Steve Masons Contract Extension Doesnt Exactly Suggest Bryzgalovs Demise

Steve Masons Contract Extension Doesnt Exactly Suggest Bryzgalovs Demise

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As expected, the Flyers have agreed to a one-year contract
extension with Steve Mason, the goaltender acquired from the Columbus Blue
Jackets at last week’s trade deadline. If compensation is supposed to be any indication
though, it’s unclear why Ilya Bryzgalov should feel an imminent threat.

Mason inked his deal for a very manageable $1.5 million next
season, roughly half of what he would have been due as a restricted free agent
this summer. As for what the big picture viewpoint, it’s not a sum that
suggests he’s in line to become Philly’s starting netminder anytime soon.

Since the trade many observers have suggested Mason’s
arrival could be the beginning of the end for Bryzgalov, a topic we touched on in
greater detail here.
Say what you want about the performance of Bryz, who
carries the eighth-highest average salary in the NHL this season, but Ed Snider
has made it clear he wants to see stability in net.

Choosing to use buyout on Bryz this offseason so the Orange
& Black can go with Mason plus some other inexpensive free agent would
seemingly fly in the face of everything the front office has been saying
publicly.

Does the addition of Mason get the ball rolling for an
eventual change in crease? Sure, it’s a situation to monitor going forward.
However, a one-year, $1.5-million extension shouldn’t set off any alarms that the
Flyers are ready to tear it down quite yet, meaning this upcoming offseason.

We’ll see. You can never be too certain when Paul Holmgren
is pulling the levers, but it appears Bryzgalov will get at least one more
year.

>> Flyers re-sign Steve Mason to 1-year deal [CSN]

Previously: Does Steve Mason Spell the End for Ilya Bryzgalov in Philly?

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2017 NFL draft: A trio of receivers to watch in Corey Davis, James Washington, Courtland Sutton

2017 NFL draft: A trio of receivers to watch in Corey Davis, James Washington, Courtland Sutton

We lead this prospect watch with what else but wide receivers to help Eagles rookie phenom Carson Wentz.

We also look at an offensive lineman to help protect Wentz, a corner that could help Jim Schwartz's defense, and a local running back getting lost in a deep class.

Here are six players to watch on Saturday:

Corey Davis, Western Michigan, senior, WR, (6-3/213)
Davis' stock is skyrocketing and deservedly so. This kid can play. He's put up 24 catches for 395 yards and four touchdowns in four games. He'll take on Central Michigan, who took down Oklahoma State earlier this season. Watching Davis for the first hour of that game will be a nice appetizer before some of the bigger matchups.

Western Michigan at Central Michigan, 7 p.m.

James Washington, Oklahoma State, junior, (6-1/205)
I profiled Washington earlier this week and now he'll get some decent competition against No. 22 Texas. He had a monster game against Pitt a couple weeks ago (9 catches, 296 yards, two TDs), but has lacked consistency overall this season.

Oklahoma State vs. No. 22 Texas, 12 p.m.

Courtland Sutton, SMU, redshirt sophomore, (6-4/215)
A tight end in high school, Sutton's speed was too great to keep playing that position. A redshirt sophomore, Sutton is averaging 24.9 yards a catch with four touchdowns this season. He'll be in our own backyard this Saturday afternoon when he takes on Temple at the Linc.

SMU at Temple, 12 p.m.

Chad Wheeler, USC, senior, OT, (6-6/310)
Wheeler's issues have nothing to do with his ability. He's a stud with great size and above average athleticism. But the massive left tackle has had issues off the field and with injuries. He should dominate against Arizona State on Saturday night.

USC vs. Arizona State, 8:30 p.m.

Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson, senior, CB, (6-1/200)
Tankersley could've joined the seven Clemson defenders that jumped to the NFL, but he decided to come back after having a strong junior campaign (19 passed defended, five picks). Tankerlsey has ideal NFL size and above average ball skills. His speed, which isn't quite elite level, will be tested against Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson and his speedy receivers.

No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 3 Louisville, 8 p.m.

Corey Clement, Wisconsin, senior, RB, (5-11/227)
The Glassboro, New Jersey native has been hampered by injuries but did manage to score two touchdowns in Wisconsin's upset of No. 17 Michigan State last week. With this running back class being so deep, Clement could be a sleeper that gets lost in the shuffle. He'll have a tall task competing against No. 4 Michigan on the road.

No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan, 3:30 p.m.

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Is Phil Klein ready to stop 5-game skid?

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Is Phil Klein ready to stop 5-game skid?

Phillies (70-90) vs. Mets (86-74)
1:05 p.m. on FOX

The Phillies continue to stumble towards the finish line with their fifth straight loss and seventh in eight games. Phil Klein makes a spot start out of the bullpen for the Phils while the Mets turn to Bartolo Colon in a nationally televised game.

Here are five things to watch on Saturday afternoon.

1. Mets playoff update
With Friday's win, the Mets cannot be eliminated this weekend. Their magic number for a playoff spot is just one.

That means that if they win one more game or the St. Louis Cardinals lose a game to the Pirates in the next two days, the Mets clinch a spot in the NL wild card game. If the Phillies are able to beat the Mets back-to-back, the Cardinals win both games and the San Fransico Giants win at least one game, the Mets will be forced to play in a tiebreaker on Monday.

Got all that?

Because the Mets won four of seven against the Giants this year, they only need one more win to clinch homefield advantage in the NL wild card game. That means that if they win on Saturday, they'll have the ability to skip Noah Syndergaard, the scheduled starter for Sunday, and have him pitch in the wild card game. 

Therefore, a win by the Phillies on Saturday that isn't accompanied by both a Cardinals and Giants loss would likely force the Mets to pitch Syndergaard before 
the wild card game.

2. Life after Howard
Ryan Howard's option for 2017 will undoubtably be declined by the Phillies after the season, meaning of course that Howard is in his final two games in a Phillies uniform.

But what exactly comes next?

It's easy enough to say Tommy Joseph. Joseph has been extremely impressive in his first season in the majors. The now-25 year old broke into the majors in a big way and carries a .257/.308/.505 line into Saturday over his first 347 big league plate appearances. He has 21 home runs and 47 RBI. 

But there are reasons to be concerned. The big one is his injury history. Joseph dealt with concussion issues that moved him to first from behind the plate. While it seems to be behind him, it does raise a question with his durability. He also struck out in over 20 percent of his plate appearances this year and will need to be better in that regard.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how he handles making the team out of spring training next year and manning first base every day. The term 'sophomore slump' exists for a reason because plenty of players take a step back in Year 2.

It doesn't mean Joseph can't be relied on as the future at first base. Far from it. But how the Phillies provide support for him during the inevitable peaks and valleys will be key to his long-term takeover of the first base job.

3. Klein makes spot start 
The Phillies chose not to give Jake Thompson one more start and instead will hand Klein the penultimate start of the season. 

Klein made a spot start for the Phils on Aug. 3 vs. the Giants after Aaron Nola was shut down for the season. The 27-year-old righty held his own for five innings, allowing four runs in a 5-4 Phillies win, although he didn't factor in the decision.

Things haven't gone so well for Klein since he was recalled earlier in September. Klein dominated Triple A with a 1.51 ERA in 14 appearances (10 starts), but he's appeared out of the bullpen twice for the Phils in the last week. He gave up three runs and five baserunners while getting one out in the 17-0 loss on Sunday.

He followed that up with a four-out, two-run outing. He's thrown just 52 pitches and 24 strikes in those games, meaning he's lacking control and isn't fully stretched out. It's hard to blame Klein for his rust: He hadn't pitched in 16 days before Sunday.

Expect Klein's outing to be somewhat shortlived and this game to be a bullpen affair.

4. Big Bart in a big game
Believe it or not, but the oldest member of the Mets' rotation this year has been the healthiest.

Colon, who turned 43 in May, has made 32 starts, his most in a season since he won the American League Cy Young in 2005. He has started every fifth day for the Mets this year and even made one start on short rest. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz, all under 30, were lost to arm injuries for the season.

The righty known as Big Bart had a streak of five straight quality starts until his last start on Sept. 26. It was the Marlins' first game after Jose Fernandez's tragic death and the Fish knocked Colon around for seven runs while he recorded just seven outs.

Colon only threw 47 pitches in that game, so he should be completely fresh today. The big man carries an impressive 3.42 ERA and 14-8 record into Saturday, made even more remarkable considering he began in baseball in 1997.

5. This and that
• Howard has just six hits off Colon in 35 plate appearances, but he has made them count. He has three home runs and eight RBI. One of the home runs came earlier this season while the other two came in 2008.

• The Mets have turned up their offense in September, averaging 5.22 runs per game and going 17-10. The Phillies have been just about the opposite, going 10-17 and scored just 4.07 runs per game. 

• The Phillies are in the midst of their fourth losing streak of at least five games this year. They won't have a chance to eclipse their nine-game losing streak from Jun. 14-22.

• At 70-90, the Phillies are 20 games under .500 for the first time all season. They currently have the eighth worst record in baseball. The worst draft pick they can finish with is No. 9 overall.