The Mets Are Interested in Corey Kluber

The Mets recently completed a trade for 8-time All-Star Robinson Cano and Edwin Díaz, the AL Reliever of the Year. This move by Brodie Van Wagenen sent a message to all Mets fans that the organization is attempting to build a win-now team, and more transactions could be on the horizon.

According to reports, New York has also expressed interest in standout starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

Kluber has been a force to be reckoned with in the past few years. He had a 2.89 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 222 strikeouts during the 2018 season, finishing third in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award. This is not unfamiliar territory for Kluber, who won the coveted award the year prior as well as in 2014.

He is one year removed from the best season of his career. During the 2017 season, Kluber’s numbers were astounding, posting a 2.25 ERA (1st in the AL), 18 wins (1st), and 265 strikeouts (2nd).

Kluber has been particularly effective in the last three years, being named an All-Star in each season as he quickly rose to one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB today.

Although the Mets gave up their No. 3 & 4 prospects in the Cano deal, they still have plenty of young studs in their farm system that they could move to acquire the Indians starter. If New York can work out a deal, pairing Kluber with deGrom would undoubtedly be the deadliest 1-2 punch that the MLB has seen in a long time.

While it remains to be seen whether or not the Indians have any motivation to trade their ace, Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets front office have made it clear that they are willing to pay top dollar to compete next season.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Erik Drost

Could Bryce Harper be an Option for the Mets?

Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has spoken about bringing a “culture of positivity” to Queens by bringing in established stars in the league that would instantly transform their offensive production. One free agent that would meet these dreams would be the 2018 Home Run Derby Champion, Bryce Harper.

Some fans are skeptical that the Mets have any interest in the phenom, but Mike Puma of the New York Post has set the record straight.

“Van Wagenen has made it clear, according to sources, that he is interested in the All-Star outfielder,” Puma wrote. “But there is skepticism within the industry that team owner Fred Wilpon would approve an outlay of $300 million-plus for that type of acquisition.”

New York hasn’t exactly made a habit of giving out monster contracts to superstar players, but opportunities to land players of the same caliber as Bryce Harper don’t come around every day. It’s time that the Mets embrace a “carpe diem” mentality, which translates to “seize the day.”

Harper, 26, has been a top player in the MLB since he entered the league in his early 20s. In his short seven years in the league, Harper has put together quite the resumé. He has been named an All-Star 6-times and has taken home the Rookie of the Year Award, among other accolades.

His best season by far came in 2015 when he batted an outstanding .330 to go along with a league-high 42 home runs and 99 RBIs. In recognition of his fantastic performance that season, Harper was bestowed with the NL Hank Aaron Award, Silver Slugger Award, and the NL MVP Award.

Although he hasn’t duplicated this kind of output in the past few years, Harper has still been a productive player. Last season, he posted a .249 BA with 34 HRs and a career-high 100 RBIs.

 

Harper is a five-tool player who is able to field, throw, run the bases, hit, and hit with power. This unique combination does not come around that often, and the Mets should recognize that signing Harper could be a complete 180 for the organization. They should take advantage of the opportunity before them, no matter what the cost.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Matthew Straubmuller

David Fizdale: The Player’s Coach

Learning the ropes as an Assistant Head Coach in the NBA isn’t always easy, but being able to do so under Erik Spoelstra and a Miami Heat team that won two championships in four years from 2010 to 2014  made it that much easier for David Fizdale. Among players in the league, Fizdale is known as a humble, personable coach who actually cares about his players’ best interest both on and off the court. Chris Bosh, one of Fizdale’s former players and a member of the “Big 3” with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, is extremely appreciative of Fizdale’s style and coaching abilities.

Fizdale received such high praise and recognition from around the league that he began to make a name for himself and was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies as their head coach for the 2016-17 season. Leading the team to a 43-39 record and a playoff berth, players like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley loved the culture and attitude that he brought and ultimately embedded into the organization. In Conley’s case, he signed the NBA’s biggest contract (five-year / $153 million) to date during the summer in the free agency before Fizdale was hired.

Conley articulated how grateful he is for Fizdale’s impact on his playing career. After signing such a huge contract, Fizdale was able to unlock parts of his game that allowed him to be worth the over $30 million per year that the Grizzlies were giving him. Unfortunately, the start to the 2017-18 season was not one that the Grizzlies had expected, starting the year with a 7-14 record which led the Grizzlies to cut the cord quickly on Fizdale. On the other hand, this opened the door for his opportunity with the New York Knicks where he resides today. Having the 3rd youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.6 and their franchise player still sidelined with an ACL injury, Fizdale’s task as the Knicks’ leader would definitely not be an easy one, and his main objective would be to develop the young players rather than attempting to make a playoff push. As Fizdale put it a few days ago:

“It’s about, are these guys staying in the trench to get better every single day? That’s our focus. We know the win-loss category is going to change when we become a better basketball team. So we’re not putting all our stock in wins and losses right now and our group understands that.”

Developing over winning is a tough motto to resonate with, but Fizdale’s track record has proven that he is up for the task and is in it for the players and their development as young men and NBA players. Although he has yet to subtweet Joel Embiid’s infamous “Trust the Process” quote, Fizdale is definitely embracing the process and understands that the Knicks are a project, one that may take years to come to fruition.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Michael Tipton

Mets Aggressively Trying to Work Out Deal for Robinson Cano

The Seattle Mariners have been looking for a potential trade partner to take on Robinson Cano, and the club has contacted both New York teams in an attempt to move the second basemen.

Although the Yankees don’t seem to be that interested, the Mets are being aggressive in their pursuit of the 8-time All-Star.

Cano has a strong connection within the Mets organization, being the formal client of GM Brodie Van Wagenen. Van Wagenen negotiated Cano’s monster 10-year $240 million deal with the Mariners back when he was an agent, and now he is looking to bring in a familiar face to bolster New York’s struggling offense.

While Cano was suspended half the season for violating baseball’s drug policy, he did manage to bat .303 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 80 games played.

While these numbers may not be that impressive, it is worth considering how successful Cano has been in years past. In his 14 year career, he has batted over .300 nine different times, holding a .304 career average to go along with 22.2 homers and 88 RBIs. His best season came in his final year with the New York Yankees when he hit .314 with 27 HRs and 107 RBIs. His stellar career has allowed him to accumulate five Silver Slugger Awards along and two Gold Glove Awards, not to mention the fact that he was a World Series Champion in 2009.

Cano has experience playing in the Big Apple and knows what fans will expect from him. While he may not be the player he once was, the Mets are desperate for a big bat, and Cano could help fill that void.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Keith Allison

CC Sabathia Agrees to 1-year, $8 million deal with Yankees

According to reports, the New York Yankees have re-signed veteran starting pitcher CC Sabathia to a one-year, $8 million contract.

The left-hander did not have much interest in testing the free-agent market, enticing the veteran to take less money to return to New York after making  $25 million in 2017 to $10 million in 2018. Sabathia has been with the Yanks for ten seasons, and would presumably like to retire in the same uniform.

Sabathia was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 140 strikeouts in perhaps his best season on the Bronx Bombers in the last five years, showing the MLB community that he still has some gas left in the tank.

In addition to locking up Sabathia, the Yankees also recently re-signed Brett Gardner to a one-year deal.  “These are known commodities,” said Yankees GM Brian Cashman. “We know exactly who they are in that clubhouse, who they are dealing with our press and our fans, and obviously — most importantly — competing on the field of play.”

 

The 38-year-old lefty has built quite the resumé throughout his 18-year career. Since his debut in 2001, Sabathia has been named an All-Star six times, three of which came as a member of the Yankees. Furthermore, he won the AL Cy Young Award in 2007 when he posted a 3.21 ERA with 19 wins and 209 strikeouts. In 2009, he also was named the ALCS MVP for two strong starts against the Angels. In Game 1, he limited his opponent to one run on four hits and a walk in eight innings, striking out seven in a 4–1 Yankees victory. His start in Game 4 was just as impressive, pitching another eight strong innings, allowing only one earned run on five hits and two walks while striking out five. New York would go on to defeat the Phillies in six games to take home the World Series Championship.

Although CC Sabathia isn’t the ace he once was, he is still a valuable asset to have at the back-end of the rotation as the Yankees look to make a postseason run in 2019.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Keith Allison

Introducing Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen

The New York Mets recently filled their front office vacancy by hiring Brodie Van Wagenen to replace Sandy Alderson as the organization’s GM.

Van Wagenen has established himself as one of the most prominent professionals in the sports business industry as an agent with the Creative Artists Agency. As the Co-Head of CAA’s Sports’ Baseball division, Brodie has represented many high profile clients, including  Ryan Howard, Robinson Canó, and Ryan Zimmerman. He has also had a number of current Mets as clients such as Yoenis Céspedes, Noah Syndergaard, Tim Tebow, and Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom.

Although he does not have any front office experience, the Mets have the utmost confidence that Van Wagenen will be able to use the skills he has acquired over his career to guide the Mets’ front office, making the team relevant in the MLB landscape once again.

His knowledge of all things baseball makes him a perfect candidate for his new role, any many professionals in the industry agree.

“He’s built to run things; he’s built to lead,” said his ex-teammate Kyle Peterson. ““In many ways, he’s been preparing for this role for the last 25 years. He was one of the leaders in his industry. It’s not like he needed a job and I know he wouldn’t have taken any job. He’s going to surprise people who don’t think he’s ready. He has a million things to learn, but if you’re assuming he can’t learn them, you’d be wrong.’’

“He lives in this market, he knows our team, knows the pace of the city, said Mets Assistant GM John Ricco.” “So he doesn’t have the institutional knowledge, well, we have a lot of people in-house that do. Can we cover it? Those are the questions I was asking myself. I’m a little less a believer that this is a real leap of faith. I think he brings a lot of the things the good GMs have already and we can cover the things he doesn’t have.”

While being a front office member of a New York team is never easy, the consensus is that his transition into his new position will be relatively smooth and will bring the same impact he had on his clients as an agent to the entire Mets franchise as their leader.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Doug Kerr

Enes Kanter Plans to be a WWE Superstar One Day

Enes Kanter has established himself as one of the most productive big men in the NBA. During the 2018 season, he was 6th in the league in rebounds per game (11.0), 4th in offensive rebounds per game (3.8), and 3rd in rebounds per 48 minutes (20.5).

In the midst of his 8th season in the league, Kanter has gotten off to an auspicious start, averaging 22.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The evolution of his game over the past five years has made him a premier player in the league who will be around for years to come, but he is already planning on a career change once his time as a professional basketball player is up.

So what’s next from the Turkish center? Professional wrestling.

Kanter is an avid fan of the WWE and has made several connections in the industry including wrestlers and executives.

“I’m actually talking to the people over there now. Vince McMahon, he knows me,” said Kanter. “I had dinner with [Paul Heyman] two, three days ago. I asked him how long he’s gonna do this and he said ‘as long as Brock [Lesnar] goes, I go, and then I’m with you.’ I’m like yes! Seriously. I’m really serious about it.”

Kanter’s fandom of the WWE, which he describes as his”most intense obsession,” can be traced back to 2010 when he introduced himself as The Undertaker during Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness. “It was funny as hell, and the fans flipped out,” said Kentucky head coach John Calipari. “There were people falling from the upper deck to the lower deck when he came out.”

Years later, he was actually able to meet The Undertaker, which made him so nervous that his knees began to shake.

As one of the top trash talkers in the game, coupled with his fiery personality, Enes Kanter is an ideal candidate for a career in the ring. Don’t be surprised if you here the name “The UnderKanter” in the future.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons