Biogenesis Scandal, Suspensions Could Actually Help Phillies... If They Become Sellers

Biogenesis Scandal, Suspensions Could Actually Help Phillies... If They Become Sellers

Maybe the best news when the Biogenesis scandal, and possible suspensions, broke was no news locally. But one team's likely loss could potentially be a gain for the Phillies, who otherwise might not have a lot to dangle at the trade deadline outside of Cliff Lee.

Detroit's Jhonny Peralta is one of the 20 players implicated and mentioned on Hardball Talk's list of players most likely to get the kicked-around 100-game bans. That would rob the Tigers, last year's AL Champs who expect to be back this year, of the top shortstop OPS in the league and a pretty sure glove.

Quietly, Jimmy Rollins is killing it of late, hitting .289 with a .478 on-base percentage since May 15, and his defense is at last year's Gold Glove level. Last July, the A's and Dodgers kicked the tires on Rollins, but didn't bite. Clearly there's interest. It just seems a matter of who would woo the Phillies most with a deal.

Detroit could do that. They don't have tremendous depth in their system, but they have a few pro-ready guys that could help the Phillies. No, Rollins-for-top prospects Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia doesn't seem like great value for the Tigers. Not with Rollins due $11 million per for two more years.

But it's possible -- possible -- that desperation could make such matters afterthoughts.

It's possible that Detroit would be a team Jimmy would waive his no-trade rights to go to.

For the Phillies, that could compensate for how Chase Utley's injury and Carlos Ruiz's injury/lack of production have crimped possible reconstruction plans. Utley was figured to be all but on the cover of the July issue of baseball's unofficial One Last Piece catalog, but was felled by a tricky oblique strain that won't do wonders in consumer confidence. Ruiz just hasn't worked out. Hasn't been good enough to re-up after the year. Hasn't been good enough to ship out mid-year. Then he got hurt, something he's done a bit of.

Both are expected back in mid-June. Maybe that's enough time for Utley to get right/conjure interest. For Ruiz, that's an overwhelming unlikelihood -- at least under normal circumstances. But, peep HBT's list, and you'll find that the Yankees could be sans catcher Francisco Cervelli soon. New York also has decent farm system depth, maybe enough to consider parting ways with a mid-level prospect to plug a hole.

It's important to remember the timeline. Three weeks are a reasonable projection for any suspensions to come down. (Assuming, of course, they do come down.) That puts us at July 1, almost to the day. The players union, inarguably the strongest in sports, would definitely fight back, but a month would be enough time to get a feel for how appeals are going, and whether teams need to replace players for a playoff push.

For the Phillies, it's been fun to watch Dom Brown and (gasp!) a four-game win streak... against the two worst teams in the league. But there's a likelihood the hard hats and jack hammers will need to come out in fewer than 60 days, and it would be nice to have options. Oddly, the Biogenesis PED scandal, and possible suspensions, could give them just that.

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

After watching his club get smacked around in a 9-4 loss to the Mets on Friday, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has tinkered with his lineup for Saturday's game at Citi Field.

Odubel Herrera moves up to the two-hole after hitting sixth Friday, while Aaron Altherr goes from second to third and Jimmy Paredes gets the start in left and bats seventh. Ryan Howard starts again at first base and bats fifth.

Herrera, who has been struggling since the All-Star break with a .257 average, has lost his leadoff spot to Cesar Hernandez but is starting to find his swing again.

In the last seven days, Herrera is 5 for 17 with a double and a run scored. In August, the centerfielder is hitting .288 two homers and five RBIs.

Altherr, who played left field Friday, moves over to right field and Peter Bourjos gets the night off. Altherr is hitting .255 with four home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.

Here is the full Phillies lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P

For more on tonight's's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes.

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Despite the Soul leading by three touchdowns early in ArenaBowl XXIX, there was little cheering from the their bench.

Given the volatility that is Arena League football and the frequency from which teams can strike, the approach remained resolute and determined. Defensive tackle Jake Metz kept the mindset of a scoreless game and could not stop hearing words coming from Ron Jaworski, a highly vocal partner in the Soul’s ownership.

“He kept yelling that offense gets headlines but defensive wins championships,” said Metz, who currently lives in Schwenksville, Montgomery County, and went to Shippensburg University. “That resounded with me, and brought the championship.”

Metz and his defensive teammates then went out and shut down a highly hazardous and explosive Arizona Rattlers offensive unit en route to a 56-42 win (see story). Led by quarter Nick Davila, the only three-time MVP in Arena Football League history, the Rattlers could manage only seven points in a critical fourth quarter.

At the same time, Metz recovered a fumble by Davila with the Soul holding a slim six-point margin with just under six minutes to play. That turnover was the key point in the Soul’s eventual win, and cemented the role of the defense as a shut-down unit.

On the subsequent possession, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with Shaun Kauleinamoku on a 30-yard scoring strike. That created a 14-point comfort zone and the final margin of victory.

“These players deserve this championship,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “This is a first class organization and ownership gives the players a first-class experience. That way, we can attract great players, and with great players comes success.”

In capturing the league title Friday night, the victory was the second in franchise history. In 2008, the Soul and Phillies each won championships, and that was the last time a professional team captured a title in Philadelphia.

Metz remembers the Phillies' win over the Rays, and pointed out, “I went to those games as a kid.” That championship stuck with the 6-foot-6, 265 pounder, and helped to forge a championship mentality.

Early in the fourth quarter, Arizona caught the Soul at 42-42. From that point, Raudabaugh directed two scoring drives, and along with Metz’s important fumble recovery, carried the Soul to the title.

“It’s all about how you respond,” said Raudabaugh, who finished with 20 for 36 for 278 yards and six touchdowns. “Granted, they have a very explosive team, but we were never out it. They did come back, but we had an answer for them.”

The answer was a strong defense which Dolezel indicated was playing at their peak just prior to the title game.

Defensive back Tracy Belton, the AFL defensive player of the year and DB Dwayne Hollis, whose fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the game was another key defensive play, clearly showed how a defense can carry a team to a league title. That was the effort the Soul brought together in an environment as unpredictable as the Arena Football League.

NFL Notes: Romo has broken bone in back; Kaepernick protests anthem

NFL Notes: Romo has broken bone in back; Kaepernick protests anthem

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says quarterback Tony Romo has a broken bone in his back, and there is no timetable for his return.

Garrett made the comments on Saturday during a conference call. He said an MRI revealed the break, but the coach did not provide further details.

Asked if Romo would be back, Garrett said there's no timetable but that the quarterback would play this season.

Romo, 36, has had back surgery twice before. His latest injury occurred on the third play of Thursday night's exhibition game at Seattle. He was hit by Cliff Avrill and was rolling in pain before taken off the field and replaced by rookie Dak Prescott. Later, Romo said he was OK.

The Cowboys open the season Sept. 11 at home against the New York Giants (see full story).

49ers: Kaepernick refuses to stand for anthem in protest
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand for the national anthem before games because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities.

Kaepernick sat on the team's bench Friday night during the anthem before the Niners played host to the Green Bay Packers in an exhibition game. He later explained his reasoning in an interview with NFL Media .

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that "players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."

The 49ers issued a statement after Pro Football Talk initially reported on Kaepernick's stand, saying that Americans have the right to protest or support the anthem (see full story).

Falcons: Free agent S Dashon Goldson works out with team
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons have given a workout to veteran free-agent safety Dashon Goldson, the former Redskins starter.

The Falcons will be without rookie safety Keanu Neal, the projected starter, for at least the first two regular-season games with a right knee injury.

Coach Dan Quinn said Saturday that backup Kemal Ishmael would fill in for Neal as the starting strong safety even if the team signs Goldson, 31. General manager Thomas Dimitroff says Goldson also has interest from other teams.

The Falcons cut nine players, including backup quarterback Sean Renfree, to reach the roster limit of 75 players on Saturday (see full story).