Bryce Mitchell dominates Edson Barboza at UFC 272

Bryce Mitchell

On the main card of UFC 272, we saw a big time showdown in the featherweight division. Undefeated top prospect Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell (14-0) took on one of the more devastating strikers in the division in Edson Barboza (22-10).

For years, Edson Barboza terrified the UFC’s lightweight division with his blistering fast striking. After things had stalled out for him at 155 pounds, Barboza decided to try his luck in the UFC’s featherweight division.

Thus far, he’s gone 2-2 and he had a tough test in front of him in Bryce Mitchell. Injuries kept Bryce Mitchell out of action for 2021, but he returned tonight and he was ready to pick right back up where he left off in 2020. After a stint on the Ultimate Fighter, Mitchell made his UFC debut back in 2018.

Counting that fight, Mitchell has gone 5-0 in the UFC. In his last fight, he took on the tough Andre Fili. That was a step up at the time and he passed with flying colors. Now, he’s getting another big test at UFC 272 and we will have to see how he does.

UFC 272 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 272 featherweight contest kicked off with Mitchell taking the center and he opens with a kick. However, he misses and then eats a brutal leg kick from Barboza. Another powerful low kick from Barboza and Mitchell is upping the pressure here trying to time a takedown.

Side kick to the body lands for Mitchell, but then he eats a kick from Barboza. More pressure here from Mitchell but he keeps eating clean shots from Barboza. Out of no where, Mitchell lands a big combination and he drops Barboza. Mitchell immediately grabs ahold of Barboza.

Barboza pops up to his feet but Mitchell maintains the body lock. Big takedown from Thug Nasty and he settles into Barboza’s guard. Big elbow from Mitchell lands and then he triples it up. Barboza is trying to create space, but Mitchell is heavy in the guard here.

Another brutal elbow slices through and connects on Barboza. Tremendous ground and pound here from Thug Nasty. Mitchell postures up briefly and lands a couple of nice shots before settling back into the guard. Barboza gets his legs on the hips of Mitchell and he explodes up to his feet.

Nice body shot lands for Barboza and he lands a spinning back kick to the body. Right straight from Barboza backs up Mitchell. Nice end of the round for Barboza, but it’s Mitchell’s round at UFC 272.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 272 and it’s 1-0 Mitchell, but I liked what I saw at the end from Barboza. Mitchell takes the center to start the second round and immediately eats a big leg kick from Barboza. Barboza throws a couple of additional kicks but Mitchell is able to catch a kick and he takes Barboza down.

Mitchell settles into Barboza’s guard and he immediately starts working the elbows. A brutal elbow lands and a big cut gets opened on Barboza. Barboza scoots back towards the fence, but Mitchell is very heavy in the guard here. More big elbows land for Barboza.

Barboza is looking tired and hurt here with two minutes left in the round. He’s trying to create space and he briefly gets up to his feet. However, Mitchell gets to his back and drags him right back down to the ground. Barboza rolls to his back but Mitchell advances.

Three quarter mount here for Thug Nasty who is all over Barboza here. Big right hands land for Mitchell and Barboza is getting beat up here. Mitchell is heavy in half guard here and Barboza tries to explode up. However, Mitchell isn’t letting him up. The round comes to a close and it was a dominant second round for Thug Nasty at UFC 272.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 272 and Barboza is going to need a finish here. Barboza comes right to the center and throws a big body shot. Nice left hook lands for Barboza and he’s definitely fighting with urgency here in the final round so far.

Side kick to the body from Mitchell. Barboza advances and Mitchell times it perfectly. Mitchell gets a beautiful double leg and he gets Barboza to the ground. This is a tremendous showing for Thug Nasty. Mitchell settles into half guard and he lands a couple of nice shots.

Barboza tries to get his legs on the hips of Mitchell, but Mitchell is doing a good job of controlling here. Halfway through the round and Barboza throws up a triangle choke. Mitchell picks up Barboza and he’s able to shake him off. He settles back into Barboza’s guard and throws an elbow.

Barboza looks completely dejected here on the bottom. He rolls and tries do go for another submission, however, Mitchell just rides the position and ends up in a more dominant spot. Big shots coming down from Mitchell and he ends up in mount.

Massive elbows from Mitchell and we are in the final ten seconds. The fight comes to a close and Thug Nasty was completely dominant at UFC 272.

Bryce Mitchell def. Edson Barboza by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-26)

Kevin Holland stops a very game Alex Oliveira in the second at UFC 272

Kevin Holland

On the main card of UFC 272, we saw the welterweight debut of one of the fighters of the year from 2020. Former middleweight contender Kevin Holland (21-7, 1 NC) was dropping down to 170 to take on “Cowboy Alex Oliveira (22-11-1, 2 NC).

You almost couldn’t draw up a better year than Kevin Holland had in 2020 in the UFC. After losing to Brendan Allen in 2019, Holland went on a sensational run where he won five fights in 2020 with four knockouts.

However, after going winless in his last three fights, Holland needed a change of scenery. He decided that he wanted to drop to his natural weight class of 170 pounds and there was a cowboy waiting for him.

Alex Oliveira has been in there with a who’s who of the welterweight division. From Gilbert Burns to Donald Cerrone to Carlos Condit. Oliveira is battle tested and he needed a win badly at UFC 272. He came into tonight riding a three-fight losing streak.

UFC 272 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 272 welterweight contest kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Holland immediately opens with a couple of high kick attempts that miss. Nice low kick lands for Cowboy Oliveira. Holland rushes in and eats a counter from Cowboy. Low kick lands from Holland.

Holland goes for another low kick but Cowboy catches it and throws a combination. Lead left hand lands for Holland and Holland steps forward with a right hand behind it. Holland is reaching a bit here in the first couple of minutes. Big 1-2 lands for Oliveira and Oliveira lands a leg kick behind it.

However, Holland catches and tries to lock up a leg lock. However, Oliveira spins out of it. Huge shot from Holland wobbles Oliveira briefly and Holland pushes forward. Immediately, Oliveira rocks Holland back and both men are hurt here. They both back away to get their feet back under them.

Incredible action here in the first at UFC 272. Low kick from Holland as he circles on the outside. Oliveira spins Holland around with a leg kick of his own. Oblique kicks from Kevin Holland. Big low kick from Holland and Oliveira looked a little hurt by that kick.

Another big calf kick from Holland but Oliveira lands two big kicks of his own. Oliveira lands a takedown and gets Holland’s back in the final seconds. Big opening round for Oliveira at UFC 272.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 272 and Holland needs to be more technical and that is what his corner was calling for in between rounds. They touch gloves to start the second and here we go. Nice combination from Oliveira lands, but Holland lands a big right straight to push Oliveira back.

Oliveira is dropped by Holland and Holland is all over him here. Holland isn’t letting him recover and the referee steps in to stop the action. Big TKO win for Kevin Holland in his welterweight debut.

Kevin Holland def. Alex Oliveira by TKO – Round 2

Sergey Spivak stops Greg Hardy in the first at UFC 272

On the main card of UFC 272, we saw a clash of styles in a big time heavyweight matchup. Former NFL star Greg Hardy (7-4, 1 NC) returned to the octagon as he took on the veteran grappler, Sergey Spivak (13-3).

For Hardy, this was the final fight on his current UFC contract. There’s no word quite yet whether or not the promotion will bring him back. Currently, he’s on his first losing streak since he’s been with the UFC.

The last time we saw him was at UFC 264 when he took on Tai Tuivasa. Hardy rocked Tuivasa in the first round but rushed in carelessly and got knocked out. That was on the heels of a TKO loss to Marcin Tybura where Hardy gassed out being forced to grapple.

Sergey Spivak came into the UFC unbeaten and immediately lost two out of three fights. However, he really turned things around and won three fights in a row. That led him to a fight against Tom Aspinall that he dropped late last year. He was looking to get back on track against Greg Hardy this evening.

UFC 272 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 272 heavyweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Nice outside leg kick lands for Hardy and Spivak lands a jab. Another big low kick from Hardy  lands. Spivak lands a jab and uses it to get a body lock. Beautiful hip toss from Spivak and Hardy is on his back.

Spivak settles into half guard along the fence and he lands a couple of nice shots. The pressure from Spivak is heavy here, but Hardy uses the fence to get back to his feet. However, Spivak is on Hardy’s back and he drags him right back down to the ground.

Again, Hardy bounces up and gets dragged right back down. Spivak ends up in the mount and he starts raining down bombs on Hardy. The referee stops the action and Sergey Spivak just made a statement at UFC 272.

Sergey Spivak def. Greg Hardy by TKO – Round 1

Marina Rodriguez edges Yan Xiaonan at UFC 272 in technical showcase

Tonight on the prelims at UFC 272, we saw a potential title eliminator in the strawweight division. Top contenders battled it out as Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) was taking on China’s Yan Xiaonan (13-2).

It’s honestly puzzling to me that this fight with so much on the line is on the prelims. Nevertheless, fans watching the UFC 272 prelims got a treat with this high level matchup tonight.

Marina Rodriguez was going for her fourth straight win at UFC 272. After losing her first career fight by split decision to Carla Esparza back in 2020, she’s gone on a run with wins over Amanda Ribas, Michelle Waterson, and Mackenzie Dern.

Yan was looking to bounce back after suffering her first loss in the UFC. After starting out 6-0 which included wins over title challengers Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Yan lost to Carla Esparza. At UFC 272, she was hoping to get right back in title contention with a win over Marina Rodriguez.

UFC 272 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 272 strawweight contest kicked off without a touch of the gloves. Yan comes forward and throws a body kick. Big leg kick from Rodriguez and Yan looks to counter with big shots up top. Lots of early pressure from Yan. Big counter right straight from Yan.

Rodriguez catches Yan coming in with a nice right hand of her own. Big combination from Yan and then she catches Rodriguez with a big right hand as Rodriguez comes forward. Rodriguez looks a little shaken after this start from Yan. Another beautiful combination from Yan as she presses Rodriguez against the fence.

Nice low kick from Rodriguez lands but Yan counters with a big one of her own. Rodriguez whiffs on a big shot and eats another combination from Yan. Low kick lands from Yan. Both ladies step forward and land big shots in tight. Rodriguez steps forward and lands a nice jab.

Yan catches Rodriguez coming in and lands a big uppercut in the clinch. Powerful leg kick lands from Rodriguez but Yan evades the attack up top. Low kick from Yan and she circles on the outside. Rodriguez steps in and lands a couple of really big shots. Best moment of the fight for her.

A low shot lands and there’s a break in the action. 90 seconds later, they are back at it. Big side kick up top lands for Yan and then she lands a beautiful left hand. Rodriguez goes for a flying knee but Yan gets a takedown at the end of the round. Big first round at UFC 272 for Yan Xiaonan.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 272 and Rodriguez needs to be the aggressor in this round. She immediately takes the center but it’s Yan who lands the first shot with a body kick. Rodriguez whiffs on a big shot and Yan grabs a clinch. The two break immediately and Yan lands a low kick.

Both step forward and land shots but Yan got the better of the exchange. Low kick from Yan and then she steps in with a beautiful combination. Rodriguez comes forward with big hooks, but Yan evades and lands a nice counter shot. Rodriguez is definitely pushing forward more, but Yan is looking sensational.

Jab lands from Yan and she circles on the outside. Rodriguez tries to fire away but Yan is out of range and makes Rodriguez pay with a big right hand counter. Rodriguez again misses and eats a counter for her trouble. A knee attempt from Rodriguez is caught and Yan lands a takedown.

Yan briefly gets the back of Rodriguez, but Rodriguez gets back to her feet. Rodriguez defends the takedown attempts from Yan nicely, but she can’t break the body lock. Heavy cage pressure here from Yan. Both land nice knees and they break. Lead left hook lands for Yan and then Rodriguez lands a knee to the body.

Rodriguez gets her own body lock and pushes Yan against the fence. Rodriguez goes for another knee, but Yan uses the opportunity to break. Big combination lands for Rodriguez just as the final bell sounds. That round could go either way at UFC 272.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 272 and Marina Rodriguez is going to either need a huge round or a finish here. Rodriguez immediately takes the center to start the final frame. Nice right hand from Rodriguez and Yan lands a beautiful side kick counter.

Lead left hook lands for Yan. Rodriguez landing cleaner here in the opening 90 seconds of the final round. Nice low kick lands for Yan then she spins Rodriguez around with a big combination. Another big low kick lands for Yan and that forces Rodriguez to move forward.

Big counter from Yan lands and that slows Rodriguez. Combination lands for Rodriguez and Yan circles. Another big low kick lands for Yan who is adding up those numbers. Big jabs land for both ladies. Big combination attempt from Rodriguez brings on a clinch.

Nice elbow in tight lands for RodriguezSide kick from Yan and then both ladies exchange big left hooks. Rodriguez moves forward and both land big shots. Body kick lands for Rodriguez and she is relentless here in the final frame. Huge left from Rodriguez and she points at Yan.

Yan answers back with a big shot and then she mocks Rodriguez. Big jabs land for Rodriguez. Rodriguez gets in tight and lands a few big elbows. Spinning attacks from Yan land and this one is over. Close final two frames at UFC 272, but I lean towards Yan Xiaonan.

Marina Rodriguez def. Yan Xiaonan by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

What should the Giants do if the top tackles are off the board at 5 and 7?

new york giants, joe schoen

The New York Giants are in need of offensive line upgrades. It is widely expected that the team will use one of their two top-ten draft picks on an offensive tackle. Thankfully, this year’s NFL Draft class is loaded with offensive tackle talent at the top.

Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are the consensus top-two tackles in this year’s class. Giants fans are praying that one of these two beasts lands in their team’s lap at five overall. But if they don’t? Attention will likely be turned towards the best defender available. The Giants could come back around for a tackle two picks later at number seven. But the expectation is for the Carolina Panthers to take the best offensive tackle available at six overall. 

With no premiere tackle to select at five or seven, what would the Giants’ strategy become?

Best players available

In all likelihood, the scenario where the Giants strike out on the draft’s top tackles is one in which they land one of the best players in this year’s class. Elite prospects like Kyle Hamilton and Kayvon Thibedoux could become realistic options at picks five and seven. If Joe Schoen is in the mood to “stick and pick,” then he can’t go wrong when selecting the best player available when the Giants are on the clock.

Some might even argue that an offensive tackle will still be the best prospect available. Charles Cross and Trevor Penning are flying up draft boards after impressive outings at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. However, many believe that these two prospects are great first-round options, but more value could be extracted inside the top ten.

Trading back

Charles Cross and Trevor Penning are bound to become first-round draft picks in April. But are they worthy of becoming top-ten draft picks? The current draft projections usually place Cross and Penning inside the second ten picks of the first round, not the first ten picks. New York has two top-ten picks but could target an offensive tackle outside of the top-ten with a trade-down scenario.

Giants fans should be familiar with the benefits of trading down in the first round of the draft. Last year, the Giants moved down from eleven to twenty, selected a dynamic playmaker in Kadarius Toney, while also fielding an additional first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. That pick is now the seventh overall selection.

Trading down means accumulating valuable assets. The draft, as Joe Schoen describes it, is a crapshoot. More throws at the dartboard mean more chances of hitting on a draft pick. The Giants could theoretically move out of the top ten, find their offensive tackle, and gain additional draft picks to fill out the rest of their roster.

OT in Round Two

If the Giants are unable to draft an offensive tackle in the first round, they will have the chance to secure one in the middle rounds. One exciting day-two prospect is Max Mitchell from Louisiana. Mitchell balled out at the 2022 Senior Bowl and could present himself as a secure option on the second day of this year’s draft.

The Giants’ main mission in this year’s draft should be to fix their offensive line. But the best teams in the NFL do not build their teams strictly through the first round of the draft. It is equally important to find offensive linemen on days two and three of the draft.

What should the Knicks do with Julius Randle after another implosion?

The season is all but lost for the New York Knicks after a buzzer-beater defeat against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night. Losing by just one point, the Knicks had a fantastic opportunity to overcome one of the best teams in basketball, despite not having Chris Paul available. Now, New York faces certain demise, sitting at 25–38 on the season and having failed to win a game in over three weeks.

However, the problems the team faces aren’t only short-term, their long-term future is also in question, especially with power forward Julius Randle struggling this season on the basketball court and behind the scenes.

In the last of Phoenix, Randle scored 25 points before being ejected in the third quarter after an altercation with Cam Johnson.

“He was hooping, carrying us tonight, he was on his way to a 40-point night,’’ RJ Barrett said of Randle, via Marc Berman of the NY Post. “It would’ve helped us with the energy he brought to the game. But we still should’ve won that game.

“You can’t cross over that line,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You got to know where to stop. None of us are perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. But we got to be disciplined.’’

Thibodeau has failed to get his star player in line this season, and after signing a four-year, $117 million this past off-season, New York is on the hook unless they find a viable trade partner.

The reality is simple, Randle can’t carry the Knicks alone, and RJ Barrett still isn’t where he needs to be with his consistency. This year, Randle has seen his efficiency drop significantly, averaging 19.8 points per game and shooting 30.1% from deep. Despite his down year, the Knicks can’t compete without him, putting the team in a weird complex of power.

“It’s tough to lose him. He had a great game going. I’m concerned about everything. The shame of it is I thought we came out with a great effort to start the game. We had the game going in a good way, and we fell short in the end. It’s disappointing to come out with a loss.’’

The only way Randle’s contract will be justified is if the Knicks pair him with another star, preferably a point guard. This upcoming off-season will be interesting, but unless they can find and convince a player to join their ranks, they will be facing the same issue over and over for the duration of his contract.

UFC 272 Preview: Jorge Masvidal – Colby Covington

Tonight in the main event of UFC 272, we are going to see one of the biggest grudge matches in the promotion’s history. Former best friends turned bitter rivals will battle it out as Jorge Masvidal (35-15) takes on Colby Covington (16-3).

Both of these men have a deep past together and they both are two of the best welterweights in the UFC. These two used to corner each other for every fight and they used to be roommates. Colby Covington said the two men were like brothers.

However, that friendship has since soured and now we will see the culmination at UFC 272. Jorge Masvidal is fighting for the first time since last April when he was knocked out by Kamaru Usman. It was Masvidal’s second straight loss to Usman.

Covington is in a similar position. The last time we saw Covington was at UFC 268 when he lost a close decision to Usman. Like Masvidal, this was Covington’s second loss to the current welterweight champion.

This fight means so much to both men not just from a personal standpoint, but from a divisional standpoint. A lot is riding on this fight at UFC 272.

UFC 272 Prediction

I truly believe that Colby Covington would be the UFC welterweight champion if Kamaru Usman didn’t exist. If Colby fought in a different time, I think we’d be talking about him as one of the best welterweights and champions of all time.

However, that’s not the case, but I think he can show how good he is tonight. Colby’s relentless pace could really play a big factor at UFC 272. I’ll be curious to see how the pace of the fight impacts Masvidal over the course of five rounds.

Especially considering the fact that Covington is going to mix in grappling. On the feet, Masvidal definitely has an advantage. However, don’t rule out Covington’s ability to land some good shots. He will hold his own, but the bigger shots are going to belong to Masvidal.

I could see Masvidal hurting Covington on the feet. However, I don’t see him putting him away at UFC 272. In all honesty, I don’t see a scenario where Masvidal wins a decision against a guy like Colby Covington. I also don’t see either man getting a finish tonight.

With that in mind, I think we are going to see “Chaos” get the victory at UFC 272.

Prediction: Colby Covington by Unanimous Decision

Report: Giants gearing up to trade star cornerback with $21.8 million cap hit pending

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay, james bradberry

The New York Giants are currently $7.6 million over the salary cap, meaning they will have to let go of a few more players to finally have a bit of loose change to spend this off-season.

Regardless of any free agent signings, the Giants simply need enough money to get their rookie draft class under contract. Unfortunately, this means that several high-profile players on the roster will depart at some point, but it is a matter of who.

Star running back Saquon Barkley has been a hot name as a potential trade candidate in recent days, but the expectation is that the Giants will retain him rather looking toward a big-money defensive player as a means of saving money.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport stated that the Giants are more likely to trade James Bradberry than Saquon Barkley:

“One player who may end up getting traded and certainly will be the subject of trade calls is James Bradberry. The big-ticket free agent from several years ago still playing at a very high level. … He is expected to be a player teams are going to call and potentially the Giants will listen.”

If the Giants were to retain James Bradberry this upcoming season, his cap hit would be $21.8 million. However, if they release him, they would save $12.1 million in salary space but accrue a $9.7 dead money hit. At this point in time, the Giants are better off saving a bit of cash rather than spending the full $21.8 million on him, especially given the defensive scheme shift.

As Rapoport mentions, trading Bradberry seems like the most efficient method of clearing his salary hit, and opposing teams may give Big Blue a mid-round selection for their troubles.

The Giants have already restructured Bradberry’s contract multiple times, so they will pay him $1.3 million during the 2023 season when he becomes a free agent.

When did Gettleman originally signed Bradberry back in 2020, he enjoyed one of the best years of any cornerback in the NFL. He allowed 454 yards and just three touchdowns, tallying three interceptions and 14 pass breakups. Last season, he came crashing back down to earth, allowing 729 yards and eight touchdowns, more than doubling his previous permitted production last year.

Despite Bradberry finding his norm in 2021, teams that play a heavy zone coverage scheme will likely view him as a nice commodity to add to their system. Considering the Giants are simply trying to get rid of his contract, he would be a steal for a team with $10 million to spend and in dire need of an above-average corner.

New York Yankees: Yankees weekend news roundup, check it out

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees and the other 29 teams are still suffering through a lockout that is now 95 days long, with no apparent quick resolution in the offing. MLB canceled more spring training games last week due to not reaching an agreement. Spring training games will not start until March 5 at the earliest. It is evident at this point they will not reach that goal. This week MLB announced that the first two series of the new regular season are canceled.

The big news; No Yankee baseball

After over 100 days of negotiations, the owners and players have installed the universal DH, but not much else. The main issues in a new agreement are as far away as before the negotiations even started. If it isn’t bad enough, the players and owners can’t come to a resolution. We have recently learned that the owners can’t agree on some issues.

On a Zoom call, four owners reportedly voted against the league’s “best and final” offer that the MLBPA turned down before the league’s self-imposed deadline on Tuesday. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich later revealed that those teams were the Angels, Reds, Tigers, and D-backs.

So while the Yankees should be playing spring training games, they are instead working out at local high school fields, as the lockout prevents them from entering minor league fields until a new agreement can be reached. Although no one knows when the new regular season will start, it won’t likely be in April. On his part, Commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that all canceled games will not be made up, putting the entire season in jeopardy.

It’s that time of year, will Brett Gardner return yet again?

Brett Gardner is the longest-tenured Yankee, being the last Yankee to be retained from the 2009 World Series team. He has been with the Yankees since he was drafted in 2005, and 2022 would be his 15th major-league season. “Gardy” has been a mainstay with the Yankees, never being an MVP, but being an All-Star and Gold Glover, he has always been solid for the Yankees.

However, in recent years his star has dimmed, causing the Yankees to reevaluate bringing him back every year. Such is the situation again this season as the Yankees, while in a lockout, try to find ways to improve the team. Gardner has again made it clear that he wants to play another season, and he wants to play that as a Yankee. However, his agent has echoed the same but added that he, now in free agency, will look at returning to any team that values him as a player.

Pitcher Beck Way is working his way up the Yankee ladder

There has been much chatter about Yankees’ prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, mostly due to the team’s need for a new shortstop. There are other Yankee prospects to be examined; one of them is another story about an up-and-comer, earning some pretty hopeful reviews. Yankees pitching prospect Beck Way is described as having “electric” stuff.  The Yankees are hoping that he can even improve further in 2022.

Way has been playing ball for some time but only started pitching full time in his last year of college. He showed flashes of excellence in college, with a fastball that often reached over 100mph. With Yankee coaches working with him this season, they hope he can learn more control and continue developing. Last season, the 22-year-old righty pitched for the Hudson Valley Renegades with a 3.98 ERA.

Trades have won seasons for the Yankees

The Yankees have won many pennants and World Series due to making smart trades before and during winning seasons. This season may end up the same, with their many needs. The Yankees say they are good just the way they are, but that won’t put forward a championship team that likely will fall short yet again.

So, what is general manager Cashman to do after only being an observer during the first half of the postseason? He will have to act fast with all teams looking to add help. Another thing is that after having months to figure out what he will do, he will likely have to look to trades to put forth a winning team.

When the lockout is lifted, the Yankees are going to need: a first baseman, a shortstop, a center field insurance piece, possibly a fifth outfielder, bullpen help, and a number 2 or 3 starting pitcher.

Here is a look at three trades the GM should closely consider: Matt Olson, Merril Kelly, and Ketel Marte. Some moves will only require money. The ones that trades could solve should not be overlooked. Brian Cashman should first get with Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees have been successful with the A’s before. Get a deal done for first baseman Matt Olson without giving up too many prospects.

With the Yankees’ decision to go big or take the stop-gap avenue at shortstop, that decision should be made quickly. At the moment, that looks to end up a short gap replacement. Get in touch with the Diamondbacks, and talk about Ketel Marte. Marte is a seven-year veteran that can adequately play center, second base, and be a more than average shortstop for the Yankees.

The Yankees could possibly put together a big trade that would include Marte and Merril Kelly, who could solve a starting rotation for the Yankees.

Giants Mock Draft Scenario: Kayvon Thibodeaux or Ikem Ekwonu at No. 5?

ikem ekwonu, giants

Although slim, there is a chance that both stud pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and top three offensive tackle prospect Ikem Ekwonu are available for the New York Giants with the 5th overall selection.

Thibodeaux’s stock has dropped in recent weeks due to concerns over his work ethic and motor on the football field, but the Giants tested him vigorously at the NFL Combine to determine his true colors and if he would be a good fit in the New York market.

As seen in the past, the New York media can often overwhelm players, forcing them to speak out or act immaturely. The Giants desperately want to avoid that situation again, so being hard on Thibodeaux during his formal interview was a part of the process.

However, it is hard to avoid Thibodeaux‘s collegiate production, recording 12 tackles for a loss, 35 solo tackles, and 7.0 sacks last year. He also piled on two forced fumbles. Other players seemingly produced more in numerical values, but Thibodeaux‘s impact forced teams to allocate extra attention, which is a variable to consider.

On the other side of the ball, the Giants could have a shot at NC State tackle Ekwonu. Ekwonu stands at 6’4″ and 320 pounds, featuring at left tackle for North Carolina State last season. He would have to make the transition to the right side, but the Giants likely aren’t concerned about that factor. His ability to fit into any scheme and offer dominant run blocking on Day 1 is a huge benefit, but he’s no pushover as a pass-protector either.

Both players believe they could be the No. 1 overall selections in this year’s draft class, but with quarterback starting to get a bit more positive attention, there’s no saying what needy teams could do before the Giants select.

The question is, in the situation where Thibodeaux and Ekwonu are both on the board at No. 5, where did the Giants go?

One would have to imagine that both players are graded rather similarly, displaying great confidence and film to back up their performances at the college level. However, you could make the argument that landing a dominant pass rusher is far more difficult than finding a competent right tackle. The issue is, Ekwonu isn’t just competent, he has All-Pro potential during his rookie contract, which is an enticing factor.

If you’re talking about pure need, Ekwonu is the easy decision given the Giants’ desperate need for offensive line talent after featuring arguably the worst OL in football last year. The best player available strategy would likely steer you toward Thibodeaux, and that is probably where the Giants will go under general manager Joe Schoen.

With the 7th overall pick, the Giants could still have an opportunity to snag Charles Cross out of Mississippi State, who most believe is the best pass protecting tackle in the draft class. Other moves would suggest trading back for a player like Trevor Penning out of Northern Iowa.

Overall, Thibodeauz comes off as the better prospect, and the Giants need the best football players they can possibly land. Unfortunately, coaching has been a problem for the team in recent years, which has disrupted the development of good players. Hopefully, that is not a problem any longer and they’re able to extract the very best from their draft picks moving forward.