3 New York Giants named as players to build around

New York Giants, James Bradberry, logan ryan

The direction that the New York Giants are building in has become slightly clearer over the past couple years – their roster has improved, their wins have increased, and they have a head coach that should be around for a long time. The roster is definitely in a better state than it was when the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, one of the most significant past moves in their rebuilding history.

But years into the rebuild, which players stand out as the most notable pieces in it? It’s a hotly debated subject, but Pro Football Focus took a swing at judging it and picked three players that, while predictable, might be a bit controversial due to the omission of one player.

CB James Bradberry
DI Leonard Williams
WR Kenny Golladay

In an ideal world, Andrew Thomas’ rookie season would have resembled Tristan Wirfs’ year, making him an easy inclusion here. There were promising things to take away from how Thomas closed the year, but his 62.4 grade was underwhelming. Bradberry’s and Williams’ performances in their first full season on the defense were not. They both ranked fourth at their respective positions in PFF’s Wins Above Replacement metric during the 2020 season.

The Giants will be hoping Golladay entices quarterback Daniel Jones to take more downfield shots. Golladay recently ranked as the league’s third-best deep threat, regularly winning in contested-catch situations downfield. Golladay’s 53 contested catches overall over the past three seasons are second to only Allen Robinson II at the position, even despite all his missed time in 2020.

Evaluating the chosen players

The omission, of course, is Daniel Jones. As we’ve seen from many articles this season from both the national and local media, much of the expectations on Jones this year center around taking a step forward and becoming a franchise player. As of now, though, PFF doesn’t list Jones with the franchise building blocks they have right now.

The three players that were listed, however, are non-controversial enough. James Bradberry looks like one of the best corners in the league, Kenny Golladay is predicted by many to be a top 10 receiver, and Leonard Williams led the team in sacks last season. Williams, though, will likely be the most boom or bust player on this list considering his inconsistent performance throughout his career.

His surroundings are different compared to when he was with the Jets, and Williams plays well under Patrick Graham, so it’s possible that the inconsistency will be shrugged off – but it’s still a concern that will have an impact on how fans look at Dave Gettleman’s decision to bring back Williams on a big contract.

Golladay hasn’t played with the Giants yet one way or another so it’s hard to judge his status as a building block just yet, but based on his performance with the Lions, he could very well be the deep threat Daniel Jones needs.

These three players all have to prove they can perform at a high level consistently in their current surroundings to truly take the title of franchise players, but out of all the players the Giants have, it’s hard to object to them receiving the title of players to build around.

New York Yankees News: Red Sox Yankee game postponed due to Covid protocols

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees Red Sox game has been postponed due to several Yankees players going on the Covid list and protocols. The Yankees were the first team in baseball to get 85% of its players vaccinated for the coronavirus, but the virus is unrelenting and has again raised its ugly head. The postponement was first reported the Buster Olney of ESPN.

Eight Yankees are under Covid protocols, including right-hand hitter Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka, and third baseman Gio Urshela. Previously Nestor Cortes Jr. was reportedly also affected by the virus. Few details are immediately available, but as more information becomes known, you will find it here on EmpireSportsMedia.com.

Judge who attended the All-Star game came in contact with Gerrit cole and Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman. Out of an abundance of caution, the Red Sox are also being tested. The entire Red Sox Yankee serious may be in jeopardy.


New York Giants: PFF lists Blake Martinez as a potential first-time All-Pro selection in 2021

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

The New York Giants had one of the NFL’s best defenses in 2020. The unit ranked top-ten in points allowed per game as Joe Judge and Patrick Graham made strong impressions during their first year coaching the Giants. The Giants’ defense really turned things around after allowing the third-most points per game in 2019.

The acquisitions that the team made in the 2020 offseason were crucial for the defense’s success last season. New York made a few splash signings on the defensive side of the ball, adding the likes of James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, and Logan Ryan. This new core of veteran defenders surrounded by young talent allowed the Giants’ defense to outplay all expectations last season.

James Bradberry was selected to his first-career Pro Bowl in his first season with the Giants in 2020. Many felt like Blake Martinez should have been selected to one too, however, the Giants’ star linebacker received no such honor. According to Pro Football Focus, heading into 2021, Blake Martinez has a great chance of earning an even more prestigious honor: an All-Pro selection.

Why Blake Martinez could be an All-Pro in 2021

Blake Martinez was phenomenal for the New York Giants in 2020. The Giants have suffered through various struggles from the inside linebacker position for years. Last season, that changed with the arrival of Blake Martinez.

Martinez spent the first four years of his career with the Green Bay Packers. In 2020, he signed a three-year, $30.75 million contract with the Giants. Blake Martinez was the fifth-most valuable off-ball linebacker in the NFL, according to PFF’s Wins Above Replacement metric. His PFF grade was an impressive 75.9 overall last year.

In 2020, Blake Martinez totaled 151 combined tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in his career year. This was the fourth season in a row that Martinez totaled 140 or more combined tackles. He has been consistently one of the best run-stuffing linebackers in the NFL throughout his career, but Blake Martinez has never been recognized as such. That could change in 2021 if Martinez can put together another impressive season with the New York Giants.

Report: Knicks’ RJ Barrett ‘untouchable’, Cavs seek veteran for Collin Sexton

The Collin Sexton to the New York Knicks trade rumor is more complicated than it seems.

The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Knicks are the most aggressive trade suitor for the extension-eligible Sexton. But Shams Charania, who broke the report, cleared the air that the Cavaliers are in no rush to trade Sexton.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com further reported on Wednesday that the Cavaliers and the Knicks have discussed Sexton but added that “they’ve put a hefty price tag on him, which could make a deal challenging.”

“If the Cavs can use Sexton as a trade chip to improve other areas of the roster and find a better-fitting piece that helps maximize (Darius) Garland’s skill set while also hedging against a difficult financial decision, they will consider it,” Fedor wrote.

A package of Kevin Knox, Obi Toppin, and one of the Knicks’ 2021 firs round picks floated around after the Sexton trade rumor made headlines. But it seems that package isn’t palatable to the Cavaliers as they reportedly seek a veteran help, putting the Knicks in a bind.

Ian Begley of SNY reported on Thursday Cleveland’s preferred haul in a potential Sexton trade.

“One team doing its homework on a possible Sexton trade believed Cleveland would like to get a veteran who can help the club win in return for the 22-year-old guard,” Begley wrote.

The Cleveland.com report added that the Cavaliers were smitten with RJ Barrett ahead of the 2019 draft that they tried to move up a few spots. Their attempt was obviously unsuccessful, and they settled with Garland with the fifth overall pick.

But Begley noted that Barrett is apparently untouchable.

“People in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that New York had little interest in including Barrett in any trades,” Begley wrote.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo


Knicks Rumors: Conflicting reports have RJ Barrett’s future going in two different directions

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks likely understand that if they want to trade for a high-profile player, they must part ways with significant value. Ranging from young talent to draft selections, the Knicks have plenty of assets to allocate in such a trade plot, but they have to establish boundaries.

Of course, if Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard forces his way out, the Knicks will be in the conversation, depending on the price tag. Their draft selections are undoubtedly up for grabs in this theoretical situation, and several young pieces could be considered trade bait as well, but one player they should hold onto for the long term is Canadian-born guard RJ Barrett.

Conflicting reports indicate different Knicks front office opinions on trading away RJ Barrett:

SNY’s Ian Begley stated that the Knicks don’t have much interest in parting ways with RJ Barrett in a prospective trade:

One other note: People in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that New York had little interest in including Barrett in any trades.

Barrett took a massive developmental jump last year, averaging 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. He also increased his three-point percentage from 32% to 40% in one season, attesting to his growth. He started in all 72 games, averaging 34.9 minutes per contest.
If he continues on this trend, Barrett could end up being a bonafide star in the future, and risking that reality for one player on a monster contract could be a massive mistake.
What do you consider trading Barrett for a superstar? Comment below!

New York Yankees: Ex-Yankee pitcher Dick Tidrow passes away at 74

The New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants have lost a giant of a man in Dick Tidrow. Tidrow was a huge factor in the rebuilding of the Yankees from 1974 to 1979. He would eventually be the senior advisor to the president of baseball operations for the Giants at the time of his unexpected death on Wednesday.

Tidrow pitched parts of 13 major league seasons for the Indians, the Yankees, Cubs, White Sox, and Mets. The 6-foot-4 right-hander had a 100-94 career record with a 3.68 ERA over 620 appearances with 138 starts. With the Yankees, he was 41-33 with a 3.61 ERA over six years of starts.

He spent most of his baseball life with the Giants over 27 years. Tidrow joined the Giants in 1994 as a scout and quickly became a special assistant to the general manager and then director of player personnel. He’s credited with being a key part of the Giants spectacular run of drafting and development that featured Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and so many others. In addition, he was a key factor in the Giants 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Championships.

At the time of his death, he was senior advisor to the president of baseball operations.

Tidrow was born on May 14, 1947, in San Francisco.  He was a former Marine; he attended high school and college in the East Bay suburb of Hayward, graduating from Mount Eden High in 1965 and Chabot Junior College two years later.

His wife, Mari Jo, is survived by three children: Andy, Matt, and Richelle. The baseball world has lost a true baseball man that will be missed by many.

“Dick was a unique and special person whose influence and impact was legendary throughout the game and whose fingerprints are all over our three World Series trophies,” said Brian Sabean, the Giants; executive vice president and senior adviser. “On a personal level, we shared some incredible highs and lows together and I’m forever grateful for his 40 years of friendship and support.”

As of this writing, the New York Yankees have not released an official statement regarding the death.


New York Yankees: Red Sox rivalry heats up again tonight, Update

New York Yankees, Domingo German

Tonight at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the New York Yankees will meet the Boston Red Sox in the third series of the season. The Boston Red Sox have far excelled early-season projections and are leading the AL East. This year, the Sox are 21-10 (.677) against AL East teams this year, the highest winning percentage for any team within its own division in 2021. The Yankees are 1-5 against the Sox and 17-24 inside the division.

The series will be four games starting tonight through Sunday night. All of the games will be night games. All of the games will be nationally televised, highlighting the importance of this series. The game tonight will be on ESPN, Friday night on MLBN out of market, Saturday night on FOX, and return to ESPN for Sunday night’s finale.

The next seven games will be important for all teams, particularly for the New York Yankees that have not played well against East opponents. Four games against the Boston Red Sox and three against the Tampa Bay Rays might very well be a turning point in the Yankees’ underperforming season or another nail in the coffin.

Thursday, July 15, 7:08 pm:

Boston Red Sox ace Eduardo Rodriguez will start tonight’s game. He is 6-5, 5.52 on the mound. He had a string of three straight quality starts snapped in his finale pre-break last Wednesday at the Angels, allowing four runs and nine hits (two homers) over five innings in a loss for the Sox. After a year of not pitching last year due to heart concerns, he has not pitched as well as expected. In his two starts against the New York Yankees this season, he is 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA. Gleyber Torres is 7-for-19 off him, career with three homers.

The Yankees, as of this writing, have not released any of their pitchers for the series. The most likely starter for tonight is Jordan Montgomery. This would normally be Gerrit Cole’s slot, but with pitching a complete 129 pitch game in his last outing, it is doubtful that Aaron Boone will slot him in tonight. Montgomery is 3-4 with an ERA of 4.16; the Yankees have won more of his starts than any other Yankee pitcher.

Update: Tonight’s pitcher will be Domingo German. German has been shaky at best in his last several outings. The righty is 4-5 with an ERA of 4.44. The Yankees have lost five of his last seven starts.

Friday, July 16, 7:05 pm:

Martin Perez will start Friday night’s game. He is a lefty that is 7-5 with an ERA of 4.04. I guess that he will start against the Yankee Nestor Cortes Jr., who has pitched very well in his last several outings. Perez against the Yankees is 2-3 in eight games, giving up 8 home runs. Both DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton have hit .500 off him in eight at-bats. Cortes Jr. is 0-0 in nine games, two starts with an ERA of 1.05. Few Red Sox has seen Nestor Cortes Jr.

Update: Nestor Cortes Jr. will not start Friday’s game, he has been put on the Covid list. Guessing Montgomery that is listed for tonight’s start will start this one instead.

Saturday, July 17th, 7:15 pm:

Saturday night’s game will feather Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi a previous Yankee. He is a righty that if 9-5 with an ERA of 3.66 and with 99 strikeouts on the season of 18 starts. He will probably face either Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon. Eovaldi is 59-61 in his career. He is coming off a win against the Yankees on June 26ht. It was a bounce-back night for Eovaldi (8-4), who was coming off his shortest outing of 2021 in which he last just four innings at Kansas City. He is just back after his fourth All-Star Game. In 16 at-bats apiece Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu both have .375 batting averages off him.

Sunday, July 18th, 7:08 pm:

Nick Pivetta has been one of the season’s best starters for the Boston Red Sox. He is 7-3 with an ERA of 4.09 with 109 strikeouts. He most likey will face either Taillon or Cole whichever didn’t pitch on Saturday night. Few New York Yankee players have much experience of Pivetta. Only DJ LeMahaieu and Giancarlo Stanton have seen him six or more times. Both hit .300 or better off of him. He is coming off a loss to the Phillies last Sunday.

Note: Not all New York Yankee starting pitchers will pitch on the listed dates, but will pitching at some point in the series.


The Islanders should be sending the Bruins a thank you for the Carlo deal

The Islanders’ offseason is set to be a difficult one in a number of ways. One of the biggest obstacles will be getting RFA Adam Pelech extended.

General Manager Lou Lamoriello made it crystal clear a few weeks ago he had all the intention of getting his restricted free agents — Pelech, Anthony Beauvillier, and Ilya Sorokin — re-signed, thus avoiding the situation he was forced into last offseason when he traded Devon Toews to Colorado.

Pelech is obviously the top priority on that list. He’s the Isles’ best defenseman and established himself as an elite defender in the NHL over the past three seasons. So there’s no doubt that he is going to get a lofty raise from the $1.6M he was making in this last contract.

With the news that came out of Boston yesterday — the Bruins announced they signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year, 24M deal — the parameters of what’s to be expected in Pelech’s new deal got a bit more clear. 

There had been a lot of speculation from the season till now that Pelech could end up in the $5.5-6M for his new contract. But seeing what he and Bruins agreed to, the Isles might be able to get him for a more affordable price.

For Carlo’s AAV to be only $4.1M, it’s a bit of a surprise if not even an underpayment. The 24-year-old has climbed the ranks of the Bruins’ backend for a few years now and is one of their top-four defenders.

Pelech has taken an identical path as the former, but is certainly going to get paid more. That’s a given.

Carlo’s numbers though could maybe lead to the Isles getting Pelech locked up at $5M or a shade above instead of having to break the bank.

That would be a massive victory for the organization.

A similar deal as such also gives Lamoriello at least a little flexibility to do some other housecleaning in regards to the organization’s other offseason moves.

The term too might even be more important than the money for Pelech’s contract. Boston showed how much they value Carlo by the amount of years they gave him. It will most likely be the same way with for Pelech.

After all, Pelech is only 26 and hasn’t even reached his prime yet. Not only that, the Islanders are Stanley Cup contenders and have a system that will allow them to sustain success long-term.

Some would say Carlo and Pelech are in the same echelon of d-men in the league. Let’s call it the second tier. But Pelech is definitely above Carlo in terms of importance to his team’s overall success. The Islanders rely on defense and don’t have some of the horses Boston does. They also don’t have a Charlie McAvoy like Carlo and the B’s do.

Don’t think for a second that doesn’t play a factor in contract negotiations. It will.

Now that Carlo has his deal done, there’s more clarity of where things might end up going between Pelech and the Isles over the next few weeks. The contract revealed yesterday can only be beneficial as the offseason moves forward.

And the Isles might want to send their Massachusetts brethren a thank you for it.










UFC: Conor McGregor released from the hospital and expected to make his return next year

Conor McGregor, UFC

The main event at UFC 264 didn’t end the way that anyone thought it would. In the headliner, Conor McGregor (22-6) and Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) were looking to settle the score and conclude their trilogy with each man having won one fight.

McGregor started out quick on Saturday working his kicks and was very aggressive. However, Poirier also found success on the feet at UFC 264 and it was one of his blitzes that forced McGregor to clinch in the first round to try and get space.

Poirier went for a takedown and McGregor tried to lock in a guillotine. Poirier spent the second half of the round raining down shots from the guard. Late in the round, the fight went back to the feet with just seconds left. McGregor went right back to trying to work his kicks.

Both men missed with big left straight hands and when McGregor stepped back, his leg snapped. The fight ended in between rounds and Poirier was awarded the win at UFC 264 although there still feels like some cloudiness with this rivalry considering the way this fight ended.

McGregor’s UFC Return

After UFC 264, McGregor was immediately taken to the hospital and the following day, he had surgery to repair his broken leg. McGregor posted an update on his Twitter where he talked about the fact that he will rebuild better than ever.

Dana White spoke with TMZ yesterday and talked about McGregor’s timeline. White said that McGregor was released from the hospital yesterday. He’s actually planning on staying in Los Angeles for a while before flying home.

On his timeline for his UFC return, White said that McGregor would return in about a year. I think that’s a pretty fair assessment given the injury although I wouldn’t rule out him potentially returning sooner.

We will not see McGregor in the UFC for the rest of 2021, however, I wouldn’t rule out a spring return. A lot will come down to how rehab goes and McGregor’s desire to get back in the cage. Whenever ‘The Mac’ does return, the world will be watching.

Yankees News, 7/15: Bombers call up young outfield stud dominating Triple-A to bigs

trey amburgey, yankees

With the Yankees preparing to take on the Boston Red Sox on Thursday evening, they have reportedly pulled up young outfielder Trey Amburgey, who has been dominating at the Triple-A level this season.

Amburgey is a 26-year-old right-handed hitter and thrower, featuring as a 13th round draft pick during the 2015 June Amateur Draft. At 6’2″ and 210 pounds, Amburgey is looking to make an impact at the big-league level, especially with a deficiency in the outfield for the Yankees this season. Losing Aaron Hicks for the year and Clint Frazier dealing with migraines has put them in a tough spot, but Amburgey could be their answer as they push forward.

This season with the Railriders, Amburgey is hitting .312 over 38 games, including seven homers and 35 RBIs. He holds a 24.2% strikeout rate, but he has been one of the more impressive players for Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Both Amburgey and Hoy Jun Park have been dominating this year, but Amburgey has simply hit his way onto the roster, despite being a right-handed batter. The Yankees desperately lack diversity in their lineup, as Hicks represented a switch hitter, offering a lefty in a predominantly righty order.

Luckily, the Yankees have an open spot on the 40-man roster with multiple players on the IL, so Amburgey will not have to replace anybody. Hopefully, his offensive prowess can offer the Yankees some value in the short term, as they are trying to claw their way back into the AL East standings. Currently, they sit eight games behind the Boston Red Sox and 4.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card race.

The upcoming series against Boston might be their most important of the year after being swept earlier this season. Boston will feature Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound in Game 1, who has a 5.52 ERA this season, allowing 102 hits and 14 homers over 89.2 innings. This is a favorable match-up for the Yankees, who could use a big win to start off the second half of the season post-All-Star break.