundamentals are being shifted.

“I definitely felt more comfortable in the new position having my right knee down. I felt better moving, reacting, flexibility. There’s a combination of things that I’m very happy with. It’s been a lot of work.”

Offensively, Sanchez started out strong but fell back down to earth, currently sitting with a .200 average, three homers, and four RBIs. He’s doing a bit better in terms of making contact but has struck out in nearly 45% of his at-bats, a terrible number.

“Offensively, I started very well getting the results I wanted right out of the gate,” Sanchez said. “There were some ups and downs the rest of the camp, but that’s OK. It’s something that I’m going to work on. What we’re looking for is consistency and we have an opportunity once the regular season starts to have that contact consistency.”

What should the Yankees expect from him in 2021?

We know Sanchez is capable of performing at a high-level, considering he hit .278 with 33 homers in 2017. Nonetheless, that was over three years ago, and the Yankees haven’t seen that production from him since. The closest he came was in 2019 when he recorded a .232 average with 34 HRs, which would be welcomed by Cashman moving forward.

“On the offensive side, you saw more results early in camp, less results late in camp,” GM Brian Cashman said. “On the defensive side, he’s definitely worked his tail off and we’re getting a lot of positive reviews from our catching coach. His receiving has been improved, but then you’re going to collapse all that into it’s March and February and what do you make of it?”

Cashman makes a great point, what do you make of two months of work when you need an entire season of production and efficiency? Sanchez has shown that he can’t be relied on, which is why the Yankees utilized Kyle Higashiosaka last postseason predominately, going as far as making him Gerrit Cole’s primary catcher.

At the end of the day, this is Sanchez’s last opportunity to lock in a long-term extension, and if this spring is any indication of what’s to come, I’m not feeling too confident in his abilities.

Knicks absorb tough Mitchell Robinson injury news

Losing big man Mitchell Robinson will prove to be significant for the New York Knicks, who desperately need his influence and impact on the floor. While New York went toe to toe with the Miami Heat on Monday evening in a defensive contest, they missed Robinson’s energy and ability to score from the paint.

Robinson had been recovering from a fractured hand he suffered a few weeks ago, and in his first game back fractured the fifth metatarsal in his foot, requiring surgery.

Losing Robinson will force the Knicks to rely on Taj Gibson and the Nerlens Noel more frequently, and while both are capable of holding it down in his absence, their upside is limited significantly.

The injury was a result of Robinson battling with Milwaukee center Brook Lopez in the post. As the pass came in-bounds to Lopez, Mitchell tried to swipe it away, landing awkwardly on his right foot and immediately collapsing to the ground in obvious pain. He was taken out and underwent MRIs, which indicated a fracture.

A timeline for Robinson’s return has not yet been set, so he could be out for the remainder of the season with about two months left until the playoffs commence. This health-trend of his is a bit worrisome, especially since he only has one year left on his contract. New York has a club option for the 2021 season, which they must pick up by June 29. He will count $1.8 million against the salary, a low number that will likely see the Knicks retain him moving forward.

This season, Robinson is averaging 8.3 points, 8.1 total rebounds, and is shooting .653 from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 1.1 steals, showing off his versatility and defensive prowess.

Ultimately, the Knicks see Robinson as a building block and part of their future, but if he can’t remain healthy, they will have to begin entertaining alternative avenues.

New York Yankees: The latest injury updates on 8 Yankees

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees have had injuries in the spring and before, but have been relatively free of serious injuries that will keep players off the field for prolonged periods. The only serious injury is Luis Severino that was caused by his Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of last season. Here is a breakdown of the injuries and the latest updates for New York Yankee players and when fans could expect them back with the team.

Luis Severino:

On February 27, 2020, Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow. At the time, it was projected he would be away from the team until late summer 2021. That would include a few minor league rehab starts. But recently, manager Aaron Boone has updated his progress, say that he is doing better than expected in his rehab. Boone has actually caught a session from Severino. He is now expected to be back with the team sometime in mid-July.

Miguel Andujar:

Third baseman and outfielder Miguel Andujar has minor hand and wrist soreness that will keep him away from the team at the beginning of the season and with a difficult-to-diagnose injury, possibly beyond. After his poor showing in spring training, when he does come back, he will most likely be sent down to Scranton and won’t be used unless injuries require him.

Luke Voit:

The loss of last year’s baseball home run leader is one of the most significant injuries so far in the spring. Voit had knee surgery yesterday in New York. It was first noticed when he had trouble running the bases. An MRI revealed a partial meniscus tear. He is expected to be away from the team at least until the middle of May.

Justin Wilson:

Left-hand pitcher Justin Wilson was supposed to partially make of for the loss of Zack Britton; he left a March 22 outing with shoulder soreness and tightness. An MRI did not find any serious injury. He is on Anti-inflammatories but will miss the beginning of the season, which is on Thursday of this week. Wilson is progressing nicely and doesn’t want to be in the IL; however, general manager Brian Cashman announced yesterday that he would start the season on the 10 day IL. He will probably return when that expires.

Zack Britton:

It was discovered that left-hand reliever Zack Britton has a bone chip in his elbow. He underwent surgery to have it removed on March 15. There is conflicting information on when fans may expect him to return. Some say six weeks; others say two to three months. Based on the worst-case scenarios, he will be back with the team sometime before the end of June. CBS Sports reports that he won’t be back before May 28th.

Mike Tauchman:

Backup outfielder Mike Tauchman is suffering from a mild self-inflicted injury. Tauchman fouled a pitch off his lower right leg, near his calf, during an eight-pitch at-bat against Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler on Sunday. He is presently icing it down and taking anti-inflammatories. The injury is minor, but his readiness for opening day is questionable.

Clarke Schmidt:

The news on Clarke Schmidt’s elbow injury is not good. He experienced an extensor strain in his right elbow; it’s a common ailment and not long-term serious. Manager Aaron Boone said Thursday that Schmidt’s return to throwing could be “imminent.” However, no matter how minor, he will have to build back up for season play, and he is expected to be out until May 31 after being put on the 60-day IL on Saturday.

Aaron Judge:

Fans were wondering why Aaron Judge was not in yesterday’s New York Yankee’s game after also missing the game before. The good news is that there is nothing seriously wrong with the slugger. He is under the weather. He has gone through the COVID health protocols and has passed those. Both general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone said he would be ready to start the season on Thursday. Other sources say that is questionable.

 

 

Anderson Silva agrees to boxing match with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr

Former UFC great Anderson Silva is heading to the boxing ring. TMZ Sports was the first to report late last night that former UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva (34-11, 1 NC in MMA) has agreed to box Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (52-5-1 in boxing).

The event will take place on June 19th and it will be in Mexico. Back in 2012, Chavez Jr was looked at as one of the best boxers in the world. The son of boxing great, Julio Cesar Chavez, was 46-0-1 and the WBC World Middleweight Champion.

However, over the last eight years, it hasn’t been the same story for Chavez Jr. Chavez Jr finished Andy Lee back in 2012 to retain his title, but after that, Chavez Jr has gone just 6-5 inside the squared circle.

Now, he has been in there with some of the best that boxing has to offer. Back in 2017, Chavez Jr did take on Canelo Alvarez, but ultimately lost a decision. Chavez Jr had two boxing matches in 2020 where he went 1-1. His last one came against Jeyson Minda and he won by TKO.

Anderson Silva to Boxing

At one point, Anderson Silva was being looked at as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. When 2012 ended, Silva was the UFC’s middleweight champion and he had a record of 33-4.

However, since his win against Stephen Bonnar in 2012, Silva went just 1-7, 1 NC in his last nine fights. The UFC wanted Silva to retire, but he wanted to continue in combat sports whether it be MMA or boxing.

The UFC released Silva from his contract after his loss to Uriah Hall back in October. From there, Silva has been trying to figure out what he’s wanted to do. There were limited MMA offers, but there were some intriguing boxing matches.

Roy Jones Jr even called for a boxing match with Silva. Silva supposedly had a couple of offers on the table, but ultimately decided on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr fight. Worth nothing that Silva has had two pro boxing matches early in his career and he’s 1-1.

New York Jets: Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson can’t mix

If the New York Jets quarterback quandary is truly down to Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson, there must be no stalemate.

There’s no telling exactly when the New York Jets started thinking of having someone other than Sam Darnold in their franchise quarterback role. The only facts behind the case are that the situation is active and will be resolved by the evening of April 29, when the team chooses second in the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland.

But what if the situation stretches beyond April, into the warmer months? The only way to do that would be to keep Sam Darnold and draft Zach Wilson…a situation the Jets must avoid at every cost.

No matter when this proverbial game of musical chairs began, some of the contestants have dropped out, opted to join other games, or both. One seat, that of the franchise quarterback role, remains, and it appears that two players circle it while the music plays: Darnold and Wilson.

As those other seats fill across the league, the incumbent Darnold remains a Jet with the team does their due diligence on his potential replacement. With Urban Meyer more or less eliminating any draft day surprises vis a vis Trevor Lawrence, draft day attention now turns to the Jets in the second slot. The consensus No.2 has become BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, who wowed many at his Provo-based pro day with Mahomes-like tosses. Among the awed was the Jets’ representative triumvirate of head coach Robert Saleh, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, and general manager Joe Douglas. The idea that Saleh and LaFleur’s former Bay Area comrades, equally perplexed over their own passing situation in San Francisco, traded to the third, not second, slot with Miami instead of the Jets served only to fuel the idea that Darnold’s green days were numbered.

If Wilson is truly on his way, a new debate is spawned: what to do with Darnold? One of the more fascinating “what if” situations on the modern NFL landscape is envisioning Darnold’s career if the Jets hired someone…heck, anyone…at head coach other than Adam Gase. The team has stocked up on affordable/bargain offensive weaponry this offseason that could provide Darnold some long-awaited professional stability.

But if Wilson is the way the Jets want to go…the Jets must cut ties with Darnold at all costs. The idea that this team can make it through a situation where two quarterbacks in their early 20s are on the same roster seems dubious at best. If Wilson’s Jets career begins, Darnold’s must end.

There’s no doubt that an incoming franchise thrower can benefit from having a veteran work alongside him, even through competition. That’s exactly how Darnold’s New York career began, after all, as he worked alongside Josh McCown for a season. But Darnold, set to turn 24 in June, isn’t exactly at the “veteran mentor” stage of his career. This is a quarterback who has displayed fleeting flashes of brilliance, enough for the casual observer to wonder if it’s a miracle in itself that he was able to briefly shine in the first place.

With the Jets cleaning their coaching house, there’s an opportunity to see Darnold work with a new staff. The idea of quarterback competition at camp could be interesting, especially if preseason games return this summer. Some might see Darnold as a reliable safety net if the unthinkable happens to the rookie, Wilson or otherwise. But when you’re trapped in a perpetual rebuild…one that just might see a light at the end of its tunnel…that’s not worth it. A Jets team divided amongst itself…especially at the quarterback position…cannot stand.

The Jets are in a position where they might finally be starting to right their ship. Whereas the hire of Gase was praised only by the hot take artists, players both domestic and abroad lauded the arrival of Saleh. It’d make sense to follow his vision as precisely as they can. At the same time, it means minimizing controversy, vital for a team whose smallest abnormalities are turned into memes because the mere concept of “LOL Jets” gets clicks.

There’s also no use in pulling Wilson’s leg, which the exact message that keeping Darnold sends. How can he ease into the franchise quarterback role when a young player who may be equally capable…the Jets still don’t know…is sitting behind him? It’s one thing to bring an experienced mentor whose full-time starting days are probably behind him (i.e. Alex Smith/Brian Hoyer) or a relative veteran who’s proven reliable in a pinch (i.e. Nick Mullens/Blake Bortles). But to continue to work with a young quarterback and push him back to a backup role creates a problem where there doesn’t need to be.

The situation works on both sides. Though the scenario appears to become more remote with each passing day, there’s still a chance that Darnold could stay. If that’s the case, it’d be silly to say Darnold’s the starter and have the second overall pick breathing down his neck. Fans are set to return to MetLife Stadium this fall and the last thing Darnold would need is a chant for Wilson’s insertion every time he throws an incompletion.

While Saleh has carved out a hopeful path, he inherits a mess from the depths of the football netherworld that, again, needs little exacerbation. The defensive-minded Saleh must settle the uncertain secondary situation in the post-Jamal Adams era, while he and his offensive assistants also have to figure out an offensive line picture that, the arrival of Dan Feeney notwithstanding, doesn’t look much different from last season’s. To worry about the quarterback situation is simply thinking about another problem the Jets can ill-afford.

New York football will have its share of problems beyond April 29. With a glimmer at the end of the tunnel of rebuilding, but countless other turns to tackle in it, this quarterback issue can’t go beyond that.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags