Knicks: Evan Fournier adjusts to 4th qtr benching and new role off the ball

evan fournier, knicks

Last summer, Evan Fournier was France’s best player in Tokyo Olympics. He’s been clutch as he was with his former NBA teams.

Those memories seem too distant now as Fournier, the most expensive Knicks signing in the offseason, had been glued to the bench in the fourth quarter of eight of the team’s first 15 games, including the last four.

“The way I look at it is that I can’t just play anymore like I did with other teams knowing I’m gonna play 32 minutes at least,” Fournier said. “Like I know where my shots are coming from, I know how things are gonna go for me so I can kind of get into the game knowing what to [expect].”

“Historically, I’ve been good in the fourth quarters and now that I’m not playing in fourth quarters, I have to bring something early on.”

This is the biggest chunk of games in Fournier’s career that he’s not playing in the fourth quarter. Even during his rookie year, he averaged 6.8 minutes in the fourth quarter of 33 of the 38 games he played with the Denver Nuggets.

For the first time since the 2015-16 season, Fournier is averaging below 30 minutes per game.

“With the situation right now, I don’t know how many minutes I’m going to play,” Fournier said. So, I have to have a mindset that if I’m going to play 20 minutes, then let’s just come out of the gate with extreme energy, be very alert, try to be ultra-aggressive and try to have an impact.”

Fournier started the season on fire, hitting big shots against his former teams, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, in their first two games. During the Knicks’ impressive 5-1 start, Fournier averaged 17.5 points per game, built around a remarkable 45.1 percent three-point shooting.

Then it went downhill from there.

Over his last seven games, his scoring went down to just seven points as his shooting went south (37% from the field, 23% from the 3-point line).

But it wasn’t just him who had been struggling. The entire starting unit is facing chemistry issues as they have the worst plus-minus of any five-man lineup in the league right now. And the schedule is making it more challenging for them to build cohesiveness.

“We don’t practice that much. We don’t play five on five in practice anymore,” Fournier said. “So, it’s really about watching the game, seeing how you can adjust, what you can do better and once you get on the floor, do it. Read situations. From my point of view, that’s really how we can get better just from watching the film. The games keep on coming.”

The game on Saturday against the league-worst Houston Rockets will be the Knicks’ 16th game in 30 days.

Fournier understands Thibodeau’s decision to ride with the hot hands in the fourth quarter as he admitted that his inconsistent play somehow mirrors the team’s play.

“Very inconsistent, obviously,” Fournier replied when asked to assess his season so far with the Knicks. “Kind of like what we’ve been doing as a team, to be honest. We’ve had really good games and really bad games. In 17 games, you’ve got some of my best and some of my worst already. From that standpoint, there’s only one thing for me to do, to keep working and have a winning attitude and do everything I can.”

It’s the same sentiment that Julius Randle had when he was asked to assess his season so far after their second straight loss to the Magic, the Eastern Conference’s worst team.

Randle and Fournier showed encouraging signs at the start of the season that they could replicate or have a better two-man game than what Randle enjoyed with Reggie Bullock last season. But as the season progressed, their chemistry also regressed.

Thibodeau isn’t about to hit the panic button. It’s too early in the season. Building habits take time.

“In fairness to everyone involved, I think after 15 games last season, no one was saying that Julius and Reggie had great chemistry,” Thibodeau said. “It’s something that evolved over the course of the season. So, I think you have to give this a chance to work out.”

While Fournier is not entirely happy with his performance and his fourth-quarter benching, he doesn’t need an explanation from Thibodeau.

“I’m a 10-year vet now,” Fournier said. “I watch the game, I can feel the game, so I don’t need to be finessed. It’s okay, my feelings won’t get hurt. I want the team to play well, and I want to play well. And when I don’t, it’s fine. I have to do better.”

With practices almost confined in the film room, how can Fournier build chemistry with the team?

“Well, communication and make sure we ask ourselves the right questions,” he said.

There’s no doubt in Fournier’s mind that things will get better, and it’s only just a matter of time.

“I always try to look at myself first and how I can do things better to be out there, obviously,” Fournier said. “I’m obviously not happy to be on the bench. But I want to be out there. I know what I’m capable of and I know what I can do to help this team win.”

While he’s still waiting for his shot to fall again and his fourth-quarter minutes to return, Fournier’s plan to attack his sporadic minutes and new role off the ball isn’t just about hunting for his shots early in the game.

“[Being aggressive] means everything. It may mean running harder, getting the rebound so I can push the ball in transition. Just have more energy and be more present because when you let the game come to you all the time, you become kind of passive,” Fournier said.

“Just do the little things. When you’re off the ball, especially as a guy that plays well with the ball, I have to find opportunities. How can I create movement just by running or missing a screen or slipping or something like that?”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman finally executes a trade, but not the one we hoped for

nick nelson, yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been active at the GM meetings this week, but the only deal he was able to execute as of Friday night came in the form of two minor-league players from the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Yankees traded away right-handed pitcher Nick Nelson and catcher Donnie Sands in exchange for T.J. Rumfield and Joel Valdez, both of whom are 21 years old.

Rumfield made his professional debut with single-A Clearwater, batting .250 with 13 runs and seven RBIs in 27 games. Having been selected initially in the 12th round of the 2021 first-year player draft, Rumfield will join the Yankees’ farm system, where he will look to continue developing.

Valdez, who hosted a 1.63 ERA in 15 starts with the DSL Phillies Red this past season, will also join the Yankees’ minor-league system. The left-handed pitcher was 2–2 in two campaigns, recording one save in 26 appearances. He is primarily a starting pitcher, recording 19 starts over his past two seasons.

The Yankees parted way with Nick Nelson, who went 0–2 with an 8.79 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 11 appearances in 2021. Nelson has professional experience but struggled considerably when called upon, making him a liability at times. Philadelphia will look to develop him differently and hopefully extract some of the hype he garnered in the minors.

Sands, who featured with the double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre teams, hit .261 with 47 runs and 18 homers this past season over 94 games. Sands is a solid prospect, but at 25-years-old, he may serve a backup purpose down the line. He was initially picked in the eighth round of the 2015 first-year player draft.

New York Yankees look to improve the team, here’s their 10 best acquisitions ever

In my New York Yankees top 10 series that has covered most aspects of Yankee baseball,  with the Yankees looking to make acquisitions to improve the team for the 2022 season, today we look at the top 10 acquisitions in the modern era.  These acquisitions come from both signings and trades.  The Yankees have had many star players that were homegrown, but also have had to look outside their farm system to fill various needs.  Owner George M. Steinbrenner was the first owner to make big moves and set the tone for acquisitions for the future.

This has been the most difficult to complete top 10s so far.  Many will disagree with the placements; however, with the Yankees now looking to acquire players to improve the team, it seemed appropriate to examine these past acquisitions. Keep in mind that many of the Yankees’ best players were not acquisitions.

10. Ricky Henderson

Henderson was one of the longest-tenured players, playing for 25 years, 5 of them with the Yankees.  During his five years, he stole 326 bases, making him the all-time base stealer for the Yankees. He hit .288 and had 78 home runs during the span while having an excellent fielding percentage in all outfield areas.  He was an All-Star every year; he was a New York Yankee.

9. CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia was instrumental in the Yankees winning their last World Series in 2009.  Sabathia came to the Yankees from the Milwaukee Brewers. In his eleven years with the Yankees, he had a record of 134 and 88.  During the Yankees’ years, he was a workhorse, always giving his best effort for a win.

8. Masahiro Tanaka

Brian Cashman brought Masahiro Tanaka to the Yankees from the Eagles of the Japanese league in 2013 in a seven-year contract that will end this season, whether there is one or not. During his time with the Yankees up to this year, he is 75-45 with a 3.75 ERA. Tanaka has never had a losing season with the Yankees.

7. David Wells

The highlight of David Wells’s career was his perfect game on May 17, 1998, the tenth no-hitter in Yankee history.  Wells for the Yankees was 34-14 in his two-year stint; that’s a .706 winning percentage, one of the best for the Yankees. Wells pitched 21 years, all in the American League.

Wells was quite a character that didn’t care much for rules.  He has admitted he pitched his perfect game while nursing a bad hangover. In 1998 he would help the Yankees with his 18-4 record and propelled them to the World Series shut out of the San Diego Padres.

6. Reggie Jackson

Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner made Reggie Jackson the highest-paid baseball player when he hired Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles. However, Jackson was a controversial player as he was a show-off, and Manager Billy Martin didn’t want the Yankees to hire him.  It didn’t help when he was quoted as saying, “I’m the straw that stirs the drink,” a phrase that he never said but caused a rift with Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson.

In his five years with the Yankees, Jackson had many memorable moments, including his three home runs that caused him to be called “Mr. October.” In 1977 in the sixth game of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson hit three home runs off three consecutive pitches from three different pitchers. Jackson batted .284 with 144 home runs while a Yankee.

5. Mike Mussina

On this list, Mike Mussina is the one player that often flew under the radar. Mussina, after being a Baltimore Oriole star pitcher, became a New York Yankee.  He never had a losing season in his eight years with the Yankees, winning 10 or more games every year.  Mussina was not only an outstanding pitcher, but he was an excellent defender as any pitcher ever to grace the mound.

On some writer’s top 10 lists, they don’t even include Mussina.  For the Yankees, Mr. Steady is one of the Yankee’s most dependable pitchers during his time with the Yankees.  The brilliant Stanford grad, with a thinking pitcher that adjusted to every situation.  His performance never diminished with age. In the last year of his career, he had his first 20 win season, becoming the oldest pitcher to have a 20 win season.

He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for his pitching with the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees on January 22, 2019; he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, receiving 76.71% of the vote.  Mike distinguishes being the first American League pitcher to win ten or more games in each of 17 consecutive seasons.

4. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is a controversial New York Yankee, to say the least.  Many fans cite his performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers and ignore his Yankee club performance. But the facts are still the facts.  During his 22 years playing the game, he was one of the best in either league.

For his 12 years with the Yankees, he hit 30 home runs a year, with 1,100 RBIs while hitting .283. He was a seven-time All-Star and a seven-time MVP candidate, winning the prestigious award twice.  He would be a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame if it were not for his drug use, which most likely will never come to fruition.

I have to admit that I am a writer that does not place as much importance on drug use as many writers do.  My stance is that dozens of other players used some doping during that period that was never caught; thus, many stats may be in question. However, in the case of Rodriguez, his career wouldn’t have been less impressive even if he hadn’t made the bad decision to break the rules.

3. Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neil played for only two teams in his baseball career, nine years with the Yankees in the second half of his career. Then, at the end of the 1992 season, the Red traded O’Neill outright for Yankee outfielder Roberto Kelly. In his first year, he batted .311 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs.  O’Neill played with such vigor that owner George M. Steinbrenner would give him the nickname the “Warrior,” which stuck.

In his second year, he got the AL batting title batting .359.  If O’Neill missed a hit he thought he should have gotten, batting racks and water coolers often felt his wrath.  Stick Michael made the trade that would change the face of the Yankees for years to come.  Paul made amazing plays in defending the right field. He played fiercely and hurt; he was the ultimate warrior the Yankee fans loved.

2. Roger Clemens

The acquisition of Roger Clemens was one of the best the New York Yankees ever made. In 1996 the Yankees sent Graeme Lloyd, David Wells, and Homer Bush to the Toronto Blue Jays for their ace pitcher Clemens. In his first year with the Yankees, he helped them win the 1999 World Series. In 2000 he almost single-handedly retook them to the World Series with his 20-3 season.  The Yankees would win that series as well. Clemens was never fully embraced by Yankee fans due to his long tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

Also, in 2000, Roger would win the prestigious Cy Young Award at the age of 38.  Roger is one of the longer-tenured pitchers in baseball, pitching for 24 years.  With the Yankees, he would win twice as many games as he lost.  He went 83-42 in his six years with the Yankees for a .664 winning percentage.  It is outrageous that this 3 time Cy Young Award isn’t in the Hall of Fame.  This year he received 72.5% of the votes compared to the 75% needed to be inducted.  He has two years left of eligibility.

1. Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth isn’t a modern era Yankee acquisition but must be included in the list as the best move the Yankees ever made in procuring him from the cash-strapped Boston Red Sox.  Following Ruth becoming a Yankee, he transformed himself into a great hitting outfielder. He really made his name with the Yankees as one of the best if not the best player to ever play baseball.

Honorable mentions:

David Cone, Sparky Lyle, Roger Maris, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher.

Gerrit Cole could not be included for the Yankee top 10s as he hasn’t had a long enough time or games thrown to prove he belongs on this list. However, he has to be mentioned as he may be in the future proclaimed one of the best Yankee acquisitions in history; only time will tell. The same goes for DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela; how they play will tell if they can be included on this list in the coming years.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

Knicks’ Obi Toppin deserves more minutes, but why is Thibs holding back?

obi toppin, knicks

The Knicks have lost three of their last four games, but things could be a lot worse if not for the second team stepping up and supplementing the deficiencies of the starters. With chemistry and fluidity issues plaguing the first unit, veteran point guard Derrick Rose and young guard Immanuel Quickley have picked up the slack on the other end.

However, second-year forward Obi Toppin has made a lowkey Impact this season as a transition scorer and elevated defender. Over the past five games, he’s recorded double-digit point production in two of them, despite the lack of minutes. In the Knicks’ most recent loss to the Orlando Magic, Toppin secured 14 points, two-assist, five rebounds, and shot 66.7% from three-point range.

Based on his recent performance, Toppin deserves more action and opportunities to showcase his talents and development. When head coach Tom Thibodeau was asked about Toppin earning more minutes, his response was rather vague and team-oriented.

“It’s all based on performance,” Thibodeau said via SNY. “It’s not an individual thing. It’s a team thing. It’s how the team is functioning and there has to be a balance to offense and defense. That factors into it as well.”

At this point, it seems as if Thibodeau is trying to force the starters to play at a better level, which is understandable given the massive contracts the front office dealt out this off-season. Both Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier have been incredibly streaky and inconsistent this year, but Thibodeau can’t start making significant changes and replacing starter minutes with Obi just yet. He needs the starters to be playing at a high level, which would ultimately lead to Toppin earning more minutes in blowout games and rest situations.

However, Thibodeau has begun to dabble with different player combinations to try and break the negative trend developing with the first team. Their lack of chemistry and ball movement has become apparent, and Toppin offers elite athleticism stretching the court and making plays in transition.

The best usage of the Dayton product is in combination with Quickley — the duo has developed outstanding chemistry early in the season. Quickley has an entirely different repertoire of attributes, but his press defense has given the Knicks a bit more efficiency in guarding the perimeter. Toppin still lacks on defense and doesn’t have the agility to match Quickley’s strong suit off the ball.

If Obi can add more muscle mass/interior positioning and contribute more as a rebounder in the paint, that is where he will convince Thibodeau for more playing time. The Knicks need to re-identify themselves as a defense-first team that also contributes quality scoring production, but at this point in time, they simply aren’t recognizable compared to their 2020–21 season.

Yankees’ Brian Cashman breaks down the team’s priority with free agency under way

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees recently missed out on the Justin Verlander sweepstakes, as the Houston Astros swooped back in and secured his signature for one year, $25 million including incentives.

With Verlander taking his talents back to Houston, the Yankees have now wholly shifted their attention to the shortstop market, which is expected to be active in the coming days. Reports indicated that both Corey Seager and Marcus Semien could be picked up by December 1, when the lockout is expected to commence.

Cashman stated on Thursday night the team was focused on landing a big shortstop first and foremost, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

“We’ve played on pitching in the trade and free-agent market, but our focus is still trying to address the shortstop area more than anything else.”
The Yankees have a specific strategy in mind, signing a shortstop now who can eventually shift over to third base when Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza are able to take the leap forward. However, that plan may only work for a few free agents, notably Seager and Semien, who have experience moving around a bit and more flexibility with age.
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Carlos Correa, on the other hand, is a 10-year solution at SS, something the Yankees aren’t entirely in need of with their young prospects moving through the farm system at a brisk pace. However, if they have the opportunity to land Correa, management has already indicated they are more than happy to bring in a player of his caliber despite the cheating scandal.
With that being said, Seager makes the most sense for the team, given his lefty bat and the need for diversity in the hitting order. With Brett Gardner likely retiring, Seager can fill a massive vulnerability in the infield while adding a premium bat to the lineup that is reliable and has postseason experience.

Giants to get big break against Bucs with multiple starters likely out

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants need every advantage they can muster against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this upcoming Monday in Prime Time. Quarterback Daniel Jones has never emerged victorious in a nationally televised game, but he will be looking to acquire his first against a Buccaneers team that has struggled lately.

The Buccaneers are coming off a disappointing defeat to the Washington Football Team, and rarely, Tom Brady has lost consecutive games. However, Washington was successful in shutting down Brady, recording two interceptions, and holding the Tampa offense to just 21 minutes of possession. Knowing the perennial All-Pro quarterback, he will be looking to bounce back against a Giants team that has proven to be vulnerable.

Washington did a fantastic job stopping the run and creating pressure on receivers to give the defense opportunities to turn the ball over. The Giants need to do something similar, coming off a solid win against the Las Vegas Raiders before their bye week — forcing two INTs from Derrick Carr and a strip-sack to end the game.

Luckily, the Buccaneers are expected to be without multiple starters, including several on defense that would give the offensive line a far easier day.

The Bucs are projected to be without multiple starters on both sides of the ball:

-DT Vita Vea

-CB Richard Sherman

-WR Antonio Brown

-TE Rob Gronkowski

-DE Jason Pierre-Paul

Without Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea, the Giants will have a more manageable time stopping the Bucs’ pass rush, but that doesn’t mean they will play at a high level. Tampa still has Shaquil Barrett and rookie Joe Tryon, who has displayed flashes of talent this year.

Hopefully, Big Blue will gain back left tackle Andrew Thomas for the contest, as he participated in practice on Thursday, brewing a bit of optimism he would be ready to play. However, if Matt Peart is starting once again, expect heavy doses of Devontae Booker in the running game and short passing concepts due to a lack of time in the pocket for Daniel Jones.

The presence of Thomas changes the offense’s strategy completely, allowing them to target receivers downfield and operate at a far more productive level. Considering Tampa’s secondary is extremely thin, and their defensive line is dealing with injuries to big players, this is a perfect opportunity for the Giants to beat a struggling team and keep themselves in the hunt for the Wild Card.

Yankees battling with Astros as both pursue hot outfield free agent

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

The Yankees are hyper-focused on the short-stop market with Carlos Correa and Corey Seager preparing to sign long-term contracts, but I also have outfield support as a priority this off-season.

The Yankees have been connected to several players, notably in centerfield, given the injuries Aaron Hicks has sustained over the past few seasons. Hicks featured in just 32 games last year and 59 games in 2019, before the Covid abbreviated season. With his reliability in question, the Bombers are considering signing a free agent option, former Pittsburgh pirate and Oakland Athletics OF Starling Marte.

The Yankees have significant competition for Marte’s signature, as the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros are seeking a contract with the former All-Star.

The Yankees might be looking to spend big money at shortstop and settle on a more cost-efficient player in the outfield, but Marte is an intriguing player, posting a .310 batting average with 12 homers and 55 RBIs this past season over 120 games. Marte also posted a .458 slugging percentage and .841 OPS. Defensively, he recorded a .990 fielding percentage with 3 errors over 1022 innings.

Marte is seeking a contract in the 3–4 year range. Depending on the Yankees’ open checkbook, he could be looking for a deal worth $20+ million per season.

New York Post’s Joel Sherman predicted what a prospective contract would look like. Cashman may be willing to splash the cash for a long-term solution at centerfield, especially with Brett Gardner gone.

Teams will want to limit this to three years (through age-35). Marte will want four. Is the compromise a three-year, $60 million deal ($20 million average) with an option that makes it four at $72 million ($18 million average) if triggered? My guess is a team willing to go four guaranteed years wins this.

With Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Joey Gallo on the roster, there might not be a need for a lucrative free agent like Starling, especially since they expect Hicks to return to full health. There are alternative free agents on the market, including Nick Castellanos, Michael Conforto, etc.

However, if Cashman a serious about Marte, he’s going to have plenty of competition which may drive his price tag up.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”1tg6jhlp6j” question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]Do you think the Yankee should sign Starling Marte as a solution in the outfield? Comment here![/wpdiscuz-feedback]

2 players who are dragging the Knicks’ first team down

evan fournier, knicks

The New York Knicks have identified themselves as an inconsistent team, losing three of their last four games and dropping an embarrassing one to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. In the defeat, the starting team once again came up short, as two of their primary starters recorded just 10 points combined. Julius Randle logged 13, and RJ Barrett contributed 17 but missed all seven of his three-point attempts.

Randle commented after the game regarding the team’s lackluster performance, indicating they are still trying to find their rhythm.

“It hasn’t been great,” Randle said of his play this season. “Like I said, a lot of this stuff is rhythm, trying to find each other out. I think it’s been exactly how the season went. There’s been good days and there’s been not great days. That’s pretty much who we are right now. We’re not a consistent team, a consistent basketball team yet, but we’ll get there.”

Randle hasn’t seemed like himself at times this season, but two players have made life increasingly difficult for him.

Two players dragging the Knicks down:

1.) Evan Fournier

When the Knicks acquired Evan Fournier via free agency this past off-season, they envisioned a high-profile scorer who could replace Reggie Bullock and contribute more as a creator. However, Fournier has been disappointing lately, recording double digits in just one of his last four contests. Evan has shot below 33% from range in all five, making little to no impact.

If Fournier isn’t contributing on offense, he’s rather useless considering his defensive qualities. He’s slow to react to ball carriers and relies on steals to provide any positive metric. On the season, he’s shooting 35% from deep and averaging 12.2 points per game, far less than the Knicks expected when they initially signed him. However, it is a long year, and there’s plenty of time for him to find his groove, but it starts with simplifying things.

The veteran guard has found himself running in circles, trying to find the right spot on the floor, which has confused his teammates and put him out of position at times. Fournier needs to settle in the corner and simply offer a kick-out option for the primary playmakers like Randle — his chicken with his head cut-off strategy is doing more harm than good.

Until he finds his place within the starting team, the Knicks will continue relying on the second unit to supplement deficiencies. This is clearly not the elite defensive team we experienced last season.

2.) Kemba Walker

Speaking of inconsistent, veteran point guard Kemba Walker has found himself struggling in various categories. Over the past five games, Walker has recorded two contests with double-digit points, but another two with five points or less. Against Orlando, one of the worst teams in basketball, he contributed five points and shot 33% from deep and 28.6% from the field. With an All-Star caliber player providing little to nothing on offense, he’s virtually useless given his defensive qualities.

The Knicks have two players in Fournier and Walker who aren’t producing at an efficient level, and given the fact neither are considered offensive-minded players, this has left a significant void and presented a significant vulnerability.

The problem is, if Tom Thibodeau tries to change the player combinations and dismantle the second team, they will disrupt the only consistent portion of their squad at the moment. They need to let the starting unit figure things out on their own without making too many changes.

New York Yankees: Important dates to guide you through the postseason

New York Yankees

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, the 2021/22 postseason is beginning to heat up up with some surprising moves already made by some teams. The Yankees haven’t done much that is earth moving, other than retain Aaron Boone as manager for another three years and hire Luis Rojas, ex Mets manager as their third base coach replacing Phil Nevin.

The does not mean it will continue that way, there are about three months left in the offseason with much happening during the winter meetings. The Yankees will be looking for pitching help, centerfield backup, and the much publicized need for a quality shortstop. Here is a look at the important upcoming offseason dates and what they mean.

Today, November 19:

Today is the deadline for the Yankees and teams to add eligible minor leaguers to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Generally speaking, college players drafted no later than 2018 and high school players drafted no later than 2017 are Rule 5 Draft eligible this winter, as are players signed internationally no later than 2017. The Yankees will have to be careful, they have lost some key players in the past that were not protected.

Last season they lost shortstop Kyle Holder going to the Phillies and another right-hander, Trevor Stephan, picked by the Indians. But above all the Yankees wished they had protected reliever Garrett Whitlock who turned out big for the Boston Red Sox. The righty pitched in 46 games with an ERA of 1.96.

Dec. 1:

Non-tender deadline. This is the deadline for teams to offer their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players a contract for 2022. They don’t have to sign them just yet, but they do have to offer a contract. Players become free agents if they are not offered a contract.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement ends at 11:59 pm. The GBA is how the owners and players work together for the period of the new contract. In 1994 the owners and players couldn’t come to an agreement and the players went on strike that lasted into the 1995 season. Neither side wants that to happen again but it is very possible if the sides can’t come together particularly on salary caps.

Dec. 6-9:

This years’ Baseball Winter Meetings will be in Orlando, Florida. This is typically when a lot of trades and movement happens each season. Last year was quiet, this year is not expected to be. The Winter Meetings are the busiest week of the offseason. It is non-stop hot stove action. Historically, the biggest moves of the offseason are consummated at the Winter Meetings. GMs can talk face-to-face with agents and other GMs to get things done. It should be active for the New York Yankees, although Brian Cashman often works undercover.

Jan. 14:

This date is the deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to submit salary figures. The players state what they think they should be paid and the owners counter with what they feel the player is worth. Most arbitration eligible players agree to a salary before the deadline.

Jan. 15:

The 2022 international signing period opens. This is when Jasson Dominguez was signed by the Yankees in 2019.

Jan. 31 to Feb. 18:

Arbitration hearings happen during this period. Like everything in life sometimes the sides don’t come together. In this case it’s over the players salary for the upcoming season. When they can’t agree the owner and the players goes before a 3-man panel that will  decide the validity of each case and pick either the players figure or the  owners amount, one or the other.

Mid-February:

Spring training camps open across Florida and Arizona. There is no set date but each team sets up their own schedule for when pitchers and catchers, and when players report. Nevertheless the first day of play for both the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues begin on February 26.

March 31:

March 31 is the date all baseball fans await, it’s Opening Day 2022. All 30 clubs will be in action on Opening Day, with 11 of the 15 games featuring intradivision matchups. The Yankee season will start by hosting the Texas Rangers at the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

New York Yankees 11/19 News Roundup and more

Yankees don’t forget their neighbors during the holidays

Yesterda, the New York Yankees partnered with Krasdale Foods for their annual Thanksgiving Food Voucher Giveaway, where they distributed approximately 4,000 food vouchers to Bronx residents to assist local families in preparing their Thanksgiving meals. The food vouchers came to well over $100 thousand.

Krasdale is a premier grocery distributor in Metro New York, that specializes in providing quality products that cater to the unique needs of our independent retail partners and the diverse communities they serve. Strategically located in Bronx, NY, our state-of-the-art warehouse facility proudly services over 2,500 independent grocery locations, including CTown Markets and Bravo Markets.

The New York Yankees are known for their support of their neighbors that surround Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, Yankee Hope Week is just one of them. The Yankees are presently running a food drive that will last until the end of November so that they can conduct their many Christmas charitable events.

New York Yankees news roundup

Happy Birthday this week to Yankee reliever Joely Rodriguez, and starting pitcher Jameson Taillon. Congratulations to Aaron Judge being named to his second Silver Slugger award. Congratulations to Yankee ace Gerrit Cole for coming in second in the Cy Young voting. Joey Gallo has another Gold Glove award for his mantle, it’s his second in his career. Ex New York Mets manager Luis Rojas’ option was not taken up by the Mets, but in a surprise move the Yankees have hired him to be the new third base coach, replacing Phil Nevin. The Yankees have learned that Justin Verlander will resign with the Houston Astros for one year at $26 million.

Hal and Cashman indicate all is in flex

Just days ago it looked as if Brian Cashman and the Yankees would be opening up the purse and spending some big money on a long term contract for a starting shortstop. But now it appears that has changed in favor of a short gap measure, while the Yankees wait for prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza to become major league ready later this season or in 2023. So, it likely will not be costly Correa, the less expensive Marcus Semien now seems like the better option.

This does not mean the Yankees won’t be spending money, they will be, just not as much on shortstop. The Yankees still need back up at center and at least one new starting pitcher. Everything is in flex right now, but many moves, purchases and trades will be upcoming in an offseason that will see many changes for the New York Yankees.