Rachael Ostovich defeats Paige VanZant in a war at BKFC 19

Tonight Bare Knuckle Boxing was back with the BKFC 19. The main event of the evening featured a rematch between two former UFC fighters. The popular Paige VanZant was making her second BKFC appearance as she was taking on the debuting Rachael Ostovich.

When these two fought in the UFC back in 2019, it was VanZant that picked up the submission win. That loss is something that Ostovich has wanted to get back and she had her opportunity to do it tonight at BKFC.

BKFC 19 Recap

While VanZant was the betting favorite, Ostovich made it clear from the very beginning that she was there to fight. In the first round, Ostovich blasted VanZant with brutal right hands and power shots. VanZant looked to stay on the outside during this one.

In the second round, VanZant found her rhythm at BKFC 19. VanZant used her jab and distance to even up the fight in my opinion. However, Ostovich got the timing back in round three and started blasting VanZant. Ostovich did some serious damage with brutal hooks and in my opinion, she won the third round.

In the fourth round, VanZant started out well as she worked her jab. However, VanZant was rocked badly by big shots from Ostovich halfway through the round. Ostovich put on the pressure as VanZant was on wobbly legs.

VanZant was able to survive to the end, but in my opinion, it was 3-1 Ostovich heading into the final round. In the final round. VanZant started the final round at BKFC 19 with some urgency. You could tell she was feeling the pressure.

VanZant opened with some lead left hooks as Ostovich remained patient. However, Ostovich would explode into power shots that backed up VanZant. VanZant looked calculated in the final round and landed some really nice shots.

However, late in the round, Ostovich appeared to rock her again. The final round was extremely close, but in my opinion, it was a clear win for Rachael Ostovich at BKFC 19.

Rachael Ostovich def. Paige VanZant by Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

New York Yankees Recap: Cole falls short in Yankees second loss to the Red Sox

yankees, gerrit cole

Last night after a devastating 10 inning loss, the New York Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox in game two of the four-game weekend set. Ace Gerrit Cole faced the Boston Red Sox ace, Eduardo Rodriguez, in a near must-win situation for the New York Yankees if they wished to advance in the AL East against their first-place rival. However, Cole fell short in the end, and the Yankees lost the game 6-2.

DJ LeMahieu faced Rodgriguez in the first inning and lined out to left field. Giancarlo Stanton struck out on an outside change. Rougie Odor ground out, and the Yankees went down in order. In the bottom, Enrique Hernandez led off against Gerrit Cole and ground out to second. Jerran Duran went down on strikes. Xander Bogaerts singled to right. Rafael Devers went down looking for the final out of the scoreless inning.

In the second, Gary Sanchez led off by walking. Gleyber Torres got a single off the diving Bogaerts in left, moving Sanchez to second base. Brett Gardner got an RBI double with two on and no outs, scoring Sanchez and Torres moving to third. Chris Gittens faced new pitcher Phillips Valdez after E-Rod left the game with some type of injury. Gittens with a run in, two on, and no outs went down on strikes. Ryan LaMarre was plunked in the shoulder to load the bases. Greg Allen, with the bases loaded and one out he went down on strikes. DJ LeMahieu, with the bases still loaded with Yankees, struck out, leaving the bases loaded, but the Yankees took the lead in the game. New York 1 Boston 0.

At the bottom of the second, JT Martinez went down on strikes from Cole. Alex Verdugo went down swinging. Hunter Renfroe fighting off pitches singled to short. Christian Vazquez flew out to LaMarre in left-center. New York Yankees 1 Boston Red Sox 0.

The third inning was scoreless, as was the fourth inning. Then, finally, the fifth inning saw the Boston Red Sox score three runs, including a homer by Rafael Devers off Gerrit Cole to take the lead for the Red Sox. Bogaerts and Devers combined for the other two runs. Boston Red Sox 3 New York Yankees 1.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Nestor Cortes Jr., fresh off the Covid list, pitched a clean sixth inning, striking out one and not allowing a hit. Gerrit Cole went only five innings giving up the three Boston runs in an unusually short outing while striking out eight and walking two. The Sox wore down Cole, who used 100 pitches to get through the fifth inning.

At the top of the seventh, Gerret Whitlock took over the pitching for the Boston Red Sox. Estevan Florial went down swinging. Greg Allen was hit in the shin and took first base. LeMahieu singled. Stanton, with a chance to tie up the game, ground out to third. With two on and two outs, Odor flew out to right-center to end the threat from the Yankees. At the bottom, Dalbec against Cortes Jr. went down swinging. Hernandez singled to right. Duran also singled to right for two on and one out. Bogaerts struck out. Devers got another home run just over the left-center wall to make it 6-1 Red Sox. It was announced that Sanchez left the game with back spasms.

In the eighth inning, with the Yankees behind five runs, Brantly, who took over for Sanchez, lined out to first. Torres advanced on a hit by pitch. Gardner went down on strikes. Gittens, who got a hit earlier, walked. Florial, who pinch-hit for LaMarre in the seventh and with two on and two outs, made the final out of the half, leaving two Yankees stranded. At the bottom, Verdugo, against the new Yankee pitcher Justin Wilson flew out to Gardner. Renfroe went down looking. Vazquez walked, but Dalbec ground out to end the inning. Red Sox 6 the Yankees 1.

With last licks on the line for the Yankees at the top of the ninth inning against Brandon, Workman flew out to center. LeMahieu tapped right back to Workman. Giancarlo Stanton, who walked twice on the night, got an infield hit. Rougie Odor doubled to far left field right in front of the green monster. Stanton scored. Rob Brantley flew out to foul territory at first to end the game.

The final score was the Boston Red Sox 6 and the New York Yankees 2. The winning pitcher was Yacksel Rios, and the loser was Gerrit Cole.

New York Jets: Trade for Nick Foles “seems unlikely” (Report)

It’s becoming more likely that the New York Jets will go into camp with James Morgan and Mike White backing up Zach Wilson.

According to a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post, those expecting Super Bowl hero Nick Foles to don a new shade of green shouldn’t get their hopes up.

In addressing the New York Jets’ backup quarterback situation, Costello reports that the team has “had discussions” with the Chicago Bears about adding Foles as the understudy and mentor to incoming franchise man Zach Wilson. However, he acknowledges that such a deal “seems unlikely”.

Foles, who guided the Philadelphia Eagles to a championship in 2018, is projected to be Chicago’s third-string option behind first-round pick Justin Fields and incoming veteran Andy Dalton. With Wilson set to take over, he seems like a perfect candidate to not only serve as a mentor to the rookie but step up in case of an emergency. The 32-year-old Foles posted an 80.8 passer rating in nine games (seven starts) in place of Mitchell Trubisky last season.

However, Costello says that Foles’ salary is the biggest roadblock in the path to getting him in a green helmet. Foles came over from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 and restructured his contract to be a three-year deal worth $24 million ($17 million guaranteed). Chicago would be out $14 million in dead money if they were to release Foles, rendering a trade the only likely departure from the Windy City.

It appears more likely that the Jets will go into the season with either James Morgan or Mike White as their backup quarterback. Like Wilson, neither has thrown a pass in a regular season NFL game. Morgan was chosen in the fourth round during the 2020 draft and did not dress in no games last season. White is a 2018 fifth-round pick from Dallas who has been on and off the Jets’ practice squad over the last two seasons.

Head coach Robert Saleh admitted that the team had discussions with former San Francisco backup Nick Mullens (who eventually signed with Philadephia), but he was interested in seeing what Morgan and White had to offer.

“It doesn’t mean that just because (a newcomer is) a veteran it’ll help the (rookie) quarterback,” Saleh said in June, per notes from the Jets. “There’s a match that has to happen, there’s a scheme familiarity that has to happen. If you just bring in a veteran that doesn’t know anything about your scheme, he’s learning just like the rookie is.”

“I think Zach, and that entire quarterback room, is already ahead of the curve on, with how they handle their bodies and study. I don’t know if there’s much value aside from being comfortable that if something hits the fan, that you have a veteran who’s played football. It’s more of a comforting feeling, rather than trying to work your ass off to develop the quarterbacks that are already in the building.”

The Jets are slated to begin training camp activities on Tuesday.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers select LW Brennan Othmann with the 16th pick in the NHL Draft

The New York Rangers continued their future growth by selecting LW Brennan Othmann in the first round of the NHL Draft.

The New York Rangers chose a left-wing with their first-round pick (16th overall) in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft on Friday night.

Othmann loves nothing more than to collect the puck on the breakout, lead the charge into the offensive zone, and turn the corner on opposing defenders. He always attacks at full speed, playing a high-pace style, and pressuring with that same level of intensity. He pressures on the forecheck, plays the body, and takes good routes to cut off the opposition’s attempts at a breakout. -EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide

While playing for the Flint Firebirds of the OHL, Othmann appeared in 55 games, netting 17 goals with 33 points.

 

The New York Giants’ secondary has a challenging 2021 season on the horizon

The New York Giants’ 2021 schedule features a list of challenges for the team’s secondary. The Giants are set to face off against some of the best offensive weapons in the NFL this season. Wide receiver talent is plentiful in the modern NFL, a revelation the Giants will have this season.

Top wide receivers that the Giants will be facing in 2021:

(* indicates a player selected to a Pro Bowl, + indicates a player selected to an All-Pro team)

  • Jerry Jeudy
  • Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel (2x)
  • Calvin Ridley+, Kyle Pitts
  • Michael Thomas+ (maybe)
  • Amari Cooper*, CeeDee Lamb (2x)
  • Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp
  • Robby Anderson, DJ Moore
  • Tyreek Hill+, Travis Kelce+
  • Darren Waller+
  • Mike Evans*, Chris Godwin*, Rob Gronkowski+
  • DeVonta Smith (2x)
  • Will Fuller V
  • Keenan Allen*
  • Allen Robinson*

The New York Giants’ elite secondary

Thankfully, the New York Giants do seem to have the talent necessary to defend against these Pro Bowl and All-Pro receivers and tight ends. The Giants have invested a great number of assets into their secondary over the past few years. These investments have paid off as the Giants now possess one of the league’s best secondaries. New York’s 22 passing touchdowns allowed were tied for the fifth-fewest in the NFL.

James Bradberry

The Giants’ secondary is led by star cornerback James Bradberry IV. In 2020, Bradberry was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, earning his first career Pro Bowl selection while being snubbed from the All-Pro teams. He set a new career-high with 18 passes defended, tied for the second-most in the NFL and only two behind Miami’s Xavien Howard for the league lead (Giants.com).

Logan Ryan

James Bradberry was one of two big free agent signings that the Giants made in their secondary last offseason. New York also signed safety Logan Ryan who had a stellar season during his first year with the Giants. Ryan totaled 93 combined tackles, forced 3 fumbles, and hauled in 1 interception.

Jabrill Peppers

Alongside Logan Ryan is another stud safety on the Giants’ defense: Jabrill Peppers. Jabrill had a career year in 2020, setting new career-highs in combined tackles (91), sacks (2.5), tackles for loss (8), and passes defended (11). Peppers is a phenomenal strong safety that impacts the run game and has the coverage skills to lock down tight ends and running backs.

Adoree’ Jackson

If there was one weakness in the Giants’ secondary last season, though, it was at the outside cornerback spot opposite of James Bradberry. The Giants had a revolving door at CB2. They made an effort to fill this hole in the 2021 offseason, signing former Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. This signing makes for a significant upgrade. Since 2018, Adoree Jackson has the fourth-highest coverage grade when lined up outside according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 85.6.

Xavier McKinney

The Giants like to run a lot of three-safety packages on defense. This means that second-year safety Xavier McKinney could see starting-level snaps in 2021. According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier McKinney’s 70 overall grade was on track to be the highest-graded rookie safety of the season in his 212 snaps after coming back from injury, but he did not meet the minimum snap requirement.

Depth

Behind all of these starters, the Giants have plenty of depth in the secondary. Julian Love has proven to be a solid utility player in the secondary. Darnay Holmes and Aaron Robinson will compete at slot cornerback. Players like Isaac Yiadom and Rodarius Williams also provide the team with solid depth. The New York Giants secondary has a challenging 2021 season on the horizon, but it possesses the talent necessary to get the job done.

Trey Murphy III on the rise: Is he the 3-and-D prospect the Knicks wanted?

Trey Murphy, Knicks

Around this time, Trey Murphy III should have been preparing for his ACC debut with the Virginia Cavaliers. But things quickly changed, just like how his stock has rapidly risen in the NBA Draft boards.

Murphy, one of the best wing shooters in the draft, is projected to go in the first round on Thursday’s NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, Basketball News, and Bleacher Report have mocked him to the New York Knicks.

That idea looked to be far-fetched a year ago when he transferred from Rice University to UVA.

“He wanted to redshirt. That was the plan but once we got him in, [we, coaches, are telling him] ‘you can’t redshirt, you’re too good. You’ll have to get bigger and stronger but we’ll figure that out as we go but we need your ability to shoot the ball, stretch the floor,” UVA associate head coach Jason Williford told Empire Sports Media.

“What he learned in a year with us is how to defend, how to be consistent on that side of the ball.  We challenged him to rebound a little better. And I think he got better with his finishing.”

Murphy went on to average 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists with an outstanding 50/43/93 shooting split. He is one of the most efficient college players in attacking the rim and scoring from the outside, according to Shot Quality. Combined with his length and athleticism, that skill sets make him one of the most intriguing prospects.

Murphy has worked out with several teams, including the Knicks, per Jonathan Macri of the Knicks Film School. But he’s been trending up in the lottery with the Golden State Warriors, who own the 7th and 14th picks, asking for a second workout, according to Bleacher Reports’ Jonathan Wasserman.

Williford was one of the first coaches who saw Murphy’s NBA potential. The 21-year assistant college basketball coach spent time in North Carolina scouting a reed-thin Murphy who starred for Cary Academy. Murphy was already a deadly shooter — 24.7 points on a 49/44/86 shooting split — out of high school, but his body was still raw.

“At that time, he was 6’4, maybe 6’3 ½ and 160 lb soaking wet. He was a thin kid. And so, I didn’t think he was quite big enough, physical enough for the ACC,” Williford said.

After growing his body and his game at the much smaller Rice University in Houston, Murphy transferred to the 2019 NCAA champions for bigger exposure and development. Williford thought it was the perfect time as they were looking for someone to fill up the slot vacated by De’Andre Hunter, who moved on to the NBA as the fourth overall pick.

On track to follow Hunter in the NBA, Murphy helped himself at this year’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago when he measured 6’7.5″ without shoes with a 7’0 wingspan.

“Once he got to that size and with his ability to shoot, I thought he got a legit chance,” Williford said. “When we got him as a transferee, I talked to several people to keep an eye on this kid. Little did I know we’d only have him for one year. I thought we’d have him for a couple of years.”

With the Cavaliers’ season cut short by a first-round upset at the hands of Ohio State after a bout with COVID-19 issues, Murphy’s junior season flew under the radar. But scouts have always raved about the combination of his length, mobility, and shooting.  

“He’s a prototypical NBA player with his size and his ability to shoot. He just fits the style of what the NBA likes and what they are right now,” said Williford.

The shooting has always been there for Murphy. But at Virginia, coach Tonny Bennett wanted him to learn more about individual and team defense concepts. Often tasked to lock up the opposing team’s best player, Murphy hit some strides defensively.

(Editor’s Note: UVA coach Tony Bennett wasn’t made available for this story as he was on a scouting trip.)

“He brought [shooting] element to our team. He was able to stretch the floor and part of his reason for picking us is because he wanted to better himself defensively,” Williford said. “He got better as the year progressed. He got better defensively. That’s what he’ll bring to the next level — a guy who can play both sides of the floor, guard multiple positions and shoot the 3-ball.”

But Murphy is far from a finished product. He could have a better shot at ending in the draft lottery next year. But Williford can’t fault the kid as Murphy’s stock continued to rise after he initially entered his name in the draft to test the waters.

“Selfishly, I wished we had him for one more year. But he’s moving up in teams’ draft boards. It’s the right decision for him and his family. This is a once-in-a-lifetime dream,” Williford said.

Murphy’s work ethic can’t be questioned. He got it from his father, Kenny, Jr., a sharpshooter for the East Carolina Pirates in the late 80s.

“He’s always one of the first in the gym, getting shots up. He had a very good work ethic. One of the last [players] to get off the floor and will come in again to take extra shots. He works extra hard to try to get stronger and improve his body with our strength and conditioning coach. That was instilled in him early. He got that from his father. He was his AAU coach. He’s been doing that for as long as I’ve known him,” Williford said.

Working mostly as a catch-and-shoot player on offense at Virginia, there’s still an immense potential waiting to be unlocked. Murphy has just started scratching the surface.

“I think he’s gonna need to put on more weight. He’s a hardworking kid. He’s a gym rat. He’s gotta be bigger and stronger on who De’Andre Hunter was for us. De’Andre is a little more physical but I think Cameron Johnson of the Phoenix Suns is a good comparison for Trey,” Williford said.

While Johnson blossomed into a solid 3-and-D role player for the Suns who advanced to the NBA Finals this season, Murphy has set the bar higher. He wants to become an NBA All-Star.

“My first year, obviously, you can’t really control a lot except for your effort and energy. I’m going to have to learn to make my adjustments. Over time, I want to become an All-Star. I want to be really good at the game of basketball and I want to win a lot and play for a long time,” Murphy said after working out with the Los Angeles Lakers more than a week ago.

Williford said he spoke to about 10 different NBA teams about Murphy, with names of some of those teams escaping his memory. But he was sure none of them came from the Knicks though he noted that the Brooklyn Nets have reached out and shown a level of interest.

Williford feels that Murphy has been underrated in mock drafts. He believes Murphy could outplay his draft position wherever that would end up.

“Quite honestly, the NBA game is a lot different than college. The floor will be spaced more. I think you’ll see him get out in transition and finish plays at the rim. He’s a good jump shooter for his size, very good athlete in getting out on the floor. He’s gonna come in and knows how to play defense. He’ll be coachable. Expect him to play as hard as he can defensively and guard multiple positions,” Williford said.

But his ability to knock down outside shots will be his calling card in the NBA.

Forgoing one more year to develop in Virginia could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Murphy.

“I think he still needs to get better but there’s no better way to get better at those at that level than working on basketball 24/7 which will be his new job,” Williford said.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks could be targeting sharp-shooter Quentin Grimes at end of first round

quentin grimes, knicks

With shooting guard/small forward Reggie Bullock preparing to hit the open market, the New York Knicks could be looking for a supplement in the NBA Draft. With just six days before the team has to make a decision on their draft selections, with three first-round picks, one player that has recently worked out with the Knicks is Houston’s, Quentin Grimes.

Marc Berman of the NY Post reported:

The Knicks reportedly worked out Virginia swingman Trey Murphy III on Tuesday, but The Post has learned that another wing who can shoot and defend wowed team brass two weeks ago at their Tarrytown facility.

Quentin Grimes, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard who transferred from Kansas to Houston in 2019, is on the Knicks’ radar with one of their first-round picks (No. 19 or No. 21) in the July 29 NBA draft.

A month ago, Grimes was thought to be more likely to be selected in the very late first-round or early second round. The Knicks have the 32nd pick (second in the second round), but it looks doubtful Grimes, a junior, will still be there.

Three years ago, Grimes was the No. 8 overall player in the ESPN Top 100, considered to be a one-and-done player at the college level. He was a five-star McDonald’s All-American player who ended up playing three years at the collegiate level. He spent time with Kansas and the past two seasons with Houston, elevating his game tremendously this past year over 30 contests. He averaged 17.8 points, 1.4 steals, 5.7 rebounds, and shot 40% from the field. His most impressive statistic, though, was his 40% shooting from range over 8.3 attempts per game.

Shooting so well with a high clip is exactly why the Knicks are considering him in the draft, despite him being projected as a second-round pick. After his solid workout and fantastic Combine performance, he is rising among prospects on the draft board and could find himself as a potential target with a 32nd overall pick, which the Knicks hold.

Reports have indicated that the front office is looking to package selections together and move up as high as possible, but that doesn’t guarantee they will utilize all three selections to move up. The Knicks could theoretically package two of their first-round picks together and still target a player like Grimes at the end of the first round.

According to Slam Online, Grimes gained essential knowledge from one of the league’s best offense of players, James Harden. The pre-draft process allowed him access to Harden, who often worked out at Houston’s facilities, which Grimes took advantage of.

“Just watching him in our gym to see what he works on, to see how that translates to the NBA game. Just trying to take his work ethic really and just try to be one of the best players in the League, hopefully, I can be that one day,” Grimes says over Zoom.

At 21 years old, Grimes has plenty of untapped potential, and the Knicks could be looking for him to make an impact during his rookie season as a lethal sharpshooter.

BKFC 19: VanZant vs. Ostovich special PPV features Chuck Liddell’s commentary

The BKFC 19: VANZANT vs. OSTOVICH Friday night in Tampa, Florida will have a special pay-per-view edition featuring UFC Hall of Famer “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell’s commentary.

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman, Daniel Hollaway & Ross Patterson, co-founders of the Drinkin’ Bros Network, and Michael Weber, COO of FITE, announced Thursday the ground-breaking PPV edition of the broadcast, which will be exclusively on FITE.

“I’m excited to work with FITE and The Drinkin’ Bros to provide this unprecedented live viewing option for fight fans,” said Feldman. “Chuck Liddell is an icon in combat sports, and The Drinkin’ Bros is one of the most outrageous networks ever – we are always up to break boundaries and do things our way – so we feel this a perfect fit for BKFC and we appreciate
FITE for stepping up to make this happen.”

Joining Liddell in the special PPV booth are Holloway and Patterson.

The BKFC 19 main event features the return of the ultra-popular striker Paige VanZant in an epic ‘rematch’ with Rachael Ostovich. The pair last fought in UFC, with VanZant winning via second-round submission. The co-main event sees a heavyweight title fight between current BKFC Champion Arnold Adams and Thai Boxer and knockout artist Michael Terrill.

The BKFC 19: VANZANT VS OSTOVICH starts at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT and is available for only $39.99. The “Drinkin’ Bros” featuring Chuck Liddell special edition of BKFC can be purchased on FITE at: https://www.jdoqocy.com/click-100451846-14696144

“This weekend, veterans don’t have to drink alone or watch fights alone,” said Hollaway. “We are honored to have this opportunity to present the Drinkin’ Bros edition of BKFC 19 to our fans and followers, and we are beyond excited for the fights. We’ve been big fans of BKFC since the start.”

This special collaboration is made possible by Jen Wenk, APR, STAR Public Relations, and Adam Roorda, principal, MMA Power Hour, who all served as concept originators and developers.

“FITE prides itself on its streaming technology, media, marketing, and partnerships,” said Kim Hurwitz, FITE’s Chief Marketing Officer. “When this opportunity arose, it seemed like something our FITE fans would enjoy, because we’re fight fans too.”

Also part of the live PPV card is Britain Hart in her first fight back since defeating VanZant in her much-hyped debut to bare knuckle fighting. Hart takes on Jenny “Savage” Clausius, who fans may remember from Dana White’s “Lookin’ for a Fight” web series. In a special attraction, famed rapper and former D2 college quarterback, Blueface (Tiktok: @bluefacebleedem) will make his bare knuckle premiere against the comedian and TikTok badboy, Kane Trujillio (@kane).

Tampa favorite Geane Herrera enters the BKFC squared circle once again to take on “The Nightmare” Abdiel Velasquez in a 125 lb. bout, followed by the 125 lb. female matchup Taylor “Killa Bee” Starling vs. Cassie “The Hulk” Robb, who is making her BKFC debut.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Exploring a blockbuster trade concept between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees are riding a fine line as we near the trade deadline. While the team has checked in on a number of fronts, the front office is still trying to decide exactly what they want to do at the deadline.

Should the Yankees go big and be buyers? The team certainly has the prospect capital and pieces to make some big moves happen. We will explore a potential blockbuster trade with the Royals in this article.

The Yankees could also stand pat. This is what we saw Brian Cashman do in 2019 despite the fact that the Yankees were a World Series contender. Cashman felt that the prices were too high and with Severino and Betances returning from injury at the time, he figured it was best to stand pat.

The Yankees have a number of players out right now so we might hear that same speech. The Bombers could also decide to sell at the deadline. Now, I don’t think they would sell in the same way that the Cubs will.

There will be no depletion of the roster, but you could see them unload a couple of pieces. Now, I believe they are more likely to stand pat and do nothing if I’m being honest. However, let’s say they go big and decide to buy. Well, the Kansas City Royals have a few pieces of interest.

Blockbuster Concept between the Yankees and Royals

I was scrolling through the Trade Simulator earlier to see what potential deals fans would like to see the Yankees make. I came across one deal that might surprise you at first, but makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Yankees Acquire: Whit Merrifield, Andrew Benintendi, and Josh Staumont

Royals Acquire: Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Michael King

Yes, the trade involves the Yankees dumping Gleyber Torres which might surprise some, but it really shouldn’t. On the simulator, this trade worked out to be a completely even trade between the two clubs.

Why the Royals would say yes?

The Royals are a last place team currently. While they had aspirations to potentially be a 500 club this year, it hasn’t come together and the team has drastically underperformed all expectations.

With that, there’s a lot of attention surrounding the Royals and whether they’d be sellers. The Yankees are a team that lines up with them. Whit Merrifield is a hot name on the trade market, but Dayton Moore has stated on numerous occasions that he will not part with Merrifield unless he’s blown away.

Moore has been hesitant to sell in the past, but he could do it for the right package, and the package proposed would be hard to turn down. Moore wants Major Leaguers, and he could get three here. The Royals could put Gleyber Torres back at second base and plan on a future with him and Bobby Witt Jr up the middle.

Getting Miguel Andujar‘s bat and Michael King‘s versatility would supplement the other pieces lost. The Royals like Andrew Benintendi, but they would part with him if it meant acquiring a package that features a Gleyber Torres.

Why the Yankees would say yes?

Why on Earth would the Yankees trade Gleyber Torres in a package like this? Well, the short answer is the fact that he’s not a shortstop. Yes, the defense has improved this year, but the offense has been a nightmare. Simply put, Torres is not the same player when he’s called to play short.

Gio Urshela has proved he can handle shortstop for the Yankees this season if needed. The Bombers also have an extremely healthy crop of young shortstops storming through the minor leagues right now. On top of that, the star studded shortstop free agent class this year could have Cashman thinking about a new shortstop on the open market.

Merrifield could slot in at second or in centerfield given the need for the day. Whit Merrifield has been amongst the leagues best hitters over the last few years. He doesn’t strike out a lot and he knows how to put the ball in play. Not too mention the fact that his speed would be a big boost for the Yankees. His contract is also cheap and you’d have him for next season as well.

Andrew Benintendi is a proven player in the AL East. He would allow the Yankees to get a left handed bat that they desperately need and he could be the starting left fielder moving forward for the next couple of seasons.

The Yankees have liked Michael King’s versatility, but they might be better suited with Josh Staumont. Staumont has electric stuff and would play nicely in the bullpen alongside Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green moving forward.

Odds of a deal like this?

While the trade simulator says it’s a good deal and both sides would have their reasons, the odds the Yankees and Royals make this move are very low. What’s crazy is I think the Royals might turn this down before the Yankees would.

From talking to folks in Kansas City, Dayton Moore really does not want to sell off his players. Even if the Yankees offered someone like Gleyber Torres, he might not budge. Meanwhile, Brian Cashman loves Gleyber Torres and any mention of Torres in trades might be a non-starter in the first place.

At this time of the year, it’s fun to ponder these potential trades. This would certainly be a wild one that would really shake up both teams, but it’s one that would theoretically work for both sides.

Sound Off: If you were the GM of the Yankees and were offered this deal, would you say yes?

Islanders might finally be getting the national spotlight they deserve

The Islanders have continued to make tremendous strides as a franchise the past three years, and now they might finally be getting rewarded for it with the national spotlight.

The NHL released its 2021-22 regular season schedule yesterday along with all of its 32 teams. Strolling through the Isles’ slate of games, there was something that was different about their slate of home dates for their inaugural season at UBS Arena — they are scheduled to play eight Sunday games.

This caught my eye. The reason being for the last 16 years, it was that day of the week that the league and NBC, NBCSN would have its so-called “Game of the Week”. ESPN and TNT — the league’s new television homes — have already acknowledged Wednesday and Sunday games will be in front of a nationally televised audience. There’s also the fact the Islanders have always been more of the traditional Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday format. Some of the opponents for those games as well — Maple Leafs twice, Blackhawks, Golden Knights, Lightning — all boast star power and national appeal you’d want for said telecasts.

I’m not one to speculate, but this could mean the Isles and their new home will get plenty of attention. If that’s the case, it’s been a long time coming.

For years the thought of the Islanders being featured prominently was only shot down every time the league would announce its national TV schedule. You’d look at the games picked and they’d maybe have one game, two if they were lucky. It’s stayed that way even as Islanders have sustained success and been a perennial playoff contender over the last three seasons. But this past postseason they showed they can be a national draw.

Newsday’s Neil Best reported back in late June — during the team’s semifinal appearance — that the Isles’ lone game on NBC during their series against Tampa Bay averaged 2.27% of New York-area homes, which was a 49% increase over the their one conference final game on NBC the previous postseason. The four games that were seen on NBCSN or USA Network averaged 1.91% of area homes, also up  from 1.78 when the teams met last year in the conference finals. Then factor in how the country got to witness how wonderful, passionate fanbase the Islanders have. The amount praise around the league they received for the show the fans put on for three rounds was seen as very special.

Now with a sparkling new building to show off and a winning team, the Isles should be seen in a more glamorous light. That should excite the fanbase and the organization. And sure, I might be the only one who cares about it, but it wasn’t too long ago, the franchise was looked at as a skidmark and a the butt of jokes around the league.

Things are different now and times have changed. The Islanders seem to be gaining traction from a national perspective and all things indicate it will be on display plenty next season.

Outside of the possible national exposure, the Isles’ schedule release revealed some juicy parts to it.

The ridiculous 13-game roadie to start the season is one thing, but once that’s concluded the first week four games at UBS Arena are going to be a real treat. They include the Flames (home opener), Maple Leafs (Tavares’ first visit to the new building), Rangers (first-ever matchup at the new building), and Penguins (a rematch of the first round from this past postseason).

There’s also the returns to Long Island of Nick Leddy and Thomas Greiss (Dec. 29), Jordan Eberle’s return (Jan. 29), and Robin Lehner (Dec. 19). Connor McDavid and the Oilers on New Year’s Day. First trip to Seattle on January 4th. And the first rematch against the Tampa Bay Lightning in mid-November.

J.G. Pageau’s hand seems to finally be healed after he broke it during the second-round against the Bruins. The Isles forward was seen without a cast on social media as he and his wife Camille were announced they had bought a penthouse for their new home just outside of Ottawa.

Pageau had been wearing the cast after having undergone successful surgery days after the season ended.