Good news and bad news as Yankees drop tough game against Tampa Bay

nestor cortes, yankees

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes entered Tuesday night’s game with a 1.94 ERA over 69.2 innings this season. He hosted 9.69 strikeouts per nine and a 0.78 home runs per nine rate. On top of that, his 86.8% left on base rate indicates that he gets out of trouble frequently without giving up any run support.

However, Cortes got a dose of reality on Tuesday.

Good news and bad news as Yankees drop tough game against Tampa:

The Yankees’ top starting pitcher this season gave up a solo homer in the first inning to Isaac Paredes, who had three homers to help Tampa Bay push past the Bombers 5–4.

Paredes isn’t known for his home run production, entering the game with just five on the season before launching three, courtesy of Cortes and Clarke Schmidt.

The Yankees’ bullpen didn’t fare much better aside from Ron Marinaccio, who lasted 2.0 innings without giving up a hit. Marinaccio has been solid over the past few weeks, not giving up a single run since April 28 against the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, he’s only allowed one hit over 10 innings, showcasing quality stuff.

Offensively, the Yankees were quiet until the top of the 9th inning when reserve utilityman Marwin Gonzalez launched a two-run HR to left field, driving in Gleyber Torres. With Aaron Judge at the plate and looking to take advantage of a prime opportunity to tie the game, he fell just short, coming within inches of a solo blast.

Given how successful the Yankees have been this season, they are allowed to have a few poor performances. Cortes has earned a mulligan, as the Yankees still maintain their significant lead in the AL East by 11.5 games as of Tuesday night.

Cortes has mentioned in the past how his numbers are meaningless if the team is not winning, and he’s helped tremendously to fuel one of the best Yankee teams many have seen in their lifetime.

The Bombers will return on Wednesday with Jordan Montgomery on the mound looking to steal the final game of a three-game series. After Wednesday’s clash, the Yanks will head back to the Bronx, where they will take on the Houston Astros in a four-game series. They will enjoy a seven-game homestand to help temper their tough streak of away games.

Nate Diaz requests UFC release to box Jake Paul; Dana White says it’s a fight that makes sense

For about a year now, we’ve been waiting on word regarding Nate Diaz‘s next fight with the UFC. Diaz fought Leon Edwards last June and had an entertaining fight that he lost by decision. Despite losing, Diaz still had the highlight of the fight.

In the fifth round, Diaz hurt Edwards badly and seemingly was moments away from finishing the fight. However, Edwards survived to hear the judges scorecards read and hear his name called for a decision.

Since then, there’s been a lot of drama with Diaz and the UFC. Diaz has one fight left on his current contract. Originally, the UFC wanted Diaz to fight Khamzat Chimaev and that was a fight that Diaz declined. It made no sense for Diaz to take that fight.

In his contract if he declines a formal fight offer, the UFC gets to extend the time commitment of his contract. It’s a way that the promotion protects itself from fighters sitting out and turning down fights. Since January, there’s been a lot of heat regarding a fight with Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz.

It’s a fight that Diaz and Poirier want. However, the UFC has failed to put it together due to Diaz’s contract. The rumor mill has speculated that the promotion would only give in to that fight if Diaz were to sign an extension.

UFC release or fight announcement imminent?

We’ve been watching both sides play hardball throughout 2022. However, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel for Nate Diaz. Diaz posted on Twitter last night that he wanted a fight immediately or his UFC release to go box Jake Paul.

Dana White spoke to The Mac Life today and for the first time, it sounded like he was open to Diaz’s request. White said they would work on getting Diaz a fight, but he also went on to say, “Nate Diaz probably should go on and fight Jake Paul. That’s a fight that makes sense.”

Jake Paul has already responded saying he would love for this fight to happen. Paul has been calling for a boxing match with Diaz for some time. Given Diaz’s contract with the UFC, it didn’t seem like it had any serious legs.

However, it may be a possibility now. Something tells me that Diaz will still get one more UFC fight. Not sure on the opponent, but I think they give him one more fight and then he walks to the boxing ring to take on Jake Paul by the end of the year.

New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin wins Vezina Trophy as NHL’s top goalie

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin wins the Vezina Trophy for the first time in his young career.

Igor Shesterkin was named the winner of the Vezina Trophy on Tuesday night.  The New York Rangers goaltender won the trophy following an incredible 2021-2022 season where he led the league in goals-against average (2.07) and save percentage (9.35). His 36 wins were sixth in the NHL. Shesterkin won the award in his first season playing 50 or more games. He is the 16th goaltender to win the Vezina Trophy in their first season playing 50-plus games and the first since Tuukka Rask (2013-14 – 58 GP).

The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s goaltender who is “adjudged to be the best at this position” at the conclusion of each season.  The 32  NHL general managers vote to determine the winner. It is named in honor of Georges Vezina, goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens from 1910 until 1925.

Shesterkin helped lead the Rangers to their second-best season in wins (52) while taking the Blueshirts to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five years.

The 26-year-old did not lose three consecutive games in the regular season. The Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals losing the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 despite holding a 2-0 series lead.  The lighting won the final four games, which was the only time Shesterkin suffered four consecutive losses all season.

The last New York Rangers goaltender to win the award was Henrik Lundqvist in 2012.

Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames and Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators was the other finalist for the award.

Past New York Rangers Vezina Winners

The Rangers have had five previous winners of the Vezina Trophy.

  • Dave Kerr- 1939-’40
  • Eddie Giacomin and Gilles Villemure -1970-’71
  • John Vanbiesbrouck – 1985-’86
  • Henrik Lundqvist- 2011-’12

Shesterkin is also a finalist for the Hart Trophy which is awarded to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player.

Vezina Voting

 

 

Why the New York Giants are primed for a quick rebuild

giants, joe schoen

The New York Giants entered the 2022 offseason well over the salary cap. New general manager Joe Schoen inherited a mess and had to make sacrifices to get the Giants back under the cap. The Giants were forced to move on from multiple starters, like James Bradberry, Evan Engram, and Jabrill Peppers. Schoen managed, however, to get the Giants back under the cap with enough money to sign free agents and an impressive 2022 draft class. Now the Giants are considered one of the most cap-healthy teams in the NFL.

New York Giants rank ninth in salary cap health

Pro Football Focus recently did a three-year salary cap analysis for every team in the NFL. Surprisingly, the Giants are one of the top-ten most cap-healthy teams in the league. The way that the Giants managed to fix their salary cap overnight is impressive. Joe Schoen utilized an offseason attack completely opposite to the one utilized by the last regime.

Last offseason, the Giants were big spenders in free agency. They made splash signings on free agents Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson. They also signed Leonard Williams to a mega-extension. This year, however, the Giants were very careful with their spending. Joe Schoen was prudent with the Giants’ money and focused this offseason on setting up a bright future for the Giants financially.

Per PFF, the Giants currently have “the most active draft capital in the NFL,” which captures “both the value of players that have not played an NFL snap yet as well as each team’s total potential for surplus value from rookie contracts.” Essentially, the Giants have most of their money tied up in players on rookie contracts. The Giants are not spending much money on declining veterans.

The Giants are also expected to have a lot of cap space in the next two seasons. They possess the “second-most effective cap space from 2022-2024,” meaning they will have the second-largest amount of money to spend over that timespan in the NFL.

The Giants have the most active draft capital in the NFL and the second-most effective cap space from 2022-2024 — that’s how a franchise turns things around in a hurry after five awful seasons. – PFF on the Giants’ salary cap situation

The New York Giants have hovered around the bottom of the NFL for years. Their last playoff appearance was in 2016. It has been a long and disappointing rebuilding period for the Giants since then. But with their salary cap being as healthy as it is, the New York Giants’ future has never been brighter.

Yankees complete masterclass trade as they re-sign former pitching prospect

New York Yankees, Albert Abreu

Before the start of the 2022 season, the New York Yankees executed a three-player trade with the Texas Rangers. The Bombers sent prospects Albert Abreu and Robby Ahlstrom to Texas. In exchange, they received catcher Jose Treviño, who has been a phenomenal addition to the starting lineup.

Treviño has stolen the starting catcher job from Kyle Higashioka. He’s hitting .278 with a 33.6% on-base rate and five homers this season. He’s also tallied 19 RBIs, a 12.6% strikeout rate, and 7.6% walk rate.

In the deal, general manager Brian Cashman sent Abreu on his way, a 26-year-old relief pitcher who had just 38 innings of action at the Major League level over two seasons. This year, he spent 13 innings with Texas and Kansas City, posting a 3.46 ERA and 96.6% left on base rate. By the numbers, Albert wasn’t pitching poorly, especially given his potential at such a ripe age.

What is Albert Abreu bringing back to the New York Yankees?

Abreu hosts a four-seam fastball, sinker, change-up, and slider. The flamethrower clocks out at 97.7 mph with his fastball and 88.2 mph slider. Pitching coach Matt Blake could have a field day with Abreu. He offers solid value given the Yankees traded him at the beginning of the season and he’s already made his way back in exchange for one of the league’s best defensive catchers.

This is just another example of Cashman’s genius this past off-season, landing a stellar player in exchange for multiple prospects who clearly aren’t making a significant impact. Abreu will immediately join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, waiting for another opportunity to make an impression at the big league level.

However, with double-digit innings of experience under his belt, the Yankees could call upon him to make an appearance shortly, especially with several pitchers fighting their way back from injury.

What should the New York Rangers do with Patrik Nemeth?

What should the New York Rangers do with Patrik Nemeth?

The New York Rangers are strapped for cash this offseason. They have under $12 million in salary-cap space to spend despite a long list of restricted and unrestricted free agents hitting the market this summer. In order to free up cap space to afford to re-sign their most talented free agents, the Rangers will need to move on from one of their veteran defensemen. The New York Rangers need to move on from Patrik Nemeth after a disappointing 2021 season.

Why it is time to move on from Patrik Nemeth

The Rangers made it to the Eastern Conference Finals this season. They were true underdogs that surpassed all expectations. The youth on the Rangers’ roster stepped up and overperformed. Meanwhile, 30-year-old defenseman Patrik Nemeth fell back and underperformed throughout the 2021 season. Nemeth is currently playing on a 3-year contract worth $7.5 million that he signed last summer ($2.5M AAV). The Rangers can no longer afford to keep Patrik Nemeth at this price point. They will have to trade or buy out Patrik Nemeth this offseason to stay in a financially viable position.

Patrik Nemeth was unproductive this past season. He played in 63 games, totaling only 7 points with a +/- of -9. He did, however, record 102 blocks, 115 hits, and 11 takeaways. Considering his production level, his contract’s AAV, and the Rangers’ lack of cap space, it seems inevitable that the BlueShirts trade or buyout Nemeth this offseason.

Patrik Nemeth’s playing time declined over the course of the season. He appeared in only 5 of the Rangers’ postseason games and posted a +/- of -5. The Rangers are a less efficient team with Nemeth on the ice.

The New York Rangers can free up a solid amount of cap space by either buying out Patrik Nemeth’s contract or trading him to another team:

Per CapFriendly’s buyout calculator, a Nemeth buyout would add $1.5M this offseason to work with. It’s even bigger in 2023-24, where the full $2.5M is back on the books. That’s just in time for Alexis Lafrenière, K’Andre Miller, and Filip Chytil’s new deals. There’s a -$1M penalty for two seasons after, which the Rangers can easily manage. – via Forever BlueShirts

The possibility of saving $1.5M in cap space this offseason and $2.5M in cap space next offseason is enticing. This possibility will likely lead the Rangers to move on from Patrik Nemet this offseason and invest their money elsewhere.

Report: New multi-year deal with Knicks looming for Mitchell Robinson

mitchell robinson, knicks

While a starting-caliber lead guard is on top of the New York Knicks‘ priority, Mitchell Robinson should not be far behind.

The Knicks are reportedly ready to offer a multi-year extension to keep Robinson in New York.

“The Knicks are widely regarded as a team looking to shed a number of contracts (such as those possessed by Alec Burks, Kemba Walker and Nerlens Noel) to create salary-cap space for the potential free-agent pursuits of Dallas’ Jalen Brunson and perhaps even (gasp) Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving. Yet Monday night also delivered the strongest rumbles I’ve heard to date that a new multiyear deal to keep Mitchell Robinson in New York is looming,” Marc Stein wrote.

The Knicks have until June 30 to lock up Robinson to an extension, or they would risk losing him in the open market. The former second-round pick who blossomed into a rim-running center and a defensive stalwart with the Knicks is eligible to sign an extension worth up to $55.6 million over four years.

While it was widely reported after the trade deadline that there is a wide gap between Robinson’s asking price and what the Knicks are willing to pay, all signs point to a resolution.

The Knicks’ reported plan to trade Noel this summer is a clear sign that they are looking to retain Robinson. They remained heavily invested in Robinson as they continued their annual practice of sending team personnel to monitor Robinson’s offseason workout in Louisiana.

Robinson also expressed his desire to remain with the Knicks in not-so-subtle signs on his social media account. First, he wore a “New York or Nowhere shirt during his visit to his high school principal. Then, he followed that up with a social media post of New York with an interesting caption, “home.”

Robinson’s market has shrunk after the Dallas Mavericks traded for Houston Rockets’ big man Christian Wood. Teams needing a center are reportedly eyeing Utah Jazz’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert or Phoenix Suns’ restricted free agent Deandre Ayton. It’s getting clearer that Robinson is only a fallback option for teams with cap space like the Detroit Pistons.

Robinson is back in Louisiana working out with his trainer Marcell Scott, Jr., with a focus on his free throw shooting. Their goal is to improve Robinson’s free throw shooting percentage to 80. Last season, Robinson shot 48.6 percent.

A tall task. But if Robinson can dramatically improve in that area, it will be worth the extension.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Alexander Volkanovski eying Charles Oliveira if he wins at UFC 276

In just a couple of weeks at UFC 276, we are going to see a trilogy for the featherweight title. Champion Alexander Volkanovski (24-1) will look to make it 3-0 as he takes on Max Holloway (23-6) for the third time.

The first fight was clearly a win for Volkanovski. In the second fight, you could make the argument for either man getting the win. Volkanovski got his hand raised both times and he plans on making it decisive at UFC 276.

If Alexander Volkanovski does win at UFC 276, there aren’t a ton of challenges left for him at 145 pounds. He would have three wins over Max Holloway. He also completely destroyed Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung.

Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez are potential challengers, but neither seem to really light the fire for the champion. With a win at UFC 276, Volkanovski said this week he wouldn’t be focused on his next title defense. Instead, he would be focused on calling for a shot at the lightweight champion.

Would the UFC make Volkanovski – Oliveira?

In speaking at a UFC 276 press conference, Volkanovski said that he plans on calling for a shot at the vacant lightweight title with a win over Holloway. Currently, the lightweight title is vacant after Charles Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) missed weight before his title defense against Justin Gaethje.

While there’s technically no champion at 155, the world knows that the division belongs to Charles Oliveira. Right now, there’s not a lot of clarity surrounding Oliveira’s next opponent. There are many calling for the UFC to book him against Islam Makhachev.

However, Dana White has seemingly shut that fight down and said that Makhachev wouldn’t be next. The UFC is still interested in booking Makhachev against top contender Beneil Dariush which was a fight that was supposed to take place in February.

Oliveira has gone on record and stated that he wants a fight with Conor McGregor next. McGregor is currently rehabbing after breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier last year at UFC 264. Oliveira said that he wants the money-fight with McGregor after taking out all of the top contenders.

If anyone deserves the money fight, it would be Oliveira. However, McGregor might not be ready by the fall. If Volkanovski wins at UFC 276, I think there’s a good chance he gets the shot. Maybe that’s why Dana White has been so against Islam Makhachev getting the shot.

If Makhachev fights Dariush and McGregor isn’t ready, who else would challenge Oliveira next? To me, the only logical opponent would be Alexander Volkanovski.

The Yankees’ trade deadline mobility hangs in the balance with Aaron Judge’s arbitration hearing

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman have a big decision to make regarding Aaron Judge and his arbitration hearing on Wednesday. Cashman is looking to settle at $17 million for Judge after a dominant 2021 season. His 2022 statistics can’t play a role in the contract demands in arbitration, but Judge’s representatives are asking for $21 million, a $4 million difference that could impact the team’s mobility at the trade deadline.

The Yankees need to tread carefully as they approach the third luxury tax tier:

The Yankees currently sit at $260 million in total luxury tax payroll allocations, $10 million away from surpassing the third luxury tax tier. If the Yankees stay below the second luxury tax tier, they will accumulate a 32% tax rate, but if they exceed the third tier at $270 million, that tax rate balloons to 62.5%. For obvious reasons, Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner will likely want to stay below that number, leaving them with minimal mobility at the deadline either way.

Suppose Judge wins the hearing and lands $21 million. In that case, the Bombers will only have $6 million to make moves, unless they package together multiple players, including one with a significant salary charge this year. However, the value of their big-money players is low, especially since Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo seem to be the only movable options at this point, given their performance this season.

For example, let’s assume the Yankees target a player like Andrew Benintendi, who is currently on a one-year, $8.5 million deal. If the Yankees are forced to submit to Judge’s demands, they may not have enough cash to execute a trade like this. The extra $4 million makes a significant difference in their flexibility.

The more likely scenario is that Cashman looks to package multiple prospects together in exchange for a player that hasn’t reached six years of MLB service time just yet.

Last year, Judge had a phenomenal season, hitting .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBIs. However, he missed out on most of the major accolades, which could influence his arbitration hearing and the amount that is settled.

After UFC Austin, is a title shot next for Josh Emmett?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Austin, we saw a featherweight showdown between Josh Emmett (18-2) and Calvin Kattar (23-6). Both men were looking to take a step towards title contention on Saturday night.

Entering the fight, I figured we’d see the clash of styles that we ended up seeing. Kattar’s distance striking and precise boxing against Josh Emmett’s explosiveness and power shots. That’s exactly what we saw at UFC Austin.

Throughout the entire fight, Kattar did a really good job of connecting at range. However, consistently throughout the fight, Emmett was landing big shots that clearly had a bigger impact than the shots that Kattar was landing.

Kattar landed more shots, but Emmett seemed to be landing the bigger shots. Despite the damage on the face of Emmett, it felt like his shots carried much more weight and they clearly did with the judges.

In all transparency, I scored the fight for Calvin Kattar. However, two of the judges gave the fight and the massive victory to Josh Emmett at UFC Austin by split decision.

What’s next after UFC Austin?

Regardless of whether or not you agree with the decision, Josh Emmett gets the official win and now he’s ranked fourth in the UFC featherweight rankings. Only Yair Rodriguez, Brian Ortega, Max Holloway and champion Alexander Volkanovski are ahead of him.

After his win, he called for the winner of the Volkanovski – Holloway trilogy which goes down in a couple of weeks at UFC 276. In looking at the division, Emmett does have a pretty good case for a title shot given his five consecutive wins.

However, for him to get a title shot, I think a few things need to happen. First and foremost, I think Alexander Volkanovski needs to win at UFC 276. If Holloway wins, I could see them running it back given how dominant Volkanovski has been as champion.

If that were to happen, I would pit Emmett against the winner of Yair Rodriguez – Brian Ortega. Speaking of Yair Rodriguez, if he defeats Brian Ortega, I could see him getting a shot at Volkanovski before Emmett.

Rodriguez had a razor close fight with Max Holloway and he’s ranked ahead of Emmett. If he defeats the two-time challenger Ortega next month, I think he’ll get the next shot before Emmett.

A path to a UFC title shot is there for Emmett, but it’s contingent on everything falling into place. If it doesn’t, it’s going to take one more win to solidify his shot.