Jets News: TE Jeremy Ruckert signs rookie contract, dad has legendary funny moment

jeremy ruckert, jets, ohio state

Earlier today, the New York Jets agreed to terms with third-round pick Jeremy Ruckert. The duration of the contract is the standard four-year deal for all draft picks. This puts Ruckert with the Jets through the 2025 season.

With the selection of Ruckert, general manager Joe Douglas finished a complete turnaround to the tight end position for the Jets this offseason. Ruckert will join veterans C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. They both signed three-year deals with the Jets in free agency. This trio gives Zach Wilson the support needed for a second-year jump.

According to Rich Cimini, Ruckert’s contract is worth $5 million with roughly $849K at signing.

What does Jeremy Ruckert provide the New York Jets?

Ruckert brings an exciting skill set to the Jets, one that fits offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s scheme. As a blocker, in both the run and pass game, Ruckert has an established reputation. He should be able to come in and contribute with his physicality and mindset on the end of the line of scrimmage right away. In-line, Ruckert will help on zone-split running concepts competing against backside edge defenders. His success pass blocking against first-round pick George Karlaftis last season has been well-documented.

As a receiver, Ruckert possesses good upside. He is a capable athlete with reliable hands, size, speed, and route-running ability. Throughout his college career, Ruckert made some impressive catches as well.

His lack of opportunities at Ohio State in the passing game is fairly well-known. With the luxury of being able to develop behind two proven tight ends in Uzomah and Conklin, it allows Ruckert to ease in. This should only help him continue to grow as a pass-catcher over time.

Ruckert, a childhood Jet fan, comes from a family full of them. His dad had a hilarious reaction that went viral when he was drafted by the Jets in April. Once again Monday, he had a priceless moment letting out a “J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets” chant when Jeremy signed his rookie contract with the Jets.

With Ruckert now signed, that leaves the Jets with four of their seven draft picks under contract. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Garrett Willson, and Jermaine Johnson are the other three first-year players signed. The team still has to agree with Breece Hall, Max Mitchell, and Micheal Clemons on deals.

The Mets could solve their DH woes with trade for Colorado infielder

cj cron, mets, rockies

Despite pleads from baseball purists, National League teams now feature a designated hitter in their lineups year-round. Though many were staunchly opposed to the new rule, one NL team appeared set to benefit from the change, at least on paper.

The New York Mets were a defensively incompetent team from 2017-2021. Often fielding players out of position in an effort to get their big bats in the lineup. With the implementation of the designated hitter, the Mets would no longer have to run Dom Smith out to left field. No longer watch as Robinson Cano, and his 2-inch vertical have soft line drives sail over his head. And no longer hold their breath on every ground ball hit to JD Davis at third base.

Entering the season, those three names- Smith, Cano, and Davis- were the likeliest candidates to take the majority of the DH at-bats for the 2022 Mets. In his first 41 at-bats of the season, the 39-year-old Cano returning from his year-long PED suspension in 2021 performed about exactly as was expected. Cano hit .195, including 11 strikeouts, before he was cut.

The Mets made it clear they were handing the DH reins to Dom Smith and JD Davis. Smith, the former 1st-round pick of the Mets, showed glimpses of his pedigree in 2019 and 2020. But so far this year, Smith has a slash of just .189/.274/.243 (.517 OPS). He has not homered in nearly a full calendar year. Meanwhile, Davis, who popped 22 home runs his first year with the Mets in 2019, has hit just 12 in his last 155 games (’20-’22). He’s slashing .188/.296/.290 (.586 OPS) this season.

Needless to say, what might be a strength of this team entering the season, has become a gaping black hole in the Mets lineup. Clearly, the Mets’ idea of having three DH’s, in reality, meant that they had no DH at all. But this weekend in Colorado, the team may have gotten a first-hand audition of one.

CJ Cron is in his 8th big league season. After signing a minor-league deal with the Rockies last year, Cron clubbed 28 home runs and 31 doubles for the club in 2021. He was on base at a .375 clip and had a career-high .905 OPS. As a reward, the Rockies brought Cron back this year on a 2-year deal worth $14.5 MM dollars.

So far this year, Cron has picked up where he left off. The former Angel has 11 home runs and a slash line of .329/.375/.619 (OPS .994). He’s good for a 2.0 WAR and 168 OPS+ on the season. This weekend, Cron hit a two-run home run off Trevor Williams in the first inning on Saturday and was 5/13 overall in the series vs the Mets.

Cron also has excellent career numbers against left-handers, something the Mets as a team have struggled with all year long. Cron’s career average is 22 points higher against lefties than righties, and his OPS sits at .854 vs southpaws as compared to .789 vs righties. The Mets as a team entering play this weekend were hitting just .213 vs left-handers with an OPS of .653.

While Cron’s prodigious power and numbers vs lefties would be a great fit in the Mets DH spot, he doesn’t come without concerns. As is the case with most Rockies sluggers before him, Cron’s numbers may be inflated by playing half his games at Coors Field. In 2021, Cron hit nearly 100 points lower in average on the road as compared to home. He hit 19 of his 28 homers at home and had an OPS over 300 points higher in Colorado than on the road.

This year it’s been more of the same for Cron, who is hitting .211 in 15 road games with 2 homers, vs .398 with 9 homers in the Rockies’ 25 home games.

While the Mets should be concerned about trading for a player with such contrasting home and road splits, it’s worth noting that Cron has a .276/.383/.517 slash line at Citi Field in 34 career plate appearances, including 2 home runs.

Given the state of the Rockies, the team should be looking to turn a veteran player enjoying a career year into a return that features prospects. Not helping their cause, though, are his nasty splits and the fact that he is under contract for not only the remainder of this year but next as well.

Looking across town, Joey Gallo is a perfect example of a player traded that was under team control for multiple years and simply has not fit in with his new club. Rumors have even begun circulating that the Yankees may well look to trade the struggling outfielder before the season is over.

With that being the case, it may perfectly play into the Mets’ hands. The team perhaps can center a deal around Dom Smith, who twice now and as recently as last week, has stated that he would like to be an everyday player. Smith, under team control through 2025, could provide the Rockies a long-term solution at first base and in a ballpark where his sweet left-handed swing might finally blossom. For the Mets, it’s a risk- but with minimal production coming from a position that is meant to serve as a spot for sluggers, Cron may just fit the bill in the right deal.

New York Jets Position Battle: Who should play left tackle in 2022?

george fant, jets

One of the biggest dilemmas the New York Jets currently have is the fascinating battle that is set to take place at left tackle. The Jets have two talented starting-caliber offensive tackles in Mekhi Becton and George Fant. The question is, who will start on the left side and who will move to the right?

Both players were acquired in 2020, Joe Douglas’ first full offseason as the Jets general manager. That season, Becton showed tremendous promise and potential as a rookie. Throughout the 2020 season, his one concern was injuries, carried over into 2021 as he started one game all year after a knee injury in Week 1. That led to an opportunity for Fant to play where he has stated he feels most comfortable, left tackle. Fant was arguably the Jets’ best player a season ago. He did an incredible job protecting the blindside of Zach Wilson in his rookie year.

All of this culminates to the big unknown: Will the Jets keep Fant where he is at his best? Or, give their 11th overall selection from just two years ago a chance to regain his position?

Why Fant makes sense at left tackle:

Starting with Fant, Douglas and the New York Jets coaching staff led by head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur seem to be big fans of his ability. It has been reported the new staff last season thought very highly of Fant. With his basketball background, he has the athleticism to fit in LaFleur’s zone running scheme effortlessly. Fant was rock-solid throughout the 2021 season as a pass blocker, allowing just one sack. Over 889 snaps, he only allowed 18 pressures per PFF which placed him seventh among tackles. Finally, he only committed four penalties on the year.

Fant is entering the final year of his current contract. While speaking with the media this spring, Fant made it known:

“I want to be here for the rest of my career.” He went on to state discussions have taken place, “We’ve definitely had some conversations, I know my agent has talked to the Jets.”

While talking about the left tackle job with reporters, Fant had this to say:

“Obviously, I’d like to have one spot and stick with it, I feel I’m a natural left tackle, I’m more natural on the left. I’m going to do all in my power to stay there, but I can only control what I can control. I’ll do everything I can, I’ll do all I can, but I can’t worry too much about it.”

Why Becton makes sense at left tackle:

With Becton, this time a year ago, it seemed like he was set to be the Jets’ left tackle for the long haul. Now, with a new coaching staff in place entering its second year, he has to prove he can regain his 2020 form. The physical and athletic ability has always been there. Now, it comes down to availability. If Becton is on the field throughout training camp, he has all the talent to ultimately take the job back from possibly the Jets’ best player in 2021.

One aspect of Becton’s game that he has going for him is his difference-making run blocking. Becton can use his significant size to move defenders in the running game. Initially, one of the more compelling reasons to keep Becton at left tackle was having him alongside another first-round pick, Alijah Vera-Tucker. The two could be a dominant run-blocking duo.

However, with the Laken Tomlinson signing in free agency, Vera-Tucker will now be starting at right guard. As a result, this leads to an exciting thought — Becton and Vera-Tucker could be on the same side of the line if Fant wins the left tackle job.

Ultimately, the New York Jets have two offensive tackles they can feel excited about, barring injury. Based on the way things currently look, it seems like Fant has the better chance of starting at left tackle.

Becton has experience from college playing right tackle. He and Vera-Tucker could be very impactful in the running game on the right side of the line.

This allows Fant to play where he is at his best. He and the coaching staff can continue to build on the success they started last year. Fant can continue to help Wilson as a pass-blocker entering a big second year.

MLB suspends Yankees 3B Josh Donaldson over ‘racist’ comments

josh donaldson, yankees

New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson sparked a confrontation with Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson over the weekend. Donaldson reportedly made racist comments toward Anderson, who claimed he was called “Jackie,” a reference to Jackie Robinson.

Anderson made a comment several years ago that he was the next “Jackie Robinson,” which prompted Donaldson to poke fun as a way of intimidation. Clearly, the Chicago star shortstop took serious offense and publicly stated his displeasure over the incident.

“Basically, it was trying to call me Jackie Robinson. Like, ‘What’s up, Jackie?’” Anderson said after Saturday’s game.

Donald tried to respond with a calming perspective, but the damage was already done.

“My meaning of that is not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter,” Donaldson responded with.

As a result of the situation, the MLB decided to suspend Donaldson on Monday because of his poor judgment.

According to the Associated Press, the MLB cracked down on Yankees 3B Josh Donaldson:

Major League Baseball suspended Josh Donaldson for one game Monday after the New York Yankees slugger made multiple references to Jackie Robinson while talking to White Sox star Tim Anderson during the weekend.

Major League Baseball spoke to Anderson about the specific incident and why Donaldson was in the wrong.

“MLB has completed the process of speaking to the individuals involved in this incident. There is no dispute over what was said on the field. Regardless of Mr. Donaldson’s intent, the comment he directed toward Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and in poor judgment, particularly when viewed in the context of their prior interactions,” Michael Hill, the senior vice president of on-field operations for MLB, said in a statement.

The Yankees will not have to proceed without Donaldson for one game, an interesting length that the MLB imposed. Seemingly, they had to dish out some sort of consequence for Donaldson’s actions, but one game seems to be insignificant.

Yankees make surprise starting pitching decision for Wednesday’s game Vs Orioles

jp sears, yankees

With the New York Yankees playing a doubleheader on Sunday, management had to dip into their depth to help mitigate fatigue. After Luis Gil suffered a UCL injury that will require Tommy John surgery, the Bombers lost their first alternate.

Unfortunately, Gil will miss the remainder of the season after showing great velocity but struggling with his location. In his absence, the Yankees will have to supplement the back-end of the starting rotation.

For Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees called upon JP Sears from their Triple-A affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

What does JP Sears bring to the Yankees?

Sears is a left-handed pitcher standing at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds. At 26 years old, he has been dominant for Scranton the season, hosting a 0.83 ERA over 21.2 innings pitched. He has recorded 12.46 strikeouts per nine, a 78.6% left on base rate, and a 46.7% ground ball rate.

This year, he has made one relief appearance with the Yankees, lasting 2.0 innings, showcasing brilliant stuff. His strikeout rate sits at 38.5%. He hosts a 2.6% walk rate, the best in his entire career. Batters are hitting a measly .147 against him with a 1.12 FIP.

Looking at his sequence of pitches, Sears incorporates a fastball, slider, and change up. His FB sits at about 94.3 mph and a slider at 82.

JP was undoubtedly an interesting choice for manager Aaron Boone, who could’ve elevated Michael King to a starting role or called upon Clarke Schmidt. Schmidt has far more experience in the majors than Sears, totaling 16.1 innings, including 11 this year.

It is possible that the Yankees are looking to utilize Schmidt in a predominant relief role, supplementing the loss of Chad Green, who is also undergoing Tommy John surgery.

This week’s loss of several pitchers presents the first major hurdle for the Yankees this season. Luckily, they have the depth and talent to overcome them without skipping a beat. It really all depends on the production of their offense.

Yankees Rumors: 3 teams that could steal Aaron Judge away in free agency

aaron judge, yankees

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is having the best season of his career, and that is saying a lot since he hit 52 homers as a rookie in 2017. But this year, he seems more mature, more complete as a hitter: he is slashing .318/.389/.676 with a league-leading 15 home runs and a 209 wRC+.

But he will be a free agent after the year after rejecting a long-term deal from the Yankees that would have paid him around $30.5 million per season for seven years. If the Yanks fail to retain him, these three teams could be ready to pounce:

San Francisco Giants

Per NY Post’s Joel Sherman (link to the NJ Advance Media article here), there is a non-zero chance the San Francisco Giants pony up and bring in the All-Star slugger to San Francisco.

“So is Judge’s intention to play the ‘I’ll leave’ card to the last second as a way to squeeze the most out of the Yankees, but to stay in the end? If he plays this to the hilt, we might just happen to catch him in a photo with Giants manager Gabe Kapler,” Sherman wrote.

And the Giants, recently known for developing their own stars and contributors, can afford to splurge on the guy that could lead them to the postseason again.

New York Mets

Steve Cohen is the wealthiest owner in baseball, and he loves the Mets. That’s not a good combination for the Yankees if Judge reaches free agency.

As a continuation of his idea of Judge possibly joining the Giants, Sherman said that Judge could “show up in a video clip entering Citi Field at the same time — sources will say — that Steve Cohen was in the building.”

It’s really not that hard to envision: Cohen loves stars, and stars love money. There is nothing wrong with that.

Boston Red Sox

Per Sherman, the Yankees’ slugger could also join archrivals Boston Red Sox. “Maybe we’ll be stuck trying to corroborate the rumor that Red Sox owner John Henry personally walked Judge out to the Green Monster to wonder aloud what he might do to the wall in 81 home games.”

To be fair, Judge may bring the wall down, batted ball after batted ball. All kidding aside, it’s hard to see Judge going to Boston, but one should never say never in baseball.

In the end, now that they let him reach free agency, the Yankees will have to significantly increase their offer. “Is there anything more likely to motivate the Yankees to deviate higher from their contract offers than the thought of Judge playing for the Mets or Red Sox?” Sherman wrote.

The Dodgers, Rangers, Tigers, White Sox, and Marlins shouldn’t be ruled out. In the end, the Yankees remain his favored long-term destination, but if they don’t pay Judge what he wants, he could be wearing another uniform in 2023.

After close loss to Ketlen Vieira at UFC Vegas 55, what’s next for Holly Holm?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 55, a potential bantamweight title shot was on the line. Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm (14-6) was returning to the octagon for the first time since October 2020 to take on Ketlen Vieira (13-2).

Both fighters were coming off big wins coming into UFC Vegas 55. Holly Holm was coming off of a dominant win over Irene Aldana while Ketlen Vieira was coming into Saturday on the heels of beating former UFC champion Miesha Tate.

In the first round, Holly Holm did a good job implementing her game plan. She struck effectively and she did a good job of getting some cage control throughout the first round. All three judges awarded her the first round.

In the middle rounds, Ketlen Vieira saw some success. In the second round, she almost finished the former UFC champion with a a standing guillotine. However, Holm fought through it and the fight continued.

In the fifth round, Holm was once again really good with her strikes and cage control. Again, all three judges gave her the final round. With that, it came down to the three middle rounds. Two judges gave all three to Vieira while one gave one round to Holm which resulted in a split decision win for Vieira.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 55?

Holly Holm was visibly upset when the scores were read on Saturday night. She won two rounds pretty clearly and all three middle rounds were pretty competitive. From control to striking, Holm won every statistic by a wide margin.

Of course, you could say that Vieira landed the more damaging strikes at UFC Vegas 55. You wouldn’t be wrong in stating that, however, when you look at the states and everything as a whole, it’s puzzling to think that Vieira got her hand raised on Saturday night.

However, that’s judging for you. Now, the 40-year-old Holm must think about what’s next. What should the UFC do with her next? Well, I don’t think she’ll lose much ground in the division. In fact, given the state of 135 pounds, she might be in line for a title eliminator next.

I would love to see her in a rematch with Germaine De Randamie. GDR stated over the weekend that she wasn’t retired and she would be returning. Her and Holm once fought for the UFC featherweight title with De Randamie getting the win.

I think it’s a good time to run this one back with the winner getting a title shot at 135 pounds.

After controversial win at UFC Vegas 55, is a title shot next for Ketlen Vieira?

This past weekend in the main event of UFC Vegas 55, we saw a potential title eliminator in the women’s bantamweight division. Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm (14-6) was making her return against Brazil’s Ketlen Vieira (13-2).

Holm was coming off of an incredible win over Irene Aldana. Vieira was coming off of a win against Miesha Tate. Vieira was looking to pick up her second straight win over a former UFC bantamweight champion.

In the first round of the fight, Holm was very effective. She was able to use her kicks, speed, and grappling to get the edge on Vieira. All three judges gave the first round to Holm. In the second round, Vieira started landing solid shots and almost finished the former UFC champion with a standing rear naked choke.

However, Holm gutted it out. Throughout the next couple of rounds, Holm seemed to be landing more strikes, but Vieira was landing harder shots. Entering the final round, many thought the fight was tied up.

In the final round at UFC Vegas 55, Holly Holm seemed to be more effective landing shots and gaining clinch control. After the final bell sounded, most people thought Holm won the fight. However, when the scores were read, two of the three judges gave the fight and the massive win to Ketlen Vieira.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 55?

Whether you agree with the judges or not, it goes in the books as a win for Ketlen Vieira. She now has back-to-back wins over former UFC champions and she’s put herself in an excellent position in the bantamweight division.

On July 30th at UFC 277, Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes will rematch for the bantamweight title. Ketlen Vieira is going to be watching that fight closely as she’s likely going to be next for the winner.

A few years ago, Vieira seemed destined for a UFC title shot. However, injuries and a couple of losses made her reset her career. Now, she’s looking as sharp as ever and she’s just won the two biggest fights of her career.

Considering the landscape of 135 pounds, there’s only one fight for Vieira next and that’s a fight for the title.

Giants’ Leonard Williams raves about change in ‘energy’ at practice

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

New York Giants have experienced a polarizing shift in coaching style, ranging from Joe Judge to Brian Daboll. The new coaching staff has brought a more player-friendly approach to East Rutherford, helping develop personal relationships with each individual player rather than treating them as a disciplinary measure.

Defensive star Leonard Williams has even noticed the shift in energy, specifically noting the vibe.

“The vibe I’m getting is the excitement people are coming into work with,” Williams said Thursday. “I think guys are happy to be here. They’re happy about the teammates that they have next to them. They’re happy about the coaches that are coaching them.

Williams specifically mentioning the coaches is a positive sign. The interactions between the players and coaches have been positive, including lots of laughter and personalized moments. At face value, that seems a lot different than Judge’s strategy, enforcing forcing physical consequences for mistakes.

Williams continued to say that coming to work is a bit more enjoyable when all those factors are clicking.

“I think when you’re happy about all those things that I just said, it makes it easier to come into work and have a great attitude and great energy, and it shows in practice how we’re flying around out there. … it’s just a contagious energy that’s being brought right now.”

The New York Giants need Williams to help them set a new standard but could move on after the 2022 season:

Williams is entering the second year of a three-year, $63 million contract. The deal includes an ‘out’ after the 2022 season, counting $8.3 million in dead salary space but saving the team approximately $18 million if released.

His cap hit elevates to $27.3 million this season with a $35.6 dead money charge. If GM Joe Schoen is looking to move on and reset the cap a bit, they will have to wait until 2023.

Nonetheless, having an established veteran that is considered a defensive star should help some of the younger guys improve. Working alongside Kayvon Thibodeaux, the Giants’ 7th overall pick this year, should set a new pass-rush standard moving forward.

MLB insider says top Yankees reliever helps soften the blow of losing Green

yankees, Clay Holmes

The New York Yankees bullpen is in a bit of an odd place at the moment. Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Loaisiga, two of the most reliable relievers in recent memory, are struggling to even throw strikes, and Chad Green has been lost for the year with elbow ligament damage.

Luis Gil, a prospect who could have been of use as a spot starter or potential reliever will undergo Tommy John surgery, too. In the middle of the tough times, one particular Yankees’ reliever has been lights out.

Clay Holmes, who came to the Yankees last year via trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, has been one of the best relievers in MLB this year. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 9 (!) and has a 0.42 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21.2 frames.

Could Holmes be the next Yankees closer?

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden says Holmes helps soften the blow of losing Green and Gil for the rest of the season (link to NJ Advance Media article here): “Clay Holmes is 4-0 with a 0.42 ERA in a league leading 20 appearances pitching 21.1 IP with just 13 H 1 R 2 BB and 21 SO and has quickly become one of the games best overall relievers not named (Josh) Hader.”

When the Yankees acquired him, he was a 29-year-old journeyman with control issues and a career 5.57 ERA. But the Bombers prompted him to throw strikes and let the natural movement of his pitches do the job for him, and he has taken off since then.

As a Yankee, Holmes has a 1.09 ERA over 45 appearances. He is firmly at the top of Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone’s pecking order, and has earned four saves so far. If the Yanks decide it’s time to give Chapman a bit of a breather from the closer role, Holmes may be a worthy candidate to take over as the new fireman.