Mailbag: More on Eagles Draft

Mailbag: More on Eagles Draft

Reader Alison writes in to point out the poll on DonovanMcNabb.com asking what position the Eagles should address with their first pick.  Not surprisingly, QB didn't make the list.

Reader George writes in from Boston with a nice long rant on the Eagles as a business.  He starts:

Something that I'm reminded of today is that pro sports is above all a business. I'm thinking of this as I reflect on the Eagles draft. I'm a displaced Philly fan living in Boston, working in finance, so I 'get it.' That doesn't mean that I have to like it. There's essentially two ways to run a business, one is for growth and the other is for cash. Running a business for cash is often perceived as the safe play.

The rest of his rant after the jump.

Once the business is established, it doesn't reinvest a lot of capital, maximizes profitability, generates a steady stream of income and cash flow, and so long as none of its competitors are really out-executing it or taking significant market share, the business can continue to hum along and make money for a long time. Eventually, however, many of these businesses either get diplaced by more agile or more innovative competitors, or by larger companies that have better scale and lower costs.   

   Running a business for growth is more risky. The growth business reinvests a lot of its earnings and cash in R&D or sales capacity to grow the business. It looks to make strategic acquisitions, and sometimes chooses to go into debt, potentially betting the future for opportunities that are available today. There is inherantly more risks to the growth strategy. A company could make bad investments, R&D could bear no fruit and acquisitions can carry significant integration and execution risk. And often, growth strategies fail and companies go bankrupt. But sometimes they don't, and we get a General Electric, a Microsoft or an Apple. From an investment perspective, investors like cash, but they pay up for and lust for growth. Why? because one dollar is always worth one dollar, but the dream of what one dollar invested today could be worth tomorrow, next month or next year is a big part of what makes this country go. Everyone wishes they'd invested that dollar in Microsoft in 1990.

nbsp;   While the Eagles might appear to be in growth mode, from a business analysis perspective they are obviously in running the business for cash. By trading down and drafting for the future, the Eagles are conservatively choosing to sit on cash as opposed to making capital investments that could help the team win now. Moving down in the draft lowers their total cash outlay required to sign their total draftees, lowering capital expenses and total reinvestment rate. Strategic acquisitions in recent years seem to have been small and anything but risky. The Eagles have been running the franchise under the salary cap for years, maximizing profit margins at the expense of innovation and improving their competitive position in the market. This has resulted in the Eagles being an above-median performer over the last decade, but having constantly fallen short of absolute success as it is measured in their business segment.

   The company - excuse me, the Eagles - were not always running the business for cash. Reid, Heckert  & Co. used to be an innovative management team. The drafting of Donovan McNabb and the signing of Jon Runyan started the growth cycle. The Eagles were in full growth mode when they acquired Jevon Kearse and TO, and drafting players that could potentially make a positive contribution right away. Maybe that experience has left the management team more conservative, and understandably so. Here's the problem: in the NFL, the future is always now, this season. Business performance gets judged annually. There is no carry over, no running the business for cash, everyone starts anew each year. Yes some of the players are carried over, but every team is remade each season. Every September, each team start with 0 wins and 0 losses before the first coin flip.

 

    So here's to imploring CEO Jeff Lurie. Jeff, grow the business. Invest, acquire, think strategically. Add valuable assets around your core capabilites. Boldly defend your market position. Bury the competition. Increase the returns for your shareholders, or us fans. See what that dollar in your pocket can be worth in November, December or even in January. Because come that second week in February, that dollar is worth just a dollar.

Best of MLB: Rougned Odor homers twice for Rangers in 8-3 win over Royals

Best of MLB: Rougned Odor homers twice for Rangers in 8-3 win over Royals

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rougned Odor homered twice, A.J. Griffin pitched into the sixth inning and the Texas Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 8-3 on Friday night.

Jurickson Profar also went deep for the Rangers, and scored three runs.

Odor hit a solo homer in the first that put AL West-leading Texas up 3-0 against Edinson Volquez (8-9). That 443-foot drive into the second deck of seats in right field came a night after Odor's 465-footer that is the longest in his career. He had another solo shot in the seventh, his 21st of the season barely clearing the 8-foot wall in right.

Eric Hosmer homered for the defending World Series champion Royals, who dropped to 10 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central.

Griffin (4-1) had his longest outing in seven starts in just over a month since coming off the disabled list because of right shoulder stiffness. The right-hander struck out one and walked two while throwing 66 of 98 pitches for strikes in 5 2-3 innings (see full recap). 

Chatwood, Gonzalez lead Rockies over Mets for 4th win in row
NEW YORK -- Tyler Chatwood kept winning on the road, Carlos Gonzalez homered and drove in four runs and the Colorado Rockies defeated the New York Mets 6-1 Friday night for their fourth straight victory.

Mark Reynolds also homered for the surging Rockies, who are 11-4 since the All-Star break and have moved within four games of Miami for the second NL wild-card spot.

Chatwood (10-6) improved to 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA away from Coors Field this season. The 26-year-old is 4-6 with a 5.69 ERA at home.

Gonzalez matched a season-high hitting streak of 11 games with an RBI double in the first. He hit a 448-foot, three-run drive in the ninth for his 21st homer.

Steven Matz (8-7) gave up two runs and 10 hits in six innings (see full recap). 

Lester recovers from rut of bad starts, Cubs rout Mariners
CHICAGO -- Jon Lester recovered from a rut of bad starts, pitching six shutout innings that led the Chicago Cubs over the Seattle Mariners 12-1 Friday for their third straight win.

Jason Heyward and David Ross homered as the NL Central leaders improved to 9-5 since the All-Star break following a 1-9 slump. Seattle lost in its first trip to Wrigley Field since 2007.

Lester (11-4) had lasted just 16 innings over his previous four starts, going 1-1 with a 10.13 ERA. That skid came after he had gone 9-3 with a 2.03 ERA in his first 16 starts.

Lester gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked two. He was already done when there was a 74-minute rain delay in the seventh.

Mike Montgomery, traded last week from Seattle to the Cubs, pitched the final two innings. He gave up a single to Shawn O'Malley in the ninth for the Mariners' run.

Hisashi Iwakuma (11-7) had won his last five starts, but gave up five runs and eight hits in three innings (see full recap).

Source: Phillies, Rangers in 'pretty deep' trade talks about Vince Velasquez

Source: Phillies, Rangers in 'pretty deep' trade talks about Vince Velasquez

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA — The Phillies lost, 2-1, to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

The big news from this game, however, was that Vince Velasquez might have made his last start with the Phillies. A major league source told CSNPhilly.com that the Phillies and Texas Rangers are “pretty deep” in trade discussions involving Velasquez. The Rangers, the source said, also have some interest in Jeremy Hellickson, who pitches for the Phillies on Saturday night, but he appears to be a secondary target (see story).

It would take top talent to get Velasquez, a 24-year-old right-hander with a power arm. The Phillies acquired him over the winter from Houston as the centerpiece in the deal that sent Ken Giles to the Astros.

The Rangers had several scouts at the game, including Scott Littlefield, one of their top talent evaluators.

The Rangers’ interest in Velasquez was reported earlier in the week by Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Apparently there’s more than just interest. Stay tuned as Monday’s trade deadline approaches.

Starting pitching report
Velasquez scattered seven hits and two runs over six innings. He walked two and struck out five. Velasquez battled some command issues and needed 91 pitches to complete the six innings.

He is 8-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 18 starts. He has a 2.75 ERA in six starts since a brief stint on the disabled list with a right biceps strain.

Braves right-hander Tyrell Jenkins gave up just one unearned run over six innings.

Bullpen report
Both bullpens pitched scoreless ball.

At the plate
Phillies leadoff man Cesar Hernandez reached base in his first three at-bats and scored the Phillies’ only run on an error in the third inning. 

The Braves scored two runs in the third inning on three singles, a sacrifice bunt and a walk against Velasquez. Gordon Beckham and Nick Markakis drove in the runs with base hits.

Up next
Hellickson (7-7, 3.65) makes perhaps his final start with the Phillies on Saturday night. He will face Braves right-hander Julio Teheran (3-8, 2.71).

Jeremy Hellickson set to pitch Saturday — unless he's traded

Jeremy Hellickson set to pitch Saturday — unless he's traded

ATLANTA — Even with the Miami Marlins having filled their need for starting pitching, there remains significant interest in Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson, according to major league sources.

The Phillies have received offers for the 29-year-old right-hander, but none that they have deemed worthy of pulling the trigger on.

Hellickson is scheduled to make his 22nd start for the club on Saturday night. Will he make that start? Time will tell. Talks between the Phillies and interested clubs are ongoing.

Hellickson is coming off two strong starts in which he allowed just six hits and one run in 14 innings against the Marlins. Another strong start Saturday could add more luster to Hellickson’s stretch-run value and bring the Phillies the package they are seeking. The trade deadline is Monday at 4 p.m.

Miami had interest in Hellickson before making a deal to acquire starters Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from San Diego in a seven-player trade Friday (see story).

Hellickson is viewed by industry insiders as being a fallback option for a number of teams. Demand for him could grow as trades are made and the starting pitching market thins as Monday’s deadline approaches.

Baltimore, Toronto, Texas, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Houston are among teams looking to add starting pitching.

Though there’s no guarantee that Hellickson will be moved, he is the most likely Phillie to go. Reliever David Hernandez is next on the list. A number of teams are looking for relief help. The feeling around baseball is that the Phils could move Hernandez before Monday’s deadline, but the return would only be marginal.

The Phillies have received some interest in closer Jeanmar Gomez, but not to the degree one might expect for someone with 27 saves. Because Gomez lacks power stuff, rival teams do not view him as a closer on a contending team.

FOX Sports reports that the Rangers have interest in right-hander Vince Velasquez, but the Phils would have to be blown away to move the 24-year-old right-hander. Velasquez started for the Phillies on Friday night.