New York Yankees trade deadline

Could the Yankees be buyers at the deadline?

The MLB season is still fairly young, but the “Baby Bombers” continue to prove that they’re here to stay. Sitting at first place in the AL East, the Yankees have shocked the baseball world.

If New York keeps up this winning pace, fans will get anxious and start thinking about making it back to the World Series. The Yankees haven’t made it to the World Series since 2009, but that can all change very soon.

As the season progresses, questions will arise about what the Yankees will do at the trade deadline. Could they repeat last season’s deadline and become sellers? After all, players like Matt Holliday, Brett Gardner and Chase Headley could be important additions to other contenders.

Or, the Yankees could do the unthinkable and embrace their old ways.

The Case for Being Buyers

New York Yankees trade deadline

Prospect Clint Frazier could be a key selling piece for New York. (Photo by Sports Illustrated)

It’s no secret that the New York Yankees possess one of the best farm systems in all of baseball.

After acquiring prospects such as Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, they have the pieces to make a splash at the deadline. The Yankees’ plan so far has been to keep their young players and see what they can develop into. Perhaps that plan needs to change though.

With the Yankees lineup proving to be a real threat alongside their dynamic bullpen, it’s evident that the starting rotation will be their downfall. The difference between the Yankees and a contender like the Houston Astros is starting pitching. That brings us to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ ace, Gerrit Cole.

At 26 years old, Cole has shown throughout his early career that he can be a star pitcher. Although he battled injuries last season, Cole is two years removed from a 19-8 season where he posted a 2.60 ERA. Cole has a 2.84 ERA this season, but is also 2-4 due to the Pirates early-season struggles.

New York Yankees trade deadline

Gerrit Cole would be a great addition to the Yankees. (Photo by CBS Sports)

As a borderline ace, Cole could instantly improve the Yankees’ rotation that is in dire need of an upgrade. Cole is also under team control until 2019, which makes him an even more attractive trade target. With Masahiro Tanaka (5.80 ERA) and C.C. Sabathia (4.93 ERA) struggling mightily,  the Yankees could be forced to make a midseason trade.

 

Times have changed and the 27-time World Series Champions have not been as aggressive as years past. Could they really let a potential playoff season slip away in hope of all their prospects working out?

Under no circumstance will the Yankees trade away Torres, nor should they. If there is a chance to swap Frazier for Gerrit Cole, then New York needs to take advantage of that offer. Not only can they make a championship run with their current roster, but also for the years to come.

The future looks undoubtedly bright for the New York Yankees, but they can’t ignore the chance to win it all here in 2017.

 

Featured Image by NJ.com

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Looking back at the Legacy of Derek Jeter

It’s been almost three years since Derek Jeter retired from the MLB, but this Sunday he finally gets his number retired. With all the time that has past, people may have forgotten how influential Jeter was to the game.

From the moment Derek Jeter debuted for the New York Yankees to his retirement, one aspect remained the same: his work ethic. “The Captain” made it clear that throughout his years that no player would outwork him. The proof for that is in his Hall of Fame statistics and achievements.

His awards included being selected for 14 All-Star games, five Gold Glove Awards, five Silver Slugger Awards, and of course five World Series championships. His records for the Bronx Bombers might be the most impressive part of his resume. He finished as the Yankees’ all-time career leaders in hits, doubles, and games played.

When talking about the 27 time World Champions, names such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle are always brought up. Lost in the shuffle is the man who brought the Yankees back to their glory days, Derek Jeter.

How Jeter returned the Yankees to Winning

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The Captain holding up his fifth World Series Trophy in 2009.

The Yankees championship run through the decades reached a rough patch from 1979 to 1995.Coincidence or not, 1995 was the year Derek Jeter debuted for the Yankees. Once he came into his own, the team went onto dominate the late ’90s.

Winning titles in 1996, 1998 and 1999, Derek became one of the centerpieces for their dynasty. As good as he was in the regular season, his performances in the postseason were even better.

Not only did he take over the big stage, but he earned the nickname Mr. November. His .321 batting average in World Series games speaks for itself.

The incredible thing about Jeter’s career is the way he sustained excellence for so long.

Throughout his 20 years, the Yankees only missed the playoffs three times. Most athletes experience losing more than others, but for Derek Jeter it wasn’t in his path. He is the only player in MLB history to play 20 years or more, without experiencing a single losing season.

Being a Professional

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His time in Monument Park is coming (Chuck Solomon/Getty Images).

As great as Derek was on the field, his greatest quality might have been the way he presented himself off the field. In this age athletes often get into personal troubles, yet Jeter was able to avoid controversy in New York. He showed that being a professional isn’t just about playing, but being able to avoid the distractions.

After being the face of the Yankees for over a decade, Jeter will finally get his moment on Sunday night. Ironically enough, the “Baby Bombers” that will be on the field after his ceremony are showing flashes of being that next star Yankee. Regardless of who it will be here is to hoping they do it the right way, just like Derek Jeter did.

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Is it too early to “Judge” Aaron?

Coming into the 2017 season, the New York Yankees were supposed to be a rebuilding team. They were expected to go through early growing pains, yet here they are at first place in the American League East.

At 17-9, manager Joe Girardi has found the perfect blend of youth and savvy veterans to generate wins. Players such as Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday and Aaron Hicks have had tremendous impacts for the Yankees. However, no one has been more productive than rookie Aaron Judge.

All Rise for the Rookie Sensation

Playing in his first full season, Judge has exceeded all expectations and then some. Not only does he lead the majors in home runs with 13, he’s also making history. On Wednesday night, Aaron Judge became the youngest player in the MLB to homer 13 times in his team’s first 26 games. A big factor in this amazing stretch, has been the reduced strike out rate.

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Judgement Day is upon us (Bill Kostroun/New York Post).

Last season during his 27 games, Judge struck out on 44.2 percent of his plate appearances. That rate has drastically dropped to 25.9 percent, ultimately leading to more success.

So far Judge has had nine more plate appearances than last year, which has resulted in 14 more hits and nine more home runs. Power hasn’t been the only improvement for the “Giant,” as his batting average has jumped from .179 all the way to .330.

This 26 game stretch has been awfully similar to the run Gary Sanchez had in 2016. With that said, every young player eventually meets the “rookie wall.”  When that time comes, will he be able to adjust?

There’s no denying that what this rookie is accomplishing at the plate is incredible. But, it’s unrealistic and unfair to already deem the rookie as the next great Yankee. However, as of right now his destruction of opposing pitchers has become the talk of baseball. Aaron Judge was viewed as one of the integral pieces to a potential dynasty in the future, but he’s showing that he is also the present for the Bronx Bombers.

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Why Adrian Peterson to the Saints makes sense for both parties

On February 28th, the Minnesota Vikings decided not to pick up Adrian Peterson’s option for the 2017 season. However, the former MVP will now be joining the New Orleans Saints on a two-year, $7 million deal.

At first glance, this seems like an odd signing for a player that wanted to be on a contender. However, this might be the perfect fit for Peterson and the Saints. With Peterson coming off a torn meniscus, he will be out to show the NFL that he is still a top running back. As for New Orleans, they are looking to stop their three season streak of going 7-9.

Another question that continues to come up, is how the Saints split carries between Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. After all, Ingram is coming off a season were he rushed for over 1,000 yards. Last year it was clear that Ingram was the lead back, while Tim Hightower also got his touches (133 carries for 548 yards & 4 Touchdowns).

Regardless of injury Peterson is an upgrade over Hightower, which means the carries should increase. Ingram will still be the top running back for the Saints, due to his ability to receive and pass block. So the question is now asked, why is Adrian Peterson a good fit in New Orleans?

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Peterson and Brees could give defenses nightmares ( TSgt Michael Holzworth).

Why this could work

Adrian Peterson may have led the NFL in rushing for three different seasons (2008, 2012, 2015), but he received no favors from his quarterbacks. Throughout his prime years, “AP” had quarterbacks such as Christian Ponder, Joe Webb and Tavaris Jackson under center. Pairing him now up with Drew Brees is a scary thought for opposing defenses.

The days of seeing eight players in the box to stop him are now over. If healthy, teams will have to decide whether they are going to try and stop Brees or Peterson. For the first time in his career, the pressure is off of him to carry an offense. Not only that, but he’ll also under one of the best schemes in the NFL.

Sean Payton might be deemed as overrated by some portions of the media, however there is no denying his play-calling ability. The Saints always find themselves in the top five offenses year after year, regardless of the skill players in the system. Adding a future Hall of Fame running back, will make Coach Payton’s job a little less stressful.

The last aspect, and arguably the most important is the change in offensive lines. The Vikings ranked 30th in average yards per carry before contact, meanwhile the Saints ranked 6th. A much improved offensive line will definitely help open more holes for Peterson to hit.

There’s no denying that Peterson’s best days are behind him, but that doesn’t mean the tank is empty. For the first time in his career he has an elite quarterback, an offensive minded coach, and a lighter work load.

The Saints might not be the contender that fans were thinking of, yet they aren’t far off. It’s no secret that they have been a victim to their horrid defense. Perhaps the combination of Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram can keep the defense off the field, which would be a recipe for success.

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Are Paul George’s days in Indiana coming to an end?

Despite being down 3-0 in the series vs the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul George has shown what an incredible talent he is. The Pacers came out firing in Game 3, but ultimately blew a 25-point lead which leaves them on the brink of elimination.

In a game that they had to win, Paul George came up big with 36 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. For all the criticism he has received over his comments about his teammates, George has stepped up this playoff series. He’s averaging 32.3 PPG against the Cavaliers, even with LeBron James guarding him for the majority of the games.

The writing is on the wall for Indiana, as history tells us they will be eliminated by Cleveland. This season we heard some trade rumors for Paul George to teams such as the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. It seems very possible that these talks might come up again due to George’s frustration with the team and management. Not to mention, there have been many rumors about his desire to play for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Could we see Paul George team up with another star? (Joshua Dahl/USA TODAY Sports).

After spending multiple playoffs coming up short in the Eastern Conference, there is a very strong chance that “PG13” tries to team up with another star-caliber player.

His drive to win a championship was made clear before the start of the season, however those dreams will not come into fruition with the Pacers.

Although they are struggling out of the gate so far this postseason, the Boston Celtics would be an outstanding fit for the team and George.

Pairing him up with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford can possibly make them a NBA Finals contender. It also helps that Boston has the assets to acquire him due to their abundance of draft picks and young players, such as Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

 

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Paul George needs help from another star, and Isaiah Thomas could be that star (Getty Images).

The NBA has evolved into a league driven by super-teams. The idea of having a “Big Three” has become a reality for several teams.

If Paul George has any chance of winning his first championship, he needs to move on to a team with other stars.

It would cost him to ditch his dream of playing for the Lakers. That also means he won’t be able to lead the team that drafted him to the promised land.

Regardless of what the media might think of George possibly wanting out of Indiana, he doesn’t owe the team anything. The management of the Pacers should be at fault.

 

They had several years to build a competent roster around their franchise player. Instead, the team provided him with mediocre players and fired a good coach in Frank Vogel. On Sunday, it might be Paul George’s last game as a member of the Pacers, however, expect him to show up like he’s been doing. After all, George has shown up for Indiana ever since the team drafted him in 2010. Unfortunately for him, the organization has failed him yet again.

 

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Three Teams with the most at stake in the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is less than a week away, and teams are finishing off their boards and preparing for one of the busiest weeks of the year. Trade talks are heating up by the hour and front office phones are ringing by the minute. Of course every team would like to strike gold in the upcoming draft, but there are three teams that desperately need to come up big in Philadelphia on April 27.

Cleveland Browns

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Will Joe Thomas and the revamped offensive line be protecting a rookie quarterback in Cleveland? (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the Browns are under more pressure than any other team in the league in this year’s draft. With the first and 12th pick in the NFL Draft, the odds of Cleveland having a successful night are good right?

Think again. Cleveland has had multiple draft picks in the first round three out of the last four years.

In 2014, the Browns drafted Justin Gilbert (8th pick) and Johnny Manziel (22nd pick) with their two first rounders. Both are no longer on the team.

In 2015, the Browns selected Danny Shelton (12th pick) and Cameron Erving (19th pick) in the first round.

After such a successful offseason where the Browns bolstered their offensive line with center J.C. Tretter and guard Kevin Zeitler, it would be a crushing blow for them to come up empty in the draft yet again. The Browns have made it clear that they’re done being the laughingstock of the league, which is why they need to find impact players this draft.

New Orleans Saints

. Lions Drew Brees and Sean Payton, Detriot Lions @ New Orleans

Drew Brees and Sean Payton must be wondering if 2017 is there last chance to make a playoff run (David Grunfeld/NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune).

It’s no secret that the Saints have possessed arguably the worst defense in the NFL for the last couple of seasons. Not only that, but Drew Brees and Sean Payton are not getting any younger.

New Orleans will not be in rebuild mode with a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback, which means they need to do well with their multiple first-round picks.

The biggest move of the offseason for New Orleans had to be their trade with New England that sent Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick to the Patriots for the 32nd overall pick and their third round pick.

Trading away such a productive player like Cooks has opened up many paths for the draft. The Saints can go strictly defense in the first round or they can possibly make a trade to acquire Malcolm Butler.

The Super Bowl window might already be closed, but if there is any chance of them coming close, they need to improve their horrific defense.

Houston Texans

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Can Tom Savage lead Houston to new heights? (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It’s been said for years that defense wins championships. Well, the Houston Texans would disagree, because it is clear that the one position holding the team down is their quarterback.

After a four-year, $72 million deal with Brock Osweiler failed, the Texans traded him along with a 2018 second-round pick just to get rid of his contract.

The keys to the offense were handed over to Tom Savage, but can he be the guy to take Houston to perhaps the AFC Championship game?

If Savage isn’t the answer, then the Texans should strongly consider taking a quarterback with their first-round selection (25th pick). The Texans had the top ranked defense during the 2016 season, even without J.J. Watt.

Their roster is too talented to not make a possible Super Bowl run this season. If they see a young quarterback worth drafting like Patrick Mahomes II or DeShone Kizer, then they have to take a shot at them. There is so much at stake for Houston in this upcoming draft, as they try to inch closer to becoming more of a contender than just a solid team.

 

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