NEW YORK, NY – We’re just over a month away from the first NHL preseason games and hockey can’t come soon enough. Mets fans are glued to their televisions watching David Wright repeatedly strikeout looking in St. Lucie. Yankees fans are speed-dialing call-in shows and tweeting desperately about poop pitching, Judge’s wrist and Andujar’s defense.
The Rangers rebuild is in full swing and there will be plenty of interesting player development plots to follow. There won’t be much to look forward to in terms of team success, other than trying to lose as many game as possible to increase the Rangers chances in the draft lottery.
Hopefully, Kevin Hayes has a monster year up to the trade deadline and the Rangers can get a good return on a trade. Hayes signed a one-year bridge deal going into his last season before he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent. The ideal situation would be the Rangers getting a first round pick for Hayes to go to a contender as a rental.
It’s clear that the brass don’t consider Hayes a long-term option. He’s caught in the middle between being an average centre and an above-average winger. The Rangers needed him as a centre last season but he’s probably more suited as a physical winger who should be up around 30 goals and 30 assists every year. It remains to be seen whether Hayes will ever reach that potential.
The Blueshirts don’t have much else in the way of trade fodder this season. Mika Zibanejad is an overpaid, underper-forming centre who won’t fetch more than a low round draft pick. Mats Zuccarello probably won’t have much trade value, either, as a heart and soul winger who is undersized and doesn’t shoot.
Henrik Lundqvist makes way too much money to be of any value in a trade. And I don’t think the Rangers will entertain trading Lias Andersson or Filip Chytil. We’ll see what the young centres can do with an extended run in the first team this season. They’ll either be a part of the Cup run in 2023 or trade fodder, as the Rangers reset again in 2022.
Back to baseball…
The Yankees are trudging along. They have almost shot of catching the Red Sox in the division. It would take a collapse of Mets Proportions for that to happen at this point. The Yanks are locked in a battle with the A’s and Mariners for the Wild Card slots. The Bombers hold a 3-game lead over the Athletics and are up by 5.5 games over the Mariners. But they have not been playing very well of late.
Aaron Judge is still out with the aforementioned wrist injury and his return is uncertain. Initially the Yanks thought Judge would be back on the field in three weeks. Yesterday marked three weeks since Judge’s jaunt to the DL and the Bombers still don’t know when he will be back… Gary “Dirty” Sanchez is also recovering more slowly than expected from his groin injury. If both are back by the start of September, then the Yankees should be in good shape heading into the Wild Card round in early October. If their returns are delayed any longer then they may not even make the postseason dance. The Yanks have already given up a lot of ground in the race and if current trends continue, they won’t be in the lead for much longer.
That’s it for me today. Come back tomorrow for a man that still thinks Mets have a chance and will shave half his chest hair if the Jets don’t win the Super Bowl, Junoir Blaber.