The Flyers announced they have sent a conditional fourth-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Simon Gagne on Tuesday. Gagne was Philadelphia's first-round pick in 1998, spending 10 seasons in Orange & Black until he was traded to Tampa Bay in 2010.
Reports state the pick becomes a third rounder if the Flyers make the playoffs -- not the most unlikely of scenarios.
The veteran left winger racked up 259 goals and 265 assists during his
original run with the Flyers, appearing in the ’01 and ’07 All Star Games along the
way. He was shipped to the Lightning ahead of his impending free agency in exchange for defenseman Matt Walker and
a fourth-round pick.
Gagne signed with the Kings in 2011, where he was
reunited with former Philadelphia teammates Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Justin Williams. Injury cut Gagne’s first season short, but he managed to get
his name on the Stanley Cup by appearing in four games in last year’s Finals.
He’s off to a slow start in 2013, with no goals and five
assists through 11 games. Gagne turns 33 in a few days, and has been beat up the last several years, so there’s no telling how
much he has left in the tank. He becomes a free agent at season's end.
Gagne finished with seven goals and 10 assists in 34
regular season games last season.
Gagne was always a fan favorite, somebody who
authored many memorable moments for the city of Philadelphia. It’s cool to
have him back if for no other reason than nostalgia, but hopefully he has
something left to contribute as well. How much it actually helps the Flyers remains to be seen.
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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just pitch.
Don’t worry about the role.
That’s Adam Morgan’s mindset this spring.
“I’m just trying to show whoever needs to see it that I can be an asset to this team,” the left-hander said after his spring debut against the New York Yankees on Saturday (see story). “I’m just keeping it simple that way. I’m not trying to go out for that fifth (starting) spot. If the fifth spot opens up, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want to put me in the bullpen, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want me to be the backup catcher, I’ll be the backup catcher.”
The Phillies have plenty of candidates for backup catcher.
And the top five spots in their starting rotation, barring an unforeseen development, are accounted for.
But there is a way for Morgan to make this team.
“He’s definitely a bullpen candidate,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
Mackanin is on record as saying he’d like to have two lefties in what likely will be a seven-man bullpen. It might not work out that way, but that would be Mackanin’s preference.
Morgan is one of what appears to be four candidates along with Joely Rodriguez, Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett. Ramos and Burnett are experienced major-league veterans in camp on minor-league contracts. Rodriguez is the only pure lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. Morgan, of course, is on the 40-man roster, but he’s mainly been a starter in his career.
There’s a long way to go in spring training and it would not be surprising to see general manager Matt Klentak add to the list of lefty relief candidates with some type of pickup before the end of camp.
But for now, it’s just these four.
Morgan, who turns 27 on Monday, started and pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday and will likely continue to have his innings stretched out throughout the Grapefruit League season, just in case he’s needed as a starter.
Ramos and Rodriguez both pitched an inning Saturday. Ramos allowed a hit and a run. Rodriguez had a clean inning. Burnett was tagged for two hits and two runs on Friday.
Morgan made 21 starts for the Phillies last season. He also made two relief appearances and finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. He was sent to Triple A in July and returned in mid-August. He made nine starts after returning and pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer earned runs in four of them.
During his time in Triple A, Morgan started throwing a two-seam fastball or sinker. He’s continued to throw it this spring and believes it will help him.
“I learned to trust the two-seamer last year and that’s what I hope to keep moving forward with,” he said.
Will it take him to the Phillies’ bullpen?
He hopes so. He got a taste of relieving last season and liked it.
“Oh, yeah, I loved it,” he said. “Every time the phone rang down there, I was on high alert. It was awesome. It’s a rush.
“But wherever I land, I land. I’d be willing to play anywhere on this team.”