New York Giants: Barkley and 3 receivers worked with trainers at practice

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are seemingly doomed to suffer from injuries this season. That’s the case for every team to some extent, but Big Blue has been hit especially bad in 2021.

Multiple offensive stars missed the victory against Carolina, but those players are making progress towards returning.

Those players are running back Saquon Barkley and receivers Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and Kenny Golladay. Toney and Shepard both played in the Rams game but missed week 7, while Barkley and Golladay have been out since the Dallas loss.

While they haven’t returned to full speed in practice, it’s encouraging that they’re doing something at all.

Barkley and those three wide receivers were seen working out with trainers to the side of the main practice.

Will the New York Giants have more weapons vs Kansas City?

According to Jordan Raanan, it’s a toss-up as for whether or not we see any of these players against Kansas City.

The game is on Monday Night Football, so the Giants do benefit from an extra day of rest. On the other hand, though, none of the players in the running for a comeback are particularly far ahead in their recovery right now.

There will definitely be some pressure for the Giants to have their best players on the field when they take on Kansas City, one of the top teams in the AFC on paper.

Arguably, the Chiefs having a down year means this is one of the games the Giants have the best chance of achieving an upset victory.

Still, the Giants are a 2-5 team themselves. Even if momentum is trending upwards after their week 7 win, don’t expect them to take too many risks with their important talents for the future such as Barkley and Toney.

And a cautious approach may be for the better. Some would argue that we’ve already seen the Giants field players such as Barkley without them being one hundred percent this season, and the results haven’t been great.

Chicago Bears: Week 7 takeaways with Usayd Koshul

Marquise Goodwin, bears

After a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 7, it’s time for the Chicago Bears to look ahead to week 8. But first, some quick takeaways.

1) Let’s be honest, the Bears gameplan was bad in this one. On the offensive side of the ball, the pass protection was very average, with the coaching staff choosing to start Lachavious Simmons at right tackle instead of Alex Bars, who started eight games for Chicago last season. The Bears need to do a better job of identifying which talent to replace when players go down.

2) Kudos to rookie running back Khalil Herbert, who had his first career 100-yard rushing performance. The 2021 sixth-round pick racked up 18 carries for 100 rushing yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Not bad for a player who’s emerged as a centerpiece for the Bears offense.

3) Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney were underwhelming. Whether you want to admit it or not, the Bears wide receiver duo has been uninspiring. A lack of chemistry with Justin Fields is the major issue but Robinson and Mooney combined for just four total receptions in week 7. Not the production you want to see from a WR duo that had 163 total receptions a year ago.

4) The Bears had zero sacks this game, marking the first time all season Chicago failed to record a sack. Khalil Mack was injured and while the star pass rusher played, the Bears missed Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn due to injuries and COVID-19. The Bears hope to get both back and healthy for week 8 to get the defense back up to full speed.

5) There was growth from Justin Fields in this game. Trust me, I spent Sunday night analyzing two losses that showed why Fields progressed, even if it was a little bit. Also, Fields isn’t Mitchell Trubisky 2.0, so let’s quit with that narrative.

6) This was a game that cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor will clearly want to forget. Johnson was beat twice by Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for touchdowns, while Vildor was beaten by Evans and wide receiver Chris Godwin. Here’s to hoping that both players have a major bounceback game against the San Francisco 49ers.

7) Fields statline is a hot point of debate. The 11th overall pick was 22-for-32 with 184 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions. Part of Fields struggles are warranted but stat lines don’t define a quarterback’s progress or growth. Nor are final stats factored into development. Fields continues to make rookie mistakes, which is fine. Would you rather Fields makes mistakes as a rookie or in year three or four, when we’ll have a good read on what Fields is as a quarterback.

8) Bilal Nichols’ punch was unacceptable. For the “Nagy is a players coach” crowd, if Nagy was really a players coach, long-term building blocks like Nichols wouldn’t be out there punching opponents in a game that was pretty much over. Have some respect for the guys in the other uniform and play with discipline, something the Bears have been lacking in 2021.

9) The Bears were never winning this game but losing by 35 points is a bad look. Chicago didn’t even attempt to be competitive, which is an issue since the Bears have now lost to Tampa Bay, the Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Rams, three playoff-caliber teams in the NFC.

10) At some point, Matt Nagy needs to acknowledge and understand the Bears are out of options on offense. Chicago needs to solidify the offensive line and it starts by benching Sam Mustipher, who was manhandled by Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea on what seemed like every play. It’s time to switch Cody Whitehair back to center, kick James Daniels out to left guard, and slot in Alex Bars at right guard.

New York Giants: Azeez Ojulari looks like a strong DROTY candidate

azeez ojulari, new york giants

The New York Giants seem to have gotten a steal in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Giants traded down in the first and second rounds of this year’s draft. In the second round, with the fiftieth overall pick in the NFL Draft, New York selected Azeez Ojulari.

Azeez Ojulari, edge rusher out of Georgia, seems to have been a steal with the fiftieth pick in the draft. Ojulari looks like a strong defensive rookie of the year candidate through the first seven weeks of his career. If Azeez can stay on this trajectory, he will be in the running for the prestigious award at the end of the year.

Azeez Ojulari stats and highlights

In each of the Giants’ first three games of the season, Azeez Ojulari recorded a sack. Three sacks in three games put Ojulari’s season off to a hot start. In Week Three, the Giants rookie had an elite performance. Against the Falcons, Ojulari recorded a 92.2 PFF grade as he recorded 2 pressures, 1 sack, 1 hurry, and 2 defensive stops.

Azeez Ojulari was quiet in Weeks Five and Six, failing to record a pressure in either one of those contests. But in this past Sunday’s matchup, azeez exploded into a dominant performance. Ojulari recorded 8 total pressures and 2.5 sacks against the Carolina Panthers.

This Week Seven performance put the Giants’ second-round pick on the map. In only seven games, Azeez Ojulari has tied the New York Giants’ single-season sack record (5.5). Azeez is on pace to crush that record and make a strong push for the end-of-season Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. The Giants are 2-5 and their season is seemingly down in the dumps. However, the team has to be excited knowing they have an extraordinarily talented young edge rusher in Azeez Ojulari to build around in the future.

Knicks’ Julius Randle tells us just how badly this team wants to win

julius randle, knicks

A surprisingly poor performance against the Orlando Magic on Sunday evening did not sit well with the New York Knicks, as they watched back the film and tried to forget immediately.

Having annihilated Orlando just two days prior, the Knicks felt embarrassed after giving up 29 points to Cole Anthony and allowing veteran sharpshooter Terrence Ross to post 22 in the 4th quarter to gift his team a late lead.

However, the Knicks didn’t let that performance get them down, as they bounced back and took down one of the league’s powerhouse teams, the Philadelphia 76ers. Holding them to under 100 points for the first time this year, the Knicks showcased stellar defense and quality offensive capabilities, led by point guard Kemba Walker.

But power forward Julius Randle gave some insight into just how serious he took the loss to Orlando, using that emotion as fuel against Philly.

“I was sick man, I ain’t go to sleep until like 4 o’clock. I was sick, everybody else was sick we let that slip”

Veteran point guard Derrick Rose sung a similar song, detailing how the team must forget and move on:

By the end of film, it’s out [of] your mind. You know how these games come right back-to-back, so you gotta have amnesia and try to execute the game plan for tomorrow’s game.”

The Knicks currently sit 3–1 on the season and are preparing to take on the Chicago Bulls on Thursday evening at 8 PM. The Bulls are 4–0 on the season, with a 55% chance at emerging victorious, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.

The thing about Chicago is that they have a stellar starting five but minimal depth, so if the Knicks can tire them out and force their bench to play significant minutes, they will have a great shot at winning. We have to imagine the defeat to Orlando sparked the team from within, allowing them to see their vulnerabilities and clog them with strengths.

Knicks News: Nerlens Noel preparing for return, Doc raves about coach Thibs

nerlens noel, knicks

The New York Knicks are coming off an impressive victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday evening, holding their opponent to less than 100 points for the first time in their season. The Knicks, on the other hand, scored 112, showcasing some of their offensive capabilities.

Point guard Kemba Walker proved to be the difference in the contest, as he displayed All-Star caliber play for the first time this season after an inconsistent start over the first three games. Walker can be the catalyst in their success against more prominent teams, but they still aren’t entirely healthy as a veteran center Nerlens Noel has yet to appear this season.

The Knicks have held Noel out of their first four games of the regular campaign, let alone the entire preseason as well. Noel signed a three-year, $27.7 million deal this past off-season with New York but has dealt with knee soreness the past few months.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau indicated that Noel is close to returning, having ramped up pretty well up to this point.

“He’s ramped up pretty good right now,’’ Thibodeau said before the game. “Hopefully it will be soon. It’s when he’s ready to go. So he’s been taking some contact. He’s real close.’’

In the meantime, Mitchell Robinson has done a phenomenal job as the starter, contributing 8.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and logging 1.3 blocks per game. The season is young, and with Mitch still increasing his stamina, the duo of him and Noel will hopefully be prolific.

“He was almost back once and then he had some soreness,’’ Thibodeau said. “He had soreness in his knee [but] the hamstring is fine. And that soreness is much improved.”

The Knicks still managed to extract a victory against the 76ers without Nerlens, indicating their depth and efficiency on both sides of the ball. Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers raved about Thibodeau and his coaching style before the game, which proved to be true in the victory.

“I thought he was terrific,’’ Rivers said before Tuesday’s game Vs the Knicks, per the NY Post. “I personally think him and Monty were my choices. I wished they should’ve split because I thought it should’ve been split last year. But Thibs is a helluva coach. Worked with me for three years, felt like nine, But he’s just good. He works his butt off. He’s in love with the game of basketball. If every player had that same passion they’d be better players. Same for coaching.’’

There is no question that Thibs is in love with the game of basketball, given his intensity when the Knicks are up 25 with one minute left in the fourth quarter. He demands greatness from his team at all times, making it a priority for them to play at 100% despite the score.

Thibodeau excretes passion and confidence, which rubs off on his players and elevates their level of play. That has played a significant part in the Knicks’ success since he took over as head coach last season.

Who Ya Got Wednesday: New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals

mike white, michael carter, jets

Do the undermanned, Zach Wilson-free New York Jets stand a chance against the surprise AFC North leaders? ESM’s experts debate.

  • What: Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) @ New York Jets (1-5)
  • Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  • When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
  • Watch: CBS
joe burrow, bengals

Geoff Magliocchetti

Those partaking in 2021 NFL regular season action have been waiting for the other shoe to drop on Cincinnati, the current owners of the AFC’s only bye.

But last week’s shocking win in Baltimore proved that the Bengals are here to stay. If not for two narrow losses to interconference competition, they could’ve stuck alongside Arizona in the ranks of the unbeaten. All this and more spells doom for the next team to run into them…and that just so happens to be the hapless New York Jets.

Such circumstances, as well as the state of the Bengals’ woebegone hosts, set up the perfect recipe for a trap game. But the Jets were barely prepared to give the mediocre Patriots a challenge, and that’s when they had the services of their franchise quarterback. The Bengals will have their share of non-believers, but this isn’t their week to talk.

New York football is in dire straits. Right now, the Jets’ goal is to bide their time until Wilson comes back, to get their train of development back on track. Last week’s six-plus touchdown loss to the Patriots was all too reminiscent of the defeats suffered in the Adam Gase era. This week has the potential to get ugly with the Bengals looking to decimate their doubters. There’s a chance for the defense to redeem themselves after a 551-yard, 54-point allowance…and with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, that’s no guarantee…but not much else for sickly Gang Green.

Bengals 27, Jets 3

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Brendan Carpenter

The Jets will not win this week against the Bengals. I know it, you know it, we all know it.

There are numerous injuries plaguing the team right now, highlighted by Zach Wilson who could be sidelined up to four weeks with a strained PCL. No one wishes an injury on a player, but the time spent sitting back, watching, and learning could help the young QB. Having Joe Flacco back in the mix to help him helps as well.

Mike White is now expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against Cincinnati. It’ll be interesting to see the gameplan with White under center, as he cannot do some of the things Wilson can. In all honesty, that may help offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. It seems, at times that LaFleur is caught up in the possibility of Wilson making big plays, instead of giving him easy options. So, it may be easier for him this weekend. Of course, that’s not all on LaFleur, but it could potentially be a factor.

The defense will be another story. With injuries piling up, especially to the linebacker group, the middle of the field will not be fun to watch. Blake Cashman, Hamseh Nasirildeen, and Jamien Sherwood now all find themselves on IR. C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams are both questionable for the game as well. Who will play linebacker? I genuinely don’t know.

Joe Burrow and rookie standout Ja’Marr Chase may set all new kinds of passing/receiving records Sunday. As a result, a score prediction seems unnecessary. But here’s one anyway:

Bengals 35, Jets 7

quincy wilson, jets

Dylan Price

The Jets host the Cincinnati Bengals this week in a game that assuredly will be spooky. Cincinnati is currently the top team in the AFC and have taken a big step forward in recent weeks. Joe Burrow looks exceptional and Ja’Marr Chase is playing at an unbelievably high level. Trey Hendrickson and the Bengals’ pass rush is efficient and effective. Simply put, this resurgent team is a well-rounded unit. How far the Bengals go from here, nobody can project, but Zac Taylor has undoubtedly turned this team around this year.

The Jets are trending downward and fast. Mike White makes his first career NFL start Sunday and the odds are stacked against him. He didn’t play well coming in on Sunday in relief and a good game from him would be surprising. New York’s secondary faces a receiving corps that can come at them from all angles, and if the pass rush doesn’t assert itself early and often, Burrow will slice them up all day.

I don’t foresee this being a good game for the Jets, so look for an early exit if you’re going to the game Sunday. You might have time to head home and enjoy the Halloween festivities rather than watch the horror movie on turf.

Bengals 42, Jets 10

New York Giants
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Why the Yankees should target Corey Seager as their primary free-agent acquisition

yankees, corey seager

The New York Yankees will be active in the free agent market once again this off-season, with shortstop as their primary target. After the Gleyber Torres experiment failed, the Yankees were forced to move Gio Urshela over to SS from 3B, creating a bit of a problem on the hot corner.

Solving the shortstop position with a free agent is likely, but one option that would fit Yankee Stadium the best given his lefty bat is LA Dodgers star infielder Corey Seager. At 27-years-old, Seager is finishing up a one-year, $13.75 million deal, but he could be in line for a decade-long contract from a team looking for a permanent solution at SS.

The Yankees, however, also view prospect Anthony Volpe as a fit down the line, but there is a way they can sign Seager while also fitting Volpe in at shortstop when he reaches the MLB level.

The Dodgers will likely have a tough time retaining Seager, especially if he wants a 10+ your deal.

“It will probably take close to a 10- or 12-year deal for the Dodgers to keep Seager, and if they make that type of commitment, they should plan to play him at third base for the majority of the contract,” states Jim Bowden of The Athletic.

The Yankees are no stranger to paying big money to elite players, a strategy that has bitten them in the butt in the past. However, Seager is relatively a safe bet, having hit over .300 in two consecutive seasons. His lowest average was .267 back in 2018 when he played in 26 games, so the sample size can’t even be considered.

The primary issue with Seager is that he’s played just 307 games out of 546 over the past four seasons, indicating he does have injury issues at times. He played in 95 games this past season, missing a big chunk, limiting his plate appearances to 409.

That could be a deterring factor for the Yankees, but his offensive and defensive capabilities stand out as a rather attractive prospect. Seager hit 16 homers this past season and 57 RBIs, recording a 16.1% strikeout rate and career-high 11.7% walk rate. He is a quality contact hitter that contains a bit of power, and given the Yankees’ short right porch, he could likely boost those long-ball numbers. In addition, Seager has the flexibility to move to 3B in the future when Volpe is ready for the big leagues — so his value wouldn’t go to waste down in the line.

Corey would be a fantastic option for the Bombers considering their stadium and the diversity he adds to the batting order. They need a contact-centric hitter to help balance out their sluggers, but it’s just a matter of how many years he’s looking for on a new deal and if the team feels he can be reliable in the health department.

Do you think Corey Seager can be relied on? Would you give him a big long-term deal? Comment here!

Joe Flacco could help the New York Jets’ offense salvage its season

Joe Flacco’s return allows the New York Jets a chance at offensive development and reconciliation for its young core.

At best, Joe Flacco’s New York Jets tenure will be commemorated when Twitter users facetiously play the “legends” game. Favorite examples amongst users in the tri-state area, for example, include “Boston Bruins legend Brian Leetch”, “Orlando Magic legend Patrick Ewing”, or “Los Angeles Sparks legend Teresa Weatherspoon”.

Even if his destiny lies in competing with Brett Favre and Michael Vick for a roster spot on the “Wait He Played for the Jets?!?!” team, Flacco is back for more metropolitan endeavors. After 11 publicized and discussed seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII is now making his fourth move in three years. His latest was confirmed on Tuesday, as he’s going back to the Jets in a trade that sent a conditional sixth-round pick to his former employers in Philadelphia.

Flacco arrives just in time to potentially save the Jets’ 2021 season.

Allow me to go full Mora before you flock to the comment section: don’t talk about playoffs. Ending the NFL’s longest active playoff drought was a remote possibility when this season started and it’s probably a downright impossibility now. Despite another pre-Halloween elimination, the Jets (1-5) are once again offered a macabre gift: a de facto extension of the preseason.

Their remaining 2021 slate features 11 consequence-free opportunities to get the ball rolling on the future. These games, starting with Sunday’s visit from the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS) are experimental research and development sessions, auditions to see who can stay for the supposedly good times ahead. If they win, it’s a pat on the back. Losses are no big deal as long as the effort was high and draft position is gained.

Such an opportunity would’ve been a godsend for a struggling rookie quarterback like Zach Wilson. Lowered stakes would provide much-needed relief from his freshman season, one where he could make mistakes in a relatively controlled environment. He could take chances, throw deep, and find ways to build chemistry with a young, developing group of receivers without the burden of a potential playoff trip weighing him down.

Then came the injury.

Wilson will miss the Jets’ immediate future after leaving Sunday’s disastrous visit to New England early with what was originally described as a knee injury. The ensuing MRI revealed a sprained PCL that came with a two-to-four week timeline for his return. Under the supervision of backup Mike White, the Jets’ offense got off to a promising start, scoring on two of his first three possessions. Alas, White’s NFL debut spiraled out of control as New England’s lead widened, and he ended the day with 202 yards and two interceptions as well as a touchdown on his first professional pass to Corey Davis.

White performed admirably for someone who was, realistically, never supposed to see a regular season snap. But the 2018 draftee did nothing to vindicate the Jets’ rather bizarre decision to draft to retain him as the primary backup. It’s not like White was a touted college prospect (chosen by Dallas on the last day of the 2018 draft), had a heroic preseason (a career 71.5 passer rating over three summers), or had a connection to the new coaching staff.

mike white, michael carter, jets

There were plenty of opportunities for the Jets to bring in a veteran understudy that could double as a mentor: Brian Hoyer was brought in for a workout but re-upped with the Patriots instead. Nick Mullens worked with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in San Francisco as a serviceable fill-in but he went to the Eagles and now lingers on Cleveland’s practice squad. The Jets brought in the well-traveled Josh Johnson in the late stages of the summer, but he’s been relegated to the practice squad and holds no gameday value to Wilson.

Simply put, the Flacco rearrival is making up for lost time.

A backup quarterback has two purposes on an NFL roster: hold an off-field role in terms of creating learning opportunities and chemistry and provide emergency services if the unthinkable happens to the starter. Simply put, do not be the reason the team loses a game. Such a gambit has been an awkward endeavor for the Jets, who haven’t had anything of value to play for in a long time.

The closest thing they’ve had to glory days in the new century have been complemented by the veteran contributions of guys like Mark Brunell and Josh McCown. Their statistics weren’t legendary but they left a sizable impact on the would-be franchisee men in front of them. Brunell formed a strong bond with Mark Sanchez while the best numbers of Sam Darnold’s career were earned under the supervision of McCown.

But wins and losses weren’t at stake for the Jets at this point in time. The real concern is the development of their young weapons set to lead them into the next generation. With Flacco, there’s hope that they can get some forward momentum.

The Jets spent this offseason stocking their offensive arsenal in preparation for Wilson’s arrival. Bringing in the big guns like Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, and Hunter Henry was probably out of the question for a two-win team but they nonetheless acquired a talented group of both veterans (Corey Davis, Keelan Cole) and rookies (Elijah Moore). Questions can be raised about how the Jets have used these weapons…Denzel Mims’ 2021 season, or lack thereof, has been particularly ridiculous…but if New York wants to make any offensive progress with Wilson out, White wasn’t going to be the answer.

While White is the likely starter for Sunday’s visit from the Bengals (and, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the planned thrower until Wilson gets healthy), it’s more likely that any professional impact he’ll make will come in another XFL/USFL reboot rather than the NFL. An experienced, accomplished name like Flacco can work with these young receivers and help their development stay on course.

It’s not like Flacco is an inactive slouch as he reaches the twilight of his NFL career. We’re certainly no longer having the infamous “Is Joe Flacco Elite?” debate, but he was arguably responsible for the Jets’ best offensive outputs of the 2020 season. Of note, Flacco’s 128.7 passer rating tallied during a Monday night defeat at the hands of the Patriots last November was the best earned by a Jets quarterback since the 2016 season. Though the Jets lost each of his starts, Flacco at least helped the team gain some offensive traction.

Despite his limited time in green, before temporarily changing his shade for the summer and early stages of fall, Flacco left an impression on the New York landscape.

“I think you saw it, I think everyone saw it, how well he throws the football,” then-Jets offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, now with the Arkansas Razorbacks, said after the New England game in a postgame report from Andy Vazquez of “This guy, he’s gifted that way, and he did some really nice things for us. He’s really accurate. I do think this guy is a starter in this league, and we’re very fortunate to have the quarterback situation we have right now…That’s why Joe was brought here.”

Even before Wilson got hurt, 2021 was meant to be a year of development, growth, baby steps for the fledgling Jets. The injury puts them in danger of losing that as well. With Flacco arrives the rare chance to pick up a win, even if the rewards aren’t immediately reaped.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: The Rizzo, DJ, Voit question unsolved

yankees, corey seager

The New York Yankees have some pretty tough questions to answer during this offseason. General Manager Brian Cashman has made it clear acquiring a shortstop is his priority. That may be the case, but he has several other problems to resolve, including a reliable centerfielder, an ace-like starting pitcher, and, oh yes, what to do with the logjam at first base. But, of course, the biggest question to answer at first is, do the Yankees resign Anthony Rizzo?

One of the earlier situations the Yankees must solve is what to do with free agent Anthony Rizzo. Once they solve that, they can move on to other infield moves. As it is right now, the Yankees have three possible first basemen. Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit. Luke Voit, the once-heralded player, hasn’t been able to stay healthy for the last few years and is probably on the trading block. Gold Glover DJ LeMahieu played all the infield positions other than shortstop due to Gleyber Torres being moved back to second base after a two-year failed experiment as a shortstop.

First, let’s look at the shortstop position. Many MLB insiders like Jon Heyman think the Yankees’ general manager may make a big splash in the market, securing either lefty Corey Seager or the less likely Carlo Correa. There are two strikes against Correa, the cost, and his involvement in the Astros 2017 cheating scandal that may have cost the Yankees a World Series appearance. Heyman thinks that Seager is the near-perfect fit for the Yankees. Another route Cashman could take is taking the cheaper avenue by hiring Javier Baez and spending his money on another starting pitcher.

General Operating Partner Hal Steinbrenner has not weighed in on if he is willing to go over the luxury tax threshold now that the Yankees have again failed in the postseason. So much of what Cashman can do will be guided by how much money he is allowed to spend and what revenue he can free via the trade market. The most apparent trading piece is Luke Voit, as he is expendable, having no everyday place to play. But in a shocking move, don’t be overly surprised if the Yankees deal Gleyber Torres.

Many Yankee fans may balk at getting rid of Torres, but actually, it would solve many problems for the Yankees. Consider that Torres has not grown as a Yankee, and he is no longer the 22 year old with a bright future. The pluses for the Yankees is he could be a good find for another team and would be a good part of a trade package. But maybe the biggest plus for the Yankees is that it would put other star players back in their regular positions. Rizzo at first, LeMahieu at second, and Gio Urshela at third. Solving this would no longer require manager Aaron Boone the everyday decision of who to play where.

None of this can be accomplished until the Yankees decide to lure Rizzo back to the Yankees. Rizzo will turn 33 next season, so the Yankees probably won’t offer a long-term contract. On the other hand, Rizzo has clearly stated that he loves New York and wants to retire as a Yankee. So, that is not a problem. They just have to decide on a price and how long Rizzo wants to play. If the Yankees can resign Rizzo and snatch up Seager, half of their offseason problems will be solved; they can then concentrate on finding a dependable centerfielder if they choose not to bring Brett Gardner back for the fifteenth season. Then look to how to shore up the starting rotation.

Gerrit Cole will be serving out the third year of his monster contract. Jameson Taillon will be back for another year, as will Jordan Montgomery. Beyond that, there are questions, will the Yankees sign Corey Kluber. It was initially thought that Kluber would use the Yankees as a stepping stone to a more significant contract if he could return to his Cy Young form. However, the bottom line is that although he had the Yankees’ first no-hitter since 1999, he was also out half the year with his lingering shoulder problems. Other starter questions may not be answered until spring training. Can Luis Severino and Domingo German be effective pitchers next season? There is also news that the Yankees might consider another risky move by going after Justin Verlander, a free agent coming off Tommy John surgery.

One thing is for sure; the Yankees are projected to have a very active offseason to fix the team to be championship-caliber again. A team that will be able to get over that hump of getting to a long-awaited 28th Championship.

Knicks see the fruits of Kemba Walker as he rains down fire on 76ers

kemba walker, knicks

After losing a disappointing game to the Orlando Magic, the New York Knicks bounced back impressively against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday evening. Philadelphia entered the game winning two of their first three games, scoring over 108 points in each contest.

However, the Knicks’ defense held Philadelphia to just 99 points, limiting center Joel Embiid to 14 points over 30 minutes. Considering the quality that Embiid brings to the floor, it was impressive to see how the Knicks defended him, predominantly the added muscle of Mitchell Robinson, who recorded seven points and recorded six rebounds in the contest.

The Knicks move the ball far more efficiently, playing the hot hand rather than forcing Julius Randle to pick up the load in isolation, which he tried to do against Orlando, proving to be a poor strategy. The Knicks ultimately rode point guard Kemba Walker to victory, piggybacking on his 19 points and 5-of-11 shooting from three-point range. He also contributed five assists and two steals.

Walker was one of the more exciting off-season signings, replacing Elfrid Payton with superior offensive capabilities, which he displayed on Tuesday evening. Just when the 76ers tried to regain momentum, Walker would rain fire down upon them from range, utilizing his quick movements to create space and opportunities.

Entering the game, Walker was averaging just 10.3 points per game, doubling that in the victory. He shot 45.5% from three-point range and 46.7% from the field, currently hovering above 50%, shooting from deep on the season.

The combination of Kemba and Derrick Rose has proven to be a significant factor early on in the year, as the second team veteran contributed 13 points over 20 minutes.

With such a deep team, there doesn’t seem to be a massive drop-off in talent at most positions, which is exactly how the Knicks planned to structure their roster. Walker’s influence will be huge against more prominent teams like Philadelphia, and the Knicks displayed some of their dominance in the bounce-back victory.