Will the Eagles' Trash Be Another Team's Gold?

Will the Eagles' Trash Be Another Team's Gold?

When the report came in on Tuesday that the Eagles would not sign any of their own free agents, there was a little surprise in The700Level ranks. On one hand, the front office not-so-stealthily replaced practically every one of them in the draft in April, but after all, they have 15 unrestricted players. None of them will be back?

We're still not completely sold it will wind up that way, but the next question was what exactly is the organization losing? Plenty of teams have real good players and even bona fide stars leaving town. That's probably not the case in Philly. After the jump, we broke the departing players into groups, and examined whether any of them will be missed, or if perhaps the Birds are making a big mistake in letting some of this talent go.

Who Cares?
Antoine Harris, Bobby McCray, Reggie Wells

None of these guys made a measurable impact for the Birds, and most fans probably didn't even know who they were or that they were on the team to begin with. I would say they will soon fade into obscurity, but it seems they already have.

Won't Be Missed
Nick Cole, Omar Gaither, Dimitri Patterson, Ernie Sims

Where do we begin? Let's go with Patterson, who was exposed for what he is last season: a journeyman special teamer. Sims is what many suspected he was when he arrived, which is a replacement level player, and the once promising career of Gaither looks to have been derailed once and for all by a Lisfranc sprain in '09. Cole has had multiple opportunities, but never broke through, and became expendable after a decent season at center from Mike McGlynn.

Replaced
David Akers, Quintin Mikell

As was previously mentioned, Akers and Mikell were both essentially gone after the NFL Draft. Say what you want about the decision to trust rookies with key jobs at strong safety and kicker, but Mikell wasn't worth the $7 million/year the Rams gave him, and Akers is aging and has come up small in some big games in recent years. The Eagles should get on fine without them.

No Longer Necessary
Jerome Harrison, Ellis Hobbs, Max Jean-Gilles

A lot of people were really interested in Harrison staying, but believed he would look for a starting job. I don't think that's the problem at all, seeing as he likely won't find that line of work anyway. Sure, Harrison would prefer to be more involved, but the real reason he won't be back is he lacks value to the Birds. They didn't utilize him more because he is soft in pass protection, so they would rather move on and try to develop somebody who can get help in that area.

Jean-Gilles is the prototypical mid-round lineman for the Eagles, who bides his time as a reserve then goes on to become a roughly average starter for some below-.500 club. He could be a serviceable backup, but obviously Danny Watkins is expected to hold down the right guard spot.

Hobbs can't be counted on after sustaining a serious neck injury, and once the Eagles acquire another corner, that player will join Asante Samuel, Joselio Hanson, Trevard Lindley, and rookie Curtis Marsh in a suddenly crowded defensive backfield.

Have Value
Stewart Bradley, Akeem Jordan, Sav Rocca

We're still not prepared to write off these guys, at least not two of them. Jordan makes the list because he was the team's top contributor on special teams last season, and he has defensive experience as well. While it would make sense to bring him back, the Eagles often let this type of player walk, like Tracy White a couple years ago.

We would not be as quick to let Bradley leave town though. As has been noted several times and from many different outlets, the linebacker corps is extremely green if Stew B departs. Granted he did not have a very good season coming off of an ACL tear in 2010, but there is still a chance he can be an effective linebacker in the NFL. Once Bradley has tested the market and finds there aren't many front offices willing to offer an oft-injured player long term contracts, maybe the Eagles will bring him back after all.

On the other hand, after first theorizing Rocca could be brought back, we wonder if the Eagles won't cut ties with their punter of three seasons. While last year was his best, showing he has improved and can be more consistent, he's also old (37) and likely wants to be paid fairly well for being merely a punter. Plenty of time for minds to change, but don't be surprised if they give the undrafted, Ray Guy Award winner Chas Henry a real shot to win the job.

In the end, do the Eagles truly require the services of any of these players? A case could be built for Bradley, but that's about it. It's not often they lose a quality, young player to free agency, so obviously we're not talking about anybody they weren't prepared to part with.

Alec Asher lone bright spot as Phillies continue to limp to finish with another loss to Mets

Alec Asher lone bright spot as Phillies continue to limp to finish with another loss to Mets

The Phillies returned home from a bad road trip Friday with only three games to play and the only thing to play for being the role of spoilers.

With the New York Mets in town looking to put a stranglehold on a wildcard spot, the Phillies, as another losing season finishes out, could be a thorn in the side of their rivals.

Alec Asher looked like he was playing the part of spoiler, retiring the first 11 batters he faced, but the Mets rallied, got behind starter Robert Gsellman, and turned back any Phillies sabotaging on this night, beating the home team, 5-1.

The two teams are heading in quite opposite directions.

The Mets, with their win, clinched at least a tiebreaker in the wildcard and guaranteed their season not ending on Sunday, the league’s final regular season date.

The Phillies on the other hand… 

“We’re certainly limping home,” said manager Pete Mackanin an hour or so after being ejected for the first time this year. “Not playing well, not swinging the bats very well.”

They struck out 14 times Friday night. And after scraping a run across in the second inning, never really looked like they were in the game at the plate.

Mackanin's ejection came in the eighth inning. Mackanin wasn’t happy with first base umpire Will Little and was thrown out of a game. Reliever Michael Mariot threw a fastball in on Yoenis Cespedes and Cespedes appeared to lose control of the bat through the strike zone. When appealed to, Little ruled Cespedes did not swing, and out came Mackanin.

"I had to get thrown out there," Mackanin said.

Perhaps he just couldn't stand to watch anymore. 

Gsellman battled through some early struggles and stymied the Phillies’ offense. Gsellman turned in six innings of one-run baseball, improving to 4-2 on the year. He allowed one run on seven hits and struck out seven.

Asher, in his last start of 2016, was the lone bright spot on this night.

With two outs in the fourth, his brief perfect game bid was ended with a single from Yoenis Cespedes. That was followed by another from Curtis Granderson. 

Jay Bruce then worked a full count but Asher couldn’t put him away. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Bruce singled home Cespedes to tie the score. 

A fourth consecutive single, this time off the bat of T.J. Rivera, allowed Granderson to cross the plate for a 2-1 Mets lead.

Asher’s night and season ended with a Bruce home run - his third in as many games - to lead off the top of the seventh.

“I wanted to go sinker away and just kind of got it mid-thigh belt,” Asher said. “He took advantage of the mistake.”

Asher, 24, went six-plus innings Friday, throwing 104 pitches while allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked zero.

His 2016 finishes with a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 27 ⅔ innings pitched. He struck out 13 and walked four.

“Last year when Asher was here I recall being asked if it was a smart thing to do because he got rocked so badly,” Mackanin said. “We talked about if and when he did get back to the big leagues if he would be able to handle it. What kind of make up he had. Certainly he made an adjustment. Added a two-seam fastball which he never had. Has a plus changeup. He needs a little more work on his breaking ball, but nevertheless he’s pitched well since he’s been back. He’s done a good job.”

The Phillies bullpen hasn’t lately.

Mariot, in relief of Asher, gave up two runs in 1 ⅔ innings of relief, including Bruce’s third RBI of the night to give the Mets a 5-1 lead.

The Phillies offense then went quietly into the fall night. The Mets didn’t allow a hit from the final 12 Phillies hitters.

Their season will continue beyond Sunday.

“It’s step one of a bigger accomplishment,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “We’re certainly pleased we get to play past Sunday.”

The Phillies are just limping.

Orthopedist on Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

Orthopedist on Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

On Friday, Sixers fans got some bad news when the team revealed that No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

The Sixers didn't give a timetable for his return, saying that they were reviewing treatment options for the 6-foot-10 point-forward.

As a guest on CSNPhilly's Sportsnet Central, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Schwartz gave a little insight into Simmons' injury. Schwartz is not treating Simmons, but has dealt with similar injuries. Schwartz believes the prognosis is good for the Sixers' rookie.

"The big question is where the exact location of this fracture is," Schwartz said. "That will dictate the prognosis and the treatment. If it's at the base of the fifth metatarsal, it's usually a non-surgical treatment. It's usually a cast/boot for six to eight weeks and return to play somewhere around eight weeks."

That would be great news considering Sixers fans didn't get to see Nerlens Noel the year he was drafted and are still awaiting the debut of 2014 draft pick Joel Embiid. 

Schwartz warns that the injury could be something known as a Jones fracture, which would likely require surgery and the recovery could be three to four months. The prognosis would still be good, according to Schwartz, but other NBA players have had lengthy recoveries with a similar injury.

"The prognosis is still good, but we know that Kevin Durant had a Jones fracture and he was out for an entire season because of it not healing," Schwartz said. "But the prognosis is good, however, the question is whether it's going to require surgery or not."

For more from Schwartz on Simmons' injury and possible timetable, check out the video above.