Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Geno Smith Breaks Jaw in Locker Room Fight, Out 6-10 Weeks

Leave it to the Jets to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Geno Smith and his star-crossed career with the New York football franchise took another strange twist on Tuesday afternoon, when word came out that Smith was involved in a locker room altercation with back-up linebacker IK Enemkpali, in which the 2014 sixth round pick, slugged smith in the face during a fight in the locker room. Smith broke his jaw as a result, and will be out for 6-10 weeks, at least.

Reports say that coach Todd Bowles said the fracas broke out because of something that had "nothing to do with football" and was "very childish." What childish means in this situation is anyone's guess. And it is not known who started the fight. However, whatever Smith may have done or said to Enemkpali was enough for him to rear back and crack the quarterback in the face.

Enemkpali was released almost immediately.

To some Jets fans, they probably are ecstatic that Smith is out for such a long period of time. Smith did nothing to endear himself to Jets fans with his poor play the past two years, becoming one of the leagues worst quarterbacks.

That being said, the Jets now will have to rely on veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback for at least the first half of the season. While Fitzpatrick has seen some good moments in his career, he has been a mostly mediocre quarterback. He spent four years as the Buffalo Bills starting quarterback and never produced a winning season. His best season in Buffalo was in 2011 when he threw for 3,800 yards and 24 touchdowns, but he also threw 23 interceptions that year as well.

This is also the same Ryan Fitzpatrick who couldn't hold off Case Keenum and Ryan Mallett from taking the starting job from him in Houston last season. In other words, here is another hoe-hum quarterback under center for the Jets.

If Fitzpatrick falters, it could rush the debut of rookie Bryce Petty, whom the Jets were hoping would have a year to sit back and watch before ever getting a call to start. That might change now. Petty is coming out of the spread offense system from Baylor, and needs time to learn the in's and out's of an NFL offense.

There is even a rumor out there that the Jets would go after ... dare I say it .. Rex Grossman! (You can scream now.)

So in short, there are no good options here for the Jets, even if Smith was probably on his last legs as a Jets starting quarterback this season.

Also here is this tidbit, the injury might actually mean the end of the Geno Smith era in New York. If Fitzpatrick, or Petty, or whomever plays well for the team and the Jets are winning ball games there is no chance that Smith will get the starting job back. The only way Smith even gets consideration to be the starter at this point is if Fitzpatrick is really stinking it up for Gang Green.

It would be ironic in a way if this is indeed the end of the Smith era, because his time with the Jets started when Mark Sanchez was injured in a pre-season game and lost for the season. If Sanchez hadn't been injured, Smith probably never takes the field as the Jets starting quarterback.

Oh the irony, oh the Jets.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers, save top prospects

The Mets went from zero to hero in the span of 36 hours. Mere two days after the team was involved in an embarrassing trade debacle with the Milwaukee Brewers that would have sent Carlos Gomez to the Mets, were it not for the teams concerns about a phantom hip inury, the New York baseball club made up for the gaff by getting an even better player this time around.

And this time the Mets didn't let a "medical history" get in the way.

The Mets acquired slugger Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers for minor league right hander's Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa  just 13 minutes before the non-waiver trade deadline ended on Friday. Fulmer was the centerpiece of the deal. The Double-A prospect is 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA down on the farm. He might be a great arm one day, but considering the Mets are already stacked with great arms, losing him in a trade like this is too good to pass up.

Best of all the Mets keep Zach Wheeler. Wheeler had been rumored to be involved in deals with the Brewers, Red and Tigers. In fact there were even reports that the Tigers wanted Wheeler back in a deal for Cespedes. But it never came to pass. Wheeler who is out for the rest of this season, and will miss part of next year as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery, is looked upon by the Mets as their future number five starter.

New York wants to go into 2016 with Matt Harvery, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steve Matz, and Wheeler as their rotation. They want to market "Fab 5" t-shirts, ticket packages and what have you throughout 2016 beginning this winter for the build up of Spring Training. While the Mets were willing to part with Wheeler to get a deal done, keeping him makes this trade even tastier for Mets' fans.

As for Cespedes, he is in the final year of his contract. He is due $3.8 million on his deal, which the Mets have said they will cover. The Mets are getting a player who can light up their locker room and change the culture for this franchise. For the first time since Carlos Beltran patrolled center field for the Mets in the last decade, the Mets have a true All Star in the outfield.  Cespedes is a career .269 hitter, but he is a pure power hitter, something the Mets have not had since they moved into Citi Field in 2009. He has 89 career home runs, and this year alone, Cespedes has hit 18 bombs for a Tigers team that plays in the very spacious Comerica Park in Detroit.

Imagine the possibilities of what Cespedes can bring to this lineup as the team's number three hitter, especially with David Wright still out of the lineup. Now imagine Cespedes and a fully healthy David Wright back-to-back in the lineup -- WOW!

In a lot of ways Cespedes can be to the Mets what Mike Piazza was to the Mets in 1998. Piazza gave the club a jolt and resurrected a dead carcass. The Mets needed a star to turn things around, and went ahead and acquired Piazza from the Marlins. The Mets, at the time, were Piazza's third team. Piazza was also in the walk year of his contract in 1998 and after he earned the affection of New York City, it was a no-brainer the Mets had to go all in to keep Piazza in Queens.

That might happen with Cespedes. This guy has shown he loves the big stage. He shined brightly in New York when he put on a show in the home run derby at Citi Field in the All Star game a couple seasons back. He's also been known for making incredible plays like this:

This is a good baseball player. He has been with a lot of teams however. The Mets are already his fourth team since joining the Majors in 2012; so there might be a personality issue that we are not aware of yet. This is something to keep an eye on, because a player this good should still be on his first team, not his fourth.

Cespedes is going to play left field, meaning playing time for Michael Cuddyer when he gets off the disabled list, and Jaun Lagares might get a little interesting. The Mets have commitments to both players after this season -- is this a signal that that might change? We have to wait and see. Curtis Granderson, who has been having a solid season this year, might see more playing time in center field now that Cespedes is here as well..

It remains to be seen what kind of future beyond this year Cespedes has in New York. If he takes to New York City and the Mets, its a no-brainer the Mets should try to keep him. But at least for now, the Mets made a move that is going to set them apart and give this ball club an actual chance to compete in the final two months of the season.

That is all any Mets fan can ask for.