A Month of Fundays

A New York Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Rangers and other stuff blog.


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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Robin Lopez is Willing -- And That Could be Good

Defensive 5 Robin Lopez is set to join the Knicks if DeAndre doesn't first and it looks like Jordan is picking between the Clippers and Dallas.   Hopefully, this clears itself up by the time I wake and the Knicks can swing a deal for and with Bjelica.   Then I think if Melo is healthy, they'll be able to compete a bit while Grant and Zinger and the other kids develop.

Rangers Sign Halverson

The Rangers today signed last year's first pick (and second rounder) Brandon Halverson to a three year entry level deal.  That really says he's ahead of schedule, and might also say some guys are behind it.  For example, I'm not sure Boo Nieves has been signed yet and I'm pretty sure Steven Fogerty hasn't, and they've been around longer than Brandon.   Meanwhile, the Rangers finally do have some room and it will be interesting to see if they do sign anymore picks of amateur FA's.

Knicks Reportedly Sign Afflalo

The Knicks may have made their first move by signing Arron Afflalo to a two year 16M deal.  The terms are not awful but this pretty much does block them from getting two bigs with their money -- unless they can create another space with their exceptions and odd pieces.  And thus, though this isn't a bad deal, it's not one I approve of because it makes it harder for the Knicks to sign two bigs.   Afflalo is basically a a 3 and D guy, though his D has reportedly declined.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Yanks Win

So, inconsistent Eovaldi is now 8-2.  Garrett Jones had the big blow as the Yankees used their 1968 version of the formula -- shutdown pitching and a single homerun for the 3-1 win.  Betances was once again used for a 4 out save.  Shreve was also good again, though Wilson wasn't so Girardi panicked.   Nice to get a win, at least.

Rangers Sign Viktor Stalberg

Rangers just signed another vet, but one who can probably help in Viktor Stalberg, the ex-Blackhaw, ex-Pred who is still only 29.  Stalberg, like Hags went from Sweden to an American college before turning pro.  He'll be a bottom 6 guy and could team with Lindberg and Fast for an all Swedish 3rd line.   Not a bad move.

Rangers Name Jeff Gorton GM!

Today, the Rangers did what we've been wanting them to do for the past few years -- they named Jeff Gorton GM.  What an up and down week for Gorton.  Just Saturday he was hinting that maybe the Rangers didn't get their best deal for Talbot, and now, the big job is his.

Sather will probably remain president, but the Rangers are now in good hands and should be for the foreseeable future.  Jim Schoenfeld was also named Senior VP and Assistant GM and will remain the GM of the Wolfpack.

It was no coincidence that when Gordie and Gorton showed up things started moving in the right direction again.

Rangers Bring Back D Raph Diaz

The Ranger have signed Raphael Diaz, and guy they had previously acquired at the 2011 deadline.   This is probably just a glorified camp invite.  They lost Hunwick to the Leafs earlier today, and they had apparently wanted him back.  Not to big a deal, most likely.

However; late today it looks like Glen Sather will give up the GM portion of his title and hand it over to Jeff Gorton, while Glen remains president of the Rangers.  That could be a very big deal.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Knicks After Nemanja Bjelica?

Another Knick target appears to be Serbian star Nemanja Bjelica.   On tape, this cat is and all around player who can shoot, pass, dribble, rebound and play D.   In other words, go get him Knicks!   Currently, Bjelica's rights are controlled by the cap-strapped Timberwolves, so Phil should be able to work out something.   Here' hoping it's in the 6-7M range.  That would allow the Knicks to play him at forward opposite Melo, and spend 20-21M or more if it can be gathered on just their C and 2.

Knicks Stuff

The Knicks are currently rumored to be after everybody.  There's even word that Carmelo is making recruiting calls, and the Knicks are readying a pitch to Clipper C DeAndre Jordan, while also being linked to Greg Monroe, Arron Aflallo and David West -- who is old and not what he was.

The Knicks supposedly have 27M in cap space without making any other moves, though they could basically trade anyone else on the roster, plus their trade exceptions if they wanted to do a sign and trade for a Tobias Harris or someone else.

The Knicks need plenty, including a rim protector, another F and a 2.  I'd hope to see them try to get DeAndre, and a 2, while also making a run at Tobias Harris.  If that doesn't work, they should probably get a cheap rim protector like Biyombo, plus Greg Monroe, plus a 2.   We'll see what they do.  They have a chance to take a big step in the right direction this summer after running a strong draft week -- they just have to avoid maing anymore albatros deals.  And they shouldn't let the trade exceptions expire without using them.

Rangers Fail to Qualify Conor Allen

The Rangers qualified all but one of their AHL guys today, and the one they left out was Conor Allen.  Seems kind of strange on the face of it, though he is already 25 going on 26.   I wonder how far down the organizational depth chart they now consider him with McIrath coming on and Skjei and Graves on the way.   In any event, he was pretty solid when he played for the Rangers, and I wish him well.  This opens up another contract space, btw.   The Rangers were down to 1 by the end of the season.

Rangers D-Camp Opens

The Rangers have opened their annual development camp.  Today and tomorrow the players will take phyiscals and get run through some conditioning tests.  Starting Wednesday, they'll skate.  These camps have been eventful over the years, with the worst news coming when McIlrath wrecked his knee cap a few years ago, but better news coming from the tryout players who have gotten deals of their good showings.

Because the Rangers haven't had a one in years, and they whiffed on O'Connor and Reilly, over the past several weeks, they will have to hunker down and get more creative about finding talent that doesn't cost picks - you know like MZA, Girardi, Talbot, and Hayes.  This camp is a nice opportunity to do that.

It also gives the Rangers a chance to re-scout their own and see where they are in physical development -- are they getting stronger and faster?  They then send them off with specific programs to work on till camp starts.

Some of the prospects who've been in the AHL for over a season like Hrivik, McIlrath and Lindberg no longer get invited.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ranger Marginalia

Among the problems with the Rangers lately has been their propensity to load up on low salaried UFA's on the first day of free agency.   While the Rangers see these guys as bandaids - except for Tanner Fricking Glass, who inexplicably got a three year deal last year - what they really do is block competition from the farm and, under this particular coach, create awful veteran favoritism.

The Rangers have very good scouts, and they have drafted and acquired the young core of this team - Stepan, McDonagh, Kreider, Miller, Hayes, Fast, etc.   But on the first day of every free agent period lately, those scouts get repudiated.  And that's a shame because they have never gotten anything but a piece that had to be replaced among those low end (except for Fricking Glass) signings they reflexively make.

This tendancy seems to have bitten them in the ass this summer when Buchenevich commited to one more year in Russia because he didn't think he'd make the team - and the Rangers could really use him as he is one of if not their best top 6 prospects.

Hopefully, the Rangers have taken a long look at their marginal roster filling moves -- particurlarly in light of their current Coach's big flaw -- and will look for answers from the system through the prospect camp, Travis City, and regular camp, and get a handle on the prospects' ability to help now and likely timetables, and then make moves for the veteran marginalia only if they can't find answers among the cheap kids their very good scouts have assembled.

Kids get better, marginal veterans do not.

Rangers Draft Review, Pt.2

Seeing some articles that say the Rangers are worse now than they were when the season ended.  I'd like to welcome those writers to the salary cap era.  And I'd also like to explain that the hockey draft, like the baseball draft is about the mid to longterm future, unlike the football and basketball drafts that are primarily about next year.

Thus, though the Rangers have roster issues right now, so do the rest of the teams who have a tight cap and RFA's and UFA's -- and the draft isn't where they get fixed.   They get fixed starting this week and all the way to the trade deadline.

So those articles were at least premature, and they already replaced the two roster players they traded.

The draft itself was a little different than usual.  Over the Gordie Clark era, the Rangers strongly comitted to drafting North American skaters.  That has been changing slightly and more Euros have ended up in the last couple of one-less drafts.   Of their 7 picks yesterday, fully five were Euros and only two, Gropp and Miller were North American.  No Americans were picked.

I don't think that's the product of a conscious decision, but trying to find value where the Rangers have been picking probably caused them to broaden their scouting efforts.

And while, the countries of origin are different for these kids, they all fit the Ranger model of fast skaters with hands. It seems the WHL guys will be only guys playing in juniors next year, unless the goalie returns to Green Bay, and we'll have to figure how to follow the rest of them as they develop.  They do seem to have what the Rangers like to draft.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

Yanks: Isiah Gilliam has Signed

According to his Twitter feed, Isiah Gilliam is a professional baseball player for the New York Yankees.   As you'll recall in my draft review, I thought the signing of this switch hitting teenage power hitter would be a big determinant about the immediate success of the draft and the planning behind it.   So well done, Yankees!   The Yanks had a need for 18 and 19 year old impact bats and so far, they've locked up three of them in Wagner, Sands and Gilliam -- and Terrance Robertson could also add more pop as he matures.  So this is a really exciting signing for the Yanks, who have a tradition of great switch hitters from Mantle, to White, to Bernie to Posada, let's hope it's a case of here we go again, cause this kid has power from both sides.

This Week on the Blog

Well, today we wrapped up all of our annual drafts until next April or May or whenever the NFL decides to have their's. So what's cooking for this week?

Yanks - the Bombers may or may not introduce a few low budget IFA's on 7/2.  Or it may just roll them out at around Instructs in the fall.  They are currently serving the first year of a two year sentence for last year's IFA Extravaganza.  They can't spend over 300K on anyone  --  so they really have to continue locking down the signability guys in this year's draft and next. Of course, they have gotten some good IFA's for under 300K - like Mateo - so they might not be totally screwed for these 24 months.

Meantime, they will hope Matsui can bounce back and that Nova, Pineda, Eovaldi and Warren can provide good pitching -- because CC just can't right now.  Also, getting Jacoby Ellsbury back at the end of the week should help them score more runs and maybe save the pen from their maniacle manager.

Giants -  The Giants will continue to chill and are unlikely to select anyone in the Supplemental draft that's coming up.  It's been about 21 years since George Young used to use that tool.  Eli's agent is starting to make noise, so maybe something will get done there or with one of the others over the break.

Rangers - the Rangers may or may not make another trade or two heading into Free Agency.  It's not a really good market, extending the young core, starting with Stepan, Kreider and Miller should be job one.   They will also, presumably, run their annual prospect camp.  That's always an eye opener.

Knicks - The Knicks will also enter free agency.  They do so still needing more NOW size and defense as well as a shooting guard who can also play D.  They have a bunch of cap room now and next year to get things done.  We'll see if they can continue the impressive job they suddenly started doing Thursday night.

So things could be crazy or quiet with all the moves being made -- or not made this week.   But I wish all of you a great week filled with delightful surprises.

Rangers Trade Haggerty for Raanta

The Rangers didn't take long in replacing their back up goalie.   They just traded Ryan Haggerty - one of the good college players they signed last year - for Antti Raanta a backup with the Blackhawks.   This is sort of back to the smart model we've seen from the Rangers.  Haggerty is a power forward prospect who I think will make it.  But he was also a collegiate free agent - thus a basically free asset, like Cam Talbot was, that has now been turned into a new back up goalie and 4 new prospects (they turned the first Edmonton pick into two when they traded with Washington).  So, nice way to wrap up the goalie situation, Rangers.

Rangers Draft Review, Pt. 1

After failing to jump into the first round last night, the Rangers made a flurry of moves this morning which netted them Emerson Etem, and allowed them to make a total of 7 picks in the final 6 rounds of the draft.

Unfortunately, the moves also saw them lose Carl Hagelin and Cam Talbot, two of better stories of their scouts and development program over the last several years.   After it was reported yesterday that the Rangers had been offered a one for Talbot, speculation ran wild.  Unfortunately we can only speculate over whether or not they sold low or somehow blew a better deal.  As of now they are down  at least one NHL level player.

They did get Emerson Etem, though, and he was a guy who I really liked back in 2010.  He's only flashed in the pro's so far, but the Rangers have done well with the young guys they didn't draft but kept following like McD, Lindberg and Hayes, so maybe they can locate the on switch for Emerson.

With their picks, the Rangers grabbed 5 forwards, 1 defenseman and a goalie.  None of them will be ready for the NHL any time soon, which is what you get when you trade away all your ones and some of your twos.

The forwards all seem to have speed and skill, if not quite NHL strength and size yet, but they'll have time to fill out.

The Dman, Zborovskiy, will probably be their most controversial pick in the short term because a few of the draft pundits had him as undraftable, and others had him going much later than the 79th pick we used to get him.  We'll have to see if the Ranger scouts have once again outsmarted the pundits.

Brooks is currently reporting that the Rangers are close on another trade for a new back-up goalie.   Hopefully the deal will also create more cap relief.

Rangers Grab a Goalie

The Rangers just grabbed Adam Huska, an intriguing goalie from the USHL.  Adam was born in Slovakia and seems to still represent them in international competition.  On the other hand, he's doing his developing on the USHL's Green Bay franchise.   So, interesting.  He just turned 18 and it will be interesting to see if he plays junior, college or something else next season.   The Rangers say they will not draft a goalie unless he has #1 potential.   So, they've added another one to an already impressive stable of goalies in the system.

Rangers Take a Big Swede

Daniel Bernhardt is already 19 and 6'3" 193.   So that's impressive, but what isn't as far as I've seen are his stats. I'm sure there are some numbers somewhere, but I'll wait till the Rangers explain him.  I haven't had coffee yet.

Was directed to some numbers, and this cat has been an over a point a game guy over there, and two years ago, he was a 2 point a game guy.   Ringer?

Rangers Grab a Speedster

Rangers went back to their old model, grabbing Brad Morrison from Prince George in the OHL.  This is another guy who needs to add some size and strength as he's currently listed as 154.  But the word is that he is fast and has breakaway speed.  We just sent a bunch of speed to Anaheim, so hopefully, we can develop Morrison.

Rangers Take a Finnish Fireplug

The Rangers just took their third European skater in a row but tabbing C Aleksi Saarela with their third pick in the 3rd round.   He's 5'11" but 194, so he's either out of shape or a solid fireplug type.   He's only played in Finland, where he did well in juniors but not as well against the men of the Finnish Elite league.  We'll see what the plan is.  Anyway, the Rangers have uncharacteristically eschewed the North American today.

Rangers Take D Sergey Zborovskiy

With their second 3rd, the Rangers grabbed Russian - WHL defenseman Sergey Zborovskiy.   Sergey played for Regina, and is already 6'3" 198.  He's a left shot.   He had 19 points in 70 games for Regina.  We'll see what kind of skater he is.

Rangers Take Robin Kovacs

The Rangers were down 1 Swede for all of 30 minutes.  After trading back from pick 57 in the 2nd to pick 62 in the 3rd, while picking up an extra 4th, the Rangers nabbed Sweden-2 winger Robin Kovacs.  Robin is another plus skater who need to add strength because he already plays with snarl, he just needs time to get stronger, and obviously this will be a multi-year process.

BTW, because of the trades the Rangers have 3 thirs again - just like two years ago when they really cleaned up.  Let's see if they can do it again.

Rangers Trade Cam Talbot to the Oilers

The Rangers just traded Cam Talbot to Edmonton for picks 57, 79 and 184.  It's hard to believe that this was the best deal they could get for Talbot, but the Rangers should be able to get a nice infusion of talent from those picks.  The Rangers also sent pic 209 to the Oilers.

Rangers Trade Hagelin

The Rangers just traded Carl Hagelin and the 59th pick to Anaheim for Emeron Etem and the 41 pick.  They used the #41 pick to grab lefty wing Ryan Gropp from the WHL's Seattle team.

Long time readers will remember that Emerson Etem was a guy I really liked back in his draft year.  Ryan Gropp was not a point a game guy but was close.  He'll be 19 this year, so we'll have to see where he ends up playing next fall.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Yanks Win

Chris Young hit a late 3-run shot to take a 3-2 lead against the Astros, and Dellin Betances made it stand up over a four out save.   Let's hope his arm doesn't fall off.   They've neither saved Dellin nor currently injured Andrew Miller for the highest level situations like we talked about all offseason. But it was a big win that they rescued from the jaws of defeat -- pretty tedius come of game thus far in Houston.

Rangers Draft, Pt. 1

Okay, haven't talked too much about the Rangers since they lost game 7.   That was massively disappointing -- though understandable given the plethora of injuries they sustained leading up to game 7.  Nevertheless, they have fallen short in 3 of the last 4 years and they have to take a hard look at things.

Today, the Rangers are probably going to trade Cam Talbot. Once round 1 starts later today, the Rangers will lose leverage every time a pick comes off the board, so, the sooner the better and really, get a first.   The Rangers whiffed on Reilly, who would have been this year's substitute first, just as Kevin Hayes was last season.  It would also be nice if the Rangers could move some salary in an expanded deal.   We'll see what happens there - if it gets done today, it will be great news.  If they can't complete today, they'll be stuck taking 2's.

In general, I am a big fan of the Rangers scouts, and that's why seeing them giving away ones for Nash, St.Louis and Yandle,  while not getting one back for Gaborik has seemed careless.   The Ranger strength has been their scouting staff, and giving them less quality chances to help has surely hurt.

We'll talk more over the weekend, but as of right now, the Rangers job is to get in Round 1 of this draft.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Knicks Draft Review

The Knicks got a lot more interesting tonight.  Above is a picture of Thanasis, who they got last year and who's rights they still control.   In taking Porzingis, the Knicks swung for the fences.  Generally, I only root for that for the Yanks when their good, or the Rangers and Giants when I believe they have a scouting advantage.  I don't know if the Knicks have a scouting advantage, but they swung for the fences.

The next move was a great one, trading Tim Hardaway Jr. in the threeway for Jerian Grant.  Tim was athletic but wouldn't play D or take it to the rack as much as his AA would have allowed him to,  Jerian plays D and makes plays and big shots on O.  He's a PG and can play off the ball, too and is a good, solid 6'5" 209.  He could be a crucial piece.

The Knicks later jumped back in again and took Kris Porzingis' teammate in Willy Hernangomez, and 6'11 load at 255 -- and apparently they inted to stash him.  Though that was the thougnt about Thanasis last year and he ended up on their development team.

So now they have 3 more intriguing players to go along with Cleanthoy, Thanasis and Langston.  We'll see what it can turn into, but they grew their potential tonight, how much pretty much depends on Kristaps.

Knicks Trade for Hernangomez

The Knicks just traded for 6'11" 255 Guillermo Hernangomez.   Apparently, they intend to stash him in Europe, but this is another nice move, now it's seeming possible, that they really do know what they are doing.

Knicks Trade for Jerian Grant!

The Knicks have traded Tim Hardaway Jr to the Hawks in a threeway trade through Washington for Jerian Grant of Notre Dame.  I like this player and he's been one I was hoping they'd somehow get back into the draft to take.  Apparently, they got him.  He's already 23 which is a bit old for a rookie these days, but he's strong and can get to the rim as well as dish.  Nice move.

Knicks Take Porzingis

The Knicks just took Kristaps Porzingis.  I was not a fan of this player as a prospect for the Knicks because though he's 7'2", he weighs about 230 and doesn't really rebound.   He is a potentially great shooter, but he's weak and cannot play in the post yet.  What's more, what good have the Knicks ever gotten from Europe?  Gallo still hasn't made an all star team, and don't even get into Weis or Lampe...   They better get more picks.