Yankees News, 7/21: Unexpected breakout player dominating, MLB Insider proposes blockbuster trade

greg allen, yankees

The Yankees are currently enjoying a three-game winning streak, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 on Tuesday evening. Thanks to a solid outing by the bullpen and consistent hitting throughout the lineup, the Yankees are slowly inching their way toward playoff contention.

While they do remain seven games back in the AL East standings, they have climbed to within four of the Wild Card, making it possible for them to commence on a late run.

One player the team elevated recently has been playing lights out in the outfield and in the batting order, hitting .500 with a .875 slacking percentage over eight at-bats. While the sample size is extremely small, seeing a player record four hits, including a double and triple over four games in his first appearance this season is remarkable.

Greg Allen is the player who has lifted the spirits of the Yankees and provided some much-needed speed and contact toward the bottom of the order. The Yankees have been relying primarily on reserve players recently, who seem to have sparked efficiency, which is extraordinary.

Nonetheless, general manager Brian Cashman could still be eying a potential trade at the deadline, and one writer believes it could be lucrative.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal proposed two ideas for the Yankees to completely upgrade their defense and add diversity to the batting order:

The Yankees, in dire need of left-handed hitting and athleticism, are an obvious fit for Gallo; one rival exec says the Yanks can dramatically improve their defense by adding Gallo and shortstop Trevor Story, then moving Gleyber Torres to second base and DJ LeMahieu to first. At least one other club, though, is practically panting for Gallo — the Padres, who are run by the sport’s most fearless deal-maker, A.J. Preller.

Of course, the concept of adding Joey Gallo and Trevor Story is tremendous, but the Yankees might have to give up a large number of assets to acquire both while retaining DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres at the same time. Young starting pitcher Deivi Garcia would likely have to be part of the deal, as Gallo has one year left on his contract before becoming a free agent. At 27 years old, he’s hitting .230 this season with 24 homers and 52 RBIs, fitting the Yankees’ mold of offensive production and slugging power.

In addition, Story is hitting .243 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs, enduring his worst season since 2017. However, he is a fantastic defensive player at shortstop, and at 28 years old, has plenty of gas left in the tank. He’s currently on a two-year, $27.5 million deal that expires after the season. It is possible the Yankees could acquire both for minimal assets based on their contract situation, and both would heavily contribute toward a more efficient team moving forward.

Can the Knicks trust Mitchell Robinson as their starting center moving forward?

knicks, mitchell robinson

The New York Knicks were hoping to receive an answer on young center Mitchell Robinson regarding him being a long-term solution for the organization.

Last season, the 23-year-old Florida native averaged 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and shot 65% from the field over just 31 games. He fractured both his hand and foot at different points in the season, minimizing his impact as the team relied on Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson for the second half of the year.

Tom Thibodeau was hoping that Robinson would elevate his game and become a more prominent force on offense, but the lack of point guard play has contributed toward his dismal scoring production. Robinson and Derrick Rose barely spent any time together on the floor, so if the Knicks elect to retain the veteran PG, that duo could end up being lucrative. However, the team is still eyeing a few younger upgrades, including Collin Sexton and potential free agent targets like Lonzo Ball.

Evaluating Mitchell Robinson’s situation with the Knicks:

When looking at Robinson’s contract, he has just one year left on his deal until he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He will carry a cap hit of just $1.8 million next year, but will likely receive a nice bump in pay afterward. However, his performance during the 2021-22 season will influence his next contract and if it will be with the Knicks or an alternative club.

The Knicks have a bit of time to assess his value to the team, as they have until August 1 of next year to negotiate a contract extension before he hits free agency. Of course, freak injuries last season impacted his play, but he is a change of pace player that offers solid defensive attributes and the potential for more on offense, but simply hasn’t had a complementary point guard to elevate his game. It was unfortunate to see him play just 31 contests, as the Knicks reached the postseason and desperately needed his physicality inside.

There’s no doubt he can be a long-term solution for New York at center, and he might actually come at a discount based on his lack of consistency, especially if he has a solid season next year. The Knicks might be smart to bring in another solid big man to compete alongside Robinson, as giving him the starting job might be a bit too optimistic. Someone like Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen could fit the bill, but he is a restricted free agent this off-season, as the team can accept his qualifying offer at $7.7 million. However, the Cavs could let him walk and the Knicks could submit an offer sheet to acquire him.

Allen is intriguing, averaging 12.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and shooting 61% from the field this past season with Brooklyn and Cleveland. Based on his production, he seems to be a more fruitful option than Robinson at this point in his career, despite him being a much more expensive alternative.

New York Yankee Player Profiles: Greg Allen, is he the real deal? (video)

With so many injuries and players on the Covid list, the New York Yankees have caused the Yankees to give several minor league players a shot at playing at Yankee Stadium. Among them were Tim Locastro, Trey Amburgey, Ryan LaMarre, Estevan Florial, and Greg Allen. Allen adds a new dynamic to the team. It’s time we get to know him better.

Allen (Gregory Lomack Allen) is a 28-year old that was born in San Diego, California, on March 15, 1993. He made his Major League debut with the Cleveland Indians in 2017. He also played for the San Diego Padres before coming to the New York Yankees. But, first, let’s look at how he got to the Yankees.

Playing baseball as a child, he developed a love for the game of baseball. He got his first taste of playing with a real team when he attended Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, California. After high school, he played college baseball for the San Diego State Aztecs of San Diego State University. He, just like Aaron Judge, played summer ball in the Cape Cod League with the Orleans Firebirds during the 2013 season.

In the 2014 MLB draft Allen was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the sixth round of the draft. He was sent to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. That is where he spent the entire season, hitting .244 with 19 RBI’s and an amazing 57 stolen bases. In 2015 he played for the Lake County Captains. In 123 games, he stole another 43 bases while hitting .273 with seven home runs. After the season, the Indians assigned him to the Arizona Fall League. He was reportedly involved in a trade that would have sent him to the Milwaukee Brewers, but that trade fell through.

At the beginning of the 2017 season, Greg Allen found himself with Akron but was quickly promoted to the Major Leagues on September 1. He batted .264 with another 21 stolen bases before the move to the Indians team to begin the season. Six days after joining the team his hit his first home runs. Allen had many firsts in 2018. On May 27th, he hit his first career walk-off home run against the Houston Astros in the 14th inning. Then, on September 23, he got a base hit in the bottom of the 11th inning against the Boston Red Sox, causing a walk-off win for the Indians.

After an unremarkable 2019, on August 31, 2020, the Indians traded Allen to the San Diego Padres in the package that sent Mike Clevinger to the Padres. He played in one game for San Diego before they optioned him to their alternate training site. On December 31, 2020, Allen was designated for assignment by the Padres. Just six days later, he was picked up by the New York Yankees.

Greg Allen becomes a New York Yankee

On January 6, 2021, the Padres traded Allen to the New York Yankees. On February 23, the Yankees designated him for assignment. On March 1st, he was invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee.  After a successful spring training, he was assigned to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders to begin the season. This is where the still young man started to make a name for himself with his dynamic play and speed on the bases. Allen got his big chance when he was promoted to Yankees Stadium due to all of the Covid cases. He made his Major League debut with the Yankees on July 16 against the Boston Red Sox. He got a hit in his first at-bat.

Since his promotion to the big team, he has played every game (4) and has gotten a hit in each game. Last night playing in place of Aaron Judge in right field, he got a hit, scored two runs, and walked twice. One must wonder if the Yankees’ recent success has anything to do with the spark Greg Allen has given the Yankees. Allen’s speed again played an integral role in vaulting the Yankees to their third straight victory last night at Yankee Stadium, this one a 6-4 win over the Phillies. One thing is for sure, Allen is going to try to continue to impress so he will get even more at-bats and make a case for him to remain on the roster.

“I just try to do what I can to make an impact and help the team win,” Allen said.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1417636381694771200

 

 

 

 

Mets’ GM says acquiring pitching is the team’s ‘top priority’ right now

New York Mets

The New York Mets are in a quite uncomfortable position. They have dropped crucial games recently, their advantage in the NL East is dwindling (it currently stands at 2.5 games) and they lost six of their last 10 games.

To make matters worse, the injury woes that affected the organization early in the season seem to be back. Arguably the two best players on the Mets’ roster, pitcher Jacob deGrom and shortstop Francisco Lindor, are currently out with injuries.

Whereas the injury crisis of May and June seemed to affect more position players, the rotation is the one suffering the blows this time. Not only is deGrom out indefinitely with forearm tightness, but Joey Lucchesi was lost for the season with Tommy John, Noah Syndergaard suffered a setback and isn’t expected back before September, David Peterson is out for weeks, and Carlos Carrasco allowed three home runs in his latest rehab outing.

To keep their first place in the NL East, the Mets will need outside reinforcements, which means they will likely be active in the trade market.

The Mets will be looking for arms

That’s what acting general manager Zack Scott said, per MLB Trade Rumors. He stated that adding pitching will be the Mets’ “top priority” before the deadline.

“I would say as of today, that’s our top priority. It has been for a while…” he told Jon Heyman on Big Time Baseball. “I always say, I do subscribe to that old adage that you can never have enough pitching, and I do think in the seasons, in my experience, that have fallen apart, that’s been the main reason why they have fallen apart.”

Unsurprisingly, he didn’t discuss specific targets the Mets were interested in. MLBTR lists Merrill Kelly (Diamondbacks), Michael Pineda (Twins), Jon Gray (Rockies) and Tyler Anderson (Pirates) as potential mid-tier starting pitchers who could be on the move. The team reportedly sent scouts to Kelly’s last start with Arizona, but the snakes’ asking price on their right-handed hurler is said to be high.

“But right now, with pitching, I feel like it’s always a sellers’ market, so they hold the prices pretty high, and we’ll see if those prices come down or if they hold the bar really high and maybe those guys don’t even get moved, because the industry just decides it’s too high in price to pay. But I expect there to be some movement. I also know that a lot can change in these last days leading into the deadline.”

Yankees’ key reliever is lost for the season and will undergo surgery

yankees, darren o'day

The New York Yankees have been absorbing blow after blow on the injury front recently, and the latest news coming about Darren O’Day is not good at all. The right-handed submariner, signed by the Bombers this year, will be out for the remainder of the season, the team announced on Tuesday.

The Yankees reliever was doing some pregame sprints in the outfield in Seattle back on July 6. As Betelhem Ashame of MLB.com explains it, the pitcher thought one of his teammates had run into him. Next thing he knows, he fell to the ground and was rolling around in pain.

He heard a pop, so he knew something was not right and he wouldn’t be pitching in a while.

His left hamstring was strained. He has already had surgery in that same hamstring in the past, in June 2018, which ended his season back when he was with the Orioles. This time, he is suffering the same fate: the Yankees announced his season is over.

The surgery will be performed on Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, by Dr. Brian Kelly.

“[It’s] extremely disappointing,” said O’Day. “I was just coming back from a shoulder injury, starting to feel better and excited to be back with the team contributing again. And to have all that wiped out in one moment is really tough.”

The doctors told O’Day that his hamstring wasn’t the same since that 2018 surgery, even admitting “this was bound to happen at some point.”

“If I ever want to play baseball again or if I want to live the life I want to live post-baseball, then I have to get it fixed,” O’Day said. “And unfortunately, the timeframe puts me out of this season.”

Will he be back with the Yankees?

It’s a legitimate question, then: is this a career-ending injury for O’Day?

“I really came here to New York for two reasons,” O’Day said. “I just wanted to see what it was like to play here — legendary organization. As I said in my first press conference, it’s every little boy’s dream to play for the Yankees. There’s just so much history as I sit here and look around at these posters on the wall.

“And the main goal was to win a World Series. … I’ve gotten really close a couple of times but never been able to quite get there. So that’s what I came here for, and those are the things that flashed in my mind with all that time and effort, sacrifice [it takes] to be here and still keep that dream alive. So for the rest of this season, I’ll have to be dreaming vicariously through my teammates and watching them and helping them in any way I can.”

New York Jets offseason recap 2021: Special Teams

A New York Jets kicking competition is set to commence under the watch of the seemingly immortal coordinator Brant Boyer.

Following the conclusion of minicamp activities, the NFL offseason is officially over. The next time the New York Jets convene in Florham Park, they’ll be getting ready for preseason and regular season action for the 2021 campaign. 

With the offseason in the rearview mirror, ESM looks back on the green offseason that was, position-by-position. Our look back on the offseason comes to an end by wrapping up with special teams…

New York Jets, Jason Myers
Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

How It Started

Much has been made about the constant turnover in the Jets’ franchise quarterback role. But compared to what’s happened in the kicker’s role, that role is among the stable in football.

Since Jason Myers’ historic 2018 campaign…and after the Jets let him abscond to Seattle without much resistance…six different kickers (three alone during the 2019 preseason) have tried and failed to pick up where he left off. Lacking a reliable kicker for two straight seasons is always unacceptable, but missing one during a would-be franchise quarterback developmental years is gridiron doomsday.

Sam Ficken, to his credit, was refreshingly close to ending the trend. His three-point attempts were the one thing that was going right for the Jets over the opening portions of their 2020 season, converting each of his first nine attempts (five alone coming in a nationally televised showdown against Denver). But a groin injury suffered in October derailed his season, forcing the Jets to turn to CFL/XFL veteran Sergio Castillo before staging a meaningless finale with Chase McLaughlin.

Sixth-round pick Braden Mann was one of the busiest men in football last season. He was called upon to punt it away a league-high 82 times, but his 43.9 average was 28th in football. While the Jets would like to see him move up the stat ledger (though, ideally, he won’t be on the field as often this season), Mann did manage to go somewhat viral for some touchdown saving tackles.

In the return game, receiver Braxton Berrios has been reliable on punts. Over the last two seasons, Berrios is one of six returners (min. 30 attempts) to average at least 10 yards (fifth-best at 10.5). On kicks, Giants draft pick and cornerback Corey Ballentine was a pleasant surprise as a late arrival, averaging over 26 yards per return over the last six weeks.

Long snapper Thomas Hennessy lived up to the four-year extension he earned in the midst of the 2019 season and completed another incident-free season.

jets, michael carter

How It’s Going

Never mind cockroaches; when the apocalypse comes, Brant Boyer might be the last living thing to stick it out. The special teams coordinator was the sole survivor of the post-Adam Gase coaching purge, having also survived the erasure of Todd Bowles’ army.

“So many people called on his his behalf,” head coach Robert Saleh said of Boyer in January, per team reporter Ethan Greenberg. “He’s held in such high regard.”

The Jets spent this offseason delivering Boyer some welcome back gifts. He was particularly excited about the arrival of cornerback Justin Hardee, who became one of the NFL’s most respected gunners in New Orleans. Hardee was added on a three year deal and will certainly help a punt return unit that allowed over 11 yards a return last season, the sixth-worst mark in the league. In comparison, Hardee’s Saints allowed less than three.

“I was ecstatic on that one,” Boyer said in video from the Jets. “We played 13 different gunners last year, so it was a real struggle.” Boyer was also pleased about the leadership role Hardee took in the specialists’ room. “He’s been fantastic, and what he’s done is he’s taken over a leadership role in the room, and that’s what the biggest thing we needed in our room especially losing a bunch of our core guys and things like that.”

“We just need somebody to emerge at that other gunner, so they can’t double (Hardee) every time…we’ll see what happens, which I fully expect someone will do.”

The answer to Boyer’s quandary could lie within the latter rounds of the draft. Defensive project and sixth round pick Hamsah Nasirildeen was an elite gunner during his freshman year at Florida State (seven tackles in special teams coverage) while Brandin Echols served in specialist duties during his JUCO days.

In the return game, Berrios should be retained on punts, while Ballentine could face competition on kickoffs from running backs Michael Carter (24.5 average in his junior year at North Carolina) and Ty Johnson (27.2 in his senior year at Maryland).

Ficken was waived in December but was retained on a future deal. He’ll face competition from undrafted rookie Chris Naggar (AAC Special Teams Player of the Year at Southern Methodist) to retain his role. New York Jets, Sam Ficken

Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Are They Better Off?

As the Jets try to return to relevancy, they can’t overlook their special teams group. They’re preparing to embark on yet another quarterback development adventure with Zach Wilson as the lead protagonist and special teams can make an immediate difference in terms of helping him earn wins and losses.

When the new quarterback reaches opposing territory, a reliable kicker can ensure such drives end with points, building his confidence. If Mann takes a step forward and Hardee lives up to his sterling gunner reputation, the opponent can start in dire straits, and make the defense’s job a lot easier.

Much like his work on the offensive line, it’s good to see that general manager Joe Douglas is willing to valuable offseason capital on special teams, though it’s time for the arrivals to start rewarding his faith on the field. Adding elite, proven names in the arena like Hardee and Carter losses the pressure.

Final Offseason Grade: B-

How do you think the Jets’ special teams contribute to their resurgence? Follow Geoff Magliocchetti on Twitter @GeoffJMags and keep the conversation going.

Knicks Mock Free Agency 3.0: A cost-efficient solution at point guard

The New York Knicks are reportedly “aggressively pursuing” both Damian Lillard in a blockbuster trade and Collin Sexton as a secondary option, but it seems the organization recognizes their lack of talent at point guard.

While these rumors are a source of optimism they will upgrade the position, management doesn’t need to ransack the roster to do so, as they can simply utilize their salary space and draft capital to make more efficient moves.

Let’s take a look at a scenario that would involve them developing talent and retaining a familiar face.

A price-efficient solution at point guard for the New York Knicks:

Step 1: Retain Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose was a godsend for the Knicks last season, finishing a two-year, $14 million deal he signed with Detroit in 2019. Over 35 games, Rose averaged 26.8 minutes per game, starting in just three contests, despite him being put in after the first few minutes due to Elfrid Payton’s lackluster performances. Tom Thibodeau tried everything to mitigate fatigue for Rose, who the team desperately needed during the postseason — nagging injuries limited his impact during the latter portion of the Hawks series.

During his time in New York, he averaged 15 points, 4.2 assists, shot 48.7% from the field, and a career-high 41% from range. He also connected on 88% of his free-throw attempts, another career-high. It was clear Rose was playing on a different level, showcasing how much gas he has left in the tank and how he can serve as a starting PG moving forward. He would be far more cost-efficient than signing a younger option, but he will want a nice pay-raise after his performance this past season, so a one or two-year deal averaging $12 million AAV might suffice.

Step 2: Utilize Luca Vildoza as a two-way guard

The Knicks didn’t sign Argentinian native Luca Vildoza to sit on the bench, and considering he’s on a four-year deal; they obviously see him as a potential focal point next season.

Vildoza is a solid point guard who can also act as a shooting guard, showcasing his abilities from range during exhibition games for the Olympics these past few weeks. He has the vision to be a quality facilitator at the next level and is a smooth shooter, representing an upgrade over Payton, who averaged a measly 28% from three last year.

“Luca is definitely ready for the NBA,’’ Argentine coach Sergio Hernandez told The Post in a Zoom call last week. “I know he didn’t play good [Saturday] and today. He didn’t have good games. So many people can say he’s not ready. But believe me, I was coach in the ACB (Spanish League last season) and I am his coach the last six years on the national team. I know him so much. He’s ready.”

Based on what his coaches have said about him, the transition for Luca should be fruitful, and the Knicks must consider him into their plans when seeking a big name this off-season. Deploying him as a reserve guard who can help supplement injuries and mitigate fatigue for the starter would be an ideal strategy.

Step 3: Draft young point guard (three options stand out)

While there is the possibility that President Leon Rose will package draft capital together and target a trade opportunity, there’s always the possibility they sit still and operate within the draft.

If they keep their selections — 19, 21, 32, and 58, there are plenty of quality players who can provide specific strengths next season behind Rose and Vildoza.

1.) Davion Mitchell

Mitchell is an exciting young prospect with offensive potential but already contains elite defense. Based on Thibodeau’s style of play, I believe Mitchell would fit the bill perfectly for New York, depending on if they view his offense as capable enough in case they need him on a more regular basis. However, developing him as a long-term solution would be a positive scenario.

2.) Sharife Cooper

Cooper is the ideal facilitator in the draft, containing an undersized frame but the ability to find players in transition and down low in the paint. He’s an adequate shooter with plenty of potential in the category, also containing above-average handles. If the Knicks want a more crafty point guard who has been compared to the likes of Chris Paul and Trae You g, Cooper is their guy.

3.) Tre Mann

Mann is an offensive playmaker who projects as a shot-making PG to start his career, so he would fit the mold perfectly for the Knicks if they want to develop him behind the scenes. He is a smooth ballhandler with solid change of direction abilities, providing him with space to create shots. He’s not the toughest player on the floor and lacks defensive efficiency, so Thibs would have to be content with him being more of an offensive threat who can score when called upon.

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from home run show over the Phillies

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

The New York Yankees entered the series with the Philadelphia Phillies last night with a rag-tag team with a higher positivity rate than any time in the season after winning a series against the Boston Red Sox. Even with their beleaguered team with several players on the IL, they were hoping to take their second series in a row. With decent pitching and multiple home runs, the Yankees won the game 6-4 for their third win in a row.

Yankee pitching improves

Right-hander Domingo German was on the mound for the New York Yankees. German could have been lights out, but also could have struggled mightily. He was 4-5 with an ERA of 4.72. In his last outing against the Red Sox, he lasted only 1 inning using 17 pitches before being removed. The Yankees had lost seven of his last ten starts. Last night was considerably better. He went four innings, giving up just two earned runs, but striking out five.

Luckily the Yankee bullpen came to the rescue. Luis Cessa, Lucas Luetge, and Chad Green combined for three scoreless innings. However, returning Zack Britton still showed some rust after not pitching in almost two months; he gave up a homer. Likewise, closer Aroldis Chapman, who has been pitching poorly of late, gave up a homer in the ninth inning, but it was no harm by entering with a three-run lead. Striking out 3 Phillies and allowing just the home run was an encouraging sign for the Yankees.

Yankee power explodes late in the game

A lack of hitting has dogged the New York Yankees all season long. However, last night that seemed to be far in the past as the players; some not from the regular lineup, exploded with four home runs in the game. Veteran Brett Gardner led off the barrage in the fifth inning with his homer off Phillies starter Aaron Nola. In the following inning, Gary Sanchez hit one of his own, knocking Nola out of the game. Then in the seventh slugger, Giancarlo Stanton hit his 16th homer of the season. But the Yankees weren’t done; Estevan Florial, a center field fill-in, slammed another home run in the eighth. Every Yankee got at least one hit in the game with the exception of Tyler Wade who went 0 for 4.

It should be noted that the powerful explosion overshadowed three facts. First, Greg Allen got another hit and scored twice. Second, Estevan Florial went 1 for 3 driving in two runs. Both of these players are fill-ins. Also, being short players, the Yankees had to use catcher Rob Brantly at first base. He, too, got a hit in the game. All, however, was not good; although the home run saved the Yankees, they went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, another issue that has plagued the Yankees.

Yankee fans behaving badly

New York Yankee fans have been making news of late, not for their excitement for the Yankees, but their bad behavior at the Stadium in the Bronx. In the last game against the Red Sox fan threw a ball, hitting the back of Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo, halting the game for a time. That fan has since been banned from attending any Major League game for the rest of his life. On the same night, the wife of former Red Sox catcher and current assistant coach Jason Varitek reported that their 9-year-old daughter was spat upon when leaving the Stadium.

Last night was another night of bad behavior as a fan ran onto the field in the sixth inning, halting the game momentarily. A chase ensued when the fan was tackled and crushed to the ground. He was escorted out of the stadium by security guards and New York Police. New York Yankee management has strongly condemned these shenanigans, saying that there is no place for these actions at Yankee Stadium.

Notes: Tonight is the last game of the Phillies series; either team has not released starting pitchers for the game as of this writing.

 

New York Giants: Eli Manning injects inspiration into Daniel Jones debate

New York Giants, Eli Manning, Daniel Jones

With expectations that New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will take a step forward in his progression this upcoming season, the offense should experience growth alongside him. Jones is coming off a troublesome 2020 season at 23 years old, throwing for 2,943 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also threw 10 interceptions and fumbled 11 times, compared to 18 during his rookie season in 2019.

Jones has all the tangible traits to be a fantastic quarterback at the NFL level, and the Giants finally spent significant capital on bolstering the unit, adding the likes of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and of course, the return of Saquon Barkley.

But Jones has more positive variables set to expedite his improvement, including experience in Jason Garrett’s scheme and his comfort level behind the current offensive line.

The OL is one of the more prominent catalysts in Jones’s development, considering they ranked near the bottom of the NFL in pass-blocking last season. The hope is that better coaching and consistency, including in-person training and preseason, will inspire growth among the young players.

Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning spoke about Jones and his momentum, inspiring optimism into the debate:

“I think also just the fact that from your first year to second year, Jones had a new offensive coordinator, a new coach, and everything going in,” Manning told NFL Network. “Now, at least going from [year] two to three, he has the same offense and the ability to grow within the offense. It’s not just the quarterback getting comfortable; it’s the offensive line, the receivers, everybody getting on that same page. I’m excited for him, I’m excited for the team, and I look forward to good things.”

As we saw during Daniel’s rookie season, he’s capable of throwing 20+ touchdown passes per season and deploying fantastic mobility to pick up yards on the ground. Last season, he tallied 423 yards and one touchdown with his legs but desperately needs to improve with his ball protection and decision-making in the passing game.

The acquisition of Golladay will provide an efficient deep target for Jones, who was one of the most accurate passers 20+ yards downfield in 2020, despite fewer than 10% of his throws traveling that distance.

In addition, signing Kyle Rudolph will provide a safety net in the middle of the field, where Evan Engram was connected to six interceptions last year off tipped passes. The Giants seem to finally be realizing their weaknesses and filling them with players who have those exact strengths. Jones should benefit tremendously, as long as his protection scheme can hold strong in 2021.

New York Yankees Recap: 4 home runs power Yankees to win over the Phillies

The New York Yankees entered the series with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight with a rag-tag team the had a higher positivity rate than any time in the season after winning a series against the Boston Red Sox. Even with their beleaguered team with several players on the IL, they were hoping to take their second series in a row. The Yankees won the game via the home run 6-4 for their third win in a row.

Jean Segura led off the first inning and walked against Domingo German. J.T. Realmuto ground out. Bryce Harper struck out. Former Yankee Andrew McCutchen struck out to end the half. At the bottom, Brett Gardner led off for the Yankees and struck out. Giancarlo Stanton went down looking. Rougie Odor struck out for a scoreless inning for both teams.

In the second, Rhys Hoskings, the Phillies’ home run leader, led off by hitting a homer to center field. Didi Gregorius recorded the first out with a fly out to center. Brad Miller walked. Ronald Toreyes struck out. Travis Jankowski struck out to end the inning, but the Phillies picked up a run. Gary Sanchez led off the Phillies at the bottom and flew out to right-center. Gleyber Torres flew out to the same place. Rob Brantly tapped back to the pitcher to end the inning. Phillies 1 Yankees 0.

Jean Segura led off the third by grounding out. JT Realmuto hit sharply to Tyler Wade at third for the second out. Bryce Harper singled to the center. McCutchen lined out directly to Wade at third to end the half. At the bottom, Greg Allen led off by getting a lead-off triple over the head of Harper. Estevan Florial sac flew for the tie of the game. Tyler Wade recorded the second out with a fly ball to McCutchen in left. Gardner flew out. New York Yankees 1 Phillies 1.

Hoskins led off the fourth by walking. Gregorius flew out for the first out. Miller flew out to shallow short. Toreyes hit a double over the head of Gardner, driving in a run for the Phillies.  Jankowski struck out, but the Phillies added another run. At the bottom, Stanton struck out. Odor got a bunt single for the Yankees. Sanchez hit the left-field wall so hard that he was limited to a single, but Odor went to third. Torres went down on strikes. Brantly, with two on and two outs, popped out to end the inning. Phillies 2 Yankees 1.

In the fifth inning, the Yankees picked up two runs, partly because of Brett Gardner’s home run to centerfield off of Nola. It would end up that the Yankees won this game via the long ball. Gary Sanchez hit a long ball in the sixth inning also off of Nola. In the seventh inning, Giancarlo Stanton hit a monster home run. New York Yankees 5 Philadelphia Phillies 2.

At the top of the eighth inning, the Phillies picked up a run off of Zack Britton. Britton gave up 3 hits in the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Greg Allen struck out. Estevan Florial, who walked in the sixth, had a solo shot to the short right-field porch to make it 6-3 New York Yankees. It was Florials first Major League home run. Tyler Wade gound out for the second out of the inning. Brett Gardner, with two outs, ground out to second to end the inning, but the Yankees picked up another run in the inning. New York Yankees 6 Phillies 3.

At the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the mound to close it out for the Yankees with the three-run led. Chapman has been shakey, to say the least trying to close games for the Yankees recently. Bryce Harper struck out on a Chapman slider. Andrew McCutchen homer to the left-field stands as the Phillies tacked on another run as Chapman’s late-inning woes continued. Rhys Hoskins struck out swinging. Didi Gregorius, who was 0-4 on the night, also struck out against his old teammate. The Yankees held onto the 6-4 lead to take the first game of the Phillies series and their third win in a row.

The final score was the New York Yankees 6 and the Philadelphia Phillies 4. The winning pitcher was Luis Cessa, and the loser was Aaron Nola. The save went to Aroldis Chapman, his 17th of the season.