New York Giants: Saquon Barkley starting training camp as limited participant

Saquon Barkley

Training camp is the next big event on the schedule for the New York Giants, but they’re set to open up with one of their major players taking a lesser role. The player in question is Saquon Barkley, who is entering this season recovering from an ACL injury.

His comeback timeline has been the subject of speculation this offseason and still remains uncertain, but it looks like a week one return is most likely. Part of that plan to bring Barkley back in week one could include having him take it easy earlier in the offseason rather than pushing it.

According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Barkley has made impressive progress – but the Giants will still limit him early on in training camp.

Barkley is sprinting and jumping, impressing those around him, even if the current plan does not include him being involved in the offseason on-field workouts with the team. He is not expected to be a full participant in practices early in training camp. If he’s outside at practice during organized team activities and minicamp this spring, it will be mostly to watch.

Notably, Barkley is also expected to mostly sit out the organized team activities leading up to training camp, which is set for a tentative starting date of July 27.

None of this should be too concerning, of course. Barkley when at his best is the most valuable asset the Giants have, so it makes sense that protecting his health is a top priority for the organization.

The Giants have also brought on a number of new backup running backs this offseason and will have an entirely new look at that spot, so from the looks of things, the plan is to have other options and not put too much pressure on Barkley.

A slower start to getting back on the field, after all, will quickly be forgiven if Barkley is once again able to play at his best later on because of it.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees pull out the finale win against the Blue Jays

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have lost the first two games against the Toronto Blue Jays and were hoping to salvage the last game of the series before moving on to the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. This last game of the series featured Jordan Montgomery for the Yankees the Robbie Ray for the Blue Jays. The Yankees won the game 5-3.

Marcus Semien led off against Montgomery and ground out. Bo Bichette flew out to center. Vlad Guerrero Jr. chopped to LeMahieu for the final out. DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the inning, singling to left. Gleyber Torres flew out to deep center. Aaron Judge walked to two on and one out. Gio Ushela hit one to the left-field wall for a double driving in LeMahieu, but Judge was called out at home. Clint Frazier went down on strikes, but the Yankees scored their first run of the doubleheader. New York Yankees 1 Toronto Blue Jays 0.

The top of the second inning was led off by Hernandez, who flew out, Randal Grichuk who popped out to the Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. struck out. Gary Sanchez led off the bottom, and he went high but caught in left field. Miguel Andujar ground out softly to the pitcher. Estevan Florial, in this first major league appearance, ground out to center. Yankees 1 Jays 0.

Santiago Espinal led off the third by reaching on a booted ball by Torres. Jonathan Davis lined up directly to Gio Ushela, who made an excellent catch preventing Espinal from getting back to first for two outs. Danny Jansen walked. Semien walked for the second walk of the inning. Bichette hit a three-run 414′ home run to the Jay’s bullpen. Guerrero ground out, but the Jays went ahead. At the bottom, Tyler Wade led off by going down on strikes. LeMahieu singled to left field. Torres flew out to the left-field warning track. Aaron Judge got a two-run home run to Monument Park to tie up the game at 3 apiece. Gio Urshela ground out, but the Judge’s 13 homers of the year tied up the game. Yankees 3 Jays 3.

Hernandez singled to lead off the fourth. Grichuk flew out to left. Hernandez stole second. Gurriel struck out. Espinal flew out to Frazier in right. At the bottom, Clint Frazier struck out. Sanchez hit a long (444′) home run to right-center. Andujar flew out to right for the second out. Estevan Florial struck out back to the glove of the catcher, but the Yankees took the lead. New York Yankees 4 Blue Jays 3.

At the top of the fifth, Davis singled up the middle. Jansen hit into a Yankee double play for two outs. Semien singled up the middle, and that was the night for Montgomery. He was replaced by Jonathan Loaisgia, who faced Bo Bichette, who struck out. Perfect pitcher David Cone said during the inning; the Loaisgia throws some pitches that make you say wow. At the bottom, Tyler Wade led off by singling off Robbie Ray. LeMahieu went down on strikes. Wade stole second. Gleyber Torres walked. Runners moved up on a wild pitch. Aaron Judge had a long sac fly to right driving in Wade for another Yankee run. Ursheal faced the new Jays pitcher A.J. Cole, and he went down on strikes. But the Yankees took the lead: New York Yankees 5 and the Jays 3.

At the top of the sixth, Guerrero got an up-the-middle single. Hernandez hit into a double play on the base paths. Grichuk had a two-out single. Gurriel single to the left side. Espinal coming up manager Aaron Boone pulled Loaisgia in favor of Wandy Peralta to face Espinal, who ground out to third to end the inning. At the bottom, Frazier flew out to left. Sanchez lined to the left side for a multi-hit game. Andujar lofted one to left for the second out. Florial doubled to left, but Sanchez was out by about 30′ running for home. Yankees 5 Jays 3.

Jonathan Davis led off the seventh with last licks on the line for the Jays. He, against Chad Green, lined out to Torres. McGuire pinch-hitting for Jansen ground out to Wade in short right. Semien flew out to Gardner, and the game was over with the Yankees winning the set’s final game. The final score was the New York Yankees 5 and the Toronto Blue Jays 3. The winning pitcher was Jonathan Loaisgia, and the loser was Robbie Ray. The save went to Chad Green, but where was closer Aroldis Chapman?

 

New York Giants: Nick Gates ready to breakout in second year starting at center

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants are continuing to build and develop their young offensive line. The Giants’ offensive line was among the worst in the NFL in 2020.

The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. So while the Giants did upgrade Daniel Jones’s weapons in free agency, fans feel like they still desperately need to fix the offensive line in front of him.

New York did not touch their offensive line much this offseason. However, there is some young talent that the Giants have on their roster already. Young players could develop into quality starters this season.

One of those young studs is center Nick Gates. 2020 was Gates’s first year playing the center position and he started all sixteen games for the Giants in the middle of the line. Despite having no experience at center before, Gates performed as arguably the Giants’ best offensive lineman last season. Entering 2021, Gates is looking to break out in his second year starting at center.

Nick Gates stats and highlights

Nick Gates was arguably the Giants’ most improved player in 2020. But he has room to grow in 2021 and could be their most improved player once again. Gates started out his career playing right tackle for the Giants in 2019. He then moved into guard later that season. Nick Gates impressed everyone who watched him play in 2019 as an unknown player that rose from the bottom of the roster.

With his impressive play in 2019, Nick Gates earned a starting job in 2020. The question was which position he would play. Would Gates move back to tackle, stay at guard, or try something new at center? Ultimately, Nick Gates made the switch to center, a wise decision by the Giants’ coaching staff.

There were growing pains, for sure, as Nick Gates got acclimated to his new position. According to Pro Football Focus, Nick Gates’s pass-blocking grade ranked 32nd out of 35 centers through the first six weeks of the season. He turned it around though, posting a 70.1 pass-block grade from Week 7 on, ranking eleventh in the NFL.

An argument could be made stating that Nick Gates was the Giants’ best offensive lineman in 2020. But the young hog molly has room to improve and should take a big step this season. After allowing 0 sacks on 1,013 snaps in 2020, there is reason for optimism behind the Giants’ starting center. Nick Gates is athletic and already a stout run-blocker. With some refinement in pass protection, Nick Gates could turn into an elite offensive lineman in 2021.

New York Yankees Recap: First game of the doubleheader went to the Jays

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The New York Yankees faced the Toronto Blue Jays twice today in two 7 inning games caused by the rain postponement of last night’s game. The doubleheader had Domingo German going for the Yankees and Alek Manoah in his major league debut. The second game featured the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery vs. the Blue Jays’ Robbie Ray. Going into this doubleheader, the Jays were 5-2 against the Yankees.

Game one:

In the first inning, Jordan Montgomery faced Marcus Semien, who flew out on the first pitch to Torres. Bo Bichette flew out to Gardner in center. Vlad Guerrero Jr., the Yankee killer, struck out to catcher Higashioka for a quick 1-2-3 inning for German. At the bottom, Alek Manoah made his major league debut against DJ LeMahieu, who walked on four pitches. Rougie Odor went down swinging. Aaron Judge went down on strikes. Gleyber Torres flew out to center to end the inning scoreless.

At the top of the second, Teoscar Hernandez sharply lined out to Torres at short. Randal Grichuk went down on strikes.  Rowdy Tellez walked. Lourdes Gurriel flew out to foul territory on a Frazier catch to end the half. At the bottom, the first baseman Mike Ford struck out. Clint Frazier flew out to center. Miguel Andujar singled to short center. Brett Gardner ground out to second for another scoreless inning.

The third inning was led off by Joe Panik, who popped out to Odor. Reese McGuire flew out to Andujar in left. Semien hit a bullet to the left-field stands to put the Jays ahead in the game.  Bichette followed with a back-to-back dinger almost into the same spot as Semien.  A pitch hit Guerrero. Hernandez went down on strikes, but the Jays picked up two runs in the inning. At the bottom, Higashioka flew out to right. LeMahieu struck out. Odor struck out swinging. Toronto Blue Jays 2 New York Yankees 0.

The fourth inning was started out by Grichuk, who popped out to the pitcher Higashioka. Tellez ground out to Odor. Gurriel flew out to Frazier on the track as German bounced back with the Jays going down in order. Aaron Judge led off the bottom by grounding out to third. Torres also ground to third. Ford flew out to left. Jays 2 Yankees 0.

Joe Panik led off the fifth, grounding out to German. McGuire ground out directly to Ford at first. Semien walked. Bichette ground out to Torres. At the bottom, Clint Frazier popped out to second. Andujar, who has had the only Yankee hit in the game, had another hit to right-center. Gardner struck out. Higashioka also struck out for Manoah’s seventh strikeout against one walk. Jays 2 Yankees 0.

Guerrero led off the sixth inning, who struck out on a German curveball in the dirt. Hernandez also went down on strikes. Grichuk singled against the shift, and that was the game for German. He was replaced by Lucas Luetge, facing Tellez, who got a base hit moving Grichuk to third. Gurriel struck out stranded two Jays. At the bottom, with the debuting Manoah still on the mound, he faced LeMahieu, who popped out to short center. Odor walked. Judge flew out to centerfield. Torres ground out to short. Jays 2 Yankees 0.

The last inning of the first game of the doubleheader was led off by Joe Panik ground out to third. McGuire struck out. Semien struck out. With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Mike Ford took to the bat and struck for the third time in the game. Clint Frazier broke his bat with a lineout to short. Miguel Andujar ground out to end the game.

The final score was the Toronto Blue Jays 2 and the New York Yankees 0. The winning pitcher was Alek Manoah, and the loser was Domingo German.

 

 

Chicago Bears roster bubble candidate: RB Ryan Nall

Ryan nall, bears

Ask any Chicago Bears fans what playing running back means for the Bears franchise and they’ll start naming players that you’ve never heard of, that probably had one big play in some preseason game. That’s the case for Bears running back Ryan Nall, who now enters his fourth season with the team.

Undrafted out of Oregon State in 2018, Nall spent his rookie season on the Bears practice squad before being promoted to the active roster halfway through the 2019 season. Year three, 2020, would see Nall appear in all 16 games with zero starts. He did manage to haul in eight receptions for 67 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per reception.

The Bears see Nall’s value as being a pass-catcher, a skill essential to head coach Matt Nagy’s offense for running backs. But Chicago did add some additional depth to the running back room this offseason: Damien Williams, Khalil Herbert, and C.J. Marable. 2019 UDFA Artavis Pierce will rejoin the mix and compete for a roster spot.

Added depth, along with a healthy Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery means Nall could potentially be on his way out.

The case for keeping Nall

Mentioned above, Nall’s biggest impact in 2020 was as a receiver. The numbers show a similar story, as Nall has caught 88.9 percent of his passes, with 18 yards being his longest reception. During his college days, Nall played tight end, which is where his pass-catching background comes into play. He also averaged 5.9 yards after the catch with the ball in his hands, which accounted for five first downs.

Nall’s second-biggest impact with the Bears has come on special teams, where he’s developed into a quality blocker under ST coordinator Chris Tabor. Last season saw Nall play 65 percent of snaps on special teams, a 32 percent increase from 2019, showing an increase in his role with the Bears.

The case for cutting Nall

As a runner, Nall has had minimal impact. Just five rushing attempts for eight yards over the last two years leads to questions about his ability to become a complete running back. In Nagy’s offense, dual-threat running backs are perfect fits, as they allow for Nagy to get creative when it comes to matchups. Nall’s inability to be an effective run makes him one dimensional, which means his true value is limited unless Chicago decides to give him more opportunities in the running game.

Conclusion

Nall is certainly one of the tougher players to figure out when it comes to the Bears. He’s shown that he can have an impact as a pass-catcher but unless he can become an effective running back who can impact the game on third downs, Nall is on the roster bubble as a player who could be cut with the additional depth that the Bears have added.

What will be very telling of Nall’s future with the Bears is the amount of snaps he receives compared to players like Pierce, Williams, and Herbert during training camp practices. Three contests during the preseason, where Nall continues to thrive, will also determine what the Bears hope to do when giving Nall additional carries during live-action games.

Indefinite ban meted on Knicks fan for spitting on Hawks’ star Trae Young

trae young, knicks, hawks

A New York Knicks fan has been banned indefinitely from watching at the Madison Square Garden after he was caught on TV spitting on Atlanta Hawks’ star Trae Young.

The Knicks apologized to Young and the Hawks organization for the unfortunate incident that transpired with 8:34 left in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

“We investigated the matter and determined that this patron, who is not a season ticket holder, did indeed spit on Trae Young, and for that reason, he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely. We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities,” the team said in a statement released on Thursday.

Young’s father went to Twitter to call the attention of the league and the Knicks on the incident.

It was the second incident on Wednesday night involving a fan attacking a player. A Philadelphia 76ers fan was also banned indefinitely for throwing popcorn on Russell Westbrook while he was on his way to the locker room.

The NBA immediately released a statement on Thursday to address the two separate incidents.

“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials, and our fellow fans. An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved,” the league said in a statement.

The NBA Fan Code of Conduct is as follows:

  • Players and fans respect and appreciate each other.
  • Guests will be treated in a professional and courteous manner by all arena and team personnel.
  • Guests will enjoy the basketball experience free from disruptive behavior, including foul or abusive language and obscene gestures.
  • Guests will consume alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner. Intervention with an impaired, intoxicated, or underage guest will be handled in a prompt and safe manner.
  • Guests will sit only in their ticketed seats and show their tickets when requested.
  • Guests who engage in fighting, throwing objects, or attempting to enter the court will be immediately ejected from the arena.
  • Guests will smoke in designated smoking areas only.
  • Obscene or indecent messages on signs or clothing will not be permitted.
  • Guests will comply with requests from arena staff regarding arena operations and emergency response procedures.
  • Guests will comply with all COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
  • List of prohibited items at NBA arenas can be found here.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Yankee Top 10’s: Worst acquisitions, is Aaron Hicks on the list?

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees looked to improve their team for the  2021 season. They resigned DJ LeMahieu and brought back Brett Gardner for yet another year. They also hired 2-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and traded for Jameson Taillon to revamp the pitching rotation. They also made several minor league deals to accomplish their goals. With Corey Kluber and Aaron Hicks on the IL, it makes this the perfect time to look at some of the worst Yankee acquisitions ever.

The Yankees, in their glorious history, have had some of the greatest players to play the game of baseball. Players like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, Derek Jeter, etc.  Some were farm-raised, and some were acquired.

For some franchises paying too much for a player that doesn’t work out can be financially devastating. And it can take a club a long time to recover from that purchase.  For teams more flush-like, like the New York Yankees, those poor choices usually can be recovered from in a short time. In other cases, a club gives up a prime prospect in a trade to get that player while significantly weakening their farm system when that player turns out to be a bomb.

When acquiring a player, the New York Yankees either have to spend money or trade players or a combination of both to get the player they want.  Some have been amazingly successful, like Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, El Duque, Roger Clemens, Roger Maris, Ricky Henderson, and many more.  But they also have had some bummers. Today we examine my picks for the Yankee’s worst acquisitions.  I based my picks on how the Yankees performed and how much they had to pay to get the performance or lack thereof.  Picks are only from the modern era.

The Last time I wrote this article, Aaron Hicks wasn’t even on the list. But with all the injuries and poor play, and now being out for the rest of the season, he has pushed himself up to number 5 on this list.

10. A. J. Burnett

When A. J. Burnett came to the Yankees in 2009 from the Toronto Blue Jays, where he had an 18 win season.  The Yankee contract with Burnett was for $85.5 million over five years. Burnett was one of those players like Kenny Rogers and, more recently, Sonny Gray that couldn’t adjust to the bright lights of New York Yankee Stadium.  In his three years before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was 34-35 with an ERA of .493.

9. Pedro Feliciano

Pedro Feliciano was a two-year $8 million disaster with the Yankees. There is little to say here.  He required two shoulder surgeries after leading the AL with the most starts in the previous three years.  For the Yankees, he never pitched a game—end of the story.

8. Spike Owen

Owen was coming off a career year with the Expos, where he won a gold glove, hit .269, and racked up 24 extra-base hits.  He came to the Yankees from the Expos and was so bad at short that he didn’t even complete a year with the Yankees.  In 1993 the Yankees were in dire need of a shortstop with prospect Derek Jeter not yet ready.  So they paid $7 million for a three-year contract.  He hit .234 with a stinking .300 OBP.  The Yankees dealt him to the Angels to play out the contract.

7. Ed Whitson

If you thought Pavano and Igawa and were bad, Ed Whitson was worse.  The New York Yankees acquired Whitson in a five-year deal for $4.5 million from the Padres. For most of his career, he was a near ace pitcher but not for the Yankees.  What followed? Fifteen wins and a 5.38 earned run average over two years with the team. They dealt him back to the Padres in 1986, where they’d fork 90% of his contract the remainder of the deal.

6. Hideki Irabu

The big problem with the Irabu acquisition is that he was supposed to be the next great Yankee ace pitcher. He never even came close to being anything more than a 4th or 5th pitcher in the rotation. In his four years, starting in 1997, he went 29-20, 4.80 ERA, 64 starts, 74 games, 395 2/3 IP. For this, the Yankees had to pay the San Diego Padres $3 million to acquire him and give Irabu $12.8 million over four years.

5. Aaron Hicks

In 2019, general manager Brian Cashman gave Aaron Hicks a seven-year $70 million contract extension. It was a puzzle why he did it then and remained a puzzle. From 2016 to 2019, Hicks was an average fielder and only slightly above average at the plate. But from 2019 to date, he has been mostly a disaster, spending almost as much time off the field as on. Since the extension, he has played in only 145 games with a 223, 22 HR, 71 RBI, .748 OPS slash line. This year alone, he was hitting only .194 with  4 homers while driving in only 14 runs.

Fast forward to today, and Aaron Boone has announced that Hicks will be out for the rest of the year after wrist surgery. Early last week, Hicks tore the sheath of a wrist tendon. After a visit in New York to the team doctor, it was discovered that he would have wrist surgery. Now the Yankees will have to look for a centerfielder. Brett Gardner is more than capable of handling the job, but there is no suitable backup. What makes this sting is that the present management wants to stay below the luxury tax threshold, and this will be a $10 million slap in the face for the next five years.

4. Kei Igawa

Wow-what a mistake this was.  Kei Igawa was a miserable pitcher.  The Yankees signed him to a 5 year $20 million contract and paid a $26 million Japanese posting fee to get him in the first place.  In 2006 Igawa started for the Yankees at the major league level.  He was 2-4, 6.66 ERA, 13 starts, 16 games, and 71 2/3 innings for his first two years.  He was then demoted to Scranton Wilkes/Barre for two years and the third year with AA Trenton. While in the minors, Brian Cashman tried several times to send Igawa back to Japan, but Igawa refused to go.

3. Jason Giambi

Some may wonder why I have Giambi so high on this worst deal list. It’s not because he wasn’t a decent player because the Yankees paid far too much for a declining player.  There is no question that he was a star player for the Oakland Athletics.  His 40 points lower batting average with the Yankee was not deserving of his $120 million seven-year contracts.

While with the Yankees, the first baseman never was a Gold Glover, Silver Slugger, while only being an All-Star once and begin nominated for MVP twice in which he received few votes.  In 2004 due to injuries, he missed half the season.  Giambi was often a liability at first, leading him to play a lot of games as DH.  Oh, and then there was the whole doping thing.  After initially denying doing drugs, he admitted to injecting himself with human growth hormone during the 2003 season with the Yankees.

2. Carl Pavano

Carl Pavano is a pitcher that many Yankee fans don’t remember, as he was seldom on the mound during his four years $40 million deal. Pavano was a pretty average pitcher for the Florida Marlins until 2004; he had an 18-8 year, came in 6th in the Cy Young voting, and was an All-Star.  Based on this, the Yankees decided to take a chance on this break-out pitcher during the offseason. In his first year with the Yankees, he pitched in only 17 games for a 4-6 record and an ERA of 4.77.

His lackluster performance in 2005 was just the beginning things were about to get worse, much worse.  In 2006 he didn’t pitch at all due to injuries.  In his last two years with the Yankees, he pitched in only nine games between injuries.  His record was a dismal 5-2 with an ERA of 5.15. The Yankees were happy to be rid of him.

1. Jacoby Ellsbury

Without a doubt, in recent memory or Yankee history, the acquisition of Jacoby Ellsbury from the Boston Red Sox was the worst ever buy.  And that’s not only in how he performed. It’s what they had to pay for him to be away from the team the majority of his Yankee contract.  General Manager Brain Cashman is undoubtedly one of the smartest traders and purchasers in the business. But in this case, he missed the mark by a mile, not only in the original contract but how this player turned out.

Ellsbury was a good player for the Red Sox, but his best years were early in his centerfield career.  In 2011 he hit .321 with 32 home runs, and the guy could steal bases.  But he would never hit those figures again.  On December 3, 2013, Ellsbury and the New York Yankees agreed in principle to a seven-year, $153 million deal, including an option for an eighth year that could increase the contract’s value to $169 million. Mistake number one was that he was never worth this gargantuan contract, to begin with.

Ellsbury never enjoyed the fan praise that Red Sox acquisition Jonny Damon received, mostly due to his performance, which never reached the level that the money spent demanded.  In his Yankee employment in the first four years, he only managed less than 10 home runs a year while hitting a league average of .264 batting average. That’s when a deplorable trade turned into a disaster.  In 2018 and 2019, Ellsbury never set foot on the field due to continued injuries, which led many Yankee fans to think he was faking it and just wanted to collect the money and not play.

With the 2021 season, Jacoby Ellsbury is finally off the payroll. Many wonders in the future if Giancarlo Stanton will be on this list. He has never been the player he was in his 2017 season with the Marlins, he is often injured, and his huge contract limits what the Yankees can do with new acquisitions. Although he is about to come off the IL this season, he has been one of the best Yankee players. Now the looming question is, is Corey Kluber’s shoulder injury worse than what the Yankees are admitting?

Dishonorable mentions go to Jose Contreras: 4-Years, $32 Million, paid too much for his 1 1/2 years, Kenny Rogers 4-Years, $20 million, ERA 5.12, Pascual Perez: 3-Years, $5.7 Million, drugs only won 3 games, Mel Hall: 4-Years, $4 Million, he kept the Yankees from the 1991 postseason due to his constant arguments with Don Mattingly, and finally Jaret Wright: 3-Years, $21-Million, when he became a Yankee his body fell apart.

Most of the New York Yankee bomb acquisitions have been pitchers strangely, but luckily for the Yankees, they have had far more successful acquisitions, and being a rich franchise has been able to handle those that weren’t.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

Could the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants pull off another trade?

The New York Yankees‘ Aaron Boone announced today that center fielder Aaron Hicks will miss the rest of the season. Fans in the Bronx have expected this news ever since it was announced that Hicks would need wrist surgery.

While Hicks has been solid for the most part during his Yankees tenure, his absence won’t be felt much this season. Up until the point of his injury, Hicks had an abysmal .194 average and his walks were down with an OBP of .294.

His defense wasn’t anything spectacular and Yankees fans were growing restless. Now, Hicks can focus on getting healthy and the Yankees can focus on what they’ll do about replacing him.

The bombers did call up top prospect Estevan Florial today and it looks like he’s going to get a shot. Florial has been lighting it up in AA and AAA so far this season. Now that he’s healthy, Florial is starting to show why he was a top prospect for years.

Florial also bats from the left side of the plate. The Yankees are said to be looking hard at left-handed bats at the upcoming trade deadline. If Florial comes up and does great, the need obviously goes down. However, if he struggles, could the bombers call up the Giants for another trade?

Yankees and Giants Trade – Take 2

Back in April, the Yankees pulled the trigger on trading Mike Tauchman to San Francisco for reliever Wandy Peralta. While Peralta started well, he’s been struggling as of late for the Yankees.

The bombers made this trade due to the injuries in the bullpen and their excess number of outfielders. In hindsight, they probably regret pulling the trigger on this deal. However, you obviously can’t go back in time.

If the bombers decide to really go after a left-handed bat, there are a couple of very solid options with the Giants. If you want someone that checks every box in terms of needs, the answer would be Mike Yastrzemski.

Yastrzemski is 30 years old and he’s just now going to be arbitration eligible at the end of this season. The Giants love him, but perhaps the Yankees could put together a nice deal to pry him away.

Yastrzemski is batting .221 with six home runs and 13 RBIs so far this season. He’s more suited for the corners, but given the injury concerns with virtually every Yankees outfielder, he could still be someone they take a look at.

Another name to watch with Giants would be Gerrit Cole’s brother-in-law Brandon Crawford. The shortstop is off to a tremendous start hitting .261 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.

Obviously, the Yankees have a set infield, but they could get creative if they wanted to pursue Crawford. His lefty bat and tremendous glove would be welcomed in the Bronx and you know that Gerrit Cole would approve.

Giant Issue

While the Yankees and Giants do line up for a potential deal, there is one big thing standing in the way. The Giants look like legit contenders this year and are off to a 30-19 start.

Of course, a lot can change between now and the deadline. If the Giants fall completely off of a cliff, the Yankees could jump in and try to get one of their left-handed bats. However, that’s far from a guarantee.

The Yankees have been speaking with the Rangers about their outfields and Cashman has been sending feelers out there. The odds of another Yankees – Giants trade is low at the moment. However, that can change at the drop of a dime.

Everything is fluid right now, but this potential trade matchup could heat up quickly as we get closer to the deadline.

Paige VanZant and Rachel Ostovich to rematch at BKFC 19

Paige VanZant (8-5 MMA, 0-1 Bare Knuckle) will be making her second appearance for BKFC in July. Bare Knuckle announced that VanZant would be taking on BKFC newcomer Rachel Ostovich (4-6 MMA).

The matchup will be a part of a big card at BKFC 19 which takes place on July 23rd. For Ostovich, this is going to be her first Bare Knuckle Boxing matchup. BKFC signed the former UFC fighter earlier this year after the UFC let her go.

Ostovich made her octagon debut on The Ultimate Fighter and won her first UFC matchup at The Ultimate Finale. However, after that lone victory, Ostovich lost her next three fights inside the octagon. All three of those losses came via stoppage.

After those losses, the UFC let her go. However, she didn’t remain on the market long as BKFC swooped right in and signed her to a deal. Like VanZant, Ostovich is known more for her social media presence opposed to her actual fighting.

Nevertheless, it takes guts to get in there and compete especially in BKFC. This fight is actually a rematch from January 2019. That night, Ostovich lost to Paige VanZant by second round armbar.

PVZ – BKFC Take 2

When Paige VanZant signed with BKFC, it was massive news. Bare Knuckle was looking for a way to get into the main stream and they saw PVZ as their ticket with how popular she is.

Despite going just 1-3 in her previous four matchups in the UFC, BKFC signed VanZant to a lucrative multi-fight deal. PVZ made her BKFC debut against Britain Hart back on February 5th.

Much to the disappointment of the promoters, VanZant came up short against Hart. Hart looked much more fluid in there and was beating PVZ to the punch all night. Frankly, she just looked like the better boxer.

In her first fight against Ostovich, VanZant really showed off her skills on the ground. Of course, at BKFC 19, she’s not going to be able to use her ground skills. It’s not a die-hard fight fans dream, but you have to imagine there will be a lot of viewers on July 23rd.

Stroman and Diaz Win Pitchers Duel To Give Mets 1-0 Game 1 Win

The New York Mets and Colorado Rockies continued to put out tremendous pitching performances in game one of their doubleheader. Marcus Stroman outdueled German Marquez to get the Mets a 1-0 victory in a speedy seven-inning game.

Stroman did not have his best stuff early in the game but settled in for another excellent outing. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and recording another ten groundball outs. Marquez was just as brilliant, pitching six innings (complete game), allowing just three hits and one run while striking out six. Jose Peraza was responsible for the lone run when he blasted a solo home run in the third inning.

Edwin Diaz was the only reliever to enter the game for both teams. He converted his ninth save in the same amount of opportunities to give the Mets their second straight victory. The game was completed in one hour and 54 minutes and was another example of the type of game the Mets have been winning. The Mets offensive provided just enough to win, and the pitching completed the rest. Both teams had three hits each, and the Mets never took an at-bat with a runner in scoring position.

Joey Lucchesi faces off against Antonio Senzatela in game two of the doubleheader, starting in about a half-hour from Citi Field.