Monthly Archives: July, 2013

Philer Up: Amaro makes a Splash.

Philadelphia Phillies

Everyone is  waiting for the Phils to begin their Fire Sale.  Amaro, the “Gun-Slinger” waits for no one.  Right after the Phils lost their sixth in a row, they signed Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a deal that could be worth around $59 million over six years. That would be the richest deal ever for an international player, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. The contract is guaranteed at $48 million over six years.

In previous years, the Phils never came close to signing an international player for those kinds of dollars. The highest before this is when they signed Korean righthander Seung Lee for $ 1.2 million, who never made it to the majors. This Phillies franchise is a different breed now.  They might make a couple of moves at the deadline but they’re looking to contend right away again in 2014. I don’t see the “Fire Sale” coming now with this move. I know some people might not want to hear that. To be honest though, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I LOVE IT… We might not see the late 1980’s and 1990’s Phils ever again. Why, you might ask. It’s called MONEY. The Phils have plenty of it.

Let’s get back to Gonzalez now. Gonzalez, 26, was also being pursued by the Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox and a few other teams.  The Phils will likely to send him to the minors for some tune-up starts before summoning him to the big leagues. Scouts say that the righthander (6-foot-3) has a 94-95 mph range with his fastball while touching 96. He also throws a changeup, fork ball and a curveball.

Teams have been very successful of late with signing international players. You have Yu Darvish, Yeonis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman, just to name a few.  Fingers crossed people. The Phils could have a rotation of Lee, Hamels, Gonzalez, Doc (maybe) and Kendrick for next season. 

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Fantasy Football Talk: New Places, New Faces

Fantasy Football

Typical of the NFL, a lot of well-known players have changed teams.  The player movements of free agents can single-handedly be the most important piece of information when looking at who will do well and who might underperform.  With movement comes opportunity to shine for some while loss of playing time for others.  Lets look at some of the movements from this offseason and what they could mean come draft day.

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City

Our boy Andy Reid traded the 33rd pick overall for Alex Smith this offseason and for Alex, I see it as a plus for him from a production standpoint.  For all of his faults, Andy Reid has made QBs look good in fantasy leagues.  He loves to throw the ball and can completely forget about the passing game.  Smith should produce significant numbers with Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles in this West Coast offense.  Reid’s offenses have passed for 4,000 or more yards the past 7 seasons so I expect that to continue this season.  The main beneficiary in this move will probably be Dwayne Bowe as Smith is easily the best QB he has ever worked with.  Smith should get to about 4,100 yards passing, 26 TDs and 14 INTs which should be good for a high-end #2 QB in 12 team leagues.

Wes Welker, WR, Denver

Wes Welker

I’m sure Tom Brady was pretty upset when the Pats front office decided to let Welker go and sign with the Denver Mannings Broncos.  I’m sure Tom’s even more livid considering how the rest of the season went with the Gronkowski surgeries and the acts of the sub-human Aaron Hernandez. On the flip side, Wes is probably relieved to have left that rigid team.  Fantasy wise though, I think Welker’s production might slip a little bit.  Most of Welker’s TDs in New England were from inside the 15 yard line and everyone knows Manning is all about audibling to a run inside the red zone unlike Brady who did audible, but would only audible the type of pass play.  I still think Welker is worth drafting as a #2 WR in PPR leagues, but the days of 110 catches are over now that he is in Denver.  Eric Decker might see some slip in production now that Welker will be working the short/intermediate routes.  Thomas should see more single coverage over the top with Welker in the slot now.

Danny Amendola, WR, New England

With Welker in Denver, the Patriots brought in as close of a clone to Welker as they could find.  Danny Amendola, former Eagles practice squad player, is expected to replicate the role Welker had while in New England, but I have my reservations.  Danny has great hands and runs crisp routes, but I don’t think he is as quick as Welker and I think it is a matter of time before Danny gets hurt.  He has missed the majority of the past 2 seasons when he was in St. Louis and I think he will miss at least 2 or 3 games this season.  In fantasy terms, that could be 15% (2 out of 13) of the regular season in standard leagues.  All in all, don’t expect Wes Welker type numbers from Amendola.  He will be a nice flex player in PPR, but the uneasiness that comes with an injury prone player should force him to be drafted as a mid round player until he proves he can handle the role.

Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

With a career yards per carry of 5.1, Ivory really pops off the page as a player with sleeper potential now that he is the odds on favorite to be the cow bell for the New York Jets.  But please, I pray you, remember where he was when he got those numbers.  In New Orleans, the Saints rarely saw more than 7 defensive players in the box on first and second due to the high percentage of passes that Drew Brees attempted.  Defenses played the averages and prepped for a pass on 1st down, but once in a while the Saints would run the ball on first down and more than 60% of Ivory’s carries came on first down.  Seeing less than 7 players inside the box on first down for the Jets won’t happen often.  The QB situation for the Jets is less than ideal and teams will stack the box with up to 8 players at a time.  A hand full of RBs can beat a stacked box like that; Ivory isn’t one of them.  Ivory will be over-drafted often this summer.  Stay away from him until you need to start looking for a 4th RB.

Sixers Balls: Nerlens Noel presser and bringing back the early 1990’s

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The Flat-Top has officially arrived. In case you missed it, Nerlens Noel was introduced today by the Sixers and Sam Hinkie. That should make the media happy that Hinkie talked and that he spoke about the Sixers head coaching job. Hinkie’s response to a media member asking why it’s taking so long to name a coach:

“I’m only trying to do what I think is right,” Hinkie said, “which is to build something that our owners want and I think that I want and I think our fans want – which is to build something that is lasting and build something that is special with a capital ‘S.’” via CSN.

So you really didn’t answer the question there Sam. Anything else? What about Michael Curry and Brett Brown, a reporter asked. Hinkie:

“It’s a process,” Hinkie said. “We’re going to follow a really methodical approach.”

Let me take that back. The media is probably even more irritated now. Buckle Up Sixers fans, I don’t think this head coaching ride will be over anytime soon. Now back to the Flat-TopWhat up Noel!

 

Someone has to help this dude find a barber. He said he would get the Sixers logo carved into the back of his head, if he finds one. This dude really is bringing back the early 1990’s with his Flat-Top and carvings on the back of his head. All he needs now is a Starter Hat and some Overall Jeans Shorts to go with it.

Haha…That Dykstra cameo, Priceless.

Even though Noel won’t likely play until December or January, I still was excited to watch his presser. Noel talked about how excited he is to play with his former AAU team-mate Michael Carter-Williams. Noel:

How could you think of that?” Sam (Hinkie) is just a genius to get two players that already played together and have a great relationship.” via PhillyBurbs

Noel also talked about his rehab. Noel:

(I’m) definitely being patient,” Noel said. “I want to be playing in April and June. I don’t want to risk anything now to not have a long career here in Philadelphia. I’ll definitely do my best to bring championships and a lot of success to this city.”

The Sixers should let this dude get complete healthy even if it means having him sitting out the entire year. Here is the complete presser

5 Players on the Proverbial ‘Bubble’

With players reporting yesterday, I thought it might be a good time for me to speculate who have been mainstays on the Eagles roster in the past few years that probably won’t be here by the end of August.  Any young developmental player that Andy Reid drafted has a poor shot at making this team, but the following vets have a distinct chance of being let go.

Jason Avant, WR

Jason Avant

Fan favorite and team leader Jason Avant might not be on this team come to the end of August.  Not because of deteriorating physical ability, but mainly due to the fact that he simply doesn’t fit this offense.  He is a possession type WR with below average speed, great hands and the ability to run crisp routes.  With this offense, speed is key an Jason just doesn’t have it.  Considering his excellent route running tree and ability to catch the ball he might be attractive to another team looking for a possession WR.  I think Jason gets traded towards the middle of training camp for a 6th round pick to a team lacking depth. KC?

Clay Harbor, TE

This offense is going to be about mismatches and three years ago, Clay Harbor seemed to be the type of TE who was going to turn into a threat down the seem in the vertical offense or in a hurry up offense.  Unfortunately for Harbor, injuries and slow development have placed him 4th on the Eagles depth chart and I don’t see him moving from there.  The Eagles are only going to carry 3 TEs and unless there is an injury to Brent Celek, James Casey and Zach Ertz he won’t make this team.

Casey Matthews, LB

Casey Matthews

This is the unusual situation where cutting Casey might be what is best for him and the Eagles conjointly.  Casey is the crux of what was wrong with Andy’s personnel decisions and stubborn ignorance to tell the Eagles fans that an below average player has below average skill.  The only way this guy makes the team is as a special teamer, but his speed is only average for a undersized LB like himself.  Cutting Casey will be one less memory of how poorly this team was ran the last 4 years.

Kurt Coleman, S

Two years ago, I was a big fan of Coleman.  I thought that he was a hard hitting safety from “The Ohio State University” that would develop into a impact player.  Sadly I was wrong.  This league is too fast for Coleman and in some cases, a bit small.  Inside the box safeties need to be big and fast with the emergence of big, fast TEs and 3 WR sets with players like Calvin Johnson playing in the slot.  I know it’s hard to find a 6’2″ safety with 4.5 speed and excellent tackling ability, but Coleman has none of these qualities.  It’s a bare minimum to have at least one, ideally 2 of the 3.

Curtis Marsh, CB

Another one of Andy Reid’s 3rd rd picks/unsuccessful project players, Curtis Marsh is in a make or break 2 weeks here at the NovaCare complex.  Chip Kelly doesn’t have time to wait for a project player that he didn’t draft.  He will need results day one and if Marsh doesn’t shut down Maclin or DeSean one on one, his days as an Eagle will be over. I doubt he gets signed anywhere else.

Philer Up…What The Matt Garza Trade Could Mean For The Phillies

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Matt Garza was traded to the Texas Rangers last night. The trade probably would have been the top headline on a regular day in baseball but it was over shadowed by the Ryan Braun steroid scandal. Just because you will be hearing about the Braun ordeal for the next couple of days doesn’t mean this trade doesn’t deserve to be looked over. It may in fact indirectly impact whether the Phillies are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

The deal consisted of five players. Matt Garza will be heading to Texas and in return the Cubs will receive Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm and possibly Neil Ramirez. Last season Mike Olt was an untouchable prospect to the Rangers. He played 95 games in AA ball last year batting .288 with 28 HR’s and 82 RBI’s. He’s struggling this season hitting only .219 with 12 HR’s and 34 RBI’s through 68 games but the Cubs are betting on him bouncing back. He was a first round pick in 2010 and considered one of the best prospect in the Rangers organization. The rest of the prospects aren’t as highly touted as Olt. Although C.J. Edwards is doing well in single A ball sporting an 8-2 record with a 1.83 ERA, single A is a long way form the majors.

But the Rangers giving up four prospects one of which was supposed to be untouchable at one point tells me one thing. It’s a sellers market. Don’t get me wrong Garza is decent but I wasn’t expecting Texas to give up that much for him. He is pitching well this season going 6-1 in 11 starts with 3.17 ERA but he is a rental player. So the Rangers gave up all those players for a guy who could be wearing a different uniform after this season. Even if they resign him Garza has never won more than 15 games in a season. If Texas doesn’t win the World Series this deal will have been a bust and frankly I don’t see it working out for them.

That being said if that is the going price for a decent rental pitcher, what is the price for Cliff Lee? An obvious number one with playoff experience and who is under contract for 2 1/2 years. Albeit a huge contract for a guy who is 34 years old, Lee has to appeal to teams in contention. And Cliff isn’t the only one. We have already heard that a dozen teams are interested in Michael Young. What’s Papelbon worth? Chooch? How about Jimmy? Or dare I say it, Utley?

Reub has been saying he wants the Phils to be buyers at the deadline. But after losing two out of three to the Mets and now head to St. Louis and then Detroit the Phillies are in a tough spot. If they lose both series other teams might smell blood in the water and may start banging down the door to get a piece from the Phils.

Reuben will be taking all calls and if a team is desperate enough they could just bowl him over with an offer. If that’s the case we could be waving bye to some of the most cherished players from arguably the greatest era of baseball this town has ever seen.

5 Questions Heading into Training Camp

2013 Eagles Camp

This time of the summer is when I start getting psyched about Eagles football.  It’s hot, humid, hazy and I love it.  I’m in beautiful Sea Isle City for a 2 week vacation and it is by far THE BEST TIME to have vacation.  Not only are there the best of the best scantily dressed girls from Delco walking the beach, but during the last week of July is when Eagles camp opens.  Reports fly in everyday about who is looking good, who is looking bad and who is going to make this roster that no one knew of at the beginning of the season.  Going into camp, these are the questions that most of us are wondering.

1. Can Lane Johnson be the final piece to sure up this offensive line?

Last season, injuries destroyed the offensive line before training camp even started with Jason Peters’ injury.  Now at 100%, the All-Pro tackle will be back at LT and it will be on  Lane Johnson to bookend that right side.  If he can do what’s expected of a top-tier tackle, Herremans will be able to move inside to guard and help out the interior of the line.  This move would drastically improve this offensive line, but it’s on dependent on rookie tackle Lane Johnson

2.  Where will Trent Cole fit within this new 3-4 defense?

Trent has played his entire career at DE in a 4-3 defense and now that he will be asked to stand up on the outside as a pass rushing LB, the transition might be difficult.  His athleticism to rush the passer without his hand in the ground won’t be the issue, but asking him to drop back in coverage could be.  I want to see how much they ask him to do this.  Will he primarily rush the passer or is it going to be expected of him to drop back into coverage?

3. What will be the identify of this offense?  Fans are expecting this offense to be a read-option type offense, but I don’t see it that way.  I think it’s strictly going to be a hurry up offense. AT ALL TIMES.  Not here and there, but a constant no huddle offense with 2 TE sets in single back-formation.  This team will be split down the middle on types of play calls.  50/50 EACH GAME.

4.  Who will be the rookie that comes in and simply blows the coaches away?  Who will be the rookie who is a huge disappointment?  There is always a rookie each year who exceeds expectations and there is always one who lacks.  I think one guy Eagles fans will come to love is DT, Bennie Logan.  He’s a bit undersized, but has the mindset to never give up on a play.  This is going to come through at camp and Eagles reporters will be very attracted to a player like this, because that’s who Eagles fans want to hear about.  One guy who might underperform, not to say he will have a bad camp is Matt Barkley.  Elevated play from rookies last year is putting a lot of pressure on this kid.  Fans need to ease up and let this kid grow before anointing him the future or naming him as a bust.

5.  Last but not least, who will be the Philadelphia Eagles starting QB?  Vick and Foles are very even right now and some are even saying that Mike Vick is losing the battle, but I don’t buy it.  This offense wants to play for Mike Vick.  DeSean and company will simply play harder for their guy.  I think Foles will give a great fight, but the more athletic vet will win the job.  How long he stays healthy is another conversation.

Birds Training Camp Coverage…

Philadelphia Eagles fans

I think some people know that I cover the Eagles for RantSports.com and  starting next week I will be pumping-out about an article per day (Gotta meet that quota). I figure to give out some of the latest that I have written about so far to get you ready for training camp and the up-coming season. I love that word, “up-coming’.  Also check out my fellow writers Chuck Lombardi (@chuckwagon924) and Frank Capriotti (@TheFrankCap). They will be spitting “Hot-Fire” at you with Birds coverage too.  Moving on…

Here is some of my latest…

Michael Bamiro the new OT.

So news came out a few days ago that the Philadelphia Eagles are signing Stony Brook offensive tackle Michael Bamiro, who was declared a free agent last week by the NFL. That’s only the beginning of this dude’s story. Continue reading…

Chip Kelly’s hand signals

So many new things are coming our way this year for the Philadelphia Eagles.  We got a brand new offense, defense, and coaches. There will be so many new activities to see. I am not sure if activities actually fits there, but I just love the movie “Step Brothers”, so I am going with it. Continue reading...

Little known WR Nick Miller

I was looking for someone to write about and I wanted it to be an unknown player on the Philadelphia Eagles. I was thinking, ‘how about Donnie Jones, the punter?’. Imagine if I really wrote about a punter — I think most people wouldn’t read past the first line. With that said, I figured to write about wide receiver Nick Miller.

Who? Exactly Continue reading…

DC Billy Davis

As we all know, there has been a ton of turnover on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ defensive side of the ball, not to mention a totally different scheme. The Eagles’ defense needed a change in the worst way. Last year’s defense ranked 29th in points allowed and 15th in yards against.

In the past two seasons (2011-12) they ranked 30th (2011) and 31st (2012) in takeaway/giveaway ratio. Yup, not so good. Continue reading...

Safety Patrick Chung

Since I am on the subject of the Philadelphia Eagles secondary, I might as well take a peek at the new strong safety Patrick Chung. The former second-round pick out of Oregon left the New England Patriots after four seasons. The man has flashed some major talent there, but also struggled with injuries. He has missed 12 games over the last couple of seasons. The Pats were hoping to re-sign him, but they decided to let him walk (injuries). Continue reading…

Trent Cole on 3-4 transition

I’ve been thinking a bit about Trent Cole and if he could make the transition from 4-3 to 3-4 for the Philadelphia Eagles. I know Chip Kelly has said that he will be playing some 4-3, but they will be playing a 3-4 defense most of the time.

Cole, 30, who was drafted out of Cincinnati (fifth round in 2005) has built himself into an every-down defensive linemen by putting on weight and muscle over the years. Continue reading…

CB Bradley Fletcher

All we have heard about this offseason is about Cary Williams for the Philadelphia Eagles secondary. How Cary will bring a hard-nose type of football to the Eagles and how he doesn’t “do” voluntary work-outs. I think its time to talk about another Eagles cornerback addition and that would be Bradley Fletcher. Continue reading…

As always thanks for checking us out!

El Diablo’s Choice of Beverage for Your Weekend pleasure is….Anchor California Lager

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It’s hot as hell out there ladies and gents. Have no fear, El Diablo has the perfect beverage to cool you down with…Anchor California Lager

Anchor California Lager

His reasoning….”It’s gotta big bear on the bottle, why not”…Lovely

The review:

Our California Lager is also a single-hop beer, using only fresh, whole Cluster hops, all descended from an old line originally grown in California. Cluster has a long history as a “dual-purpose hop” for both bittering and aroma, which creates a flavor profile like no other. Brewed with San Francisco tap water, fresh from Yosemite, and fermented with our own special strain of lager yeast, our California Lager is kräusened in the traditional manner and lagered in our cellars. The result is a uniquely sessionable lager beer, which is maltier, hoppier, and somewhat stronger than modern American lagers. Continue reading at RateBeer.com

Contributor:  Pat “Hollywood” Hickman    @pathickman

Sixers Balls: And Then There Was Two

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

Could it be? Nah…Well, maybe. The Sixers may have finally found their man.  The report out there is that the Sixers have narrowed their choices down (Because they have so many) to 2 candidates. That would be Michael Curry and Brett Brown. So that rumor of Brown maybe was true.

Curry (Doug Collins clone) coached the Sixers summer league team in the Orlando Pro Summer League.  Curry does have at last one year of heading coaching under his belt. He was the head coach of the Detroit Pistons, in 2008-09. Curry is still under contract with the Sixers for one more season as assistant.

Time to copy and paste what I wrote about a month ago for Brown… Brown has been with the Spurs since July 2002 and moved to the bench as an assistant coach before the start of the 2006-07 season.  Before Brown was with the Spurs he coached 14 seasons (9 as HC) in the Australasia National Basketball League. Brown led the Aussies to a seventh-place finish in the 2012 London Olympic Games. He has been under “Pop” the past 7 years, so I like this idea.

 

Philer Up…ICYMI Cliff Lee’s ASG Death Stare

In case you miss it, during the introduction of at the All-Star Cliff Lee had a interesting reaction to his name being called. Actually he had no reaction at all.  At first I thought, “he is such a competitor he is already zoned in”. But the more I watched the video I’m not sure if it screams competitor or sociopath. Look at the players before him. They are all smiling, happy to be there. Someone obviously told them, when the camera is on you tip your cap and smile. Cliff Lee was just like “fuck that noise I’m going to stare directly into the camera without blinking for 60 seconds”. Sure make the people at home feel comfortable by somehow making eye contact from thousands of miles away. Seriously, look at Andrew McCutchen after Lee’s introduction. He smiles and tips his cap but its a nervous smile cause he just realized he is standing next to Charles Mansion in a Phillies uniform. Cliff better watch out if Dexter Morgan starts showing up at Phillies games.