Did the Phillies Really Almost Get Bobby Abreu Back to Use as Burnett Bait?

Did the Phillies Really Almost Get Bobby Abreu Back to Use as Burnett Bait?

The Phillies' Joe Blanton, who sounds as though he spent the entire offseason on the trading block, has reported to Clearwater with the rest of the pitchers and catchers.
The funny thing is, he almost didn't make it.
ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted Sunday night the Pittsburgh Pirates weren't the only team interested in beleaguered tattoo enthusiast A.J. Burnett. Prior to the Yankees closing the deal with the Pirates to send Burnett and just under two-thirds of his remaining salary to Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers and a bag of baseballs, it is alleged that the Phillies nearly made a play to acquire the now-former Yankee's services.
We knew the Yankees were interested in Abreu. And we knew the Phillies were interested in swapping Blanton for Burnett. But did both things nearly happen in concert?
An alternate reality after the jump...
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@Buster_ESPN
Buster Olney What the Phillies tried to do last week, sources said today, was trade Joe Blanton for Bobby Abreu, then flip Abreu for Burnett.
Feb 20 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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@Buster_ESPN
Buster Olney The Phillies' hope was that Burnett for two years would've provided at least a bit of a safety net in the event Hamels walks away as a FA.
Feb 20 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

That's right, the Phillies nearly traded Blanton to Anaheim for former Phillie (and former Yankee) Bobby Abreu, who would have been promptly sent to New York in exchange for Burnett. Granted, it would have made sense for the Yankees, who would have both unloaded Burnett and got the designated hitter they've been shopping for, but would it really have made sense for the Phillies?
Though Olney does great work, it's tough to believe the Phillies front office could view Burnett as any kind of safety net for a potential Cole Hamels departure. Honestly, over the past two seasons, Hamels has averaged a 2.93 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. On top of that, he was one of only three starting pitchers in the Majors to a post a sub-1.000 WHIP in 2011. The 35-year-old Burnett, on the other hand, well...he hasn't posted an ERA under 5.15 in the past two seasons. Really, the guy gave up five earned in six innings in Game 4 of the ALDS against Detroit and they nearly threw him a parade in the Canyon of Heroes.
We're not arguing Olney is wrong, we're just hoping the Phillies brass wouldn't have actually seen this as, again, "a bit of a safety net."
All that said, if you remove Hamels from the equation and look only at Blanton, it's not all that crazy. Rather than paying Joe Blanton $8.5 million in 2012, the Phils could have opted to pay Burnett $13 million (total) over 2012 and 2013, assuming they would have gotten the same price break as the Pirates. Coming off a milieu of injuries in 2011 and 4.82 ERA in 2010, Blanton is far from a sure thing in his own right.
As for the Yankees, indications were last week that they would be using the cash freed up from the Burnett trade with the Pirates to re-sign Eric Chavez and close a deal with another former Phillie -- Raul Ibanez. That deal, according to the Associated Press, was to be valued around $1 million ($11 less than the 39-year-old left fielder made last season). If such a plan is still in place, Ibanez would presumably DH for the Yankees in 2012.
Sure, the deal is dead now, but how would you have reacted to the Amaro & Co. dealing for A.J. Burnett (or to the mere mention of Bobby Abreu back under contract in Philly)?

[h/t 6ABC for the story]
>>>ESPN sources: Phillies tried for Burnett via Blanton, Abreu trades [WPVI.com]

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles (5-7) come into Sunday's game against the Redskins (6-5-1) on a three-game losing streak.

The Redskins exposed the Eagles' defense the last time these two teams met almost two months ago on Oct. 16.

Here are our (cough) expert predictions for this Week 14 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (4-8)
After losing three straight games, I couldn't pick the Eagles against just about any team in the NFL. Maybe Cleveland. Maybe Chicago. 

But against Washington? Nah. Can't do it. 

Sure, I know Washington comes into the Linc on a two-game losing streak, and they're clearly not a top team in the NFC. It just doesn't matter. Kirk Cousins is a decent quarterback and Washington clearly has enough weapons to shred the Eagles like they did for 493 yards in the first meeting. 

For the Eagles' offense, Carson Wentz hasn't looked good in a long time and this week he enters with a few of his skill position players banged up. 

This looks like another loss to me. 

Washington 26, Eagles 20

Derrick Gunn (5-7)
The Eagles are an embarrassed, desperate team, and a win over the Redskins could lift the weight of what has been a downward spiral. Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews returned to practice this week, but can they jolt this offense back to life? Carson Wentz has played like a rookie the last three games, and the once stout defense has crumbled.

So here come the Redskins, losers of two in a row but still very much in the playoff conversation. The Redskins' defense is beat up and could be missing several key players, but unfortunately for the Eagles, Washington's offensive weapons are relatively healthy, except for tight end Jordan Reed, who's listed as questionable with an AC joint sprain. Matt Jones and Robert Kelley pack a punch out of the backfield. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been in a zone. Over their last six games, Cousins has averaged 352.6 passing yards, plus he's thrown 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. 

The Eagles remember what Washington did to them back in Week 6, but I feel their revenge motives will fall short.

Redskins 27, Eagles 17

Ray Didinger (5-7) 
With all the talk this week about effort and players dogging it, I fully expect the Eagles to come out focused and fired up at home Sunday. Here's the problem: I just don't know if they are good enough to win the game. Motivation is one thing, but talent is another and right now, the Eagles are lacking in that area.
 
The players have been called out by their coach, by the media and by the fans so if they have any pride at all they will come out and play hard against the Redskins but I look at the matchup of this Eagles' secondary against the Washington receivers — especially a hot DeSean Jackson (25.3 yards per catch the last three games) — and I don't see a happy result.
 
Redskins 24, Eagles 17

Corey Seidman (5-7)
Close game, better performance from Carson Wentz and an awakening in the run game, but not enough defensive talent to shut down what Washington will try to do deep with DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder, over the middle with Jordan Reed and short with Pierre Garcon.

Redskins 31, Eagles 27

Andy Schwartz (5-7)
It's simply come to this. I can't pick the Eagles to win a game the rest of the season until they do.

I want to think the offense will benefit from the return of Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews. And I want to think the defense will play with desperation and break out of its "slump" and make some big plays.

But I won't believe it until I see it.

Redskins 24, Eagles 16

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took a shot off his right hand in the second period Saturday and has a bone bruise. 
 
The Flyers will watch it because sometimes the swelling prevents wearing a glove comfortably the next day.
 
Ghost, who has five points – all assists – over his past six games, was hit with a puck in the second period of a 4-2 win over the Stars. He went to the bench and tried to shake it off, but left for the dressing room shortly after a Flyers power play began in the period’s final three minutes.
 
He participated for part of the power play, then left the ice and did not return until the start of the third period.
 
“It was good by then,” he said. “Obviously, it hurt a bit.”
 
The Flyers play in Detroit on Sunday night. 
 
Ghost has 16 points (four goals) in 29 games this season. X-rays were negative, he said, adding he was not worried about the hand, which was badly swollen after the game.