New York Giants: Did Joe Judge just lose his chance at coming back next season?

new york giants, joe judge

This season hasn’t gone the way the New York Giants have intended, and that especially looks bad for Joe Judge. We’re midway through his second season in charge, but there hasn’t been much to show for other than a late push last year and flashes of potential this year.

On Monday Night Football, the Giants just had a chance to prove that some progress has been made by beating one of the top teams in the NFC. But that didn’t happen, and even worse, the game got away from the Giants and they hardly looked like a team that should be on the same field as Tampa Bay by the end of the game.

This was a chance for Joe Judge to earn some goodwill with the fans, and with the owners who will have the final decision on whether he keeps his job. With the actual result from this game being a 30-10 loss, it’s unclear what the future of the head coach position is now.

A lack of progress from Joe Judge

The expectation for the Giants this season was progress. Many acknowledged before the season that the Giants would have a tough time making the playoffs, but would still be satisfied if the team took steps forward and was still in the running down the stretch. In other words, fans want to see a team that’s competitive through the important parts of the season and not just in select games against bad teams when the division race is already out of hand.

By and large, the team hasn’t made that progress this season. In fact, it looks like the team regressed when they were faced with a big moment. In their past three games before this one, the Giants had 302, 300, and 247 total yards of offense. They only had 215 against Tampa Bay despite getting back multiple offensive weapons.

The Giants were always going to be an underdog when taking on the defending champions, but the manner that they lost and the under-utilization of their talent is what will add more pressure for the coaching staff. Wins against a struggling Panthers team or a Raiders team tied up in off the field issues aren’t enough for a worthwhile season. Eventually, progress has to come in the form of winning some of these more difficult games.

Under Judge, the Giants haven’t yet looked like a team that can do that. While Judge’s first season was excused for multiple reasons ranging from his newness to COVID-19, it’s harder to justify the same kind of performances happening on a consistent basis after the Giants spent big in free agency.

Will Judge keep his job?

The question of whether Judge will keep his job will probably be answered this offseason.

The Giants aren’t the kind of organization that likes to fire their coach in the middle of the season, and the team’s owners have shown little sign so far of wanting to throw in the towel and blow up the current rebuild. But ending that rebuild and starting fresh will almost certainly be on the table headed into the offseason, based on how it’s gone so far.

Oftentimes, if there’s a new GM, the decision on whether to keep the current head coach will come down to the GM. This looks like the most likely outcome for the Giants, because Dave Gettleman has been with the team for longer than Judge and his performance is harder to defend.

At this point, it seems nearly certain that the Giants will have a new general manager. That GM might end up with the decision to keep or fire Judge, but despite showing flashes of potential as a head coach, it’s honestly hard to say based on his current track record and lack of progress that any GM would volunteer to keep him on board and risk setting back a new rebuild.

New York Giants get blown out on prime time, lose 30-10 to Buccaneers

new york giants, daniel jones

The New York Giants have fallen to 3-7 after a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. The Giants went into this game with high hopes coming off of a bye week. New York won their last contest two weeks ago, got healthy over their bye, and still delivered a pitiful performance on Monday.

The Giants do not seem like a team that has a realistic chance of making the playoffs anymore. Their offense was inept versus the Buccaneers and their defense gave up 402 yards of offense. Tom Brady and the Bucs made easy work of the Giants to improve their record to 7-3 on the season.

Key stats and takeaways

New York Giants

  • QB Daniel Jones: 23/38 167 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
  • WR Kadarius Toney: 7 receptions, 40 yards
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson: 1 INT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • QB Tom Brady: 30/46 307 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
  • WR Mike Evans: 6 receptions, 73 yards, 1 TD
  • TE Rob Gronkowski: 6 receptions, 71 yards

The New York Giants put up only 10 points on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were averaging over 40 points per game at home entering this contest. The Bucs put up 30 points, demolished time of possession, and won the turnover battle (3-1). Daniel Jones struggled to keep the ball clean and see the field, throwing 2 interceptions and gaining only 167 yards through the air.

The predictable Giants offense received plenty of criticism throughout the night from the ManningCast, the ESPN MNF cast, and fans around the world. Jason Garrett’s offense struggled to establish an identity against a bruised and battered Buccaneers defense.

Tampa Bay went out and put up points as they tend to do. Tom Brady looked as cool and collected as he usually does, completing 65% of his passes for over 300 yards. Brady led the Buccaneers to long, methodical scoring drives with no hiccups.

For the New York Giants, this is a demoralizing loss in what has been a hugely disappointing 2021 season. The writing seems to be on the wall: major changes are on the horizon. The Giants cannot continue their losing ways and will need ownership to step in and turn things around sooner than later.

Stipe Miocic down to fight Jon Jones or Francis Ngannou in UFC return

MMA, Stipe Miocic

In a couple of months, UFC 270 will play host to a massive heavyweight title fight. The heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (16-3) will be defending his title against the undefeated interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0).

While there is a ton of attention on this title fight, there are a couple of huge heavyweight contenders lurking in the shadows. The biggest one being arguably the greatest fighter of all time in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones has been bulking up for over a year anticipating a move to heavyweight.

Lately, the former light heavyweight champion is weighing just under the heavyweight limit at 260 pounds. Jones has been rumored to be the front-runner to face off against whoever wins at UFC 270. However, there’s another contender that’s flying under the radar.

That contender is the former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (20-3). Miocic is considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history. However, he has a history of being overlooked and essentially disrespected by the UFC.

Last March, Miocic lost his heavyweight title to Ngannou. Despite having gone 8-2 in his last ten which includes six wins in title fights, Miocic has been mostly out of the conversation in terms of the heavyweight title picture.

UFC Return

Back in August when the UFC booked Ciryl Gane against Derrick Lewis for the interim heavyweight title, Miocic wasn’t even considered for the fight. While this has certainly annoyed Miocic, the former champion is taking it in strides as he prepares for his return.

Miocic talked with Ariel Helwani today and the two discussed his UFC return. The former heavyweight champion made it clear that he would fight anyone, however, there are a couple of fights that really interest him.

“I’m down [to fight Jon Jones] … Obviously, I really want that trilogy fight [with Francis Ngannou],” transcribed by MMA Fighting. The UFC and Jon Jones can never seem to get on the same page these days. In my opinion, Jones would be the promotion’s first choice for the winner of Ngannou – Gane.

However, I think Miocic is likely to get the shot given the negotiation issues between Jones and the promotions. It’ll be interesting to watch this play out, but either way, I’m excited to see Stipe back in the octagon sometime next spring.

After big win at UFC Vegas 43, what’s next for Ketlen Vieira?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 43, Ketlen Vieira (12-2) was taking on Miesha Tate (19-8). Of course, all eyes before the event were on the former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate who had said that she believed she could take out Amanda Nunes.

However, before she could dream of a rematch with the UFC‘s champ-champ, she needed to get by Ketlen Vieira. Vieira was out to prove that she wasn’t a stepping stone and wanted to prove to everyone that she was still a top contender.

Vieira entered the UFC with a perfect 6-0 record. She started her career with the promotion at a perfect 4-0 which included wins over former title challengers Sara McMann and Cat Zingano. However, injuries kept her inactive after her win against Zingano.

When she returned, Vieira was knocked out by Irene Aldana. Overall, Vieira entered UFC Vegas 43 at just 1-2 in three fights since returning. With that, many thought that she was going to lose to Miesha Tate.

However, Vieira was not having any of it. Throughout the first rounds, Vieira evaded Tate and caught her flush with counter after counter. The former champion was badly bloodied by the end of the fight and Ketlen Vieira picked up the decision victory.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 43?

This was a really big win for Vieira who entered the contest ranked seventh in the bantamweight division. With this win, it’s time to take a look at who the UFC should pair her with next. There are a couple of options out there.

One potential fight to watch would be taking on the winner of the Raquel Pennington – Julia Avila fight especially if Pennington wins. Pennington has won two in a row and she ranks just behind Vieira in the UFC’s rankings. Three straight wins could earn her that fight.

Another potential opponent to watch out for is Aspen Ladd. Ladd ranks ahead of Vieira but is coming off of a loss at featherweight. The former top bantamweight contender really struggled attempting to make the 135 pound limit recently and had a fight cancelled as a result.

If she returns to the UFC’s bantamweight division, Vieira could be the opponent that’s waiting for her. Either way, I’m expecting a top ten opponent for Ketlen Vieira next.

2021 New York Mets Player Evaluations: Catcher James McCann

The New York Mets opted for the cheaper option last offseason when they opted to sign James McCann instead of J.T. Realmuto. McCann signed with the Mets for four years at $40.6 million while Realmuto inked a five-year, $115.5 million deal with the rival Philadelphia Phillies. These were the best two catching options in free agency, but McCann lagged behind Realmuto in 2021.

McCann was such an intriguing addition because of his emerging hitting metrics, which showed increased exit velocity and launch angle, which was not present early in his career. He seemed like a much better option than Wilson Ramos but was more of the same. McCann had an extremely slow start as his average hovered around the Mendoza line through the end of May.

False Hope

When June rolled around, he put together his best offensive month by hitting .288/.341/.500 with four home runs and 16 runs batted in. McCann never carried the momentum to the second half of the season and finished was a slash line of .232/.294/.349 in 121 games. These numbers would be no surprise the Mets signed the Detroit Tigers version of McCann, but they invested in the Chicago White Sox version.

In Chicago, McCann became a hitter known for his increased hard-hit rate and launch angle. While the hard-hit remained similar, his launch angle fell dramatically. McCann’s launch angle dropped from 15 degrees in 2020 to just 9.3 in the 2021 season. This resulted in his 51.7% groundball rate, the highest of his career, and grounding into 12 double plays. McCann’s hard-hit groundballs combined with his lack of speed make it impossible for him to be a steady hitter.

Defensive Steps Back

McCann was solid behind the plate but was not as good as advertised. He threw out a career-low 27% of base stealers, but the Mets expected more since his career rate was in the mid-30s. Pitch framing was below average at -3 runs extra strikes and a 47.9% strike rate. The reason for the drop-off from 2020 was McCann’s inability to frame pitches low in the zone. From inside to outside to a right-handed batter, he had a percentage of 38.1%/61.8%/31.3% last season. In 2021, McCann fell to 24%/51.6%/29.9%, and we would often see him give up on the lower pitches as the season moved forward.

The biggest concern for McCann was his inability to hit high velocity after making a name off it during last season. He hit .245 with a .371 slugging percentage off fastballs this season after hitting .326 with a .478 slugging the previous year. McCann often struggled with his timing at the plate and never looked comfortable at any point.

He should bounce back fine defensively, but the bat is a significant question mark heading into 2022. McCann is heading into his age-32 season at a position where regressions steadily decline at his age. He was never a factor on offense and is heading into a critical year in year two of his deal.

Catching prospect Francisco Alvarez is a projected 2023 debut and is quickly on his way to becoming big-league ready. Should each of them continue to move in opposite directions, we could discuss Alvarez as the opening day catcher in 2023. Tomas Nido is a present member of the Mets roster who is on McCann’s heels to take away playing time. Nido had a few stretches where he earned playing time over the struggling McCann.

2021 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2022 Projection)

Hitting: 30 (35), .232 average is eight points lower than his average during five years in Detroit.

Power: 25 (35), The power numbers are more likely to return than the average.

Run: 20 (20), 26.7 sprint speed was a 0.6 increase from 2020.

Arm: 40 (50), 1 rSB and his 27% CS will improve in 2022.

Field: 30 (45), -5 DRS, and eight passed balls were the second-highest of his career.

Overall: 30 (40), Even as a Tiger, McCann was a better player than he showed in 2021.

Yankees trade utility man Tyler Wade to Angels, here’s the full deal

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Late last week, the New York Yankees designated Clint Frazier, Rougned Odor, and Tyler wade for assignment, making them waiver wire players.

Teams had an opportunity to scoop up the three options if desired, but instead, the Yankees traded Tyler Wade on Monday to the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations and a player to be named later.

Per the Yankees’ PR team:

The New York Yankees today announced that they have traded INF/OF Tyler Wade to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Wade played in 103 games last season with the Bombers, recording a .268 average with a 25.5% strikeout rate and 11% walk rate. He failed to hit a home run but did contribute 17 stolen bases and 31 total runs.

The speedy utility player isn’t known for his slugger bat but rather his speed on the base paths and solid defense at multiple positions. Wade earned time at shortstop, third base, second base, centerfield, left field, and right field this past season, filling a variety of roles and wearing many different hats. He spent the majority of his time at SS, enjoying 139 innings without allowing a single error.

Ultimately, he simply doesn’t fit the Yankees’ mold at this point as they look to bring in new talent with better power. At 26-years-old, Tyler will look to expand upon his talents in Los Angeles, a pretty nice place to end up after spending the majority of his career on the East Coast.

After falling short at UFC Vegas 43, what’s next for Michael Chiesa?

Entering the second half of 2021, Michael Chiesa (17-6) was in an excellent spot in the UFC’s welterweight division. The former top lightweight contender had been unbeaten since he made the jump to 170 pounds.

A perfect 4-0 start that included wins over former UFC champion Rafael Dos Anjos and a dominant win over the durable Neil Magny. This start earned him a shot against Vicente Luque back at UFC 265 in what some people considered to be a title eliminator.

Chiesa had some really good moments in the first round of that fight. However, he left his neck exposed and was submitted. He wanted a quick turnaround after that loss and the UFC booked him against the undefeated Sean Brady (15-0) this past weekend.

Throughout the fight, Brady was getting the better of Chiesa. It was a little surprising to see their grappling exchanges and I think even Chiesa was caught off guard. However, Chiesa did come on really strong in the final round.

That said, it wasn’t enough and Chiesa lost by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 43. Now, after that perfect start at welterweight which had him in title contention, Chiesa is looking at a two-fight losing streak.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 43?

After losing to Sean Brady at UFC Vegas 43, it’s time for Chiesa to take a slight step back in terms of the competition. He needs a good reset that could see him take on a ranked opponent that sits outside of the top ten.

In looking at the welterweight division, there are a couple of names that jump out to me. However, there’s one name on the list that seems to be the perfect fit. That perfect fit would be “The Leech” Li Jingliang (18-7).

We just saw Li compete back at UFC 267 where he took on phenom Khamzat Chimaev. Li was completely steamrolled and choked out in the first round. However, that shouldn’t take away from how good and tough Li is. That should ultimately speak to how special Chimaev is.

Li and Chiesa would be a fantastic matchup for the UFC to make. Both men need a win to get back to fighting guys inside the top ten. This is the direction I would go if I was the match maker.

3 potential trade targets for the Mets

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Mets have several positions to address during the offseason if they want to have a shot at taking first place in the NL East division in 2022. While the next step would be appointing a manager, they are still monitoring the market to look for roster upgrades.

Their most pressing needs are center field, a third baseman, and pitching, both for the rotation and the bullpen. Free agency is an obvious avenue to bring players, but the trade market is also an option.

These three players, potentially available via trade, would fit in the Mets with ease.

Byron Buxton, CF, Minnesota Twins

Buxton would represent a huge upgrade in center field for the Mets. It would also be a direct replacement for free agent Michael Conforto, because the team would slide Brandon Nimmo to a corner and plug Buxton in the middle.

Buxton put an amazing .306/.358/.647 line with 4.2 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, which is amazing considering he only participated in 61 games. He is injury-prone, sure, but remains one of the game’s best all-around players and would fit in the Mets like a glove.

Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland A’s

The Mets have been looking for a reliable third baseman for a while. They have had to play JD Davis there, and while he can hit, he struggles to stay healthy and is a liability on the field. Chapman, on the other hand, is a magician with the glove.

Additionally, he carries severe power in his right-handed bat. He hit 27 homers this season and his career-high is 36. However, he carries some batting-average risk by virtue of his high strikeout rate. Still, he is a 6-win player when at his best and could be a major upgrade for the Mets.

Luis Castillo, SP, Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds have made it clear that they are not looking to shop Castillo. Still, it could be a move to maintain some leverage, and the Mets don’t lose anything if they knock on the door.

Castillo had a rough first two months of the season, but finished with a 3.98 ERA as a whole and a 2.73 mark from June to the end of the campaign.

The Mets need rotation help after losing Noah Syndergaard to the Los Angeles Angels and with Marcus Stroman still testing the free agent market.

Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau says ‘everyone has to understand what their job is’ after loss to Bulls

knicks, tom thibodeau

The New York Knicks are facing an uphill battle, sitting just one win above .500 on the season. Having lost four of their last six games, New York needs to find a catalyst for success. While they currently rank 2nd in the Atlantic Standings, poor play from their starters has dragged the team down significantly in recent days.

Against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday evening, the Knicks fell by six points, and without a notable performance by Julius Randle, earning 34 points and 10 rebounds over 39 minutes, this game would’ve been far out of reach.

Several starters have been inconsistent as of late, including Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, who combine for 10 points in the loss. Fournier has shot above 33% from deep just once this season against the Houston Rockets this past Saturday. After offering him a four-year, $73 million deal, the team expected more out of him in terms of shooting efficiency and scoring production.

Walker, on the other hand, has also been a liability at times, scoring double-digit points just three times in November. He’s shooting a measly 28% from three-point range this month, which is far different than his career 36% shooting from deep.

After the loss to Chicago, head coach Tom Thibodeau brushed off any excuses, indicating injuries aren’t a justification for poor play. The Knicks have been dealing with injuries to Nerlens Noel, Mitchell Robinson, and Taj Gibson.

“Well, we’ve had guys out all year, so just figure it out,” Thibodeau said. “Everyone’s here for a reason, everyone’s capable. Everyone has to understand what their job is and go in and do your job, that’s the bottom line.”

With Robinson and Gibson out, the Knicks relied on Noel despite a sore right knee. They tried to exercise Jericho Sims for a few minutes and use Obi Toppin in the paint. RJ Barrett stepped up in the rebounding category, collecting 15 on the evening.

However, if the Knicks want to start winning games and playing at a higher level, Thibodeau knows what needs to be done.

“We got to build consistency,” Thibodeau said. “And so understand what went wrong, what we have to fix, what we did well and get ready for the next game. That’s the challenge of the season, so not to change. The games keep coming, sometimes the schedule is in your favor, sometimes it’s not. So you have to handle it the same way, just get ready for the game.”

Yankees may be running out of options to upgrade at the catcher position

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez, who has been the New York Yankees’ starter at the catcher position since 2016, had another disappointing season in 2021. It was far from a disaster, like the shortened 2020 campaign, but he was basically an average hitter (.204/.307/.423, 99 wRC+) and a poor defensive backstop.

Depending on which defensive metric you choose, or if you prioritize blocking, game-calling, or framing, he was either passable or very bad. Since his bat was about average, the Yankees sure could use an upgrade.

That’s a decision the Yankees need to make, and while they still have most of the offseason in front of them, the alternatives at catcher are starting to come off the board. While unlikely, it’s within the realm of possibilities that the team non-tenders Sanchez, too.

Catchers are starting to fly off the board for the Yankees

MLB Trade Rumors informed in the past couple of days that “the Braves announced that they’ve signed veteran catcher Manny Pina to a two-year contract worth $8MM. (Atlanta is one of the few organizations that publicly discloses financial terms.) Pina will earn $3.5MM in 2022 and $4.5MM in 2023. The contract also has a $4MM club option for the 2024 season, which does not come with a buyout.”

Additionally, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that “catcher Pedro Severino and the Milwaukee Brewers are in agreement on a one-year, $1.9 million contract, pending physical, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Severino, 28, will join Omar Narvaez at catcher and has incentives in the deal that can earn him another $400,000.”

Here is a peek of what’s available for the Yankees via free agency: Yan Gomes, Luke Maile, Stephen Vogt, Jeff Mathis, Rob Brantly, Roberto Pérez, Wilson Ramos, Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos, Kurt Suzuki, Andrew Knapp, Chance Sisco, Sandy León, and Austin Romine.

That’s not a particularly solid group. The trade market may be another option for the Yankees, but there may not be too many options besides Willson Contreras and Jacob Stallings. However, both have multiple seasons left of team control and may not be easy to acquire.

At this point, sticking with Sanchez and trying to “fix” both his offense and defense is perhaps the Yankees’ best option.