Rangers acquire Barclay Goodrow from Tampa Bay, trade Howden to Vegas

New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has made two trades acquiring forward Barclay Goodrow from the Tampa Bay Lightning and sending Brett Howden to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Barclay Goodrow, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 28, won the Stanley Cup with lightning last week.  The 28-year-old skated in 55 games with Tampa Bay this past season, registering six goals and 14 assists for 20 points, along with a plus-16 rating and 52 penalty minutes. He also recorded six points (two goals, four assists) in 18 playoff games.

In the deal with Tampa Bay, the Blueshirts sent a seventh-round draft pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-2, 203-pounder has skated in 331 career NHL games over parts of seven seasons (2014-15 – 2020-21) with San Jose and Tampa Bay, registering 32 goals and 61 assists for 93 points, along with a plus-13 rating and 304 penalty minutes. The Toronto, Ontario native is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, as he helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21).

Brett Howden Traded To The Vegas Golden Knights

In a separate transaction, GM Chris Drury sent 23-year-old Brent Howden to the Vegas Golden Knights for defenseman prospect Nick DeSimone and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft.

Howden skated in 178 games over three seasons with the Rangers, registering 16 goals and 33 assists for 49 points, along with 53 penalty minutes.

DeSimone skated in 22 American Hockey League (AHL) games this past season with the San Jose Barracuda and Rochester Americans, registering 11 assists and four penalty minutes.

 

Mets Game Preview (7/17/21) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (35-56)

The New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates return to the field as the Mets try to develop the formula to beat a rebuilding team. After last night’s loss, the Mets have lost three of their five games to the second-worst team in the NL. Weather permitting, the first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET start from the scenic PNC Park.

The lineup features the return of J.D. Davis to the four-hole, and the Mets desperately need his offense. Francisco Lindor has landed on the 10-day IL with an oblique strain, and the team offense has continued to struggle. Davis was red hot during his rehab assignment with four home runs. He also has the longest home run of his career at PNC Park when it came off Joe Musgrove in 2019.

The Pirates have had the Mets number and have even started commotions with them. John Nogowski and Marcus Stroman‘s fight led to Drew Smith being dragged into the situation. Smith told Stroman he was a “clown,” which Stroman told the media after the game. It is unlikely, but there is always a chance of retaliation in the air with situations like these.

Pitching Matchup

Tylor Megill makes his fifth career start and is still searching for his first major league win. He has not gone past the fifth inning in any of his starts but has a 3.50 ERA and a very impressive 26 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched. During his last start against the Pirates, Megill pitched 3.2 innings and allowed one run with seven strikeouts in a seven-inning game.

Wil Crowe gets the ball for the Pirates, and it has been a struggle for him all season. He has a 6.05 ERA in 55 innings and has allowed 12 home runs this season. Crowe has only gone past the fifth inning once in 12 starts and has pitched between four and five innings over his last six starts. If the Mets can get started early, this is a good opportunity to get their offense finally on track.

New York Giants: Can Zach Fulton steal a starting guard position?

new york giants, zach fulton

The New York Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season. In 2020, according to ESPN, the Giants’ pass-block win rate ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below.

Despite this, the Giants did not make much of an effort to upgrade their offensive line during the 2021 offseason. They have a young bunch of linemen expected to start this upcoming season, all of which are inexperienced and unproven. But one offensive lineman that the Giants did sign seems to be flying under the radar.

New York did not spend any of its draft picks on another young offensive lineman this year. But they did take a chance on a veteran offensive guard by the name of Zach Fulton. Most fans expect Fulton to be a backup/depth option for the Giants while the young bucks stay in the starting lineup. But could Zach Fulton steal a starting guard position in 2021?

Why Zach Fulton could be a starter in 2021

The Giants made a few lowkey moves on the offensive line this season. The signing of 29-year-old Zach Fulton was nothing splashy, but it was a valuable acquisition. Fulton is a seven-year NFL veteran who started his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014. Fulton played right guard, left guard, and center during his time in Kansas City, starting 46 total games for the Chiefs from 2014 to 2017.

In 2018, Fulton signed with the Houston Texans. He signed on and became the Texans’ starting right guard over the course of the last three seasons. Fulton started 44 games for Houston from 2018 to 2020 before signing with the New York Giants in 2021.

Throughout the entirety of his career, Zach Fulton has been a starting offensive lineman. However, upon signing with the New York Giants, many fans assumed he would be brought in as a depth piece. His career track history might suggest otherwise. Fulton has never been a great, high-level starter in the league, but he has provided two teams with availability and stability on the interior of the offensive line. With the Giants set to start a couple of big, young question marks at left and right guard in 2021, the signing of Zach Fulton makes a lot of sense to provide the team with some insurance.

According to Nick Falato of Giants Country, these are Zach Fulton’s strengths and weaknesses:

  • Strengths:
    • Run blocking
    • Experience
  • Weaknesses:
    • Pass blocking

So Zach Fulton might not be so good in pass protection. But neither is projected starting left guard Shane Lemieux. The Giants’ 2020 fifth-round selection Lemieux recorded a 16.9 pass-blocking grade via PFF in his rookie season as he allowed 25 pressures and 5 sacks on 281 opportunities (8.9%). Granted, Fulton was not much better in 2020, allowing 39 pressures and 11 sacks on 637 opportunities (6.1%). But Fulton’s down-year in 2020 still graded out better than Lemieux’s rookie campaign. Fulton is a proven veteran that can start anywhere on the interior of the offensive line. He might not be a starter in Week One, but if the Giants’ offensive line continues to struggle, Zach Fulton could push his way into the team’s starting lineup before the season’s end.

Mets: Star infielder gets hurt at the worst possible time

In the middle of what is shaping up to be a thrilling race for the first place in the NL East from this point until the end of the season, the New York Mets got some very bad news on the injury front: Francisco Lindor, their star shortstop, went down with an oblique strain on Friday night and was placed on the 10-day injured list.

The Mets are currently first in the NL East with a 47-41 record, but they are only three games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and four ahead of the Atlanta Braves. They need to get healthier, not more injuries piling up.

The official diagnosis for the infielder is a Grade 2 right oblique strain. Travis Blakenhorn was called up by the Mets in a corresponding move.

Lindor had to exit Friday’s night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates with what was deemed at the time as right side soreness. It’s still not clear how long he will be sidelined, but since it is a Grade 2 oblique strain, it could be up to 4-6 weeks.

The Mets’ shortstop is week-to-week

Lindor told reporters on Saturday that he is “week-to-week” as opposed to “day-to-day”. The Mets will need to be without one of their best players for a while.

It is the first significant injury since he was traded to the Mets and put pen to paper a $341 million, 10-year contract extension a day before the regular season started.

In fact, the injury is such an untimely hit to the Mets’ aspirations: with the activation of third baseman JD Davis, the team finally had its starting infield healthy.

The 2021 season hasn’t been all that kind for Lindor, who is hitting .228 with 49 runs, 11 homers, 36 RBI, eight steals and a .702 OPS. He has had his struggles, but had been improving since June.

Now, his season will take a pause.

New York Jets: Three aftershocks from the Marcus Maye franchise tag

Maye will officially play the 2021 season on a franchise tag. How will that affect the New York Jets’ ongoing rebuild?

Tag, Marcus Maye is it.

Thursday marked the deadline for Maye and the New York Jets to come to a long-term deal. With the 4 p.m. cutoff long breached, Maye will play the 2021 season on a franchise tag worth over $10 million.

While the tag has Maye listed as the sixth-richest safety in football, there seems to a lingering sense of iciness between the safety and the team. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has claimed that tensions rose long before Thursday’s final horn, saying that the Jets’ offer went drastically lower than what Maye would be offered with the tag. Thus, 2021 has the makings of a lame duck season for Maye, who is coming a career-best campaign.

How does this affect the Jets this season and beyond? ESM investigates…

ashtyn davis, new york giants

Ashtyn Can’t Butcher An Opportunity

After the Jamal Adams saga ended in a fruitful trade, Maye stepped up and perhaps created this whole controversy in the first place. A similar opportunity awaits Ashtyn Davis, a second year strong safety who is projected to line up next to Maye this season.

Davis, a third-round pick out of Cal during the virtual draft of 2020, went from walk-on to projected day two choice, perhaps falling out of the second round due to surgery following his senior campaign. His rookie season was a bit of a wash, as he struggled when thrust into action after Adams was traded and Seattle arrival Bradley McDougald was lost to an injury. Davis likewise fell victim to a foot injury that ended his year after six games (one start).

Praised for his athleticism and physicality, the Jets hope that Davis can enjoy a breakout campaign similar to what Maye experienced last season. Beyond him, the secondary depth chart is disturbingly thin: Las Vegas import LaMarcus Joyner, 30, brings experience but will need a truly impressive season to factor in the Jets’ long-term plans. At cornerback, the Jets stockpiled project defenders like Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock, and Brandin Echols. Starters Bless Austin and Bryce Hall have a lot of upside, but are no guarantee.

Needless to say, a Davis breakthrough would definitely give their defense a clearer path toward the future.

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Safety First

There’s plenty of time for Maye and the Jets to change each other’s minds and it’s probably far too late in the offseason to consider a trade. But all signs currently point to a separation come next spring, so the Jets have to start planning now.

Both the 2022 free agency and draft classes have some strong names to keep an eye on. Marcus Williams, with whom Maye is tied in 2021 salary, should be one the marquee names, followed by Jabrill Peppers. The incoming rookie class is headlined by Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton (who could very well be a top ten pick) while redshirt sophomore Brandon Joseph could be an intriguing pick with the latter first round pick from the Seahawks. New York is currently projected to work with over $71 million in cap space in 2022, third-best in the league behind Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.

Frankly, the potential Maye exit always applies a certain amount of pressure of the offense. The past offseason saw the Jets in such dire straits that it was a near guarantee that at least one area was going to be neglected. A majority of the Jets’ offseason resources were shifted toward the offense and front seven, including free agency dollars (Corey Davis, Keelan Cole, Carl Lawson, Jarrad Davis). Their primary draft picks were dedicated to the offense, as each of their first four choices (Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore, and Michael Carter) have been hired to put points on the board. If the anemic offense shows no signs of improving the season, the  secondary could wind up woefully neglected again.

New York Jets, Joe Douglas
Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

Off-Broadway Joe

It doesn’t do anyone much good to write Maye’s New York farewell song just yet. But, if these next 17 games make up his final hours in green, it continues two disturbing trends in recent Jets history.

With Maye’s New York future in doubt, the 2017 draft class is officially an endangered species. Nothing more needs to be written about top pick Adams, but the class has been a scourge on not only the Jets, but the league as well. Three of the nine picks (including third-round receiver ArDarius Stewart) are already out of football and only one beyond the safeties (Texan-turned-Lion Chad Hansen) appeared in 2020 regular season action.

The Jets have not only had trouble drafting, they’ve had troubling keeping the homegrown talent that appears to have a future. Maye appeared to be on pace to break that trend, but the past few weeks have only commenced a countdown to his departure.

Could this serve as a commentary on the Joe Douglas era?

It’s easy to view this situations from both sides: Douglas and company want to see how Maye performs in year two of the post-Adams era and they save some money in the short and long-run (maybe the immediate savings could go toward secondary help and a backup quarterback…?). Maye believes he’s a top ten safety and wants to be paid as such.

No one can deny that Douglas knows the team’s needs and can work with an offseason budget, at least on paper. But there could be a lingering side effect of free agents being scared away by Douglas’ unwillingness to deal pricy long-term deals?

Simply put, there’s a little more pressure on the 2021 Jets to perform now, to showcase visible signs of improvement. Again, asking them to make the postseason leap seems like a little much: they’re trapped in a division with America’s powerful football sweethearts in Buffalo and there are too many established contenders to leapfrog for the wild card. But there has to be at least some semblance of hope out there, a “throat-clearing” year of sorts, something similar to what the Los Angeles Chargers did with Justin Herbert in tow.

Entering Herbert’s rookie year, there wasn’t much to be excited about from an LA perspective. They seemed destined for a rebuild period and were struggling to attract fans even when they were allowed to play in front of a crowd. But the Chargers went on to surprise a lot of people. Herbert had an exemplary rookie season and the team won seven games. Even their losses were impressive: they took Kansas City and New Orleans to overtime and sheer bad luck probably kept them away from a winning record.

Seven of the Chargers’ nine losses came by single digits and they won each of their final four games following a December shellacking from New England. Los Angeles is now everyone’s NFL preview dark horse and the good vibes attracted new starters like Corey Linsley, Oday Aboushi, Matt Feiler, and Jared Cook to the cause.

Patience has paid off in the early stages of this New York rebuilding stage. But in certain regards, the time is now.

How do you think the Jets’ plans will be affected by Maye’s franchise tag? Follow @GeoffJMags on Twitter and keep the conversation going.

Yankees’ patchwork lineup couldn’t get anything going against Boston: ‘We are in a hole’

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees were forced to play with lots of reserves and minor leaguers on Friday night’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox. A COVID-19 outbreak took Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, and Kyle Higashioka from the lineup, plus pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta, ad Nestor Cortes Jr.

On top of that, first baseman Luke Voit was placed on the 10-day injured list with knee soreness and there is no timetable for his return. As a result, the Yankeed had to play the likes of Trey Amburgey, Hoy Park, Brett Gardner, Tim Locastro, Chris Gittens, and Greg Allen.

Not only that, but DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Sánchez and Gleyber Torres combined to go 1-for-15 as the Yankees fell to 0-7 against the Red Sox.

“We’re in a hole,” manager Aaron Boone said to MLB.com. “We’ve got to play really good baseball to get back into this. We’ve got to have that focus, walking in those doors every day. Rinse and repeat. The urgency has got to be absolutely there every single day.”

The Yankees need a winning streak ASAP

Even Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed some sympathy towards the Yankees and Boone.

“I know what Boonie is going through over there with the roster and it really sucks,” Cora said. “This is not about competition. This is about human beings that are going through a pandemic. It’s hard on everybody.”

With the loss, the Yankees are now nine full games behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings and fell to fourth place due to the Toronto Blue Jays’ victory.

These two weeks are crucial to the Yankees’ season, as they will be without Judge, Urshela, Higashioka, and Voit for at least a few more days and they need to string together wins so they can keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We’re missing important pieces in our lineup,” catcher Gary Sánchez said through an interpreter. “We have a lot of young players that are here now. It’s time for them to step up and help out, and eventually when our guys get better and recuperate, hopefully they can pick up where they left off.”

 

Can the Yankees overcome their latest personnel crisis?

Yankees News, 7/17: More players headed to the injured list, Bombers call up young talents to aid team

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Unfortunately for the Yankees, things seem to get worse and worse with every passing day, as the All-Star break didn’t give them the momentum change in the anticipated. With a short break this week, the Yankees came out sluggish against the Boston Red Sox on Friday evening, failing to score a single run and recording just three hits on the evening.

Once again, COVID-19 ravaged the roster, sending three players to the injured list, all of whom are significant contributors.

Three players hit the injured list due to positive COVID cases:

-Aaron Judge

-Gio Urshela

-Kyle Higashioka

There is no telling when the three will make a return, but most are vaccinated, so their symptoms will be minimal at worst. However, they will have to test negative twice to return to the team, and by that point, the Yankees might be so far back their hopes of making the playoffs are simply gone.

Injuries:

-Luke Voit (knee inflammation)

In addition to the Covid related IL placements, starting first baseman, Luke Voit was also placed on the 10-day IL with knee inflammation. After partially tearing his meniscus during spring training, Voit is still working his way back, trying to avoid any further injuries.

Young talent is on the way:

-Trey Amburgey

With starting players going down, the Yankees are looking to rely on some of the younger options from Triple-A to fill the void. One of their young studs is Trey Amburgey, who appeared in one game, making two plate appearances, failing to make an impact. By the looks of it, Amburgey will have plenty of opportunities to elevate his stock and try to establish himself at the MLB level.

-Hoy Jun Park

Amburgey’s teammate at Scranton was Hoy Jun Park, a speedy outfielder who is hitting .325 this season with eight homers and 25 RBIs. He will also be given an opportunity to make an impact in the coming days, especially on the basepaths as a fast runner.

-Chris Gittens

The Yankees have also periodically called upon Chris Gittens at first base to supplement the loss of Voit. This season at the MLB level, he’s hitting .091 with one homer and four RBIs. His 32.1% strikeout rate is a clear indicator that he might not be ready for the MLB, but more reps should prove to be essential for success. He was hitting .359 in Triple-A before being called up.

Report: Knicks looking to package picks and move up into lottery

davion mitchell, knicks

The Knicks simply don’t have three roster spots to carry rookies next season as they look to take a step forward after a successful 2020-21 campaign. After focusing on the development of Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, adding a lottery prospect could be the more efficient route, which would involve the Knicks packaging their first-round selections together and moving as high as possible in the draft.

The team has the 19, 21, 32, and 58th picks, respectively. Normally, the Knicks would have top 10 selections to work with, but given their season this past year, they will be working outside the lottery for the first time in quite a while. However, ironically they find themselves looking to get back in, which is exactly what they seem to be considering.

According to Zach Harper of The Athletic, the Knicks are looking to make moves into the mid-lottery, potentially targeting an option like Baylor’s Davion Mitchell:

However, league sources tell The Athletic the Knicks are looking to package their two first-round picks to move up in the draft, possibly into the mid-lottery.

Ian Begley of SNY also commented on the possibility of this occurring a few weeks ago, so clearly, it’s a thought running through the front office:

That’s a question some agents with players in New York’s range are asking. They don’t see the Knicks keeping all of their early picks (**No. 19, No. 21, No. 32).

Several opposing teams with picks near New York’s feel the same way.

“I can’t see them carrying three rookies on the roster (next year),” a member of an opposing organization said this week.

Draft targets in the lottery for the Knicks:

1.) Davion Mitchell

One option that could fit the bill perfectly for Tom Thibodeau and his style is Davion Mitchell out of Baylor, who represents an elite defender right out of the gates.

Mitchell also has plenty of offensive potential, averaging 14.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists last year as a junior. He also shot 51.1% from the field and 44.7% from three over 4.7 attempts. Based on his shooting success this past year, he represents plenty of potential at the NBA level, and the Knicks have the draft capital to make a move up and snag him. He might be a perfect complement to Derrick Rose next season, learning the game and slowly developing his offense without being put in a disadvantageous position.

2.) Sharife Cooper

Some compare Sharife Cooper to players like Chris Paul and Trae Young, given his natural scoring instincts and elite passing. Cooper has all the traits to be a fantastic player at the NBA level, and his stock is quickly rising after an impressive combine.

During his lone season with Auburn last year, he averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 assists and shot 39% from the field. While he’s a bit undersized and shot only 23% from three, most believe he’s a better shooter than his statistics indicate, and his ability to act as a floor general is exactly what New York is looking for.

3.) James Bouknight

Another player that has been connected to New York in recent days is University of Connecticut shooting guard James Bouknight. At 6’5” and 190 pounds, he’s a good, shifty athlete who can get to the rim with ease and use his length to defend adequately. He is a solid rebounder and was coined one of the best scorers in the entire country. He can activate a quality pull-up shot, and hesitation moves heading to the basket.

ESPN has him projected as a scoring guard, which is something the Knicks could use this upcoming season.

New York Yankees: Weekend preview and all you need to know about your Yankees

yankees, gerrit cole

With a pivotal weekend matchup with the Boston Red Sox, here are some New York Yankees previews and notes to keep Yankee fans informed.

Yankees announce weekend pitchers

Yankee ace Gerrit Cole will face Nathan Eovaldi in Saturday evening’s game broadcast on the Fox Network. Cole is 9-4 with an ERA of 2.68 and an amazing 147 strikeouts. He is coming off a complete-game win against the Astros. Eovaldi is 9-5  with an ERA of 3.66. He has won both of his starts against the Yankees this season.

Sunday evening’s game broadcast on ESPN will feature Jamison Taillon against the Red Sox Michael Perez. Taillon is 4-4 with a 4.90 ERA and is the Yankees’ most undependable starter. Perez 7-5 with a .4.04 ERA.  Perez is coming off an 11-2 loss against the Phillies, giving up 3 runs in 3.2 innings of work.

Yankees lose six players to the Covid virus

The New York Yankees and the entire sports world got a harsh reminder that the coronavirus is not behind up. This week, the Yankees had to put six players on the covid list showing that they are not fully protected even though they may have been vaccinated. Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Nestor Cortes Jr., Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta, and catcher Kyle Higashioka all went on the 10 day Covid list. The loss of these players makes a challenging turnaround for the Yankees even more challenging.

Montgomery gets no run support

Jordan Montgomery is a poor boy when it comes to getting run support in this starts. Montgomery lost another game last night, getting zero run support. Montgomery is now tied with 6 other Yankees throughout history for going the most games without any run support.

Domingo German scoreless in relief

After a few rocky starts, Domingo German was scheduled to start Thursday night’s game that ended up being postponed when several Yankees test positive for the coronavirus. Manager Boone decided on Jordan Montgomery to start last night’s game, but German got a chance to pitch. He came in in the 7th inning in relief of Montgomery. He pitched a scoreless inning giving up on hit and no walk, an encouraging sign for manager Boone.

Minor Leaguers make Major League debuts

The New York Yankees’ lack of players caused by the coronavirus allowed Yankee minor leaguers to make their Major League debuts. Outfield Trey Amburgey was called up to replace Aaron Judge in right field, where he played flawlessly but struck out in his first two at-bats. Hoy Jun Park also made his debut pinch-hitting. The Yankees also called up Chris Gittens to replace Luke Voit at first.

Michael King hopeful for return

Starter reliever Micheal King injured his middle finger while working with weights on July 5th and has been away from the team. He said he is feeling better now, throwing and catching. He is hoping to be reactive as early as this weekend, for the Yankees, that will be not too soon as they have lost three relievers to the coronavirus.

Luke Voit is back on the IL

Luke Voit, who has proven he can play through almost anything, must be crushed as he has gone o the IL for the third time this season, this time with a badly bruised knee impeding his running. Voit last season was the baseball’s home run leader, but this year hasn’t played long enough stretches to get his stroke and power back.

The next 11 days will be crucial

The New York Yankees are 9 games back in the AL East behind the Red Sox, Tampa Bay, and the Toronto Blue Jays. They are 5 games out of a second wild card slot. The Yankees must play well in the next 11 days if they have any chance of turning their season around. Unfortunately, they play mostly against teams that they have not been victorious over. They have six games against the Red Sox, three games against the Tampa Bay Rays, with two against the Phillies sandwiched in. So far, they have lost all seven games they have played against the Sox. With so many regular players on the Covid list, a challenging turnaround becomes even more difficult.

Aroldis Chapman still hasn’t got it figured out

The New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and his new splitter went 18 games at the beginning of the season without allowing a run. Since then, his 0.00 ERA has risen to 4.55. Regardless of his splitter, his missile fastball is his put-away pitch, and he has lost control over it. In his last four games, he has given up 9 runs, allowing walks and home runs. In his last two games, his ERA is 13.50. He has pitched so badly that manager Aaron Boone has been afraid to use him, sitting him for ten games.

Last night in a no-pressure situation, Boone decided to send him out in the ninth with the Yankees behind by four runs. Chapman got out of the inning without giving up a run but obviously struggled. He walked one while taking 23 pitches to get out of the inning. Unfortunately, he did not gain any more trust from Aaron Boone. Boone also has fewer options with Nestor Cortes Jr., Wandy Peralta, and his best reliever Jonathan Loaisiga on the Covid list.

Stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com for all the latest Yankees news and updates. ESM’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow him on Twitter @parleewilliam.

31 questions to Bears camp: Who’s the odd man out the Offensive Line?

When the Chicago Bears report to training camp in just under two weeks, the offensive line will garner plenty of attention. After overhauling the unit with the additions of rookies Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom while releasing veterans Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie this offseason, Chicago is looking to get younger on the OL heading into 2021.

Besides getting younger, adding offensive line depth was also a focus for the Bears this offseason, giving guys like Alex Bars, Elijah Wilkinson, Arlington Hambright, Lachavious Simmons, Adam Redmond, and Dieter Eiselen an opportunity to make the roster. The Bears will only carry a limited number of offensive lineman for the regular season, meaning some players will be cut.

Here’s what we know: Bars isn’t getting cut. After starting eight games in 2020, he’s Chicago’s most versatile offensive line, with the ability to play anywhere on the interior offensive line. The Bears value versatility on the interior as it gives the team more options should an injury occur.

Hambright and Simmons were seventh-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and started one game as rookies. Chicago was forced to start both players due to a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred at Halas Hall. Both will have the opportunity to make the roster once again due to familiarity with Chicago’s offensive system.

Eiselen also started just one game at Center last season due to the COVID-19 outbreak at Halas Hall. The emergence of Sam Mustipher as starting center, along with the versatility that Bars provides means Eislen could be among the first name sent packing when the Bears trim the roster down to just 53 players in late August.

Wilkinson has played in 26 career games, starting at both right guard and right tackle. After starting seven games in 2020 and 12 games in 2019, there isn’t a serious case for Wilkinson to be cut, especially after he signed a one-year in free agency this offseason.

Redmond, another interior offensive lineman has started 18 games for the Dallas Cowboys. Signed by the Indianapolis Colts in 2016 as an undrafted free agent, the Bears will be Redmond’s fourth NFL team and at 28 years old, it’s clear that Redmond is merely a depth piece.

While we may be just over six weeks away from the Bears finalizing the 2021 roster, examining the offensive line, we know that Eiselen or Redmond could be the odd men out. Don’t necessarily rule out Simmons or Hambright, however, both did make the active roster last season, something that should occur again in 2021.