Yankees News: Aaron Judge posts heart-felt picture after best friend dropped from team

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, rougned odor

Last week, the New York Yankees had to name their 40 man roster to determine protected players. In the midst of this, general manager Brian Cashman and the coaching staff surprisingly left a few players off the roster, including Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, and Rougned Odor.

All three of these players have made an impact in the past, as Odor and Wade both played in over 100 games this past season as a result of injury and deficiencies.

Unfortunately, neither were able to produce adequate stats and justify retention from the Yankees. Odor spent the first seven years of his career with the Texas Rangers, showing inconsistent hitting throughout.

In 102 games this past season wearing pinstripes, the 27-year-old logged a .202 average with 15 homers and 39 RBIs. He struck out 100 times, good for a 27.7% strikeout rate. While he provided solid defense throughout the season as the Yankees dealt with a number of issues in the infield, the team is clearly looking to upgrade that spot, electing to protect multiple prospects instead.

With Odor being subjected to the waiver wire, there is a chance another team scoop him up. If he passes through unclaimed, the Yankees could theoretically bring him back on a cheap contract, but star slugger Aaron Judge posted what seemed to be a farewell style image over the weekend.

Odor was a better teammate than player, as Judge became fond of the stocky infielder. Meanwhile, Judge is on the other end of the spectrum, beginning to negotiate with upper management about a massive contract extension. Judge is coming off arguably his best season yet, hitting .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBIs this past season.

Showing consistency with his health was a big step forward for Aaron, who played in just 28 games during the 2020 season and 102 in 2019. Having played 148 games this past year, Cashman can feel comfortable extending him on a big contract, but they still have another year of arbitration before they need to settle.

Chicago Bears: Week 11 takeaways, quick tidbits, and more

andy dalton, bears

Currently, in the middle of a five-game losing streak, the Chicago Bears now look ahead to week 12 for a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Detroit Lions. But first, let’s recap week 11.

1) There are two players of the game in this one, both on defense. Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith kept the Bears in this one, especially with the defense missing Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson. Props to Quinn for turning in such a monstrous performance with 3.5 sacks, five tackles, three TFL, and four QB hits. Smith had 17 tackles on the afternoon, the most by a Bears linebacker since 2009.

2) Regarding Justin Fields, who has bruised ribs, the Bears have a decision to make. If it were in Fields hands, he’d be dressing up on Thursday afternoon against the Lions. Ultimately, with seven games remaining, the Bears should play it safe with Fields and sit him in a meaningless game. Give the future of the franchise a little over 10 days to get right before the Arizona Cardinals come to town on December 5th. It’s better for the Bears to have Fields healthy for the final six games of the season, a stretch that includes playing the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and Minnesota Vikings (twice).

3) The Bears got away from the running game early in this one and it showed. Khalil Herbert had just one carry for zero yards while David Montgomery had 14 carries for 58 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Keeping the ball out of the Ravens’ hand should’ve been a goal of the Bears but Chicago failed to do so consistently throughout the afternoon. The Bears coaching staff needs to realize that neither Fields nor Andy Dalton can fully the offense, which means knowing your limitations of what skill position players can and can’t do is vital when it comes to offensive philosophy.

4) At times, it may not have looked like it but wide receiver Darnell Mooney had a game. Mooney’s quickly establishing a reputation as a big-play threat in the Bears offense. With five receptions for 121 receiving yards, averaging 24.2 yards per reception, the second-year wide receiver made his presence felt all afternoon, especially on a 60-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton.

5) This was what you could consider the Marquise Goodwin breakout game. Goodwin added to the Bears’ explosiveness on offense, with four receptions for 104 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown pass to give the Bears the lead late in the fourth quarter. This game needs to serve as an example of how the Bears can continue to utilize Goodwin moving forward.

6) The Bears struggled to execute consistently but another issue is playing good situational football. Matt Nagy needs to understand the Bears aren’t getting the job done right now and much of it is due to coaches being able to react in situations. An example of this is when the Bears burned a timeout with 1:41 left to go in the fourth quarter after failing to convert a two-point conversion.

7) The Bears also struggled to get off the field on third down in this game. Baltimore was 7-for-16 on Sunday afternoon, with the game’s biggest play coming on a 3rd-and-12 where Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley hit wide receiver Sammy Watkins for a 29-yard gain with just 0:33 left in the fourth quarter. The Bears defense has struggled to consistently get off the field on third down this season and it’s only going to get harder over the final seven weeks of the season with Mack being out.

8) Speaking of giving up a big gain on 3rd-and-12, guess what? The Bears’ secondary isn’t very good without Eddie Jackson but Jaylon Johnson had a nice showing. Second-year CB Kindle Vildor got rocked all afternoon while Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson were beaten as a result of miscommunication. The entire unit needs an overhaul in 2021 with just Jackson and Johnson guaranteed to start.

9) What does this loss mean for the Bears? Well, Chicago’s final seven games are against NFC North opponents. But understand the Bears were on the outside looking playoff-wise heading into week 11. This latest loss digs the Bears even deeper into a hole that’s getting harder to get out of.

10) For the rest of the season, nothing matters for the Bears except seeing what sticks on the wall for 2022 and beyond. Essentially, for the Bears, 2022 has already started despite 2021 not being over yet. The Bears’ future is already on the roster in Fields but the front office needs to figure out who’s staying in 2022 in an effort to build around Fields. That means taking a hard look at players and more importantly coaches.

One player who’s helping drag the Knicks’ offense down

The New York Knicks lost a competitive game against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday evening, despite a dominant performance from Julius Randle, scoring 34 points over 39 minutes. However, the starting unit as a whole has been wildly inconsistent as of late, dragging the team down and forcing the second unit to pick up the slack, which isn’t sustainable over the course of an entire season against quality opponents.

One of the Knicks’ most significant liabilities early in the year has been free agent acquisition Evan Fournier, who signed a four-year, $73 million deal to feature as the team’s shiny new shooting guard. Fournier was expected to bring elite shooting with creation abilities, replacing Reggie Bullock and his spot-up style. However, his entire game is changing based on the advanced analytics, showcasing a player who isn’t scoring enough on his own and missing easy opportunities to produce, putting more pressure on the defense.

“Very inconsistent, obviously,” Fournier said at Knicks practice Friday. “Kind of like what we’ve been doing as a team, to be honest.

“We’ve had really good games. We’ve had bad games. … In [15] games, you’ve seen my best and worst already.”

Fournier tried to chalk it up as a team issue, but he simply isn’t playing at the top of his game, posting just three points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field in the loss to Chicago. In fact, over the last five games, he has only breached seven points once, against a league-worst Huston Rockets team, where he posted 19 on 53.8% shooting.

Oddly, the Knicks’ new piece started the year with efficient scoring production, posting double-digit outings in four of his first five contests. Since then, he’s landed in the five points per game range on average, watching his shooting percentage plummet and his minutes decrease because of it. If you ignore his one positive performance, which seems to be an anomaly among a sample size of negative outings, he hasn’t shot above 33% from deep once this entire season.

Looking into his statistics further, his percent of three-point field goals made unassisted has dropped significantly this year to just 2.6% after posting 17+ percent over the past two seasons. In addition, his percent of points off turnovers has plummeted to 6.4% after recording above 10% in every season since entering the NBA. His free-throw points have dropped astronomically and most of his points are coming off assisted shots, showing a lack of creation and efficiency.

Ultimately, Fournier simply isn’t producing at a level he’s used to, which is likely a direct result of fewer minutes and a team not necessarily needing him to take the reins on an everyday basis. He clearly lacks confidence and doesn’t have great defensive attributes or metrics to justify him staying on the court if he’s not offensively productive.

Tom Thibodeau is going to have to make some tough decisions in the coming days, and it is going to start with reducing Fournier’s minutes to a complementary role until he can improve his shooting.

Yankees taking strange approach to shortstop market, could wait for collapse

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman

In a perfect world, the New York Yankees could save a few dollars on a premium shortstop, which is likely what general manager Brian Cashman is thinking ahead of December, and the majority of deals are expected to either take place or stall due to a lockout.

Cashman has had success buying his time in the market in the past, and it seems as if he may take a similar approach with plenty of free agents available at a prioritized position.

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, the Yankees could be waiting patiently for the shortstop market to collapse, swooping in and grabbing a solid player at a cheaper price-point:

The Yankees could essentially wait until that point and see if markets collapse for a shortstop. Could Story, for example, not like his market and accept a one-year pillow deal at $25 million-$30 million to set himself up better next offseason when free agency is less jammed with elite shortstops?

Of course, they would ideally land Carlos Correa or Corey Seager, but I wouldn’t rule out the potential for a second-tier option like Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez, or even Andrelton Simmons. They would all be a bit cheaper than the top-tier options and offer a bit more flexibility if the team is willing to wait for their young shortstop prospects to reach the majors.

It is clear that the front office has Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza in mind, but neither will likely be ready until the 2023 season at the minimum. Peraza could likely offer solid defense immediately, but his offensive game is still developing. This past season with AA-Somerset, Peraza posted a .294 batting average with 12 homers, 40 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases. Over 592 innings, he allowed six errors and posted a .972 fielding percentage. If he can maintain his consistency, he could be the first option elevated to the major league roster, which would force management a shift their free-agent signing to the hot corner at third base.

Hopefully, the Yankees can land their preferred player at a cheaper price point, and Cashman is willing to bet the market will soften in the coming days.

New York Yankees: 11/22 Yankee news roundup, what you need to know

yankees, matt olson

The New York Yankees haven’t made any splashes in the postseason so far, but there is plenty of moves yet to be made. Here’s a quick recap of what’s going on.

Matt Olson at first? Probably not

@JonHeyman
A’s said to be “shooting for the moon,” in early Matt Olson trade talks. Can’t blame em. 39 HR. .911 OPS. 5.8 WAR. 2 years ‘til free agency.
According to Jon Heyman and others. the Oakland Athletics are asking for a huge sum for any trade for first baseman Matt Olson. With the Yankees having to decide between a big payday for a shortstop and a contract extension for Aaron Judge, you can be sure this deal is out the window for the Yankees. Anthony Rizzo, maybe?

Derek Jeter can’t be bothered

Carlos Correa a possible Yankee target as a new shortstop, for some reason or other decided to insult the Yankees and more specifically ex shortstop Derek Jeter, saying that he didn’t deserve any of the Gold Glove awards he recieved, It didn’t take long for the shortstop to respond, but probably not as Correa might have expected. Jeter basically said the comments weren’t worth commenting on.

@MikeCugnoCBS4
.@CraigMish asked Derek Jeter about Carlos Correa’s comments in which he said Jeter didn’t deserve any of his Gold Gloves. Jeter: “I didn’t think much about it.”

Yankees will talk extension with Aaron Judge

Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have hinted that they will speak with Aaron Judge’s agent about a contract extension, most likely later than sooner and closer to spring training. The Yankees have many moves to resolve before they attack that issue. But both officials note that he is the face of the franchise and can not be allowed to walk at the end of the 2022 season, when he becomes a free agent.

The fact the Judge has made it known that he wants to end his career in the Bronx, is  a deal maker for the Yankees, they just have to decide how much to offer and for how long to the turning 30 year old. Most industry insiders believe it will be in the $30 million per year area for 5 – 6 years. The risk for the Yankees is Judge’s ability to stay healthy. But last year Judge showed his worth being mostly healthy for the whole season.

No Suzuki for the Yankees

The big news today is that all MLB teams can negotiate with Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who was posted by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. The right fielder this season batted .319/.436/.640 with 38 home runs and a 1.075 OPS; that’s truly amazing, but with Aaron Judge in right field, it’s doubtful the Yankees will make any serious play for Suzuki. Of course the Yankees could move Judge to center?

The Yankees watching not participating

Just a few weeks ago it looked as though the New York Yankees would be the major team to make a big splash with a star signing at shortstop. But hold onto your horses, that seems to have changed dramatically in favor of the Yankees not blocking Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza making it to the bigs. The Yankees tend to to this more than advisable. Waiting for a player to get great, only to have the experiment fail. Prospects can be a very fickle thing.

Joel Sherman of of the New York Post reports that the New York Yankees are “monitoring the elite shortstop group rather than participating in it,” The big question is will the Yankees wait until all the big fish are fried, and be left with nothing. No movement yet on shortstops, but three prime starting pitchers are already gone.

Yankees Mets, trade partners?

The New York Mets have a new general manger, Billy Eppler. Eppler, who most recently served as the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels. But what makes this story somewhat interesting is the Eppler was Brian Cashman’s assistant GM from 2012 to  2015. It’s not about personalities, its the cross town rivalry and methodology. Eppler pointed out in his years with the Yankees they never made a trade with the Mets.

 

 

 

Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy’s message not being received

bears, matt nagy

CHICAGO–After a fifth straight loss, the Chicago Bears appear to be in no man’s land. A Bears team that was above .500 just six weeks ago is now reeling and out of the NFC playoff picture, on the outside looking in. After Sunday’s loss, head coach Matt Nagy had one simple message for his team.

“You just keep fighting,” Nagy said. “You keep believing in each other, and you keep it real simple and you never stop fighting, that’s all you can do.”

Listening to Nagy’s message, there isn’t a lot to takeaway. The Bears had their bright moments on Sunday afternoon but never really showed up to play consistently at a high level on both sides of the ball. At the end of the day, the only silver lining was that Roquan Smith, Jaylon Johnson, Robert Quinn, and Trevis Gipson has strong performances on defense. On offense, with the Bears being forced to switch to veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, the offense struggled to find any sort of consistency.

“I just understand in the end we all care a lot and we’re all in this thing,” Nagy said after the game. “Of course, we want to do everything we can to win so that’s our job to do that. I think that everyone is competitive and wants to see the Bears win and that’s exactly what we want.”

Over the last three seasons, a prime justification for keeping Nagy as head coach is his ability to be a players coach. 10 games into the 2021 campaign and it’s clear Nagy appears to be losing the locker room.

In Chicago, as the weather gets colder and the days get darker, the winds of change need to set upon the lakefront. Messages continue to fall on deaf ears and Nagy continues to beat a dead horse, signaling that a new face needs to be sitting in the head coaches office at Halas Hall when the calendar turns to January 2022 for the Bears.

New York Rangers’ last second goal defeats Buffalo 5-4

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren scored the game-winner with .07 seconds left to cap a crazy 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres appeared to be ready to take their contest into overtime Sunday night.

Chris Kreider had the puck pinned in the Saber’s end with a little over five seconds remaining when the puck found its way onto his stick. He then chipped the puck to a pinching Adam Fox who feed it to Mika Zibanejead.

All the while Ryan Lindgren skated his way to the right of the Buffalo’s goaltender, the only one who saw him was Zibanejead who feed him a perfect tape-to-tape pass that Lindgren easily put into the net, sending the Garden faithful into a frenzy on Hockey Fights Cancer night.

The win was the 11th for the Blueshirts (11-4-03) and was their fifth win in their last six games (5-1).

Sneaking In

Lindgren and Adam Fox were at the blueline and decided to sneak into the offensive zone as they both realized there wasn’t much time should the Sabres get possession of the puck to skate into the Ranger’s end.

“Me and ‘Foxy’ are standing up kind of back towards the point and look up and see the clock and kind of realize with five seconds left there’s probably not going to be enough time for them to bring it all the way down, so you just keep sneaking in,” Lindgren said to Heather Engel. “The puck got to Foxy, who kicked it out to Mika. Obviously, a great play by him. Just a great win.”

Artemi panarin had another three-assist game and was named the number one star of the game. The Rangers and Sabers combined to score four goals in the second period in a span of 1:22. The two teams scored three goals each in that stanza taking a 4-4 game into the second intermission.

Georgiev Continues to Struggle

Alexandar Georgiev started the game for the Rangers, but it was Igor Shesterin who led the team onto the ice for the start of the third period.

Georgiev seemed to be fighting the puck off most of the night. The Sabres’ fourth goal of the game and third of the second period by Rasmus Dahlin seemed to be the last straw for head coach Gerard Gallant.

Shesterkin made four saves in the third period winning his ninth game of the year.

 

Notes (Via NYR PR)

Ryan Lindgren scored the game-winning goal with 0.7 seconds left in the game, marking the fourth time in franchise history that the Rangers have scored a go-ahead goal in the final second of a third period. The last to do so was Brad Richards in 2011 against the Phoenix Coyotes. It is the 24th time in NHL history a team has won a game in the final second of the third period. Lindgren became the fourth defenseman in NHL history to score a go-ahead goal in the final second of regulation.

The Rangers pushed their home win streak to five games with a win tonight, their longest win streak at home since Dec. 22, 2019-Jan. 13, 2020.

New York recorded at least one point for the ninth time in its last 11 games (7-2-2) and has at least one point in 14 of its 18 games this season.

The Rangers won their third-straight game against the Sabres and have extended their point streak to eight games against them (7-0-1). In their last 18 matchups dating back to Feb. 2, 2017, the Rangers have only lost three times in regulation to Buffalo (14-3-1). At MSG, New York has won five straight and nine of 10 games against the Sabres. In their last 16 games at home against Buffalo, the Rangers are 13-3-0 for 26 points.

The Rangers had 12 different players record a point tonight, the most players to record a point in a single game this season.

The Rangers and Sabres combined for four goals in a span of 1:22, marking the fastest four goals in a game since March 21, 2017 (SJS at MIN: 1:03).

New York scored three goals in the second period tonight, the third time this season they have scored three second-period goals. The Rangers have 19 second-period goals this season, tied for the 10th most in the NHL.

Tonight was the fourth occurrence this season in which the Rangers scored five or more goals in a game.

Artemi Panarin recorded his 50th career three-point game with three assists. Since entering the NHL in 2015-16, his 50 three-point games are tied with Patrick Kane for the third-most in the NHL. Tonight marked the 11th time since joining the Rangers that Panarin has recorded three or more assists in a game, trailing only Connor McDavid (16) for the most among all players over that span. Panarin has recorded points in four of his last six games (2G-6A). Tonight was the 20th time in his career that Panarin has faced the Sabres and he has points in 15 of those matchups. Panarin has points in six of his last seven games (3G-10A) against Buffalo.

Chris Kreider scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season and eighth on the power-play, trailing Leon Draisaitl (9) for the most PPG’s in the NHL. Since 2019-20, Kreider’s 28 power-play tallies are second in the NHL to Draisaitl (40) Kreider has points in four of his last six games against Buffalo (3G-2A) and seven of his last 10 games against them (6G-2A).

 Adam Fox notched his 13th and 14th assists of the season, giving him the most assists among defensemen in the NHL. Fox extended his assist/point streak to seven games against the Sabres (1G-13A).

Ryan Strome prolonged his point streak to six games (1G-6A) with an assist tonight, his longest point streak since his 11-game streak from March 13-April 1, 2021 (2G-14A). It marks the third time in his career that Strome has had a point streak of six-plus games.

Mika Zibanejad registered an assist on the game-winning goal, giving him five assists in his last six games. Zibanejad has at least one point in six of his last seven games against the Sabres.

Kaapo Kakko tied his career-long point streak of four games (3G-2A) originally set Apr. 6-11, 2021. In each of his last five games, Kakko is a plus-1 or better and in total is a plus-6 since Nov. 13.

 Ryan Lindgren scored his second goal of the season and first career game-winning goal with the tally with 0.7 seconds left to play.

Jacob Trouba scored his second goal of the season and tallied his fifth point (2G-3A) in his last six games.

Filip Chytil recorded his 75th career NHL point in his 201st NHL game. Chytil is the 89th Czech-Republic-born skater in NHL history to tally 75-plus points. Chytil has three points (1G-2A) in his past five games.

 Ryan Reaves skated in his 700th NHL game tonight and recorded his first point as a Ranger (assist). Reaves became the 20th skater from the 2005 draft class and second from the fifth round (Darren Helm) to skate in 700 games. Reaves has split the 700 games between St. Louis (419), Vegas (209), Pittsburgh (58), and New York (14). Since the NHL began tracking hits in the early 2000’s, Reaves is one of 11 players in the NHL who have played in as many games (700) and recorded as many hits (2,387) as Reaves has.

 K’Andre Miller scored his second goal of the season tonight, giving him his 15th career point. Miller scored his first NHL goal against Buffalo on January 26, 2021.

Barclay Goodrow earned his 101st career point with an assist tonight. Goodrow has three goals and five assists for eight points this season, one of six players on New York with five-plus assists.

The Ranger’s next game will be at the new UBS arena when they visit the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, 7 p.m.

New York Yankees: Fans chime in on possible Brett Gardner return

gardner

The New York Yankees have plenty of decisions to make this offseason on how to improve the team, and win another World Series. Discussing the possible return of Brett Gardner is not high on their priority list, as in past years, the answer to his return will be one of the last items on their agenda before the start of 2022 spring training.

With all the discussion on social media on whether Gardner and the Yankees ink a deal, I decided to poll Yankee fans in five Yankee fan groups on Facebook. I gave them the option of yes the Yankees need him, no his time is done, and yes, but only as a coach. Here is the outcome of 442 respondents: Yes – 46%, No – 39%. and as a coach 15%. It’s not overwhelming, but Yankees fans feel he will be back for the 2022 season.

This writer believes that much about his return has to do with Aaron Hicks, who is no lock on staying healthy. If the Yankees bring in a back up centerfielder above Gardner’s grade, our 14 year veteran is gone, if not there is a good chance he will return. Even at age 39 he has proven he can play in 140 games while staying healthy.

At the end of the 2020 season, many, if not most, Yankee fans felt Brett Gardner’s time with the Yankees was coming to a close. Just days before the start of the 2021 season Gardner still had not been re-signed, but in the final days of the offseason, Gardner and the Yankees came to a deal bringing the 14-year veteran back for yet another year. Most of this was powered by Gardner’s desire to play at least one more year with fans in the stands. The same is true this year, he is not ready to give up the game he loves.

When Yankees resigned him, the plan was to use him as a versatile bench player. The reality is that he has been anything but that, playing in 140 games ,plus the one wild card game. mostly due to the need to have him on the field with the many outfield injuries, especially to Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier, causing Gardner to be the teams’ everyday centerfielder. But now, in the postseason run, Gardner had become a must-be in the lineup, hitting .325 in September. For some fleeting reason, Gardner heated up in September and has helped the Yankees reach the postseason in the last three seasons. He ended the season with a .222 average and 10 home runs.

Like the heralded legend Yogi Berra once quipped, “it’s not over till it’s over.” Though never the team’s superstar, Gardner shows us he still has much to offer with his baserunning and defense, and can still be clutch getting a walk-off win, one night he went with a bloop single that gave the Yankees the win. He went 3 for 4 with 2 singles and a double driving in two of the Yankees 4 runs.

When the terms of the Gardner deal were made known, Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported that the contract included $1.85 million and a $1 million signing bonus in 2021 as well a player and a club option for 2022. Gardner’s player option in 2022 would be worth $2.3 million and would convert to a $7.15.

The Yankees have already rejected the team option and Gardner the player option. Should he come back for another season is will likely be on a similar offer as least season.