Is Union midfielder Michael Farfan bound for Mexico? Es posible

Is Union midfielder Michael Farfan bound for Mexico? Es posible

According to a post (in Spanish) on ESPNFC.com, Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan was one of three Major League Soccer players who took physicals today with Cruz Azul, one of the top teams in Liga MX, the Mexican professional league. (If you use Google Chrome, you can translate it into English and make it slightly readable -- and funny).

Reports are still unconfirmed outside of the ESPNFC story, with a few Union reporters, like Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald working to confirm with the team.

The tweet below is from Tom Marshall, who covers the Mexican league for ESPNFC.

Unlike most other professional sports, or even most soccer leagues around the world, signing players away from MLS is not as simple as it might seem. So even if Farfan wants to go, this isn't an open-and-shut case.

So how can a guy who many have been lukewarm on for more than a year now (including me) and who isn't a guaranteed starter for a non-playoff MLS team jump into a top Mexican side? Well, he likely will be loaned to a second-division club.

If Farfan -- who has Mexican heritage but has played for the United States Under-17 team -- wants to go, and Cruz Azul wants him badly enough, MLS and the Union will find a way to make it happen (don't forge  that player movement is not entirely up to the teams, as players are technically property of the league, not a team).

A great find from the @UnionRumors page on Twitter: Cruz Azul already has a bio page on its website for Farfan:

The question is what this says about the Union and/or MLS, that a player -- an American -- would want to leave MLS for what will likely be a spot on  a second division team in Mexico. In my opinion, it doesn't mean much -- the sky is not falling for American soccer.

Farfan was clearly not especially high on John Hackworth's list this season. He started 22 games and played in 29 in 2013, one year after starting 31 times. He might have visions of a Cruz Azul uniform in his future, and doesn't want to turn down the opportunity.

As for the Union, it would be another hole to fill in an offseason that has been spent doing not much at all. I think the Union could do better than Farfan in the starting XI, but he is a useful player with some room to grow. I'd argue though, that his his ceiling is decidedly lower than many thought when he was drafted 23rd overall in the 2011 draft.

UPDATE: This comes from Brian Sciaretta, who writes for American Soccer Now and the New York Times Goal Blog.

 

UPDATE: The league's official website with some details of the story.

Source: Phillies agree to 1-year deal with reliever Joaquin Benoit

Source: Phillies agree to 1-year deal with reliever Joaquin Benoit

The Phillies have agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million contract with right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit, a source tells CSN's Jim Salisbury.

Benoit, 39, was the 11th-oldest pitcher in baseball last season, but he's remained effective as he's aged. Since 2010, Benoit has a 2.40 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, he's struck out 10.0 batters per nine innings while walking 2.8, and allowed a .189 batting average.

Benoit has also maintained his velocity through the years. His fastball averaged 94.2 mph last season, which is actually faster than it was in 2010.

Benoit has been in the majors for 15 years, spending eight with Texas, three with Detroit, two with San Diego, one with Tampa Bay and a half-season apiece with Seattle and Toronto.

Benoit has experience closing but has spent the majority of his career as a setup man. Benoit, along with Hector Neris, figures to have a place in the eighth or ninth inning for the Phillies in 2017, perhaps pushing last year's closer, Jeanmar Gomez, back to the seventh inning.

The Phillies have not yet officially announced the signing of Benoit and will need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for him.

Not So Fast Joel Embiid: Nik Stauskas's dad claims his son is the original 'The Process'

Not So Fast Joel Embiid: Nik Stauskas's dad claims his son is the original 'The Process'

Philadelphia 76ers sharp shooter Nik Stauskas is back on his "Sauce and Co." podcast with a couple of very special guests: his Momma Ruta and Pappa Paul.

After being overly Canadian in their take on Friday night's brutal loss -- "less than stellar" --  to the Orlando Magic, Mr. Stauskas brings the heat with a fantastic "fun fact."

"Speaking of Joel, I have a fun fact for your audience here," Paul Stauskas says. "I have to give him a new moniker."

He doesn't exactly have a new one yet but...

"'The Process' has already been taken. In 2013 there was a documentary made about Nik called 'Nik Stauskas: The Process.' So if Embiid wants to continue using that, I'm affraid he's going to have to pay a royalty."

                         [Related: Joel Embiid feels 'The Process' is about him]

And if you hit up YouTube, there is is, a 21-minute documentary about a younger Nik Stauskas.

"If this does blow up, there may be some royalty fees he owes me," Nik adds. "I'll have to bring that up to Joel."

"He's got the cheddar," Paul says. "So he can pay up."

You can listen to the Stauskas family podcast in full below.