Report: Phillies Targeting Three Teams for Possible Papelbon Trade

Report: Phillies Targeting Three Teams for Possible Papelbon Trade

The way things have been going on the field lately, doomsday doesn’t seem too far off in the horizon for the Phillies. Ruben Amaro Jr. is readying the button.

According to a report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Phillies have begun scouting the farm systems of three Major League teams that may be interested in acquiring closer Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline. Cafardo also indicates Amaro is not high on the idea of shipping out Cliff Lee, the subject of numerous trade rumors since before the season began.

Apparently RAJ believes the Phils can get a significant return of prospects for Pap, who is 13 for 13 in save opportunities this season, without gutting the roster.

2. Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, Phillies — The Phillies believe there are at least three teams — Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals — that may have some interest in Papelbon at the trade deadline. It’s no secret the Phillies are scouting those teams with Papelbon in mind. Ruben Amaro Jr. came out and said last week that he’s not ready to “blow up” the Phillies. And while the Philadelphia GM is not crazy about moving Cliff Lee, Papelbon could provide the “retooling” with younger players the Phillies need.

As superb as Papelbon has been, it’s clear closer is a luxury for the Phillies right now. His 13 saves are tied for eighth in the National League, which means he’s not getting enough opportunities to justify his roughly $13-million-per-year salary, and Charlie Manuel won’t utilize Pap in almost any other situation.

Edward Mujica has 19 saves and a 1.82 for the Cardinals, which would seem to make them a curious target for Papelbon. The Tigers’ Jose Valdevere is 35 though, and has blown three of 12 save opportunities this year. The Red Sox also make sense per the following report via NESN:

Just over a month ago, Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan was diagnosed with a torn flexor muscle tendon, and shortly after underwent season-ending surgery. Since returning from the disabled list in late May, now-closer Andrew Bailey has gone 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA and three saves in four opportunities in nine innings of work.

Papelbon was asked about the possibility of returning to Boston during their series against the Phils back in May, an idea to which he sounded receptive. Can’t say I blame him with his former teammates clutching to first place in the AL East while the Fightins are headed back in the wrong direction.

>> MLB trade market revolves around pitchers [Globe]

Julius Erving, Allen Iverson gearing up for upcoming BIG3 draft

Julius Erving, Allen Iverson gearing up for upcoming BIG3 draft

The NFL isn't the only league with a draft coming up this month.

Julius Erving and Allen Iverson have some work to do, too.

The newly-formed BIG3 three-on-three league will hold the first player draft for its eight teams on April 30 in Las Vegas. Iverson is a player, captain and coach for 3's Company. Erving is the coach of Tri-State.

The BIG3 comes to the Wells Fargo center on July 16 during Week 4 of 10.

There are 24 spots remaining on the rosters. Over 70 former NBA players are hoping to be selected. Former Sixers Jumaine Jones, Larry Hughes, Reggie Evans, Joe Smith, Xavier Silas, and Lee Nailon are among those eligible for the draft.

Other draft entrants include (in alphabetical order): Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Marcus Banks, Keith Bogans, Earl Boykins, Derrick Byars, Josh Childress, Brian Cook, Ndudi Ebi, Steve Francis, Kendall Gill, Donte Greene, Shane Heal, Mike James, Ivan Johnson, Voshon Lenard, Rashad McCants, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Lawrence Moten, Ronald "Flip" Murray, Andre Owens, Smush Parker, Jamario Moon, Ruben Patterson, Isaiah "J.R." Rider, Eddie Robinson, four-time All-Star Latrell Sprewell, DeShawn Stevenson, Mike Sweetney, Etan Thomas, Hakim Warrick, and James White.

How the rosters currently stand:

3's Company: Allen Iverson (captain, player-coach), DerMarr Johnson (captain)

Ball Hogs: Brian Scalabrine, Player X, Rick Barry (coach)

Ghost Ballers: Captains Mike Bibby (captain), Ricky Davis (captain), George Gervin (coach)

Killer 3s: Chauncey Billups (captain), Stephen Jackson (captain), Charles Oakley (player-coach)

Power: Corey Maggette (captain), Cuttino Mobley (captain), Clyde Drexler (coach)

Three-Headed Monsters: Rashard Lewis (captain), Jason Williams (captain), Gary Payton (coach)

Trilogy: Kenyon Martin (captain), Al Harrington (captain), Rick Mahorn (coach)

Tri-State: Jermaine O’Neal (captain), Bonzi Wells (captain), Julius Erving (coach)

The BIG3 was founded by Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz. It will kick off June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Roob's 25 Random Points: NFL draft edition

Roob's 25 Random Points: NFL draft edition

This isn't an entirely random 25 Random Points because we are three days away from the NFL draft, so it's kind of top-heavy in random draft thoughts.

But there's also the usual nonsense about regional rail, parallel parking, pro bowling, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the best live band in Philly.

Sorry if this one isn't quite random enough. I promise the next one will be far more pointless! 

1. There's a chance the Eagles will select a defensive end in the first round of this year's draft and if they do there's a chance he'll be a terrific, productive player. Historically? That hasn't been the case. In fact, no team in NFL history has been worse drafting defensive ends. Nobody. Let's start with this: In the last 30 years, there have been only 11 defensive ends league-wide who were drafted in the first round and never recorded more than four sacks. Only one team has drafted more than one of those 11 and that's the Eagles, who drafted three of them: Jon Harris in 1997, Jerome McDougle in 2003 and Marcus Smith in 2014. Now, Smith is still active and can add to his total if he makes the roster. But four sacks in three years doesn't augur well for the future.

2. Now consider this: Since sacks became an official NFL stat in 1982, the Eagles have selected nine defensive ends in the first three rounds of the draft. Those nine players have averaged 3.4 sacks per season in an Eagles uniform. Yep. Fewer than 3 1/2 sacks per season! Who has the highest average of the group? None other than the unfairly maligned Mike Mamula, who had 31 1/2 sacks in five seasons as an Eagle -- 6.3 per season. Nobody else is close: Brandon Graham (4.1 sacks per season), Vinny Curry (3.8), Derrick Burgess (2.8), Greg Jefferson (2.7), Victor Abiamiri (1.3), Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (1.0), Jerome McDougle (1.0), Jon Harris (1.0). 

So of the nine defensive ends the Eagles have drafted in the first three rounds, Mamula has been, by far, the most productive. And six averaged fewer than 3.0 sacks a season in an Eagles uniform. And I didn't even include Chris Gocong, a college defensive end who the Eagles converted to linebacker. It's really hard to be this bad at something!

3. Everybody loves mock drafts. They're so popular now that many analysts do multiple versions of the first round and then they keep "updating" their mocks as the draft gets closer. Which makes me wonder what the purpose of those earlier mock drafts is. You're basically saying ... 'OK, this is completely wrong and I'm going to fix it soon, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway because OMG IT'S A MOCK DRAFT. And then I'm going to change it next week and throw it out there again and more people will read it because OMG IT'S A MOCK DRAFT! And it will be completely wrong again.' People love reading mock drafts even though deep down they understand they're meaningless!

4. It also cracks me up when analysts breathlessly claim that a player is DROPPING DOWN THE DRAFT BOARD or SHOOTING UP THE DRAFT BOARD. Actually, they're really not. There is often a perception of players rising and falling, but most of the time it's not really happening. NFL teams set their boards based on a lot of information, most of which the public never sees. When bits of that information leak out, then that's reflected in mock drafts, and you have the illusion of players rising and falling. But in reality, teams have already set a value for that player. So he's not really rising or falling at all. Mock drafts just THINK he is. Now, if a player gets hurt in his pro day, yeah, that will affect his actual status. But those are the exceptions. Most of the time you hear people talking about a player "shooting up the draft board" or "plunging down the board?" Not really happening. It's all an illusion!

5. All that said, I feel like the first couple days of the draft are the most revealing time of the season for NFL teams because it's the one point where they really tip their hand about what they like about their roster and what they don't like. For 363 days, NFL coaches and executives tell you they love everybody on their team. For a couple days in April, they can't hide the truth any longer. That's when we truly learn what they are thinking.

6. I love a good train trestle.

7. My top 20 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame omissions: 1. Todd Rundgren, 2. Warren Zevon, 3. The Monkees, 4. Dire Straits, 5. Kate Bush, 6. The B-52's, 7. Roxy Music, 8. Bon Jovi, 9. Cheap Trick, 10. The Replacements, 11. T. Rex, 12. Guided by Voices, 13. The Smiths, 14. Jethro Tull, 15. Television, 16. Three Dog Night, 17. The Cars, 18. Big Star, 19. Iron Maiden, 20. Gentle Giant.

8. Who do I want at No. 14? Let's say Gareon Conley, John Ross, Corey Davis, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Jabrill Peppers, Derek Barnett, Charles Harris and Reuben Foster are all on the board. That won't be the case, but let's say they are. What direction would you go? There's no right or wrong answer. You can make a good case for any of those guys. We know the Eagles are desperate for pass rush help. We know they desperately need corners and a running back. But for me, it's all about weapons for Carson Wentz, and there's no guarantee Alshon Jeffery or Torrey Smith will be here beyond this year. So a young, play-making wideout is at the top of my list. Someone Wentz can grow with for the next several years. It comes to whether you like Ross or Davis better. Ross is obviously faster, but Davis is a big, tough, strong, smart, physical kid who has pretty good speed of his own. If I were making the pick? I'm going with Davis.

9. What about cornerback? The class is so deep the Eagles should be able to get some help in the later rounds. There could be four or five corners taken in the first round, and since there are teams that don't need corners, it will push quality guys into the second, third and even fourth rounds. Remember, Eric Allen? Second round. Sheldon Brown? Second round. Bobby Taylor? Second round. The Eagles have five of the first 139 picks and I would be fine using two of them on corners.

10. Speaking of corner ... I haven't given up on the notion of Jalen Mills as a potential starter. I know he doesn't have world-class speed, but, man, I like the way he plays. He's tough, he's aggressive, he doesn't back down, he's got that LSU swagger. Yeah, he got beat deep too many times last year, but tell me a rookie cornerback who doesn't get beat. Every time he kept his head up and kept fighting. Mills battled some pretty darn good wide receivers last year and held his own much of the time. Is he best-suited to be a slot or a third corner? Maybe. But I want to at least give him a shot in training camp. I like his game, and I think he has a chance to be a player.

11. OK, if you're at a restaurant and you're on the phone, don't eat. And if you're eating, don't use the phone. M'kay?

12. It's amazing how many bad quarterbacks the Eagles have had in their history. Did you know only four QBs in Eagles history have won more than 20 games as a starter? Donovan (92), Jaws (69), Randall (63) and Norm Snead (28). And only six have won at least 10 games and have a winning record: McNabb (92-49-1), Jaws (69-67-1), Randall (63-43-1), Norm Van Brocklin (19-16-1), Nick Foles (15-9) and Rodney Peete (15-9). Only McNabb, Jaws and Tommy Thompson in the 1940s have won more than one playoff game. Carson Wentz needs 22 wins to become the fourth-winningest QB in franchise history. Which is sad.

13. If you wanted to, you could take local rail from Newark, Del., to New Haven, Conn. I have this all figured out. If you took a 6:22 a.m. SEPTA train from Newark you would get to Market East at 7:46 a.m. and connect to a Trenton train at 7:51 a.m., arriving in Trenton at 8:54 a.m. Then you would cross the platform and take the north-bound 9:21 a.m. New Jersey Transit train, arriving at Penn Station at 10:35 a.m. After a quick subway ride up to Grand Central via the 1-2-3 train and the S shuttle (or 7 train), you would jump on the 11:34 a.m. Metro North train, arriving in New Haven at 1:26 p.m. Voila, Newark to New Haven in only seven hours! Matter of fact, other than two segments -- New Haven to Providence and Perryville, Md., to Newark, Del. -- you could take local rail from Fredericksburg, Va., to Newburyport, Mass. If you really wanted to.

14. I remember sitting there in the media room in the basement of the Vet in April of 1988 thinking the Eagles really screwed up taking Keith Jackson with the 13th pick. Jackson had caught only 13 passes for 358 yards his senior year at Oklahoma and averaged just 16 catches for 390 yards in four years with the Sooners. He wasn't considered a good blocker and he never caught many passes. Jackson of course went on to earn first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in each of his first three seasons with the Eagles and averaged 61 catches for 689 yards and five TDs in his all-too-brief four-year stint with the Eagles.  

15. Two years later, the Eagles drafted Illinois wide receiver Mike Bellamy in the second round, and I was convinced he was the next Mike Quick. He was smooth, polished, productive. And never caught a pass as an Eagle. I think Jackson and Bellamy are the two Eagles draft picks over the years I was most wrong about.

16. The point being we all have our opinions on the draft, but you really don't know for a year or two what kind of draft a team really had. Consider the Eagles' 1986 draft. Nobody knew at the time, but the Eagles drafted two of the best players in franchise history 25 picks apart in rounds that don't even exist anymore -- Seth Joyner in the eighth round and Clyde Simmons in the ninth round. Joyner was released on final cuts and returned home to Pearl River, N.Y., before rejoining the Eagles. He didn't become a star until his third year. Simmons didn't have his first double-digit sack season until his fourth year. But Joyner went on to become the only player in NFL history with 50 sacks and 25 interceptions, and Simmons ranked 10th in NFL history with 121 sacks at the point he retired after the 1999 season (behind eight Hall of Famers and Leslie O'Neal). That was one of the greatest drafts in Eagles history. But nobody knew it for years.

17. Sometimes I feel like people are underestimating the Eagles' defense. Let's not forget they ranked 12th in the NFL last year, held quarterbacks to the fifth-lowest completion percentage in the NFL, allowed the fifth-fewest first downs, allowed the eighth-fewest touchdowns and ranked third in the red zone. All this under a first-year defensive coordinator and rookie head coach. Now, they also ranked last in the NFL allowing big plays. Which is why they're focusing on corner and pass rush. But they have tools to work with. It's not a total rebuild at all. They underachieved up front last year, but they're still solid on the defensive line, linebacker and safety. If they figure cornerback out, there's absolutely no reason this can't be a top-10 defense in 2017.

18. I don't get why the Google maps app on my phone always tries to direct me to a random place on the other side of the world when I ask for directions. If I just type "drug store," it will try to send me to a drug store in Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta, India. If I type "gas station," it will try to send me to a gas station in Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya, Australia. Dude. I'm in Philly. I've also learned that screaming at my cell phone doesn't help.

19. Crazy that 18 of the Eagles' last 24 first-round picks have been linemen. That goes back to 1991! The only players they've taken in the first round the last 26 years are quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz; wide receivers Jeremy Maclin, Freddie Mitchell and Nelson Agholor; and cornerback Lito Sheppard. If the Eagles take a non-lineman this year at No. 14, it'll be the first time since 1982 through 1984 they haven't taken a lineman in the first round for three straight years. They drafted Mike Quick, Michael Haddix and Kenny Jackson in the first round those years.

20. All of which means Lito is the only defensive player who wasn't a lineman the Eagles have drafted in the first round since Ben Smith in 1990!

21. Is there something seriously wrong with me if I pump my fist a few times and scream, "AWWW YEAH," after a particularly good parallel parking job?

22. Best live local band from Philly is Sheer Mag.

23. It's not "sampling." It's stealing.

24. I'll be surprised if Wentz doesn't throw at least five more touchdowns and five fewer interceptions in 2017 than he did in 2016 (16 TDs, 14 INTs). How does 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions sound?

25. I was in a restaurant the other day and they had pro bowling on the big-screen TV. Turns out it was a big match between the New York Kingpins and the Philadelphia Hitmen. Did you know we have a pro bowling team? Go Hitmen?