Morning (Almost Lunch) Extras: Phillies Kick Gagne's Tires & Birds Stuff

Morning (Almost Lunch) Extras: Phillies Kick Gagne's Tires & Birds Stuff

Still hoping to bolster their bullpen, the Phils are once again looking into big names from five years ago. The latest is former Cy Young winner and owner of the longest consecutive saves streak in MLB history, Eric Gagne. He last pitched in the bigs for Milwaukee in 2008, going 4-3 in 50 appearances with a 5.44 ERA and 10 saves.

It's cool Amaro is willing to give former All Stars such as Pedro Martinez a look, and that one certainly didn't work out too badly for them. Gagne just seems too far removed from those three seasons between '02 and '04, when he pitched in an astounding 224 games for the Dodgers. Now he has the appearance of a broken down player, one whose name has come up in the steroid scandal at that.

Gagne, a Montreal native, pitched for the Quebec Capitales in the independent Can-Am league in '09. In 17 starts, he went 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA, and 64 strikeouts to 34 walks. Not sure how much to read into those statistics, but the strikeout to walk ratio is telling. In his best days, that number was closer to 7:1. In recent years, it's been 2:1. It's unclear what kind of ball player the Phillies would be getting, but it will never be the same guy who broke records and won awards.

It's just a tryout though. Thoughts on the possibility of adding Eric Gagne?

Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos became the seventh Eagle to make this year's Pro Bowl in Miami. It's not terribly interesting news, but it is notable how he made the team: Wade Phillips.

The Cowboys head man will run the NFC squad this year (rather than the loser of NFC Championship, due to the game being moved up two weeks), and as Michael David Smith explains at PFT, the coach is allowed to select two additional "need" players for the game. Phillips chose Dorenbos, who has been solid since joining the club in 2006.

Donovan McNabb is expected to replace either Brees or Favre on the roster, giving Philly eight representatives in the game.

Quote of the moment by Shawn Andrews, heard on Sports Bash with Mike Gill on ESPN Radio 97.3, relayed by Moving the Chains:

"When I came out to LA after my back issue, I had to look coach Reid in the eye and tell him I owe him," Andrews said. "It’s bigger than football with me right now. If nothing else, I just wish that I could get just one more season just so I can pay coach Reid and just prove to the fans that I still have it, I still want to be a part of this organization. And for coach Reid sticking by me with my situation in 2008, and I definitely owe the city of Philadelphia so hopefully lord willing, I can get back to 100 percent and get to mashing people again."

CSN went to the trouble of compiling a list of what Eagles quarterbacks might fetch in a trade. The results are kind of all over the board, but the consensus was McNabb for a first or high second, Kolb anywhere from a late first to not even a second, and Vick some kind of conditional mid-round pick.

I think they're right on the money with McNabb, who could be worth as high as a first and a third. Vick too, who could easily go for a fourth as we discussed yesterday. Not surprisingly, it's Kolb who didn't get the respect of the panel. Some really smart football guys (Brian Baldinger, Ray Didinger) had him rated no higher than a third round pick. Obviously nobody knows yet what the true market is for any of these guys, but it seems like the Eagles would want a closer return on their investment. A high second round pick who became the first player to throw for 350-plus in his first two starts?

Starting quarterbacks are worth a premium. If a team believes in Kevin Kolb enough to trade for him, the Eagles will almost certainly ask for more.

The Sixers are back in action at the Wach tonight against Portland. Tip at 7:00. That's all I have to say about that.

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

The Sixers finished in the basement of the NBA standings last season with a league-low 10 wins. But with the influx of young talent and addition of a couple veterans to the roster, the Las Vegas oddsmakers are betting on the Sixers to make some strides upward in the 2016-17 standings.  

Last week, the WestGate Superbook in Las Vegas set the Sixers' over/under for wins this season at an optimistic 27½, which was the fourth-lowest projection in the league.

Similarly, while Bovada is projecting another season of basketball filled with mostly losses in Philadelphia, the sportsbook doesn't view the Sixers as a shoo-in to finish as the league's worst team for the second consecutive year.

Per Bovada, the Sixers have the fourth-longest odds (125/1) to capture the Atlantic Divison title for the first time since 2001-02, beating out the Nets (250/1) by a considerable margin.

The favorite to win the division is the Celtics at 20/21, trailed closely by the defending division champion Raptors (21/20). The Knicks are between the Raptors and Sixers at 10/1.

The Sixers (150/1) also edged out the Nets (200/1) in odds to win the Eastern Conference championship. The two teams in the conference directly ahead of the Sixers in that futures bet are the Hornets (100/1) and Magic (50/1).

The Cavaliers are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference at 5/11, followed by the Celtics (5/1) and Raptors (14/1).

Least surprising of all futures odds, Bovada has the Sixers tied with four other teams for the longest odds to win the NBA title. The Nuggets, Kings, Nets and Suns were tied with the Sixers at 500/1 odds to win the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

The early favorites to win it all are the same two teams that met in the 2016 Finals. The Warriors are alone at top with the shortest odds at 4/5 trailed by the Cavaliers at 3/1.

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

ATLANTA — The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves — No. 157 of 162 — ranked last in the majors in runs scored (591) and were hanging out near the bottom in a slew of other important offensive categories.
 
The stat sheet says the Phillies need more offense.
 
So does the manager.
 
Pete Mackanin plans to make his case for adding a bat this winter — the best fit would be in the outfield — in an end-of-season meeting with the front office Friday at Citizens Bank Park.
 
“Basically, having talked to the rest of the coaching staff, we’re all pretty much in agreement with what our needs are,” Mackanin said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m anxious to hear from (general manager) Matt Klentak and from (president) Andy MacPhail and if there’s an owner there. We’d like to hear what they have to say. We’re pretty much in agreement on a lot of what we need.
 
“I, for one, think we need at least one hitter that gives you quality at-bats.”
 
There could be hurdles in adding a bat. Money is not one of them. All of the team’s big contracts will be gone when Ryan Howard rides off into the sunset on Sunday. The team that spent over a half-billion in salaries from 2012 to 2014 (and missed the playoffs each time) has plenty of money and has vowed to spend it in due time. But that time might not arrive until team leaders believe the club has built a nucleus that would benefit from the signing of a "finishing" talent or two. The team is committed to building that nucleus from within, and there lies the potential hurdle in adding the difference-making bat that Mackanin craves. Building from within requires eventually giving players from the system an opportunity to prove themselves and grow at the major-league level. The front office, still very much committed to a rebuild, will be cognizant of blocking those players (the list includes Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, Dylan Cozens and others) and their opportunities. Klentak has said as much on several occasions this year.
 
Even Mackanin acknowledged that the situation is a Catch-22.
 
“I know I don’t want to block a prospect that has a chance to be a big part of it,” he said.
 
“But at the same time, I think by having one guy in the middle of the lineup or somewhere in the lineup that can take a little pressure off (Maikel) Franco and (Odubel) Herrera and the rest of them could do wonders. You look at when (Matt) Kemp joined the Braves. They all went off. They’re all hitting. They’ve scored more runs than anybody, I think, since the All-Star break. Last year, with (Yoenis) Cespedes, he joined the Mets and all of a sudden they all started hitting.
 
“I will give those examples. I feel that’s important.”
 
A number of outfield bats will be on the free-agent market this winter. Cespedes could be there if he opts out of his contract with the Mets, but he’s not likely to be interested in joining a rebuilding team and the Phillies are unlikely to want the long-term commitment a player like that would require. Dexter Fowler and Matt Holiday could be free agents if their options for 2017 are not exercised. Ian Desmond will be out there, but the Rangers will probably look to retain him. Jose Bautista, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and Colby Rasmus will also be out there. Martin Prado is the type of “professional hitter” that would appeal to Mackanin, but he agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.