Phils Trade Winds Starting to Blow?

Phils Trade Winds Starting to Blow?

The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline is a mere 16 days away. For a team with the best record in baseball the Phillies certainly have a few areas of need.

Separate tweets by ESPN writers Buster Olney and Jerry Crasnick seem to indicate that a) the Phils may be narrowing their focus and b) opposing teams are headed to the Phils Class A affiliate in Clearwater to scout the arms of the "Baby Aces".

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Lots of scouts flocking to Clearwater, Fla., to check out #Phillies pitching prospects Cosart, May, Pettibone and Colvin, I'm hearingless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyJerry Crasnick
jcrasnick

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Rival evaluators beginning to believe PHI's current priority is in going for bullpen help,rather than for a right-handed hitting outfielder.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyBuster Olney
Buster_ESPN

To date they've lost three closers (Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madson). Madson is now off the DL, Lidge may be activated in the next week or so (it remains to be seen how effective he'll be), and Contreras just flew to California for a second opinion on his ailing forearm.

Mike Stutes and Antonio Bastardo have been revelations in the bullpen, but I don't think I am going out on a limb by saying that the Phils could certainly use some relief help.

Similarly, I am not telling you anything you don't already know, but the lineup has been screaming for a right handed bat. To date the prevailing wisdom has been that Ruben Amaro Jr. would look fill that need via the corner outfield spot. I am not sure whether Placido Polanco's trip to the DL changes that analysis at all, but I think we can all agree that they need a stick from the right side.

Further complicating matters is the fact that the Phils are right up against the MLB luxury tax threshold. They do not have a whole lot of wiggle room as it relates to taking on additional salary.

With that being said, if you were the GM of this team which area of need would you prioritize - bullpen or right handed bat? Or are you content with the state of the roster as is?

UPDATE: Olney added later in the day on Friday that, "Phillies are in play for Heath Bell or Mike Adams or Chad Qualls. They have been considered frontrunner to land a SD reliever."

Photo Credit: Howard Smith, US PRESSWIRE

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench. 

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.” 

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Gotta love Bryz, right?

Former Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was his usual humorous, unpredictable self in a recent interview with Sportsnet.ca's Luke Fox.

From what he's doing now to talking pressure as a goalie, here are some of the highlights ...

On a goalie's mental state when job security is up in the air (referenced to Flyers goalie Steve Mason)
“So many goalies take the job for a long time, so it’s easy to be out of game. You worry. You want to find a long-term job, pay bills. It’s not a secret. That’s why when there’s no [contractual] certainty and you don’t see 100 percent confidence from your team, it might affect your game. If the season’s not going well, you start thinking about it.”

On his son playing goalie
"He chose it. He’s the guy who gives his team a chance to win. Make some saves. But he plays as a player once a week, too. Shoots the puck on goalies every Wednesday pretty much.”

On being a hockey dad
“I’m pretty calm. I only get upset when I see the referees make the bad calls. The kids work so hard and play so passionately, you can’t take sides. Only when the referee’s unfair.”

On being a pro hockey player in Las Vegas
"I’m family guy, settled down. I’ve never been too emotional or casino-addicted. For me, no problem. For the young guys to play there, it causes trouble, man. Difficult trouble. … The young ones with the cash? Las Vegas can provide lots of scenes, know what I mean?"

The rest is just as good. For the full Q&A, read Fox's article right here.

Also, Bryzgalov will be a part of Sportsnet's trade deadline coverage next Wednesday.

And side note: Bryz remains active on Twitter. And remains random as ever.

Just look at his last tweet ...