Posted tagged ‘philadelphia media’

Pedro – Is this a good thing?

July 16, 2009
Pedro Martinez (Photo by:  ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS)

Pedro Martinez (Photo by: ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS)

If you said to me 6 years ago that Pedro Martinez signed with the Phillies, I would have been ecstatic.  It would be the first time the Phillies would have a number 1 starter since Kurt Schilling.  If you told me Pedro signed with the Phillies 3 years ago, I would have been mildly pleased knowing we got a pitcher that can throw 7 solid innings and win 15 games. Now that the Phillies signed Pedro at age 37 in 2009, I’m indifferent.  

You see, I don’t think he is an upgrade, pitching wise, to the Bastardo or Lopez slot in the rotation.  His experience and apparent desire to put his failures with the Mets behind him do give him an added sense of motivation and provides the Phillies with some additional leadership.  The knocks on Martinez are that he loves the limelight and could be a thorn to a very tight Phillies locker room.  The current Phillies will be happy to allow Martinez the spot light, while they also won’t let him hurt their locker room.  They are too proud and tough. 

Here’s the problem – I don’t think the Phillies can rely on Pedro to plug the hole in their pitching rotation.  He is going to make a few minor league starts to get back to game playing mode and then appear for the Phillies in August.  What if Lopez and/or Bastardo have great outings between now and then?  What if Martinez falters in his return?  There is too much unknown – but the important thing is that the Phillies use the best pitchers, not necessarily the big time name or the one with the biggest paycheck.

An interesting thought I had a few days ago during the Pedro Martinez courting was that with the addition of Pedro, does that mean that JA Happ is now available in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Roy Halladay?  I saw this thought a few times in yesterday’s and today’s paper and on Philly.com.  This could get interesting – however, I think the current Phillies staff, bolstered by a revived and strong bullpen, could easily provide the necessary fire power to get the Phillies back to the Series.

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The Enigmatic Phillies

July 9, 2009
File Photo of Rodrigo Lopez (AP Photo/Don Wright)

File Photo of Rodrigo Lopez (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Yes, the Phillies have won 5 of their last 6 and yes, they lost the one game by only one run, but I still don’t think they are playing consistent baseball.  Last night, the Phillies fell behind by two runs, only to rally back using timely hitting and strong relief work from the bullpen.  Here’s what bugs me:  Rodrigo Lopez provided another strong start (he left after an injury), but the Phillies didn’t score any runs, let alone get base runners until the starter left the game.  The Phillies are supposed to be a potent offensive machine that barely can score runs.  They explode some games, but their run scoring is so inconsistent, it’s mind boggling.  

Yesterday, there was rampant speculation and even mock proposals to acquire Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay.  All of the discussion was around how many prospects the Phillies would have to give up.  To get Halladay, the Phillies would have had to give up a proven major leaguer and many prospects.  Halladay is great pitcher and would be a worthy addition to the Phillies rotation, but to give up the farm and an everyday major leaguer really isn’t worth it.  Also, the Phillies starting pitching is coming around to perform better.  Most importantly, if a starting pitcher struggles, the offense should be able to outscore the other team, every game.  The Phillies line up is that good, just inconsistent.

I’ll take 5 wins out of 6 games, but I’d like to see some consistency from the offense and pitching before I claim that the Phillies are out of their slump and back to World Series form.

Peter Zezel

May 27, 2009
Peter Zezel, flyers.nhl.com

Peter Zezel, flyers.nhl.com

By now, you have heard the news that Peter Zezel passed away of a rare blood condition.  He was a huge fan favorite here in Philadelphia when he played for the Flyers for 5 years.  I remember him playing on the two cup final teams in the mid 1980’s (85 and 87).  However, my main Peter Zezel memory was when the Flyers traded him to the Blues for Mike Bullard in 1989.  I couldn’t understand (and still can’t) how the Flyers were able to trade Zezel for a washed up supposed scorer in Mike Bullard.  I thought the Flyers were going keep Peter Zezel, Scott Mellanby, Derrick Smith and Rick Tocchet forever.  I thought those guys were going to win a cup together.  

It’s amazing to see how many Philadelphians, especially the media, that have written and said so many nice things about a hockey player who only played in Philadelphia for 5 years.  Also, people in the other hockey cities he played had similar comments.  It just shows how great a person he was to be around.  Peter Zezel will always be a fan favorite at PhilaTude.

Ray Emery to the Flyers?

May 6, 2009
Ray Emery as a member of the Ottawa Senators

Ray Emery as a member of the Ottawa Senators

Splashed all over the local and national hockey media are confirmed reports of the Flyers having discussions with Ray Emery’s agent. Click here for the facts. The Philadelphia media makes it seem like the signing of Emery was imminent. However, Emery’s agent reported that they are having discussions with the Flyers and two other teams. In fact, there was article written about how Marty Biron’ agent feels about the Flyers talking with Emery.  Who cares?  Biron is a free agent, just like Emery.  For the record, I like Marty Biron and barring any potential trade for a goaltender, I think Biron is our best shot.

Does Ray Emery provide the Flyers with an upgrade over Marty Biron? Statistically speaking, Biron’s are slightly better. Emery led the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup finals and lost; Biron led the Flyers to the Eastern Conference finals and lost. Aside from their play on the ice, which I think is identical, Emery has been involved in many off-ice incidents, which is a headache the Flyers don’t need. Also, Emery had a solid season in Russia, which may or may not translate well to the NHL. I think Robert Esche has played well in Russia, but I haven’t seen him back in the NHL. My only thoughts for the Flyers looking into Emery are that he might be a cheaper option than Biron and he is six years younger. Other than that, I don’t see a point.

For the Flyers to really have the long-term Cup winning goalie, I think they need to develop him in the organization. Draft a goalie and let him work his way to the NHL.

Of course, the wheeling and dealing Flyers could always try and swing a trade for JS Giguere from Anaheim.

Flyers – Final Thoughts on the 2009 Playoffs

May 5, 2009

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers


Now that the Flyers first round playoff loss is over 10 days old, I am more capable of discussing the poor showing in the playoffs. I needed some time to cool off. In the local Philadelphia media, it was repeatedly written about the lack of leadership and the lack of urgency on this Flyers team. That may have been apparent and obvious to the media and fans, but I think it was something more.

Mike Richards is the captain. Kimmo Timonen and Danny Briere were both captains of their former clubs. Mike Knuble and Marty Biron have been in the league for years. The Flyers have leadership. What they are lacking is the grit, determination and mental toughness. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter both played through injuries, which exhibit the above, but it diminishes their skill needed to win games. The supporting players, specifically, Scott Hartnell, Joffrey Lupul and Simon Gagne, came up small. I expect more out of players making between 3 and 5 million a season. Gagne plays hard, but doesn’t step-up to be that go to player when the team needs him because Richards and Carter were hurt. Hartnell is supposed to bang in front of the net, but he can’t when he is in the box. Joffrey Lupul has speed and shot, but was trying to be too fancy. For every Richards, Carter, Briere and Giroux, a team needs the bangers, gritters and intangible guys. Richards is both. The skill guys aren’t off the hook, either. They didn’t put the puck in the net. So, my diagnosis and the problems with this team were the players not playing their roles.

This off-season is going to be interesting. I am curious to see what the Flyers are going to do with the goaltending situation, solidifying the defense, managing the salary cap and developing their young talent. If Holmgren makes the appropriate moves and tweaks, this team can compete and build on their experience over the last two years.

Coming up in the next few weeks, I will develop my thoughts on how the team should look next season and my take on Daniel Carcillo.

Shawn Andrews – The Big Kid

April 30, 2009
Shawn Andrews, philadelphiaeagles.com

Shawn Andrews, philadelphiaeagles.com

It was speculated recently by the local and national media that Shawn Andrews, “The Big Kid,” was upset with his current contract.  Similar to Sheldon Brown, Andrews signed a long extension for a significant upfront signing bonus and middle ground yearly salaries.  Jason Peters, an offensive tackle, acquired by trade from the Buffalo Bills, received an impressive contract from the Eagles, with significant guaranteed money.  Andrews’ brother, Stacy Andrews, received a free agent contract from the Eagles worth significant guaranteed money.  Both the Stacy Andrews and Peters’ contracts make “The Big Kid’s” contract look paltry.  So, as good reporters, web sites and newspapers always do, they decided to speculate that Shawn was not happy with his contract.

There was no proof Shawn wanted a new deal, in fact, there wasn’t even a quote from him or his agent.  Why the speculation?  I have no idea and aside from the fact that his brother, Stacy and his old college roommate, Jason Peters are making significantly more money than him, I have a few other theories: 

  1. Andrews missed last season after battling depression and a back injury.  Some people think his contract may have been an issue even before the arrival of Peters and his brother.  I doubt that using depression and injury as a cover for a contract dispute would sit well with team officials and personally, I don’t think Shawn is that kind of guy.
  2. Sheldon Brown, as discussed in an earlier post, has complained about his contract and is in a similar situation contractually to Andrews.  Both signed long extensions for guaranteed money, but their annual salary would be less compared to others who are now signing deals.  So, some people speculated that since Sheldon is upset, Shawn should be upset.  Players are in it for themselves; they worry about their own contracts.  The Sheldon Brown situation is isolated and Shawn shouldn’t be dragged into this.
  3. The media was looking for something to get the fans riled up.  I think this might be the most obvious answer.

Andrews and his agent have publicly denied any contract dispute. That’s good for me, because I look forward to the revamped offensive line without anything getting in their way from becoming a strong run blocking and pass protecting unit.  Of course, there will always be another reporter speculating on something that could be a distraction to the Eagles off-season.

Comments on Eagles Rumors

April 28, 2009

Dicussing the rumors regarding the Eagles acquiring Anquan Boldin and Tony Gonzalez isn’t timely, considering Gonzalez was traded to the Falcons and the Eagles drafted Jeremy Maclin.  However, I still want to touch on a few points. 

  1. Too much speculation and not enough facts being reported by the national and local media. Just because the Eagles needed a tight end and a big-time wide receiver and Boldin and Gonzalez were available doesn’t mean the Eagles would trade the house to pick these guys up. I want to see credible sources quoted. Mostly, we see the Eagles saying that they haven’t discussed anything and the other teams saying everyone is calling. It makes no sense. I just want accurate reporting.
  2. Would Gonzalez and Boldin have helped the Eagles? Absolutely. Boldin would be the best receiver the Eagles have had since T.O. Gonzalez, while at the end of his career, would have been a significant upgrade. However, the Eagles picked up a tight end and a wide receiver in the draft that potentially, could fill the void these guys may have filled.
  3. The Eagles have proven that a free agent or a player acquired in a trade is not necessarily better than a drafted player, specifically at the skill positions. Aside from T.O., the Eagles have barely touched the free agent wide receiver and tight end market. Matt Schobel and Kevin Curtis are the only two non-Eagles drafted wide receiver and tight end that has had any impact (T.O. excluded).

It still pains me to think that the front office may actually be right, but at least for now, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.