Phillies: Buy or Sell?

Phillies: Buy or Sell?

With the Phillies playing a rather unexciting brand of baseball lately, the topic of conversation on the Internet and among Phillie faithful has been whether the Phillies should be buyers or sellers with the trade deadline in sight.

A Citizen's blog, which I agree with a good deal of the time, has this to say:

-I think the Phillies should be active at the trading deadline and make
some deals. Instead of doing their usual thing and deal prospects for
relief pitching, I think the Phillies should deal David Bell (if possible), and Mike Lieberthal.  This team needs help at third base and catcher if it is going to make the playoffs.

I would trade David Bell and Lieberthal in a heartbeat.  The problem is, you probably couldn't get a Von Hayes baseball card for them.  Who wants to take on Lieberthal's contract?  Granted CitBlog noted if possible, I just don't see it being possible.  Where I completely disagree with him are with his comments on Billy Wags:

-Billy Wagner is a terrific, “lights out” closer. But I’d deal him for
those defeatist comments he made. Having someone in your clubhouse
bitching and moaning like that is unacceptable. If you want to play on
a team that doesn’t have a chance, Billy, I’ll give you a plane ticket
to Colorado to play with the Rockies. Pack him off to the Red Sox in
exchange for some prospects to restock the farm system and give Ryan
Madson the job. I think he’ll pick it up with virtually no slack.

While I wouldn't have a problem dealing Mr. Wagner, I disagree that he has a defeatist attitude.  I think he is one of the only Phillies to point out the obvious.  Good for Wags for saying how he really feels.  Somebody in the Phillies organization not trying to make excuses.  Like John Marzano has been saying lately, the players need to be held accountable.

One of my other favorite Phillies sites, Beerleaguer.com, put my thoughts together much better than I could have:

The Phils should seize any opportunity to get younger, and the
easiest way is to keep existing prospects. The latest rumor says the
Phils owners do not want Ed Wade to trade Ryan Howard, and I applaud
that. Players like Howard and Chase Utley are future of this franchise,
plus, they’re attractions on a team that’s grown too stale.

It
seems fans are clamoring for more young guys: Howard, Madson, Utley.
Personally, I’m more likely to buy a ticket now to see Utley and Howard
than Polanco and Thome two months ago, and in my experience reading
other sites and comments from fans, I’m not alone.

There’s
no question, however, the Phils need pitching and won’t make the
playoffs or get very far in the post season with the existing options.
In light of their long-term contract situations, it’s time to bite the
bullet and patch those holes with young players. I get the sense most
fans do not wish to mortgage the future. That means Gavin Floyd,
Madson, Robinson Tejeda or even Cole Hamels are all better options than
Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt, etc.

I'm all for the Phillies making any kind of move to get younger and build for the future.  So should the Phillies buy or sell?  Sure, they have a shot at making the playoffs this year.  The East has a good deal of parity and anything could happen.  I said way back in May that "they will linger around for a while and eventually crumble."  And I still feel pretty much the same way.  They are a decent team, but they just don't have what it takes to win a pennant.  Sure it could happen, but I still haven't won the lottery either.

So I say sell for the most part, but there isn't really much to sell.  If Wags can get you some prospects, do it.  I'm with Beerleaguer, the younger the better.

 

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Ben Simmons rolled his right ankle during scrimmage on the final day of training camp. He was taken for precautionary imaging. The results have not yet been completed.

Jerryd Bayless did not scrimmage because of a sore left wrist, which the team continues to monitor. He sat out of Thursday's scrimmage for the same reason.

Jahlil Okafor participated in Friday's scrimmage in accordance to his load management. The Sixers are being cautious with players as they return from injury. Okafor underwent right knee surgery last season. 

Temple vs. SMU: Get ready for offensive firepower in AAC opener

temple-smu-matchup.jpg

Temple vs. SMU: Get ready for offensive firepower in AAC opener

Temple (2-2, 0-0 AAC) vs. SMU (2-2, 0-0 AAC)
Lincoln Financial Field
Saturday, Noon, ESPNews

If recent history tells us anything, we should expect to see some crooked numbers on Lincoln Financial Field’s scoreboard Saturday afternoon when SMU visits Temple in the conference opener for each team.

The last two times these AAC programs have met, the final scores have wound up 59-49 (a SMU win in Dallas in 2013) and 60-40 (a Temple win in Dallas last season).

Temple is coming off a 48-20 homecoming demolition of Charlotte. The game was basically over early in the second quarter, a frame in which the Owls scored 28 points to blow away the 49ers. SMU is coming off a 33-3 home loss to in-state rival TCU. The Mustangs hung tough for the first half and the score was 6-3 at the break, but the Big 12 powerhouse Horned Frogs took over in the second half.

Weather could play a factor Saturday, though, as current forecasts call for a chance of scattered thunderstorms in the Philadelphia area all afternoon.

Let’s take a closer look at Saturday’s the matchup.

Scouting Temple
The Owls’ offense has been in a much-needed groove since the second half of the narrow loss at Penn State two weeks ago.

Last week, Walker went 15 of 26 for 268 yards and two touchdowns – a 51-yard bomb to Adonis Jennings and a 40-yard quick strike to Brodrick Yancy. On the season, Walker has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 846 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. His favorite target has been Keith Kirkwood, who has 14 grabs for 191 yards and two touchdowns through four games.

It should be no coincidence that Temple’s offensive revival has come with the return of star senior running back Jahad Thomas, who missed the first two games of the year with a dislocated left thumb. In the two games Thomas has played, he’s got 127 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Sophomore Ryquell Armstead, who also has four rushing scores, leads the Owls with 166 yards on the ground. Last year against SMU, then-freshman Jager Gardner ripped off a school-record 94-yard touchdown run.

One other offensive note: Temple head coach Matt Rhule was finally pleased with his offensive line after the way it played against Charlotte. Earlier this week, he praised offensive line coach George DeLeone and the job he’s done recently trying to get work out the issues on the line. The Owls didn’t give up a sack last week. True freshman Matt Hennessy started at left guard last week while redshirt sophomore Jaelin Robinson saw time at right tackle. Don’t be surprised if they see significant playing time again.

Two things have concerned Rhule defensively – a lackluster pass rush and the tendency to give up big plays.

Through four games, the Owls have yet to establish any sort of consistent pass rush. They have just four sacks through four games. They had 10 in last year’s opener against Penn State alone. The good news for Temple’s pass rush is that SMU starts a freshman QB and his given up nine sacks through four games, so opportunities to disrupt the pocket should be there on Saturday.

Temple’s defense has allowed 10 plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage this season, including a 66-yard touchdown run by Charlotte’s Kalif Phillips last week.

Injury-wise, the Owls are relatively healthy. Sophomore wideout Ventell Bryant, who was believed to be dealing with a shoulder injury, announced on his Instagram this week that he’d been cleared to play.

Scouting SMU
The Mustangs’ rebuilding efforts took a big hit during the first game of the season when senior quarterback Matt Davis, who played very well against Temple last season and hurt the Owls with both his arm and legs, was lost for the year with a knee injury. Redshirt freshman Ben Hicks has stepped in and his tenure so far hasn’t been so hot. He’s completed just 50 percent of his passes this year and has thrown just two touchdowns compared to seven picks.

Despite the inexperience and lack of production at quarterback, SMU will still push the tempo with a fast-paced offense that can rip off chunks of yardage instantly and averages 448 yards per game. A big reason for that is the play of sophomore wideout Cortland Sutton, who has 449 receiving yards and four touchdowns already this season. Sutton, whom Rhule had very high praise for earlier this week, averages 24.9 yards per reception. Sophomore tailback Braeden West is no slouch, either. He’s averaged 93.8 yards per game on the ground this season and has two rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, SMU has a couple of ballhawks in its secondary. The Mustangs are tied for tops in the nation with 10 interceptions through four games. Sophomore corner Jordan Wyatt is tied for the team lead in picks with three and also leads the Mustangs with 25 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Walker will have to be wary of where Wyatt is at on the field. Senior Horace Richardson also has three picks already for the Mustangs.

While SMU’s takeaway numbers are pretty, the Mustangs’ total defense numbers are ugly. They give up an average of 449.8 yards per game, which ranks 98th out of 128 teams in the FBS. The 27 points the Mustangs allow per game are good 70th in the FBS.

History
Saturday will mark the third meeting between the schools in the last four years and fifth overall. As mentioned above, the two teams combined for 208 points the last two times they’ve met. Those last two meetings have been the only meetings between Temple and SMU that have had definitive finals. They tied in both 1942 (6-6) and 1947 (7-7). So feel free to call Saturday’s game a rubber match.

Storyline to watch: Second test for Temple's secondary
Thus far this season, Temple has faced a triple-option team in Army, an FCS team in Stony Brook, a weapon-filled offense in Penn State and a second-year FBS team in Charlotte. Needless to say, Penn State was the only true test Temple's defense, specifically the new-look secondary, has had to face and it didn't go so well, especially in the first half when the Nittany Lions tore the Owls apart with slant plays for huge chunks of yardage. While the Owls' defense calmed down, the Nittany Lions still finished with 287 passing yards and 403 total yards. Temple's secondary will have its next test on Saturday with Sutton and SMU's receivers. Corners Derrek Thomas, Artrel Foster and Nate Hairston and safety Delvon Randall have a prime opportunity to gain more confidence against a young quarterback with a tendency to make mistakes. Junior safety Sean Chandler is still the unquestioned leader of the group.

What’s at stake: Getting conference play started on the right foot
If the Owls want to be taken as a serious threat to repeat in the AAC East, this is a game they have to have against an inferior SMU team. This is the first of nine straight AAC games, and even though SMU is in the AAC West, this game is still a tonesetter for rest of conference play. The Owls don’t want to fall behind right off the bat. And they really don’t want to fall behind right of the bat this week, with a short week and travel to Memphis for a game on Thursday looming. Yes, that’s two games in five days coming up for Temple.

Prediction
Even if the weather doesn’t hold out, points will be scored at the Linc on Saturday. Just not as many as the past couple of years. At this point in time, Temple just has more talent and it looks like the Owls are finally getting things in sync. Temple 38, SMU 21