Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips is a contributor at The Athletic, Forbes and Sporting News and the Managing Editor of USA Today Sports' Jets Wire. Phillips has previous experience with Bleacher Report, FanRag Sports, The Bergen Record, CNBC, NBC News,, the Locked On Network, The Journal Inquirer and The Journal News. A journalism graduate of Seton Hall, he was Editor-in-Chief of The Setonian, the university's award-winning student newspaper. He can be reached at or 845-825-7030.

Handicapping Yankees' Spring Position Battles

Spring training is almost here, and that means two things. The first is that, thankfully, baseball is almost back. The second is that there will be plenty of positional battles throughout major league camps as players try to cement their roles on big league rosters. Like every other team, that will be true with the New York Yankees as they prepare for Opening Day in Tampa, Florida. The Yankees have a few questions surrounding their team, namely when it comes to backing up the backstop, pluggi

Stanton Taking Big Bucks, Bigger Risk with Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton is about to ink a deal of epic proportions. The Miami Marlins are close to signing the 25-year-old outfielder to the richest contract in baseball history: an unprecedented 13 years and a ghastly $325 million. The news was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the opt-out clause will come when Stanton is 30. The deal is crazy on all kinds of levels. Stanton is coming off an MVP-caliber season in which he hit 37 home runs and

Reflecting on All That Derek Jeter Was

On Thursday night, the crowd at Yankee Stadium erupted time and time again. It was Derek Jeter's final game in the Bronx, the last time he would don his iconic No. 2 pinstriped jersey. The fans were desperate for one more memory. With the game against the Baltimore Orioles tied in the ninth, Jeter, with a man on second, stepped up to the plate. Just as he had done so many times in his career, Jeter shot one the opposite way. It was a walk-off single for The Captain in his final night in the ci

Clayton Kershaw Currently Atop the NL MVP Rankings

This time, the Washington Nationals fell victim to the 6'3", 225-pound left-hander. It was a 108-pitch, eight-inning masterpiece, one in which the Los Angeles Dodgers ace allowed just three hits and racked up eight strikeouts. He made one mistake, a solo shot to Bryce Harper in the seventh, and that was it. He left an inning later with his team leading by a comfortable score of 4-1. That is what Kershaw does. It is what he always does. He pitches lights-out every time he takes the mound. Most

Angels, Athletics and Mariners All Contending in Wild West

Author Wallace Stegner once wrote, “One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope." Such words have never been truer in the American League West, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners all find themselves in possession of a playoff spot heading into play on Wednesday, August 20. If the season ended today all three teams would be heading to the postseason. At 74-50, the Halos have the best record in all of baseball and currently

Athletics Land Lester from Red Sox for Cespedes

The Boston Red Sox have sent starting pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, according to Alex Speier of Oakland will also send a competive balance pick to Boston for cash considerations, according to Yahoo SPorts' Jeff Passan. Rumors had been swirling for a while that the last-place Red Sox could deal their ace, but their intentions were made clear when it was announced Tuesday night that Lester would be scratched from

Price Should Be Dealt Despite Rays' Postseason Hopes

The Tampa Bay Rays are hot right now, leaving many wondering what they are going to do with staff ace David Price as Thursday's July 31 trade deadline looms near. Joe Maddon's team has won nine in a row heading into Monday, and the team has its sights set on the playoffs despite having been 18 games under .500 at one point this season. At 51-54, the Rays are now 7.5 games out of first place in the American League East, but they are 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot. They are playing their best

Should Boston Be Open to Trading Lester?

With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline getting closer and closer, the Boston Red Sox have to keep an open mind when it comes to trading staff ace Jon Lester. At 37-44, Boston is in fourth place in the American League East and seven games out of first place. The Sox are by no means done for the season. But after failing to sign Lester, a free agent to be after the season, to a long-term extension, it makes sense for the club to see what it can get in return for the left-hander. The answer,

Impact of Gwynn's Death on Chewing Tobacco in Baseball

Major League Baseball mourned an all-time great player and person on June 16 when San Diego Padres icon Tony Gwynn died. More than a week has gone by and Gwynn's death is still impacting others around baseball, particularly those who use smokeless or chewing tobacco. Gwynn was just 54 when he died following a tumultuous battle with parotid (mouth) cancer. While multiple factors could have contributed to his cancer, Gwynn was always adamant that a chewing tobacco habit that he kept up long after

Examining Baseball's TJ Epidemic

An unfathomable amount of pitchers have experienced what is a pitcher's worst nightmare this season. Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, more commonly known as Tommy John surgery, has ended the seasons of nearly 40 pitchers this year (as of May 29), and the list continues to grow. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports provided a comparative stat that puts how serious this problem is into perspective. Mets ace Matt Harvey, who has been out since the end of 2013, will in all likelihood miss the ent

Tip of the Hat to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Adam Silver acted decisively and swiftly. He acted justly and righteously. He made a statement and he made it loud and clear. There is no place for the racism, ignorance and bigotry that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling demonstrated. Speaking at a press conference in New York, the commissioner announced that Sterling would receive a lifetime ban and a fine of $2.5 million from the NBA after a league investigation confirmed that it was in fact Sterling speaking on a recording released

Doc, Clips Making Right Choice to Play

The road to an NBA Championship is never easy. If you are the Los Angeles Clippers, things just got a whole lot harder. To call owner Donald Sterling's alleged racist comments a distraction is an understatement. TMZ Sports released an audio recording between Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. Throughout the recording, Sterling makes racist comments about minorities, mainly about African-Americans. Sterling even goes as far as to single out Lakers great Magic Johnson. Sterling was very o

Pineda's Blatant Use of Pine Tar Is the Problem

Michael Pineda might as well have been wearing a flashing neon sign around his neck Wednesday night, alerting the baseball world that he was once again using pine tar. The thing is, if he had done that, he would have gotten the sticky stuff on the sign. Yes, that is right, the least conspicuous place to keep the pine tar that Pineda could think of was smack dab on the side of his neck, in plain sight for everyone to see. Very clever, Michael. Red Sox skipper John Farrell and the umps needed 20

It's Time to Leave Michael Vick's Past Where It Belongs

Its been about five years since Michael Vick left prison following his 19-month sentence for his role in an illegal dog fighting ring. During that time, the troubled quarterback was reinstated into the NFL, signed on with the Philadelphia Eagles and made great strides in repairing his image. Still, now that Vick has signed with the New York Jets, people continue to bring up his past. The most recent example was a petition that called for Vick to be banned from SUNY Cortland, where the Jets trai

Tigers Pay Miggy, Teams Keep Spending

Miguel Cabrera, give or take one of the two best hitters in baseball, came to terms with the Tigers on Thursday on a contract extension that will keep him in Detroit for the next 10 years and pay him $292 million. The deal could reach a grand total of $352 million based on eleventh and twelfth year vesting options. The news comes just days after negotiations broke off between the Tigers and star pitcher Max Scherzer and his agent Scott Boras. Reports indicated that the extension would have mad