Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving blogs again

I just joined up with some friends over at WordPress to start writing a general sports blog. I'll still make Flyers posts once the season gets back in swing, but if you're so in love with my writing ;-) be sure to check me out over at

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Should Be the Flyers GM

I looooove playing GM Mode in NHL 10. I started a career with the Flyers (prior to roster updates so no JVR). I'm in season 2 of the game and here's the move's I've made so far:

Dealt Danny Briere for Robyn Regher (cleared a lot of cap space)
Signed Alex Tanguay
Traded Robyn Regher for Andrej Meszaros
---- End Season 1 ----

Didn't re-sign Ray Emery
Didn't re-sign Dan Carcillo
Didn't re-sign Ian Lapperriere
Re-signed Blair Betts
Signed Raffi Torres
Dealt Jon Matsumoto and a no-named goalie for Cory Schneider
Dealt Scott Hartnell for Rene Bourque and a 3rd round pick
Dealt Kimo Timonen for Marek Svatos and a 4th round pick
Signed Marc Savard to a 4 year deal
Signed Vesa Toskala
Sent Brian Boucher to the Phantoms (he apparently cleared waivers)

So now my lines look like this:




Pretty solid team imo. Patrick Kane is apparently still a FA, so I gotta figure out how I'm going to fit him in.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Phillies Spring Preview

So this week I had the opportunity to participate in a "Blogger's Round Table" preview of the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies. A few of my answers made it into the final post over on Crashburn Alley. I'll post all the questions, and my answers here.

1. How concerned are you about Cole Hamels going into 2010?

I’m a little concerned about Cole Hamels this season. I would like to believe that last year was a season of unluckiness and distractions for him, but now he really has to come out and prove that last year was a fluke and 2008 wasn’t. He’s looked good in spring training so far, but that doesn’t mean much as far as the regular season goes. However, Happ, Blanton, Kendrick and Halladay have all looked great in spring training as well. If they keep this up into the season, the Phillies won’t have to rely on Hamels to be the stud he was in 2008. Maybe that will help him relax and get comfortable again. One thing’s for sure, if he struggles again this year, he had better not make anymore comments like the ones he made in the World Series this past season.

2. Give the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee mega-trade between the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Mariners a letter grade and explain your grading process.

Phillies: B
I can’t give the Phillies an A for this trade for one reason: they gave up essentially seven prospects for one guy. However, I can’t really give them a low grade for this trade either because they brought in the best pitcher in baseball and managed to sign him to a reasonable contract for the next three years. In hindsight, it would have been nice if the Phillies had decided in July that they could part with Drabeck, because then we might still have Lou Marson or Travis D’Arnaud. But I can’t really complain that the Phillies gave up Marson and some lesser prospects for Lee when the Halladay trade originally fell through because that trade sparked us for the second half the season and the playoffs.

Mariners: A
They got a fantastic pitcher in Lee, while giving up no great prospects in return. This was a very good deal for them, especially if they can re-sign Lee to a long term deal, and he continues his dominating ways.

Blue Jays: A-
Credit the Blue Jays for holding out on trading Halladay until the Phillies caved and gave up Drabek. It was a risky move on the part of the Blue Jays to not deal Halladay at the deadline last July, but the risk paid off for them. They also plucked prospects Michael Taylor (who they then sent to Oakland for a different prospect) and Travis D’Arnaud. This puts them in a nice position to move forward as Drabek and D’Arnaud can contribute to them for a long time. I have to give them an A- on the deal though because they were unable to build around Halladay and knew that they wouldn’t be able to re-sign him, which ultimately led to them having to deal the best pitcher in baseball.

3. What should the Phillies do about Jayson Werth and his impending free agency?

I would love to see the Phillies re-sign Jayson Werth if it’s feasible. Werth has been a very valuable member of this team for the past two seasons, and it’s great that he had such a solid year in 2009. I would not want to sign him to a big money deal if it means that we can’t re-sign Ryan Howard in a couple of years. Howard is a bigger part of this team than Werth is, and the Phillies have Domonic Brown waiting in the wings. The ideal situation would be to re-sign Werth, and move either him or Brown to left field to replace Ibanez, but my guess is that the Phillies won’t have enough money to make a move like that. So as much as it pains me to say it, it is probably best to let Werth walk in free agency. I’d rather see the Phillies be successful for a long period of time, than to get too attached to some of the more expendable players.

4. Jimmy Rollins says he wants to hit .300, accrue 200 hits, score 150 runs, steal 50 bases, and commit 3 or fewer errors. Give us your AVG, H, R, SB, and E predictions for Rollins in 2010.

Well hopefully Rollins’ goals won’t backfire and make him overthink things this year. The only thing on that list that he’s ever done is reach the 200 hit plateau (and he somehow still didn’t hit .300 that season). At 31, I think it’s possible, but unlikely, that he’ll suddenly throw up career bests in all those categories. Out of all these, I think Rollins is most capable of hitting .300, even though he’s never done it before. I see him returning to the .280-.290 range for sure though. The other goal I think he’s capable of reaching is the three error mark. Rollins has been a great fielder over his career, and last year he had a career low in errors with 6. Realistically, I think Rollins will hit .285, he’ll get about 190 hits, 120 runs, 40 SB and 5 errors. If he does this, it’s possible we’ll see his name in the mix for MVP again.

5. Is the duo of Ryan Madson and Danys Baez reliable back-up for ailing closer Brad Lidge?

Madson is definitely not a viable option as a backup closer to Brad Lidge. When Lidge went down last year, we saw how shaky Madson got in the closer role. Madson is a very very solid setup man, but loses all that confidence when he moves to the 9th inning. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Danny Baez, so I can’t make a judgment about his ability to take over the closer role if needed. If Lidge does go down, I’d like to see Baez get a crack at the job, and then possibly J.C. Romero.

6. Which team in the NL East worries you the most?

The Braves are the team that worries me the most. The Marlins don’t worry me too much because I don’t think they’re that deep beyond Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Hanley Ramirez. The Mets, despite adding Jason Bay, are a mess (and are possibly without Reyes all year). The Nationals… well they’re the Nationals. The Braves will have their traditionally strong pitching staff, and they will also have a fairly strong lineup. Add in the X-factor that it’s Bobby Cox’s last year as manager and we could have an interesting race on our hands this season.

7. Teams have been approaching Ryan Howard with a steady diet of left-handed pitching and breaking balls and by employing the shift on the right side of the field. Will this trend continue in 2010, or will Howard make the appropriate adjustments?

I think opposing teams will continue to feed lefties and breaking balls to Howard until he proves that he can consistently hurt them when he tries that. The overshift on Howard doesn’t worry me too much because when Howard is hitting the ball well, he can go the opposite way just as easily as he can pull the ball. Hopefully he spent most the offseason working on hitting breaking balls because he’s just looked lost at the plate at times. I will be very disappointed if he doesn’t get better against the breaking ball this year, because he knows what’s coming and it’s up to him to work at it until he hit them consistently.

8. Placido Polanco is making the switch from second base to third base. How good will he be defensively?

I think Polanco will be just fine at third base. There will be an adjustment period for him, but I don’t foresee him being a liability at third base. I doubt he’ll play gold glove defense, and he won’t be as good as some of the other third basemen we’ve had in the past, but I don’t think he’s expected to be a phenomenal third basemen. As long as he’s not booting every ball in sight and produces consistently at the plate, the experiment will be a success.

9. Who should win the #5 spot, Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick?

Kendrick hands down. Moyer may have won 12 games last season, but it was painful watching him deal sometimes. When he wasn’t getting his pitches called, he would have very poor games. I don’t want to rely on a generous ump in order for our #5 guy to have success as a pitcher. Moyer pitched really well in long relief last fall until he got hurt. I wouldn’t mind seeing him return to that role or return as a spot starter. Kendrick has looked very good so far this post season, and I absolutely love the fact that he is working his butt off with Halladay. I think Kendrick realized that it’s time for him to show the Phillies that he still has something if he doesn’t want to be shipped off somewhere else. If he continues to put forth the effort that he has so far, I think that he can be a very reliable 5th starter.

10. The bench was great in 2008 but disappointing last year. Will the additions of Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, and Ramon Castro help?

I think that Brian Schneider is a bit of an upgrade over Paul Bako (and he’ll also give the Phillies a left handed batter at every position :-p). The other two moves were less than inspiring. Castro is basically the same as Bruntlett, and I don’t know too much about Gload. He had decent OBP and SLG numbers last season, so it’s possible that he can be a solid contributor off the bench. I would bet on the Phillies having an average to disappointing bench again this year.

11. Will J.A. Happ come close to his 2.93 ERA from 2009?

Happ will probably regress a little this season. However, I think he does have the stuff to throw up an ERA that’s between 3.00 and 4.00. If the Phillies can get that sort of performance out of him this year I think they will be in a very good spot. Hopefully he won’t have a Kendrick-like regression, and my gut feeling says he won’t

12. The Phillies essentially swapped Chan Ho Park for Jose Contreras. Thumbs up or thumbs down and why?

Thumbs-down, but I can’t fault the Phillies on this one. Once Park moved to the bullpen last year, his stuff got so much better. I had no idea he could throw a 96 mph fastball, yet he did that consistently out of the pen. He was one of the best relievers we had all season last year and I was sad to see him go. He left because he still wanted to start somewhere, but ended up signing on as a long reliever with the Yankees… so I’m a little miffed about that. I’ll be happy if Contreras can come in and show that he’s a similar type of pitcher.

13. Which Phillie(s) is/are we most likely to see dealt by the July 31 trading deadline?

Jayson Werth. His contract is up this season and I’ll be willing to bet that Reuben Amaro Jr. will have decided by then whether or not he wants to re-sign Werth. If the answer to that question is no, then I have a feeling Amaro will want to see if he can get anything for him. This will all be affected by how well Domonic Brown plays when he gets the chance. A darkhorse candidate is Ryan Howard. I know Amaro has said that the reports of the talks about swapping Howard for Pujols aren’t true, but just seeing the report makes me wonder if trading Howard is something the Phillies are mulling over. I seriously doubt they would deal him this year though.

14. The Phillies have had one of baseball's best defenses for several years running according to most metrics. Does this trend continue?

I don’t see why this trend wouldn’t continue. The only change in the everyday lineup is Polanco at third instead of Feliz. While his defense won’t be as good as Feliz’s was, I don’t think it will be that much worse that it will majorly affect the team defense. But who knows, maybe Utley will get the yips again, and Ibanez will remember that he’s 37 and he’ll start playing defense like that.

15. What will the team get from Domonic Brown this season?

I can’t say for sure. I would hope that he plays well enough in spot starts and off the bench that the Phillies will be able to confidently trade away Jayson Werth by the deadline and not regret the move. But he has yet to play an inning in the major leagues. So it’s more than possible that he struggles throughout the year like other highly touted outfielding prospects such as the Reds’ Jay Bruce.


Phillies W-L, place in division: 98-64 (1st place)
Playoffs: Yes, they reach the playoffs as the 1 seed. I think they will make it back to the World Series again, the team hasn’t changed too drastically over the past two years, so as long as our bullpen holds up in the post season, there’s no reason to believe we can’t make it back again.
Team MVP: Chase Utley. His numbers have slid a bit over the past two years, but I think he’ll rebound and have a monster year this year, especially hitting behind Polanco.
Team Cy Young: Halladay. No question about this one.
Biggest Rookie Contributor: Domonic Brown. Hopefully he lives up to his hype.
Breakout player (Batter): Jayson Werth. I suppose last year was technically his breakout year, but I feel like he’s the only current starter that can reach new heights this year. We know what Victorino, Ibanez, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco and Ruiz are capable of. Werth kind of surprised everybody last year when he put up the numbers that he did. I’m willing to bet he can do more this year.
Breakout Player (Pitcher): Kendrick. I think he will win the #5 spot in the rotation and will have a year closer to his rookie year rather than his disappointing sophomore year.
Under-the-radar: Do the Phillies really have one of these? The Phillies lineup is loaded with stars and it would really be hard to say that any of them are really under the radar. I guess I’ll go with Joe Blanton who has been our most consistent starter since he came to Philly. The Phillies win a lot when he’s on the mound, and you know he’s going to go out and give it his best when it’s his turn to start. I was a little upset when I saw so many Phillies fans get outraged that we gave him a $5 million contract. He earned it in my opinion.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Blog Colors

I used Phillies colors for about a year and a half... I figured it was time to install something new... so let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Discipline in the NHL (Does it Make Sense to Anyone?!)

So if you've been paying attention at all to the NHL the past couple of weeks you've probably noticed that the NHL has noooooo clue what it's doing when it comes to handing out suspensions. There have been four incidents that have occurred since the NHL resumed play that have warranted further action by the league disciplinarian Colin Campbell. In each case, Campbell has left everyone watching scratching their heads and wondering what he was thinking.

Case #1: Maxim Lapierre's hit on Scott Nichol

Lapierre ended up getting a four game suspension for this hit from behind on the Sharks' Scott Nichol. Lapierre is a pest/agitator type of player, yet prior to this suspension, had no previous suspension history. So while a somewhat dangerous hit, it's a type of hit that happens in the NHL from time to time without any serious injury, though Nichol ended up missing about a week with a shoulder injury. This suspension seemed to be based on Lapierre's reputation as a tough guy, even though he wasn't a repeat offender.

Case #2: Matt Cooke's elbow to the head of Marc Savard

This was the most puzzling of Campbell's decisions not to suspend someone. This hit happened the same week that the GMs in the NHL were gathering to discuss hits to the head in hockey. Campbell had an opportunity to send a message that he and the NHL are serious about eliminating this type of play, yet instead of sending that message, he chose not to suspend Cooke because he had not suspended Mike Richards earlier in the year for a similar type of hit (I would like to note that Richards did not appear to target the head the way Cooke did and that is a distinct and important difference in the two cases as Campbell has suspended players for their intent to target another player's head in the past). Cooke also had a history of dirty hits like that and had been twice suspended for dangerous hits on other players. So so far, Campbell has suspended someone who had never been suspended before for a borderline hit, and let a repeat offender walk despite his clear intent to hit Savard in the head. Confused yet? Savard, by the way, will miss the rest of the season with a severe concussion. He is Boston's best player, and Boston is a possible first round matchup for the Penguins...

Case #3: Alexander Ovechkin's hit on Brian Campbell

This was Campbell's most puzzling decision to suspend someone. Out of the three hits so far, this one was actually clean. Ovechkin hit Brian Campbell from the side, unfortunately, Campbell's skate got stuck and he twisted and hit the boards awkwardly. Ovechkin had been suspended earlier this year for a knee to knee hit on another player, but this play was clearly the result of freak accident, rather than a blatant dirty hit. Nevertheless, Colin Campbell decided to hand down a two game suspension to the Washington star, possibly so he could show that he isn't afraid to suspend league superstars.

Case #4: Steve Downie's takedown of Sidney Crosby

Here is another strange decision not to suspend. It's hard to defend what Downie did as anything other than an attempt to injure Sidney Crosby. It was well out of the play and he locked his legs up with Crosby's while pulling him backward. Nothing about that hit was unintentional. Downie also has a suspension history as he was given a 20 game suspension two years ago for launching himself at Dean McAmmond's head. However, Downie managed to escape a suspension, though he did get a small fine.

So as you can see, clearly there is no rhyme or reason to suspensions in the NHL right now. Each case took a lot of explaining as to why the player was or wasn't disciplined, and the verdict of each case just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If the NHL is serious about player safety, they really need to have clear, strict rules on what will happen if you hit players in certain ways. Until that happens, I fear that these types of plays will become more commonplace. And that isn't good for the sport at all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Welcome to the Sprint

Well the Olympics wrapped up in exciting style on Sunday with Canada eeking out an overtime win over the USA on a goal by cindy crosby. That was like a punch to the stomach. Despite that blow, the game was still one of the best hockey games played in a long time. The NHL schedule started back up last night and teams have 34 days in which they will play 19-22 games. So if you like hockey, you're going to get to see a lot of it this month.

The Flyers start off with Tampa Bay tonight, so I'm expecting 2 goals from Blair Betts as that's been his trend this year. Then they play in Florida tomorrow. The Flyers have 22 games left, they're sitting at sixth place in the conference with 67 points. They have games in hand over every team chasing them except for Boston and Atlanta. My guess is that if they go about .500 in their last 22 games, they will make the playoffs as a lower half seed. If the Flyers stay on fire and win say 15+ games, they have an outside shot at winning the division. They're 10 points behind the Devils and 9 behind Pittsburgh though they have a game and two games in hand over each team respectively. The one thing the Flyers cannot afford to do is go on a prolonged losing streak. They only have a four point lead over Tampa Bay (and a game in hand) who they play tonight. Their next three games are all against teams who are in the hunt for a playoff spot, so picking up wins against each of them would go a long way to shoring up their playoff spot.

The Flyers schedule couldn't be much easier for these last few weeks of the season either. They play 16 or 17 teams that have fewer points than they do. So if they miss the playoffs, something seriously wrong happened. So here's to a good stretch run for the Flyers!