Following The 40: Phillies Acquire Hellickson

November 15th, 2015 by Mike H. | No Comments | Filed in Baseball, MLB, Phillies
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Jeremy Hellickson: Opening Day Starter?

Jeremy Hellickson: Opening Day Starter?

The Phillies made their first meaningful acquisition of the offseason. The Phillies have traded 8th round 2014 draft pick Sam McWilliams to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson is entering his final year of arbitration before becoming a free agent. Estimates have been around $6.6M in salary for 2016, a very reasonable number for an innings eater that the Phillies need with all the young arms that could potentially use. The hope is that Hellickson can put up good enough numbers to get to through July and the Phillies can flip him mid-season to a contender for some much-needed quality prospects. The Phillies gave up little as far as the return to Arizona goes. McWilliams is basically the definition of a lottery pick prospect having spent the last two seasons in the Gulf Coast League.

The deal is a no-brainer for the Phillies as they gave up something inconsequential in return in their eyes for a potentially tradeable innings eater in Hellickson. Looking at it in November, things can go one of a couple of different ways. Hellickson pitches exceptionally well and is traded for a long-term piece (or pieces) at the end of July. Hellickson pitches as he basically has over the last couple of seasons and gives the Phillies 150-175 innings to save some of the younger arms. One thing that is sure, the Phillies most likely have zero chance at signing a short-term deal with Hellickson due to him being a Scott Boras client. 2016 is looking to be just a pit stop for Hellickson, but depending on how well he pitches will determine how short the stay is.

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Following The 40: Bullpen

November 13th, 2015 by Mike H. | No Comments | Filed in Baseball, Phillies
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Ken Giles: Will He Be In Red Pinstripes On Opening Day?

Ken Giles: Will He Be In Red Pinstripes On Opening Day?

In our previous entry, we looked at the starting rotation. So naturally, its sequel would follow the story of the bullpen. Every story has a theme. Whether it be the importance of family like in the Fast & Furious franchise or how every person has a face they show in public and a separate one shown in private like in just about every Batman film. The theme for the 2015 Phillies bullpen: Addition By Subtraction. I still don’t know how the Phillies completely bamboozled the Nationals front office into taking Papelbon.

So where does the Phillies bullpen go in 2016? One would think that the game will end with fireballer Ken Giles, but will he even make the Opening Day roster? Could the Phillies try to cash in on Giles’ ability and remaining team control? The Braves were able to turn Craig Kimbrel into a top 100 prospect in Matt Wisler and a competitive balance draft pick in addition dumping $80.35M while taking back just $24M. So could the Phillies turn a cost-effective closer into a substantial gain? It would definitely be worth considering. Ultimately, why would a team that would be fighting for a .500 record be planning on holding onto a potentially elite closer?

As addressed in the Off-season Primer, while there are a lot of candidates from the 2015 iteration, there are no real locks to return. All of the members of the bullpen on the final day of the season all have options remaining. So while there were some stand outs the final few weeks of the season, come Spring Training, it will be an all out competition for those final 6-7 roster spots on the pitching staff. With all the potential youth heading to the starting rotation, do the Phillies consider adding a starter to the bullpen as a swingman? The team currently lists Matt Harrison as the setup man on the team’s official depth chart (at time of writing).

The bullpen could easily be the biggest area of turnover heading into 2016. The Phillies have a lot of internal options, but will probably consider a couple of external ones too. Who should the Phillies considering targeting? Stay tuned to TSP for a free agent update on potential targets for the bullpen shortly.

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TalkSportsPhilly Bowl Projections: Week 2

November 11th, 2015 by Robert Waterman | No Comments | Filed in College Sports, Football, General, Sports


So, Week 2 of the College Football Playoff Rankings have been released, and there are some significant changes as there were some big upsets last weekwhich have shaken up the rankings so let’s recap the initial College Football Playoff top 10 teams before we go any further:

(As of November 3, 2015)

1. Clemson
2. LSU
3. Ohio State
4. Alabama
5. Notre Dame
6. Baylor
7. Michigan State
8. TCU
9. Iowa
10. Florida

My, how things change in one Saturday. Three teams that were in the top 10, saw their dreams shattered as LSU, TCU and Michigan State all lost last weekend. LSU lost to Alabama by a score of 30-16 in Tuscaloosa, as Derrick Henry ran wild on the Tigers defense carving them up for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns. Meanwhile, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, The Oklahoma State Cowboys had their way with TCU as they destroyed the Horned Frogs 49-29, all but ending their chance at redemption for missing the playoffs last year. And finally in Lincoln, Nebraska in what may have been the most controversial ending of the season.

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2015 Phillies Offseason Preview: Free Agent Pitchers

November 9th, 2015 by Ryan Waterman | No Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies, Sports

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An interesting off-season lies ahead…..

After one of the worst seasons in Phillies history, there has been a major overhaul in the front office. Andy McPhail has taken over as team president, Ruben Amaro is out as General Manager, and Matt Klentak is in. It’s a new era in Phillies baseball and there is a sudden buzz of excitement swarming over the Philadelphia baseball community.

Arguably the biggest buzz is surrounding the roster overhaul. This season saw the departures of two of the biggest stars that the Phillies have ever had, in Chase Utley and Cole Hamels. Both deals brought back a fair amount of talent, but that’s only part of the battle. There’s also the development of that talent, in addition to other youngsters, and any possible free agent additions that are brought in.

As demonstrated in other sports, not all free agent “splashes” turn out to be good ones. Hell, that’s even been prominent in baseball as of late (Hello, Pablo Sandoval!). So, while many fans are eager for the team to win sooner rather than later….they also need to understand that the Phils have to spend their money wisely. One wrong investment can set an organization back upwards of five years.

This off-season is arguably one of the more pivotal ones in this team’s history. Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins are gone and off of the payroll. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are the two lone Phillies originals from the ’08 World Series team left. The key to this off-season, is for the team to spend their money wisely, while focusing on the development of their prospects.

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Surviving Seth’s Absence

November 8th, 2015 by Ryan Waterman | No Comments | Filed in General, TalkSportsPhilly, Wrestling

Ever since cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase back at WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins has CTEowo0WsAE_J80dominated the WWE. For just about 9 months, opponents have been set up in front of him. And for 9 months, he has knocked down every single one. John Cena, Dean Ambrose (technically), Sting, and Brock Lesnar (technically) are among the numerous names on Rollins’ “hit list”. With the 29th annual Survivor Series approaching quickly, fans were left to wonder…..who, if anyone could dethrone Rollins? Roman Reigns was next up on Rollins’ list, and it seemed like he could be the one to knock Seth off of his perch. Well….at least, we thought he was.

TSP would like to wish Seth Rollins a speedy recovery…..

As events would have it, Seth Rollins would wind up being the man to dethrone Seth Rollins. News broke late Thursday afternoon, that the WWE World Heavyweight Champion had vacated the title, after suffering tears in his ACL, MCL, and Medial Meniscus. The estimated recovery time given was a 6-9 month timetable.


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Following The 40: Starting Rotation

November 8th, 2015 by Mike H. | No Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies

phillies40In recent years, Hollywood has been all about the reboot. In 2015 alone, we saw both ends of the spectrum of how rebooting can go. Jurassic World acknowledged the original Jurassic Park, but basically disavowed all information that happened in the increasing lesser sequels. Then there was Fantastic Four, a desperate attempt to retain a franchise that needed to move on that just came off as … well, desperate. As you’re reading this, I can see a good majority of people saying, “How in the hell does this relate to the Phillies?” It has everything to do with them, and as the Phillies start to reboot the franchise, I’m gonna go step-by-step through the roster and give my thoughts on how they can end up the summer blockbuster we’re all lining up to see.

Speaking of the Fantastic Four, that was the previous regime in a nut shell. After 2008, it was just one grasp at a straw after another. Failed attempts to keep a window open instead of finding a way to open a new one. That first step in finding a new window came with a slamming of a door, the one that closed when Ruben “Mr. Fantastic” Amaro was finally given his pink slip. New GM Matt Klentak still believes in building around pitching and while the Phillies have acquired some potential, they don’t have much in the way of certainty. As of right now, the only thing close to certainties in the Phillies rotation are 2014 1st round draft pick Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff, who was acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade (sorry for the sore spot, Amy).

So what are the Phillies options? Well, Adam Morgan is working his way back and probably has one of the better shots to make the rotation. Alec Asher, David Buchanan, Severino Gonzalez, and Matt Harrison all will have shots at a spot as well. Asher, Buchanan, and Gonzalez appear to more likely start the season in AAA Lehigh Valley, but are definitely options. Harrison on the other hand, seems more likely to spend more time on the disabled list than on the active roster. Harrison is still trying to make the seemingly impossible comeback from spinal fusion surgery. A surgery that was given the prognosis of a 20% chance that he would ever pitch competitively again.

Recently, an article stated that the Phillies would definitely consider calling up top pitching prospect Jake Thompson, who was also acquired in the Texas deal. The article stated that the team would bring him up if they felt he deserved. Now while a lot of fans may see a great second half in AA Reading, there is no reason to rush him. Let him start the year in AAA and if he is just as successful, he’ll probably be up before the All-Star Break. Why any team would risk losing a year of team control on a potentially gifted player is ridiculous.

The Phillies also have the top pick in the Rule V draft at the end of the annual Winter Meetings, which is just over a month a way. The Phillies really lucked out last year with CF Odubel Herrera. Can the team repeat that success? Only time will tell and we here at TSP will be keeping track of all the possibilities as we get closer and other rumors and transactions that occur during the busiest week of the baseball offseason. While some of the key free agents that set the market come off the board that week, don’t expect to see the Phillies dive into the free agent deep end. I suspect more Jerome Williams and Aaron Harang-esque types of signings with the hopes of being able to flip them mid-season with guys like Thompson, Asher, Buchanan, and Gonzalez ready to step in.

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Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (2-5); Game Preview

November 7th, 2015 by Ryan Waterman | No Comments | Filed in Eagles, General, NFL, TalkSportsPhilly

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Oh boy, here we go again!    Seven weeks after the first meeting between these two teams, and they meet yet again….practically in identical positions. The Birds will walk into AT&T Stadium on  Sunday Night, with a 3-4 record.  They will once again wage war, with the 2-5 Dallas Cowboys.   The Eagles are coming off of a bye week, in which they had to reflect on a demoralizing loss to the Carolina Panthers.  Meanwhile, the Cowboys are riding a two game losing streak, having dropped games to the Seahawks and Giants.  

This game couldn’t be more pivotal for either team, as it will essentially eliminate one of these teams from the NFC East divisional race.  The ‘Boys have dropped four of their last five games against the Eagles in Arlington, and are current owners of a five-game losing streak.  The Eagles fourteenth-ranked defense will look to take advantage of the Tony Romo-less Cowboys, and make it six-straight losses for Dallas.

Injury Report: 

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