Report: Phillies Targeting Three Teams for Possible Papelbon Trade

Report: Phillies Targeting Three Teams for Possible Papelbon Trade

The way things have been going on the field lately, doomsday doesn’t seem too far off in the horizon for the Phillies. Ruben Amaro Jr. is readying the button.

According to a report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Phillies have begun scouting the farm systems of three Major League teams that may be interested in acquiring closer Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline. Cafardo also indicates Amaro is not high on the idea of shipping out Cliff Lee, the subject of numerous trade rumors since before the season began.

Apparently RAJ believes the Phils can get a significant return of prospects for Pap, who is 13 for 13 in save opportunities this season, without gutting the roster.

2. Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, Phillies — The Phillies believe there are at least three teams — Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals — that may have some interest in Papelbon at the trade deadline. It’s no secret the Phillies are scouting those teams with Papelbon in mind. Ruben Amaro Jr. came out and said last week that he’s not ready to “blow up” the Phillies. And while the Philadelphia GM is not crazy about moving Cliff Lee, Papelbon could provide the “retooling” with younger players the Phillies need.

As superb as Papelbon has been, it’s clear closer is a luxury for the Phillies right now. His 13 saves are tied for eighth in the National League, which means he’s not getting enough opportunities to justify his roughly $13-million-per-year salary, and Charlie Manuel won’t utilize Pap in almost any other situation.

Edward Mujica has 19 saves and a 1.82 for the Cardinals, which would seem to make them a curious target for Papelbon. The Tigers’ Jose Valdevere is 35 though, and has blown three of 12 save opportunities this year. The Red Sox also make sense per the following report via NESN:

Just over a month ago, Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan was diagnosed with a torn flexor muscle tendon, and shortly after underwent season-ending surgery. Since returning from the disabled list in late May, now-closer Andrew Bailey has gone 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA and three saves in four opportunities in nine innings of work.

Papelbon was asked about the possibility of returning to Boston during their series against the Phils back in May, an idea to which he sounded receptive. Can’t say I blame him with his former teammates clutching to first place in the AL East while the Fightins are headed back in the wrong direction.

>> MLB trade market revolves around pitchers [Globe]

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”