Shaping up the Yankees recent trades

Over the course of the last three days, the Yankees have made three trades that netted four minor league pitchers.

While none of the arms the Yankees acquired are game-changers, they are prospects who helped free room to protect the Yankees top minor league talent. The Rule 5 draft is approaching fast, and the deadline to set 40 man rosters was tonight at 8 PM. So, if the Yankees did not clear spots for notable prospects such as Gleyber Torres, Thairo Estrada, Albert Abreu, and Domingo Acevedo, they would have been eligible to be drafted by any other club.

You may be worried that the Yankees gave up impact players in order to free up roster room for these players, but that is the exact opposite of what they did. The players they traded in these three deals were pitchers Nick Rumbelow (recovering from Tommy John surgery), Caleb Smith (7.00 ERA), Ronald Herrera, and first basemen Garrett Cooper. So in essence, the Yankees sacrificed players with no place on the club, in exchange for room for prospects who should impact the big league club for the next decade. Good job, Cash.

One last important factor involved in these trades was the $250,000 they acquired in International Free Agency money. This money will tie the Texas Rangers with the most money to offer impending Free Agent Star Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani, 23, has been called “Japan’s Babe Ruth” and is expected to be eligible to be signed for the maximum of $3.5M by an MLB Team this offseason. He can both pitch and hit, and would be an estimated $200M player if he were a normal free agent.

While these trades seem minor, they really were moves that will allow the upcoming Baby Bombers spots on the team in the near future. We all saw how young players can impact winning last year, and there is no shortage of talent coming.

The future is bright, Yankee fans… The future is bright.

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MLB Free Agent Catchers Predicted Landing Spots

This is one real weak free agent catcher class. There may be only three guys in this group who wind up being the starting catcher for the team they sign with. The rest of them will hope to be back ups, but some may just receive an invite to spring training.

1. Jonathan Lucroy: Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-years/$30M

2017 Stats: 6 HR, 40 RBI, .265/.345/.371, 20/75 CS, 0.6 WAR

Jonathan Lucroy had an extremely disappointing year after arguably the best season of his career and an All-Star Game appearance in 2016. He was traded at the deadline by the Rangers to the Rockies, and the change of scenery helped his cause. It was not the “Coors” effect as his power numbers were still down. However, he increased his OPS from .635 to .865. Defensively, he was horrible and he never really has been very good back there. In a weak class he is still the top catcher. He should receive 3-years as many teams are in need of help behind the dish.

Other Destinations: Rockies, Athletics, Rangers, White Sox

2. Welington Castillo: Colorado Rockies, 2-years/$18M

2017 Stats: 20 HR, 53 RBI, .282/.323/.490, 24/49 CS, 2.1 WAR

Welington Castillo was extremely underrated last year as he may have been a top-10 overall catcher in baseball last year. So, why isn’t he number 1? It was the best year he has had in his 8-year career and it is not very close. Defensively, he was one of the best in baseball as he led the league in runners caught stealing percentage. The Rockies lose Lucroy, but they’ll go out and sign Castillo, as they hope he can give the same production as he did in 2017.

Other Destinations: Diamondbacks, Orioles, Athletics, Rangers, White Sox

3. Alex Avila: Oakland Athletics, 2-years/$18M

2017 Stats: 14 HR, 49 RBI, .264/.387/.447, 17/55 CS, 2.7 WAR

Does Alex Avila deserve the same amount of money as Castillo? Definitely, not. Will he receive the same or close to it? Yes. A very thin class and multiple teams who need starting catchers means a nice payday for Avila. The Athletics are a team who can afford to overpay for a position they desperately need. Avila had a solid season offensively, but he will need to improve defensively if he is going to live up to his contract.

Other Destinations: Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Rangers, White Sox

4. Chris Iannetta: Texas Rangers, 2-years/$14M

2017 Stats: 17 HR, 43 RBI, .254/.354/.511, 8/33 CS, 1.8 WAR

Chris Iannetta is not very good defensively, but he has enough pop in his bat to warrant himself a decent contract. As mentioned, the Rangers traded Lucroy at the deadline last season, but either way he was most likely gone. They are very thin at the position and Iannetta actually has a chance to become their starting catcher. He can keep that position if he improves defensively a bit and continues to drive the ball out of the park.

Other Destinations: Diamondbacks, Athletics, White Sox, Cubs, Tigers

5. Nick Hundley: Chicago White Sox, 2-years/$12M

2017 Stats: 9 HR, 35 RBI, .244/.272/.418, 15/51 CS, 0.5 WAR

Nick Hundley is another player who has a chance to start if he is signed to the right team, and the White Sox are one of those teams. The Sox are very young and do not have a true starting catcher at the moment. They may want to bring in a veteran catcher to help with their young staff, even if that means overpaying for a player a bit. Hundley has some pop in his bat as well.

Other Destinations: Giants, Padres, Rockies, Athletics, Tigers

6. Rene Rivera: New York Mets, 2-years/$8M

2017 Stats: 10 HR, 35 RBI, .252/.305/.431, 12/33 CS, 0.1 WAR

This most sought out true backup catcher this off-season may be Rene Rivera. He had a serviceable year at the dish last year and is one of the better defensive catchers in the league. The Mets’ pitching staff has trouble holding guys in and they will look to bring back Rivera to be their go to defensive man behind the plate.

Other Destinations: Athletics, Cubs, Giants, Blue Jays, Tigers

7. A.J. Ellis: Chicago Cubs, 1-year/$4M

2017 Stats: 6 HR, 14 RBI, .210/.298/.371, 5/15 CS, 0.4 WAR

A.J. Ellis has been one of the more consistent back up catchers in the league throughout his 10-year career. The Cubs already have their starting catcher in Willson Contreras, but they need a back up since Avila will most likely not be back. Ellis will come very cheap and he will serve as a solid defensive back up, who will call a good game.

Other Destinations: Mets, Marlins, Nationals, Giants, Blue Jays, Tigers, White Sox

8. Jose Lobaton: San Francisco Giants, 1-year/$3M

2017 Stats: 4 HR, 11 RBI, .170/.248/.277, 8/41 CS, -1.0 WAR

Jose Lobaton was just downright bad last year. There is only one reason why Lobaton makes this list. He is a switch-hitter. The Giants need someone to spell Buster Posey every now and then. Lobaton can fit into their lineup nicely in any game since he can hit from both sides of the plate. Lobaton has had some serviceable years in the past and the Giants will get him relatively cheap. They will hope he can turn back the clock a bit and give them a decent year.

Other Destinations: Nationals, Tigers, Blue Jays, Rangers, Athletics

9. Carlos Ruiz: Toronto Blue Jays, 1-year/$3M

2017 Stats: 3 HR, 11 RBI, .216/.313/.352, 7/30 CS, 0.5 WAR

CHOOOOCH! Carlos Ruiz may have had the worst year of his career last season, but he will still get a deal with a team to be their back up. He is definitely on the decline in his career, but he will bring a valuable veteran presence to any team he plays for. The Blue Jays do not really have a back up catcher and need someone who can give Martin a rest every now and then. Ruiz will fit nicely in Toronto and I would not be surprised to see him with the Blue Jays come 2018.

Other Destinations: White Sox, Tigers, Athletics, Cubs, Rangers, Mariners, Phillies

10. Derek Norris: Detroit Tigers, 1-year/$2M

2017 Stats: 9 HR, 24 RBI, .201/.258/.380, 8/41 CS, 0.0 WAR

Derek Norris‘ 2017 season was cut short due to a suspension in which he was accused of domestic violence. He would be much higher on this list if it was not for that incident as he had better numbers than most of the other players on this list in only 53 games. I’m sure some team will take a chance on him since he will come very cheap and he does have the chance to be productive.

Other Destinations: Athletics, Mets, Blue Jays, Giants, Cubs, Nationals

4 SZNS Podcast ft Oliver Maroney

Give the 4 SZNS Pod a follow on SoundCloud to stay up to date on all of the 4 SZNS episodes!

In this episode:

“The 4 SZNS Podcast’s Ryan Magdziarz and Zak Noble sit down with rising NBA writer and analyst Oliver Maroney to discuss life as a famous NBA personality, the development of the Big 3, and buying or selling NBA teams.

1:35- Dime Uproxx vs Slam Magazine

3:00- Career path

5:32- Baby faced assasin/ benefits of starting at an early age

7:30- Building relationships with players and maintaining them

9:12- Writing style/ eye test over analytics and stats

11:35- Involvement with the Big 3 & The Big 3 Podcast Show

14:55- First year growth and thoughts

16:43- Best friends with Ice Cube & Michael Rapaport

20:36- Metta World Peace joins the Big 3

21:52- Changes and improvements of the second season of the Big 3

24:25- Basketball inKansas City

24:55- Buy Or Sell: Detroit Pistons

29:04- Orlando Magic

33:15- New York Knicks

37:21- Charlotte Hornets

39:45- Denver Nuggets

44:40- Utah Jazz

48:27- OKC Thunder

53:36- Top 5: Big 3 player wishlist”

Predicting Week 4 College Football Playoff Rankings

  1. Alabama 11-0
  2. Clemson 10-1
  3. Miami 10-0
  4. Wisconsin 11-0
  5. Oklahoma 10-1
  6. Auburn 9-2
  7. Georgia 10-1
  8. Notre Dame 9-2
  9. Ohio State 9-2
  10. Penn State 9-2
  11. USC 10-2
  12. TCU 9-2
  13. Washington State 9-2
  14. UCF 10-0
  15. Mississippi State 8-3
  16. Michigan State 8-3
  17. Washington 9-2
  18. Oklahoma State 8-3
  19. LSU 8-3
  20. Memphis 9-1
  21. Stanford 8-3
  22. Northwestern 8-3
  23. Boise State 9-2
  24. Virginia Tech 8-3
  25. USF 9-1

Winning On The Road: A Christmas Gift That Can Make Or Break The Knicks!

The (8-7) Knicks return home to Madison Square Garden tonight where so far in this early season, seem to play their best ball. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Clippers (5-10) come reeling in losing 8 in a row. If there’s a game the Knicks need to win, its tonight and here’s why.

As you may have been noticing, the Knicks have been playing an abundance amount of home games to start the season. Out of the Knicks first 15 games, they have played already 10 at home where they have gone 7-3. Starting tonight, 11 out of the next 18 games will also be at MSG. When the December 25th home game against the Philadelphia 76ers concludes, they will have played a stretch of 21 home games in their first 33 games………….And this Knick fans might hurt them if they can not take the same intensity they show at home, on the road.

In this early season their struggles, besides one win in Cleveland, have come when they have to play away from the Garden. They have looked like a completely different team posting a 1-4 record. Yes it might still only be a small sample size, but in these games they have lost, they have shown to lack that tenacity to win. Some players have come out saying that the home crowd gives them an extra boost of energy to keep pushing. Well I say, the Knicks need to find it in themselves to get that will power to win on the road or an upcoming stretch will be a “Recipe for Disaster!”

After the Christmas Day game, the NBA and the Grammy’s have gifted the Knicks a stretch run that includes 16 road games in a 20 game span. The Grammy Awards, who are returning to New York for their 60th anniversary show, will take place at Madison Square Garden on January 28. With that being said, the Grammy committee will need the venue for two weeks prior to the event, which is why there has been an unbalance in the Knicks schedule with all the home games.

Now the Knicks will have 7 road games in which hopefully are enough games for them to get it together. Another thing, they have not been away from Madison Square Garden for more than one game so far this season. In fact this upcoming weekend will be the first time they play two road games in a row, when they go up against the Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets, in back to back games Friday and Saturday.

But before all that, there is a home game tonight and a home game Wednesday night!

The players love being at home. The fans are enjoying this gritty Knicks team. There is a buzz around New York City. Which makes picking up a win in tonight’s game and any upcoming home games important. And hopefully by the time Christmas Day comes, the Knicks will have notched a few more wins on the road. Because to go into this stretch not having confidence to win on the road, and then to make matters worst having to play 16 of 20 away, this can make or break their season.

The New York Knicks are definitely on the come up. Will they make the playoffs this season? Who knows. At home they look great. On the road, not so much. By the end of January, I believe we and the rest of the NBA will definitely know where this Knicks team, led by Kristaps Porzingis, ranks among the Eastern Conference.

When this time rolls around, with more than 50% of their games being completed, will the Knicks be in the top 8 defending a playoff spot? Or will they be on the outside looking in? One thing’s for sure, the Knicks must learn how to win on the road to stay relevant.

Abstract Sports Podcast Ep. 31: Sports, Bets, and Q & A

The boys from Abstract Sports are back! This week they discuss a bunch of topics between the MLB, NFL and NBA! Their podcast will be posted weekly on YouTube so make sure you click that subscribe button! They will also be doing live shows every Wednesday at 7PM Mount Time / 9 PM EST on Twitch! Nope, they are not done there. You can also listen to their podcasts in high quality audio by checking out their SoundCloud. Do you want to know a little bit more about Abstract Sports? Well then just head over to their Twitter and give them a follow!

In this epsiode:

“With a lack of preparation (as usual), Kyle and Micah manage to stumble their way into a few great tangents relating to current topics in the sports world. Topics include:

– Idaho State High School Football Championship
– Rudy Gobert injury
– Men’s / women’s Vandal basketball
– Ezekiel Elliott repeals his appeal for suspension
– Jerry Jones trying to sue NFL
– Sports as microchosm for the world
– Result of the three top 10 matchups in CFB last week
– Discussing the process of recruiting

NEW: Weekly Bet
Who wins between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers? Kyle takes the Chargers, and if they win, Micah has to face him in a 3-point shootout. If the Chargers win? Micah makes a custom drink for Kyle that he has to drink (and finish) during next week’s episode. Either way, you’ll have something interesting to watch to say the least.”

 

3 Centers and Joakim Noah .. What should the Knicks Do?

The Knicks have a problem on their hands, but it’s a problem Jeff Hornacek doesn’t seem to mind having. Joakim Noah, who just finished serving a 20 game suspension, is now on the bench along side his teammates…..but in his street clothes. With an abundance of centers on the Knicks roster and how well they have been playing, Hornacek basically said there is no room to play him right now. Hornacek and the organization couldn’t be any more right with this decision.

So now what about that atrocious Joakim Noah contract? A player in street clothes making about $18 million a year with 3 years left is just going to sit and not suit up? Well, maybe the Knicks organization is considering looking at the stretch provision. You might ask what is that? In the NBA, the stretch provision allows the organization to waive a player and stretch his remaining salary and cap hit over a number of years equal to the years remaining on his contract plus one. So by doing this with Noah, he would receive about $7.5 million per season for the next 5 years. This also gives the Knicks about $11 million in extra cap space for next year and $12 million for the year after that.

Right now with Noah’s contract, the Knicks have no cap space. Waiving him outright or finding a compatible trade suitor will not help the Knicks because that money would still be on the books. But by this “stretch” provision that the NBA provides, this in my opinion is best long term for the Knicks. It also gives them the opportunity to pursue a big free agent next summer when Lebron James and Paul George look to headline the free agent class.

Again only my opinion but this is what I feel the Knicks should do. The Knicks also have time in which to come up with a plan since they won’t have to make a decision til September 1, 2018 based on the stretch rule. Right now Noah will be looked to serve as a mentor to the Knicks young centers during practice until they ask him to dress. On a positive, the team did vote him this year the defensive captain so you can tell he is well liked by his teammates.

Also with Noah gone, the Knicks have themselves above .500 with Kristaps Porzingis at the helm of this new look team. It’s so rough with the abundance of centers, and the team playing so well, that Hornacek doesn’t look to get the fan favorite 2nd year center Willy Hernangomez into the in-game rotation. At this time Enes Kanter (acquired in the Carmelo Anthony trade) and Kyle O’Quinn (Brooklyn Native) have provided everything the Knicks need from the center position.