Saturday Reads: SLAMMED? Asante's Decline? Voracek's Value? Why a 'Gratton' Trade? Union Dues and Player Ratings? Phillies Food?

Saturday Reads: SLAMMED? Asante's Decline? Voracek's Value? Why a 'Gratton' Trade? Union Dues and Player Ratings? Phillies Food?

What we're reading this morning instead of doing something more productive. Sports, music, and food... 
Phillies...The Phils-Giants series got off to a rough start last night, allowing Tim Lincecum to improve his gaudy 2012 ERA while also giving up a decisive, gut-punching grand slam in a 7-2 loss. Vance Worley looked amazing for a stretch that included five straight strikeouts and retiring 11 batters in a row and 12 of the first 13 he faced. But things started to come apart in the fifth, then exploded in the sixth when Brandon Crawford cleared the bases with a salami to right. Even Eli Whiteside had an RBI double. The Phils' two runs came when Lincecum slipped and fell with Shane Victorino on third, balking him in, and when Ryan Howard launched his second homer of the season. Señor Finger has more on the game and its place in the 2012 Phillies timeline... [CSNPhilly
With the trade deadline still looming, we remain in "Who's staying, who's going?" mode... John Stolnis at That Ball's Outta Here weighs in with his guesses and reasoning behind who the Phils  will trade and who they'll hang onto. [TBOH]
Eagles...Switching gears to the Birds, an entry posted yesterday by Jeff McLane had some interesting nuggets in it. McLane was emptying out his notebook in two parts, both worth a read. In the second, he talks Mike Kafka's slight uptick in velocity, Nick Foles' hand positioning, DJacc and JMac, and perhaps of most interest—DRC and Asante. McLane refers to Andy Reid's belief that Asante was in "steep decline," which is surprising in two ways to me. First, that Reid felt that way about a guy who appeared to have a pretty damn good season, and second that he let it get into the press. On DRC, McLane gets into his lack of a contract after this season and how the Eagles could already be planning for life without him, even before 2013. [ / Birds Eye View
Pro Football Talk places the Birds at 8th in their power rankings. Click the link for their reasoning. [PFT
Flyers...The entire Flyers world feels like it's in a holding pattern as we await David Poile and the Nashville Predators' decision on whether to match the Flyers' massive offer sheet signing of Shea Weber. While we wait, so does Jake Voracek, the Flyers' own restricted free agent (along with Marc-Andre Bourdon). Vorch's next contract won't be an easy one to nail, as Bill Meltzer describes this morning. What do you think the Flyers should be targeting for a Voracek deal? [Hockey Buzz (requisite autoplay video ad warning)] 
One question that keeps coming up is that of whether the Flyers and Preds will arrange a "Gratton" trade, whereby something other than the mandated four first rounders goes to Nashville in exchange for Poile not matching the offer. One reason that doesn't make a lot of sense on the surface is the growing suspicion that the Predators don't have the cash to sign Weber to the offer the Flyers arranged with him. So why would the Flyers offer them players from their roster? BSH takes a look at three possible reasons. [Broad Street Hockey
If they want to make any more moves in addition to adding Weber's salary (say, signing Shane Doan...), the Flyers might need to shed some loot...
Union...According to Chester mayor John Linder, the Philadelphia Union missed a deadline for paying the 2012 installment of their agreed-upon annual $500,000 payment in lieu of property taxes, and although 2011 is paid off, there appears to be a discrepancy as to the 2010 figure. With a massive change in Chester city politics and a new entity like a stadium and its pro soccer team all coming at once, there were bound to be some disagreements. The good news is, the two sides appear to be talking at the negotiating table on both the annual payments and proposed entertainment and parking taxes, and not just sending messages through the press. [Daily News
Jon Tannenwald and Chad Graff sat down with MLS Commish Don Garber on the All-Star Game coming to PPL Park, perhaps earlier than many would have expected, and certainly something we're really looking forward to next week. Tickets hit my mailbox yesterday… [The Goalkeeper
As for the action on the pitch, Philly Soccer Page has an excellent breakdown of the Union players over the season to date in their midseason player ratings. You may or may not be surprised to see who their lowest-rated midfielder is… [Philly Soccer Page
And finally, Kerith Gabriel catches up with Sebastien Le Toux, on what it will be like to face the Union this afternoon wearing the dirty pink cow jersey of his new club, Red Bull New York (slightly paraphrased). [Daily News]
Sixers...After their personnel changes, are the Sixers any better than they were last year? I vote we ask Sir Charles. In fact, I vote we always ask Sir Charles when we're not sure of something. [CSN Philly
Wizards/Caps owner Ted Leonsis describes former Wiz and new Sixers gunner Nick Young as someone who "wanted stats" and not exactly a team player. The quote comes on page 3 of this interview, which is a pretty good read. [WaPo]
Food...Back in 2009, we read about baseball teams moving to get rid of all the junk food that was usually found in clubhouses. The Phillies were among that wave, which continues these days. M
y man Dom at Cocina Domenico recently spoke with Dana Gollotto, a chef and dietitian from South Philly who prepares meals for the Phillies, among others. Hook a brother up with some chocolate protein balls? Ya know, for after my "workouts." [Cucina Domenico
Pretty cool local food event going on at The Shambles at New Market (Headhouse Square, 2nd & Lombard) this evening, a collaborative effort from Slow Food Philly and Farm to City called "Good Food, Good Beer and the Rest Is History." Gourmet food trucks meet local breweries Victory, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Stoudts, and Earth Bread + Brewery. $30-$35 to get your grub & drink on. [Slow Food Philadelphia
Music...Ween fan? Check out mxdwn's interview with Mickey Melchiondo, where he talks about the I-hope-only-temporary "end" of the band, everything-fishing in America, changes in the music industry, and how he listens to sports talk radio instead of music. [mxdwn
Chili Peppers fan? Flea has a new EP available for download in a pay-what-you-will offering. Proceeds will benefit the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. Download Helen Burns here, and read about it at Rolling Stone. [Rolling Stone]  
And some War On Drugs:

Speedy WR Bryce Treggs getting reps with Eagles' starters, could debut soon

Speedy WR Bryce Treggs getting reps with Eagles' starters, could debut soon

Speedy Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs, who hasn’t yet been active for a game, could be soon.

Treggs said after practice Thursday he got more reps with the first-team offense this week than he has all year.

“Way more,” Treggs said. “I feel like they’re comfortable with me now, where they don’t have to tell me what to do. I know the plays and I know where to be.”

Does that mean Treggs will make his NFL debut against the Vikings Sunday? Not necessarily. But it does mean he’s at least on the Eagles’ radar.

Treggs began his rookie preseason with Chip Kelly and the 49ers but didn’t play during the preseason because of a preexisting knee injury.

When the 49ers released him as part of final cuts, the Eagles claimed him. He was cleared medically last month and has been gradually learning the Eagles’ offense since. He’s been on the 53-man roster all year but inactive for all five games.

Treggs has 4.31 speed and ranked eighth in NCAA Division I last year with 21.2 yards per catch as a senior at Cal.

Treggs potentially could give the Eagles something they’ve lacked all year: a deep threat.

The Eagles have connected on just eight pass plays of 25 yards or more this year, and only five NFL teams have fewer.

Jordan Matthews has four of those, and running back Darren Sproles has two, which leaves just two for the rest of the Eagles’ other wideouts — one for Nelson Agholor, one for Dorial Green-Beckham and none for Josh Huff.

The Eagles have been using Green-Beckham more and more each week — he played a season-high 42 snaps in the loss to the Redskins Sunday.

Agholor has been a disappointment, with just 16 catches for 181 yards this year, no catches over 35 yards and no catches of 20 yards since opening day. In 18 NFL games, the former first-round pick has never had 65 yards in a game.

Treggs said he feels comfortable with both outside spots and the slot and has gotten practice reps at all three spots this week.

Eagles Injury Update: Bennie Logan (groin) misses second straight practice

Eagles Injury Update: Bennie Logan (groin) misses second straight practice

Every injured Eagles player returned on Thursday except for one.

Defensive tackle Bennie Logan (left groin strain) missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday and it doesn't seem likely he'll be able to play on Sunday against the Vikings.

If Logan can't play on Sunday, backup Beau Allen will get the start.

"Bennie was playing well [against Washington]," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said on Thursday. "He was one of the few guys in this game that was playing well. You know, it will be more reps for guys like Beau [DT Beau Allen], and maybe even a little bit more for a guy like Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox]. We'd like to rotate those guys as much [as we can], but sometimes you're not able to. And then a guy like Destiny [DT Destiny Vaeao], who has been a part-time player and made a couple plays, but also he's given up a couple. He needs to be more consistent. We've also used some defensive ends inside the rush on third down. That helps alleviate a little bit."

While Logan was still out, several other key Eagles returned to practice after missing Wednesday: Jason Kelce (foot), Ron Brooks (calf) and Marcus Smith (groin). Brooks was the only limited participant in Thursday's practice.

Kelce missed Wednesday's practice because he got a cortisone shot on Monday.

Furthermore, several Eagles who were limited on Wednesday -- Jordan Matthews (knee), Allen Barbre (ankle), Mychal Kendricks (ribs) -- were full participants on Thursday.