Jimmy Rollins Could Learn Something From Theo Ratliff

Jimmy Rollins Could Learn Something From Theo Ratliff


Ed Stefanski sounds like a guy who just hit the lottery.  In a lot of ways, he has.

The Sixers GM was gracious enough to hold an open Q&A session yesterday with several writers from the web, including Matt and myself, and we had the opportunity to discuss basketball with a bright man and true fan of the game.  As excited as the fans are for this coming season, Stef is equally as enthusiastic about the club's off-season haul.

Describing last season as very rewarding, Stefanski acknowledged there was a "residual effect" from the team's surprise playoff run, and players wanted to be a part of the Sixers because they expect the team to be good.  Once Brand opted out of his contract, he became the club's main priority, and Ed seized the opportunity.  From there, the plan just fell into place.

The number one question on my list was whether or not Stef thinks this team, with the addition of Brand and re-signing of Iguodala, is good enough to win an NBA Championship.  Ed would not definitively answer yes or no, replying only time will tell, but with the opinion the team has undoubtedly moved in the right direction.  As he said at the very beginning, "We look good on paper, but paper doesn't play."

One of the highlights of the interview was when Stef talked about the decision to bring Theo Ratliff back to the club.  The addition was purely a result of the unfortunate injury to Jason Smith, with Theo only expected to see limited minutes, but it's the former Sixer's opinion of the fans that I found interesting.


"He said he loves Philadelphia.  He loves the fans because the fans make him play hard, and the fans are always there for him, and he knows if he puts in the effort, the Philadelphia fans will like him.

He figured the Philadelphia fans out.  Philadelphia fans are all about effort.  When you give the effort, and maybe it comes up short, they're gonna forgive you.  When you don't give the effort is when the fans get on you."

Refreshing to hear in light of some recent comments from some of the other athletes in this town.

Stefanski had nothing but positive things to say about everybody on the team, and touted the team's versatility when asked about what guys would play which positions.  "We have a lot of guys that I would just term basketball players," while explaining a lot of players would rotate between different spots in the lineup depending on the situation.

The interview was a lot of fun, and we covered just about everyone on the team, so I've posted some more excerpts below.  I'd also like to thank Ed Stefanski for taking the time to hold the conference.  It was great to hear what his enthusiasm firsthand.

* Sweet Lou, recently rewarded with a contract worth $25 million, received high acclaim from Stefanski.  "I think Lou Williams is a hell of a basketball player, I really like the way the kid plays." 

* Stef revealed Thaddeus Young has spent the summer improving his ball-handling in preparation of seeing more minutes at the 3 position.  "There's no question he has gotten better."

* The Sixers are very pleased with the development of Marreese Speights at this point.  Stefanski gushed about the rookie, who he described as skilled and athletic.  Despite the rumors about Speights' work ethic, the skills are there, and the injury to Smith may give the kid an opportunity this season.

* Willie Green was given a vote of confidence from the Sixers GM.  For now, there are no more moves planned, so Willie is part of the team.  He also disclosed that Green was playing hurt last year, and was hopeful there would be some improvement this season.

Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

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Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

Forget about Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan. (Forget about Millville too — sorry, Mike Trout.)

Another South Jersey star athlete has his eyes on playing for a Philadelphia franchise someday.

Yes, we're talking about Carneys Point, New Jersey's very own, Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.

On a radio hit Friday with 94WIP's "Morning Show," Gaudreau expressed his interest in one day putting on the orange and black.

“It would be sweet to play [in Philadelphia] someday,” Gaudreau said. “You never know in sports, but it’s a lot of support back here in South Jersey and the Philly area.

“I’ve got a ton of family here, all my friends. All my friends come back here, all my good friends and kids that I’ve played with my whole life are from South Jersey.”

The problem is, "Johnny Hockey" has five years left on his six-year, $40.5 million contract extension he signed with Calgary signed before last season. 

In the final year of his contract, 2021-22, Gaudreau has a modified no-trade clause … and yep, the Flyers are reportedly on that list too.

Gaudreau, who turns 24 on Aug. 13, scored 18 goals and 61 points in 72 games last season with the Flames. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau has 73 goals and 204 points in 232 career games in Calgary.

The former Hobey Baker Award winner will be turning 29 when he's able to reach unrestricted free agency.

Could he be what Jeff Carter was to the Kings in 2012 to the Flyers in 2022?

Only time will tell.

H/t to Sportsnet.

MLB Notes: Mariners send top prospect Tyler O'Neill to Cardinals

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MLB Notes: Mariners send top prospect Tyler O'Neill to Cardinals

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners have acquired young left-hander Marco Gonzales from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for top outfield prospect Tyler O'Neill.

The clubs pulled off the surprising deal Friday, the second move to add pitching help in as many days for the Mariners. Seattle acquired veteran reliever David Phelps from Miami on Thursday.

This time, Seattle added a young starter who will have a number of seasons of club control but paid a hefty price.

O'Neill was considered one of the top prospects in Seattle's farm system and had been on a tear of late at Triple-A Tacoma. The 22-year-old O'Neill had 19 home runs in 93 games at Triple-A.

Gonzales, 25, is still working his way back from missing all the 2016 season due to elbow surgery. He pitched in one major league game this season for the Cardinals.

Cubs: 3B Bryant sidelined by sprained finger
CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is out of the starting lineup after he sprained his left little finger on a headfirst slide.

Bryant got hurt in the first inning of Chicago's 8-2 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday. X-rays were negative, and he is considered day to day.

The 25-year-old Bryant is hitting .275 with 19 homers and 40 RBIs in 88 games. He won the NL MVP award last year, helping the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908.

Javier Baez got the start at third for Chicago's series opener against St. Louis on Friday at Wrigley Field.

Athletics: Carter signed to minor league deal, Montas, Olson promoted
NEW YORK -- The Oakland Athletics have signed free agent slugger Chris Carter to a minor league deal and promoted right-hander Frankie Montas and first baseman/outfielder Matt Olson to the majors.

The A's made the moves before playing the New York Mets on Friday night.

Carter was recently cut by the New York Yankees after hitting .201 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs. He tied for the NL lead with 41 homers for Milwaukee last year but struggled as a first baseman and designated hitter for the Yankees.

Carter was assigned to Triple-A Nashville. He played for Oakland in 2010-12 and hit 19 home runs.

Montas was 1-1 with a 6.91 ERA in 21 relief appearances for Oakland before being sent down on June 11.

Olson is joining Oakland for the fifth time this season. He hit .184 with four homers and nine RBIs in his previous four stints.

Cardinals: OF Grichuk, LHP Duke activated from DL
CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Cardinals have activated outfielder Randal Grichuk and reliever Zach Duke from the disabled list and recalled catching prospect Carson Kelly from Triple-A Memphis.

St. Louis also acquired minor league outfielder Tyler O'Neill in a trade with Seattle for left-hander Marco Gonzales, and designated catcher Eric Fryer for assignment before Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs. Right-hander Sam Tuivailala and outfielder Magneuris Sierra were optioned to the minors after Thursday's 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.

Grichuk was sidelined by a lower back injury. He made a rehab appearance with Double-A Springfield on Wednesday and went 1 for 4 with a three-run homer.

The 34-year-old Duke is coming back from Tommy John surgery last October. He went 2-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 81 games last season for St. Louis and the Chicago White Sox.