Lavoy is Back in Town: Allen Signs Two-Year, 6-Mil Extension

Lavoy is Back in Town: Allen Signs Two-Year, 6-Mil Extension

Of all the "Sixers Re-Sign ____" headlines we might be seeing over the
next few weeks now that free agency is starting, this is the one that
should cause the fewest heart attacks. Lavoy Allen, local Temple grad,
had a strong rookie season, was one of the most reliable Sixers in their
unexpectedly deep playoff run this year, particularly proving the
team's one big that stood any chance of hanging with Celtics
seven-footer Kevin Garnett. He's not a franchise guy and he's probably
not a core player, but he's a valuable reserve and just 23 years old.
Clerical laziness meant that the second-rounder would become a
restricted free agent after his rookie season, but it was obvious the
Sixers would move quickly to re-secure his services.

So, two years, six million for Lavoy. Sounds reasonable enough. With
Elton Brand on his way out—next off-season, if not earlier—and the
Sixers' frontcourt spots otherwise highly unstabilized, we need all the
cheap, reliable frontcourt help we can get, and Lavoy certainly earned
his stripes in that Celtics series. We don't know if he can be a starter
yet, as his unlikely run as the team's first-line center last season
ultimately ran aground, but he's got the potential, and at the very
least is a fine backup and energy guy off the bench. At three mil a
year, that's a good enough worst-case scenario. And there was always the
risk that some other team would sign him to an oversized offer sheet
(like the $3 year / 25 mil deal our old friend Omer Asik of the Bulls
just signed with Houston) that the Sixers would have to contemplate
matching, so it's good to see Philly lock him up quick just in case.

Of course, still moves that need be made here—currently, our big man
rotation consists of Elton, Lavoy, Nik Vucevic, rookie Arnett Moultrie,
and, uh...we still got Tony Battie back there somewhere? Needless to
say, improvements must (or at least really, really should) be made from
here, but this is a good first step. Next up: NOT signing Spencer Hawes
to a contract twice this size in length and expense.

Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

For the most part, Carson Wentz had a pretty successful rookie season. 

Sure, the Eagles finished with a 7-9 record, but Wentz did enough to continue the franchise's belief that he is indeed the quarterback of the future. 

Another guy in Dallas did the same thing with the Cowboys. Actually, Dak Prescott had an even more impressive rookie season, leading the Cowboys to 13 wins, while winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. 

Prescott, a fourth-round pick, had a great year, but didn't try to do too much. And that's what impressed Eagles head coach Doug Pederson the most. 

"[Prescott] understood this right away, that he didn't have to win the game for them," Pederson said on The Doomsday Podcast, hosted by Matt Mosley and Ed Werder. (Pederson also talked about running the Rocky steps). "He knew that he had a good defense, a tremendous offensive line, a great runner, he had some veteran players that he could rely on and he learned that early. As soon as he had the opportunity to play and that was early, from Day 1. 

"That's something that a young quarterback, sometimes it takes them a while to figure out the game that way. That's the impressive thing, that he learned how to handle that business that well, utilize the people around him and understand that he didn't have to go win the game."

While Prescott had plenty of help during his rookie season, it was pretty evident Wentz was lacking in that area. 

Prescott had a great offensive line, Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott and others. Wentz had an offensive line that was missing Lane Johnson, an often-injured Ryan Mathews and receivers like Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham playing serious snaps. 

So it made sense when the team went out this offseason and signed Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and recently LeGarrette Blount, as free agents, finally getting Wentz some real help. 

"We had opportunities to get those two guys and it was obvious last year, we were young at the wide receiver position," Peterson said. "We needed some leadership, some veteran presence there and we went out and got that with Torrey and Alshon. We still want to build through the draft, we still want to acquire young talent. 

"LeGarrette Blount now is a guy that gives us that big back, running back, that can come in and compete and hopefully he does everything he did at New England the last couple of seasons. He had 18 rushing touchdowns for over 1,000 yards and we just expect that same level of performance here."

Maybe having weapons will allow Wentz to do what made Prescott so impressive to Pederson in 2016: not too much. 

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Pete Mackanin is still searching for answers to the Phillies' offensive woes following Sunday afternoon's disheartening 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh during which the Phils could only muster three hits.

The latest lineup twist as the search for an answer continues will see Michael Saunders bat in the eight-hole tonight as the Phils open a four-game series with the surging Rockies tonight at Citizens Bank Park (see game notes).

When he has started this season, Saunders has been a fixture within the middle of the Phillies' order. After all, the offseason free-agent signing was an All-Star last season for Toronto when he hit 24 homers and drove in 57 runs.

But this season hasn't gone as planned as Saunders is hitting just .232 with four homers and 15 RBI in 41 games with the Phils this season.

With Saunders' drop down the lineup, Tommy Joseph will bat fourth, Maikel Franco fifth and Odubel Herrera sixth against Rockies spot starter Jeff Hoffman.

Tonight's full lineup can be found below:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Aaron Altherr LF
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Maikel Franco 3B
6. Odubel Herrera CF
7. Cameron Rupp C
8. Michael Saunders RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff SP