New York Giants: NFL trend shows insight on Saquon Barkley’s contract situation

saquon barkley, giants

Whether or not it’s smart to pay a running back is an ongoing debate in the NFL right now. The New York Giants won’t be able to escape that debate, as they’ll have to decide sooner or later whether Saquon Barkley is in the picture long term. There’s some trends, however, that may give insight into the moves the team will make.

While it’s impossible to know what the new front office is thinking, this early into Joe Schoen’s tenure, we can look at what winning teams have done.

Super Bowl winning teams are cheap at running back

When you take a look at the winners of the last 13 Super Bowls, it stands out that running back is not a high base salary position.

None of the leading rushers on this list of teams made more than $2.5M in base salary during their championship seasons. Many of them made less than $1M. Barkley, on the other hand, is set to make $7.2M for the 2022 season before becoming a free agent next year.

This isn’t to say that Barkley is headed out the door soon, and that the Giants should move on from him. It shows, though, that the most successful teams from the past decade haven’t overvalued the running back position.

The Cowboys broke this rule with Ezekiel Elliot, and it hasn’t worked out for them. What does it mean for the Giants?

Well, they would be smart to avoid the same outcome. When the time comes to deal with Barkley’s contract, expect the Giants to look for a discount if they do retain the player.

With so much evidence that highly paying running backs these days is a poor idea, it’s just hard to see the Giants locking themselves into a major cap commitment with one under Joe Schoen.

Two guards that the Giants can target in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft

zion johnson, giants

The New York Giants are preparing to overhaul this offense this offseason. The hirings of head coach Brian Daboll (former Bills offensive coordinator) and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka (former Chiefs QB coach) were the first steps in this makeover. The next step for GM Joe Shoen and company should be to rebuild the offensive line.

The Giants’ offensive line has been one of the worst in the NFL for years. Former general manager Dave Gettleman promised to fix this problem but ultimately failed to deliver. Joe Schoen, however, has no choice but to solve this dilemma. The 2022 NFL Draft might be the perfect opportunity for Schoen to find new offensive line talent.

In the first round of this year’s draft, most analysts and fans are projecting the Giants to draft an offensive tackle. Andrew Thomas broke out in 2021 as the team’s left tackle, but an anchor is needed on the right side. If a tackle is the main target in round one, then the Giants should turn their attention to some talented offensive guards in round two.

Zion Johnson – OG, Boston College

Zion Johnson out of Boston College is an intriguing name that the Giants should consider in this year’s draft. Johnson is a top offensive line talent that is projected to be an early second-round pick in April.

According to Pro Football Focus, Zion Johnson allowed only six pressures in pass protection in 2021. He also posted an 84.4 overall PFF Grade, ranking second in the ACC. Johnson was one of the top talents in attendance of this year’s Senior Bowl and he is PFF’s third-ranked interior offensive lineman in this year’s draft.

Zion Johnson has the ideal build to play guard in the NFL. PFF describes Johnson’s frame as being “built in a lab for a guard… He has a loaded-up lower half.” The Draft Network projects Zion Johnson as a starting guard in a zone run scheme which should fall in line with the needs of Brian Daboll’s offensive scheme with the Giants.

Darian Kinnard – OT, Kentucky

Another prospect for the Giants to consider is an offensive tackle that could move to the interior at the next level. Darian Kinnard played right tackle for Kentucky but is projected as a guard in the NFL. The Draft Network explains that Kinnard has “the kind of functional power necessary to be a tremendous asset in the ground game,” making him a better fit at offensive guard.

PFF statistics show that Darian Kinnard was a rock in pass protection. He allowed pressure on only 2% of snaps with screens, play-action and RPOs removed among 2022 NFL Draft OTs. Despite this TDN, projects Kinnard as a starting guard in a play-action pass-heavy offense with a scheme versatile in the run game.

“If you’re willing to work with him through the growing pains of a potential transition inside and are ready to brush up on some of his hand usage, you could be walking away with a quality, impact starter at guard.” – Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network

The New York Giants likely need to upgrade both offensive guard positions this offseason. The Giants are looking to build their team more through the draft than free agency going forward. In the middle rounds of the NFL Draft is where the Giants should look to find their next starters on the interior.

After second loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 271, what’s next for Robert Whittaker?

This past Saturday in the headliner of UFC 271, we saw a rematch for the middleweight title. Former champion Robert Whittaker (23-6) was looking to regain the middleweight crown as he took on the champion Israel Adesanya (22-1). This rematch was a fight that was two and a half years in the making.

Robert Whittaker had never lost to another man in the UFC’s middleweight division outside of Israel Adesanya. After losing the title to Adesanya in 2019, Bobby Knuckles responded by defeating three top contenders to earn another shot at the champion. He was out to prove that the first fight was not a representation of him as a fighter.

When the fight started at UFC 271, Whittaker was looking really shaky. Adesanya dropped him in the first round and Whittaker was having a difficult time getting on the inside. However, as the fight went on, Whittaker got better and better.

Rounds 2-4 were very close, but Adesanya seemed to still be getting the edge on things. Whittaker put together his best round in the fifth and he thought he did enough to win the title at UFC 271. However, all three judges gave the fight to Adesanya and Whittaker dropped to 0-2 against the champion.

What’s next after UFC 271?

After UFC 271, Robert Whittaker finds himself in a very tough position. He’s clearly the second best middleweight in the world. He’s head and shoulders better than even the third best middleweight. However, he’s also been defeated twice by the champion and that puts him in a weird purgatory-type place at 185.

In a way, he’s very much like Colby Covington. If Kamaru Usman wasn’t around, Covington would rule the UFC middleweights. Meanwhile if Adesanya wasn’t around, Whittaker would rule 185. Now, Whittaker must take out all contenders again to try and warrant a third fight with the champion.

With that in mind, who should the UFC pair him against? Well, there are a couple of options that make sense. One option would be pairing him against Marvin Vettori (18-4-1). Like Whittaker, Vettori has also lost to Adesanya twice which puts him in a very difficult spot.

Another option for Whittaker could be Sean Strickland (25-3). Strickland has fought his way into UFC title contention, however, he’s going to need one more big win to get a title shot. A win over Whittaker could do that or a win for Whittaker could once again cement that fact that he’s above the rest of the division.

After falling short at UFC 271, what’s next for Derek Brunson?

Derek Brunson

On the main card of UFC 271, we saw a big time matchup in the middleweight division. A potential title fight was on the line as Derek Brunson (23-8) was looking to continue his winning streak by defeating “The Killa Gorilla” Jared Cannonier (15-5).

Brunson told everyone ahead of UFC 271 that win, lose, or draw, he would only be fighting two more times. In an ideal situation, Brunson would defeat Cannonier at UFC 271 then retire after a title shot against Israel Adesanya. After one round, it looked like that was going to happen.

Brunson had some success in the first round against Cannonier with his wrestling. Then, at the end of the first round, Brunson dropped Cannonier with a counter shot as Cannonier rushed in. Brunson immediately hoped on Cannonier’s back and locked in a rear naked choke.

However, there was only seconds left in the round. The bell sounded and both men went back to their corners. That is where the fight changed completely. Brunson couldn’t get anything going in the second at UFC 271 and he looked tired and sluggish. Late in the round, Brunson was hurt badly by Cannonier.

Cannonier followed up with some brutal shots and the referee stepped in to save Brunson. The dream scenario was within his grasp, but it just slipped through his hands.

What’s next after UFC 271?

Brunson was dejected after the fight, but he said that he would fight on for one more fight after UFC 271. It’s not the outcome he wanted, but he seems committed to giving fans one more good fight before he hangs up his gloves for good. With that, who should he face off with?

In looking at the middleweight division, I think a good opponent would be Jack Hermansson (22-7). Hermansson is still in the top ten of the UFC’s middleweight division, but he’s a bit in No Man’s land. I think a fight with Brunson makes a lot of sense for him as well.

It’s a good matchup for Brunson and it’s still a quality guy who he could face off against as he prepares to ride off towards the rest of his life.

New York Yankee Top 10s: The Yankees’ top 10 acquisitions in the modern era

In my New York Yankees top 10 series that has covered most aspects of Yankee baseball, we appropriately take a look at the top 10 Yankee acquisitions in the modern era as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in the offing, hopefully, sooner than later.

These acquisitions come from both signings and trades.  The Yankees have had many homegrown star players and 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 in 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.

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 areas of the outfield. 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, he is 78-46 with a 3.74 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. Jackson was a controversial player as he was a bit of 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 am 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. After being a Baltimore Oriole star pitcher, Mussina 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 grace the mound.

On some writers’ top 10 lists, they don’t even include Mussina.  For the Yankees, he was Mr. Steady is one of the Yankees’ 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.

On January 22, 2019, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, receiving 76.71% of the vote for his pitching with both the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees. Mike has the distinction of 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 tend to ignore his performance with the Yankee club. 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 if not hundreds of other players, used some doping during that period that was never caught; thus, many stats may be in question. 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  At the end of the 1992 season, the Reds traded O’Neill outright for Yankee outfielder Roberto Kelly. He batted .311 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in his first year. 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. Yankee fans never fully embraced Clemens 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 three-time Cy Young Award isn’t in the Hall of Fame.  Last year he received 72.5% of the votes compared to the 75% needed to be inducted. He has one year 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 made his name with the Yankees as one of the best if not the best player to ever play baseball.

Honorable mentions:

David Cone, Starky Lyle, Roger Maris, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Hideki Matsui, 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.

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

Rangers schedule finally resumes as team looks to compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The New York Rangers play an actual hockey game on Tuesday night when they host the Boston Bruins playing for the first time since Feb.1.

When we last saw the New York Rangers they were celebrating their 30th win of the year as they beat the Florida Panthers 5-2.

The long layoff was due to a combination of the NHL All-Star break and a stretch of time where the Olympic schedule was set to take place. The NHL used that open time to make up games that were canceled due to COvid-19 issues.  The Rangers only needed to make up three of those games, hence their long 14-day break between games.

In that time, the Pittsburgh Penguins now sit atop of the Metropolitan Divisions with 68 points, Carolina Hurricanes with 67 points. The Blueshirts are in third place with 64 points and have two games in hand over the Penguins.

Standings

The Standings heading into the final two and a half months of the season have the Rangers sitting in a great position that should result in the team competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

photo NYR.com

Their 64 points give them a 14 point lead over the first team outside of the wild card battle, the Detroit Red Wings.  The Blueshirts have 35 games remaining on their schedule and will have some issues to overcome if they are to continue their successful campaign.

The two games they play this week will be the last time they play less than three games in a seven-day period for the remainder of the season.

Players

The Rangers received some good news when defenseman Adam Fox was removed from the IR list and returned to practice both the team last week.  Defenseman Patrick Nemeth is also with the team but his status of when he will return is uncertain.

General manager Chris Drury recalled Zac Jones on Sunday leading to speculation that he could be paired with Mathew Schneider for Tuesday night’s game.

Kappo Will be out for at least another month with an upper-body injury in an announcement made via Dan Rosen on Saturday. Kakko hasn’t played since being injured in a game on Jan.21. Morgan Barron was recalled from Hartford on Saturday as well.

The lines in practice on Monday morning were ;

Kreider-Zibanejad-Lafreniere
Panarin-Strome-Goodrow
Hunt-Chytil-Gauthier
McKegg-Rooney-Reaves (Barron)

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Nemeth – Schneider

Hajek-Jones – Extra’s

Trade Deadline

The NHL trade deadline is on Mar.21 with the Blueshirts standing on the buyer’s side of the fence for the first time in several seasons.

There remains a need for a top-six forward, a veteran defenseman, and possibly a backup goalie should the club decide to move Alexandar Georgiev. The team must address Ryan Strome’s contract with his UFA status when this season concludes.

 

Yankees: One pitcher who could rise to stardom during 2022 season

luis gil, yankees

The New York Yankees are expected to have one of the most dangerous bullpens in the game next season, but their starting pitching rotation could use a bit of support as well. General manager Brian Cashman doesn’t have all the money in the world to upgrade every spot, so he will have to pick carefully which positions are worth investing in.

Finding a number two starter alongside Garrett Cole seems to be a priority, but the Bombers may have one young piece who could fill a backend rotation slot in 2022.

Luis Gil, who made his first MLB appearance with the Yankees last season, is ready to take his game to the next level. Coming from the Minnesota Twins in 2018, Gil had worked with the Yankees’ farm system, developing and growing until he received his first opportunity last year. Over 29.1 innings, Gil recorded a 3.07 ERA, including 11.66 strikeouts per nine and an 84.3% left on-base percentage.

In fact, Gil went three consecutive games without giving up an earned run until September 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when he allowed three and walked seven batters.

Gil’s season was quite polarizing over such a small sample size, but he showed elite potential with a rising fastball that sniffed triple digits.

MLB.com gushed over Luis Gil’s velocity but hinted at the need for more control:

Gil has higher-octane stuff than most starters, beginning with a fastball that operates at 95-98 mph for several innings at a time and regularly reaches triple digits with significant riding life up in the strike zone. He made progress last year with his power breaking ball that features slider velocity in the mid-80s and sometimes has more of a curveball shape. He also has a hard changeup that parks around 90 mph with fade and sink, though it lacks consistency.

Gil generates premium velocity with relatively little effort but has difficulty harnessing his stuff. He reduced his walk rate to a career-best 4.2 per nine innings in low Class A in 2019 but will have to throw more strikes and continue to refine his secondary pitches in order to make it as a starter. His live arm potentially could make him a closer if he winds up in the bullpen.

The consensus is that Gil has the stuff to be a quality starter, but he simply needs more time and experience at the top level. Gil can sometimes lose control of his pitches, but if he can improve his location and command, he could easily fill a mid-rotation slot for the Yankees. Given he was averaging 96.1 mph with his fastball and 92.3 mph with his change-up, there is no question that Gil has unreal arm potential.

Nonetheless, the fact he only used his change-up on 7.3% of his pitches in the big leagues last year is problematic. He needs to gain more control over his breaking ball, featuring his fastball on 53.4% and slider 39.3%.

Unless Luis can develop a legitimate third pitch and breaking ball, he might be tasked with a bullpen role moving forward. With that being said, Gil is just 23 years old, meaning he has plenty of time to iron out his weaknesses.

Giants land ‘one of the best’ coaches in league at defensive line position spot

andre patterson, vikings, giants

One of the Giants’ most impressive defensive assistant hirings this off-season has been Andre Patterson, who’s spent the last 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings coaching their defensive line.

Patterson has a decade worth of experience at the NFL level and then some. Having started his career back with Weber State in 1988, Patterson joined the New England Patriots in 1997. At 61 years old, he’s coming off an illustrious run with the Vikings and an eight-year stint with Mike Zimmer, who was recently fired from the job.

Known for his developmental qualities and ability to find talented players and coach them to become quality NFL starters, the Giants are extremely excited about his presence in the locker room and on the field.

Ed Valentine of Big Blue View spoke with Robert Rodriguez, the Minnesota Vikings’ assistant offensive line coach for the past five years, who raved about Andre Patterson:

“Dre’s confident in his coaching ability, as he should be. I think more people should know if he’s not the best he’s one of the best, and to me he’s the best. I’m not insulting anybody. I’m saying there’s really good coaches in the league and he’s the best of them. He’s the best I’ve ever been around and he doesn’t act that way. He acts like a servant. He goes in there trying to make others better.”

Patterson is known for developing Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen, two of the league’s most feared pass rushers at one point in time. However, when the Vikings drafted Hunter, Patterson was one of the only coaches vouching for his qualities but ended up striking gold.

“Dre [Patterson] and Rick [GM Rick Spielman] were really the only two in the room that loved Danielle. It was a tie in the room between two guys. I thought the other guy was better than Danielle. He [Patterson] said why. I told him he sheds blocks better, takes better angles, he’s a better pass rusher, seems like he’s bigger. This guy is athletic when he runs around blocks. I don’t really see him do anything physical,” Rodriguez said.

“Dre said I see what you see, but I need you to learn two things right now. First of all, Danielle bends better, he’s longer. Yes he’s more raw but in these situations, Rob, you can look at the player or you can look at what he can be. Danielle is smart and he’s more athletic and he’s under-coached in my opinion. So now, you’ve gotta trust yourself as a coach to develop that.”

Hunter is still featuring in the NFL, playing seven games this past year with the Vikings at 27 years old. However, he’s totaled 60.5 sacks over the past six seasons, including two Pro Bowls in 2018 and 2019. Hunter missed all of 2020 when he battled a herniated disc in his neck. Last year, he sustained a torn pectoral muscle, putting the Vikings pass rush in disarray.

Nonetheless, Patterson is capable of developing raw talent into phenomenal players. Whether or not he will assist in coaching the outside linebackers unit is yet to be seen, but young second-year pass rusher Azeez Ojulari may benefit tremendously from his presence.

In fact, both Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence should see a different style of coaching, potentially extracting even more value.

Patterson doesn’t only consider film as a variable for players’ success but also assesses their personality and character as part of his overall grades. Make no mistake about it, the Giants walked away with a treasure at defensive line coach, naming yet another phenomenal hire by the newly structured management.

MLB analyst predicts the Yankees will make some noise after the lockout

carlos correa, yankees

While the rest of the league raced to sign their preferred free agent targets quickly before the December 1 lockout, the New York Yankees stood idly by and didn’t make any major moves. This situation, according to Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, will change when transactions are allowed again and there is a new CBA deal.

The Yankees have three glaring needs: a shortstop (at least one has to come to the organization, as they said Gleyber Torres would play second and there isn’t a starting shortstop in place at the moment), an outfielder who can play in center and spell Aaron Hicks if needed, and starting pitching.

Abraham points out that the Yankees won’t be as passive as they were prior to the lockout when the action starts again.

“New York didn’t make any impact moves ahead of the lockout, preferring to wait and see what the financial landscape would be when it ended. The Yankees have made the playoffs the last five seasons but haven’t been to the World Series since 2009. Brian Cashman knows that’s not a streak he can ride for much longer. Hal Steinbrenner has to be feeling some heat, too. Whether it’s signing (Carlos) Correa or making a big trade, the Yankees are going to do something. Their business plan has always been to act.”

Who will the Yankees sign?

The Yankees have been linked to Correa for a while, but if they don’t want to spend over $300 million in one player, they could turn to Trevor Story, a former All-Star, too.

Another position that the Yankees could be looking to improve is first base, where Voit missed most of last season with several physical issues, mostly with his knee. They also don’t trust his glove, and could be looking to make a move for former NL MVP and World Series champion Freddie Freeman. They could also re-sign Anthony Rizzo.

Of course, the trade market is also an option for the Yankees. They could find solutions to all of their current needs with the Oakland Athletics, who are shopping first baseman Matt Olson and could also deal pitchers Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas, and Sean Manaea, plus outfielder Ramon Laureano.

In any case, the feeling around the industry is that the Yankees will make a big move after the lockout.

AL contender could consider a deal for Yankees’ target Matt Olson

yankees, matt olson

The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians were among the most successful MLB franchises in the second half of the 2010s decade. Sure, they didn’t win a title, but they were constantly competing deep into the playoffs.

Last year, however, their offenses were far from productive. The Yankees finished 16th in fWAR, and Cleveland, now the Guardians and not the Indians, were 19th. In wRC+, the Yanks were ninth, but the Guardians were 19th.

It’s not a mere coincidence, therefore, that they are focusing their time and energy in bringing offensive assets to their lineups. And they could be targeting the same player, according to insider Paul Hoynes (link to NJ Advance Media article here).

Hoynes has covered the Guardians for a long time and has multiple sources there. In his latest piece for cleveland.com, he said the team may make a move for fellow Yankees’ target Matt Olson, who plays first base for the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees aren’t the only team interested in Olson

The A’s aren’t expected to compete this season, and could be looking to shed some salary. Olson will be one of their highest-paid players.

“If the A’s are going to rebuild as has been speculated, Olson would certainly look good hitting in the middle of the Guards’ lineup. If a deal did take place, first baseman Bobby Bradley would probably be one of the players headed to the A’s along with a middle infielder and possibly a starting pitcher. Olson, with two years of control left, is eligible for arbitration. His salary is projected to be $12 million for 2022,” Hoynes wrote.

The Yankees have long been connected with Olson, but the Atlanta Braves also want him, especially if they can’t re-sign Freddie Freeman.

Olson made the All-Star Game in 2021, hit 39 home runs and drove in 111 runs. He is also a terrific defensive first baseman.

Who will win the Olson sweepstakes?