Phillies Involved in Peavy Deal? Updates From Vegas Heating Up

Phillies Involved in Peavy Deal? Updates From Vegas Heating Up

Even with starting pitching at the top of the Phillies' self-proclaimed list of priorities this off-season, it was shocking to see the following headline out of the Winter Meetings today:

7:29 p.m. — Phillies enter Peavy fray

Yeah, don't get excited. The report, courtesy of Ken Rosenthal, links the Phillies to a possible Jake Peavy deal as a third party—one that likely sends a package from Philly to the team currently with Peavy, but receives a player from the team that actually receives the ace. In this case, that latter team is the Cubs. Oh goodie! Let's find a way to help improve the Cubs' chances to block our path to a repeat performance by assembling the scariest rotation in baseball.

So what would we get in return?

Rosenthal [originally] had this to say:

The World Series champion Phillies are active on at least two fronts.
They have shown interest in Twins' outfielder Delmon Young and also
have emerged as a possible third team in the ongoing discussions
between the Cubs and Padres regarding right-hander Jake Peavy.

The Padres like some of the Phillies' young minor-league pitchers,
major-league sources say, but the talks are only in the preliminary

The Cubs continue to seek a landing spot for right-hander
Jason Marquis, whose $9.875 million salary would need to be cleared to
create payroll flexibility for the addition of a left-handed hitter
and/or Peavy.

The Cubs tried to interest the Phillies in Marquis, but received only lukewarm interest.

So, we'd get Marquis' 4.55 career ERA, enabling the Cubs to clear room for Peavy. Something feels... not right. I guess if the Cubs are deadset on getting Peavy, there's no harm in finding a way to benefit. But I'm not sure Marquis fits that description.

And, we hear another mention of interest in Delmon Young today... If ever there were a gift from the blogging gods—some sort of repayment for the lack of sufficient Anna Benson material, Delmon Young would be it. Still... At what cost?

Update: Twins' beat writer on Phils and Young:

It would take more than Jason Donald for the Twins to make that deal.
The Phillies are looking for a corner outfielder to replace Pat Burrell
but because Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz are recovering from injuries,
they feel inclined to hold onto Donald.

Update: The Padres GM says there's a deal on the table, and it's up to the Cubs whether it gets done:

Towers, who had a discussion with [Cubs GM] Hendry earlier Monday,
said he had been in contact with a third and a fourth team - believed to be the
Orioles and Phillies - and has gotten both sides to agree to the players in
play who could be moved in a deal.

DeRosa Update: The Padres are looking at getting Mark DeRosa involved to send him to the Phillies. DeRosa could play 2B until Chase gets healthy, then maybe move to LF. Jim Salisbury confirms the Phils are working on such a deal, and shares these vitals on the righthanded hitter:

DeRosa, who turns 34 in February, hit .285 with 21 homers and 87 RBIs
in 149 games for the Cubs last season. He played six positions during
the season, including 95 games at second base and 27 in left field.
DeRosa is signed for 2009 at a reasonable $5.5 million.

Salibury links JA Happ to the deal, and also says the Phils are still open to acquiring lefty bat Raul Ibanez. Delmon Young, he hears, is lower down on their list.

Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Sevyn Streeter, the performing artist who claimed Wednesday that the Sixers replaced her for the national anthem because of her intent to wear a jersey with the words "We Matter," signed a contract that prohibited political statements, according to CBS3's Jan Carabeo.

Per the report, Streeter was offered an alternate shirt and told she could wear her own shirt in the stands after the performance.

"I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart," Streeter told The Associated Press. "Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that."

The Sixers didn't directly confirm or deny the allegation but responded with the following statement:

"The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community."

This statement is consistent with efforts being made throughout the NBA calling for action over gestures, as detailed in a feature in B/R Mag. 

“I’m past the gestures,” Carmelo Anthony told B/R Mag. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that — enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff — we need to start putting things in place.” 

Despite woeful final two months, Union found stability in 2016

Despite woeful final two months, Union found stability in 2016

Shortly after the Philadelphia Union’s first playoff appearance in 2011, two of the top players on that team stepped onto a podium and talked about stability.

Sure, it was upsetting for Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Califf that the Union had just been swept out of the playoffs by the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. But the stalwarts of the then-two-year-old franchise pledged continued improvements in 2012 if the same core returned and no sweeping changes were made to the roster.

What happened next remains the stuff of nightmares for Union fans. Le Toux, Califf and others were shuttled off with the Union getting little to nothing in return, the 2012 season started disastrously, controversial manager Peter Nowak was fired after orchestrating the puzzling moves (and doing far worse), and, you could argue, the franchise took years to recover.

Which brings us to the 2016 season.

Back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, the Union once again had a short postseason stay, getting bounced out of the Knockout Round by star-studded Toronto FC on Wednesday night.

But just like it felt at the end of the 2011 season — before Nowak began his systematic dismantling — the brief trip to the playoffs feels more like a step in the right direction than anything else.

The season has ended but, in many ways, this feels like only the beginning.

Forget for a second that the Union finished the season on an eight-game winless streak and consider that three of their top players throughout the year were 2016 first-round draft picks Keegan Rosenberry, Fabian Herbers and Joshua Yaro — a rookie trio the coaches hope will remain in Philly for up to a decade.

Forget that the team had a worse record than any MLS team to make the playoffs and consider that they got to the postseason without arguably their two most influential players — captain Maurice Edu (who missed all of 2016 with injuries) and Vincent Nogueira (who returned to his native France in the middle of the season because of a personal health issue).

Forget that they were outclassed by a Toronto team built on the backs of superstars Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and consider that, for one of the first times, owner Jay Sugarman opened the wallet this summer to bring in Alejandro Bedoya, a US national team player who scored the second goal in Union playoff history Wednesday and will be a focal point of the team for the next three years.

There were several other positive takeaways from 2016, including the spectacular season of highlight-machine Andre Blake in goal, the career-revival of Chris Pontius on the wing, and the reliability of Richie Marquez at center back. 

And, to be sure, there were plenty of negatives too, including the late-slump of striker C.J. Sapong that coincided with the team’s late-season slump, the inability to turn the attacking bench trio of Ilsinho, Roland Alberg and Charlie Davies into a true weapon, and the hard-to-watch struggles of Ken Tribbett, who once again showed Wednesday that he can’t match up with the league’s best strikers. 

The key now is to fix the areas that need fixing (a big striker should be a necessity, for starters) while continuing to build upon the foundation that got the Union into the playoffs. And yes, that should mean keeping Jim Curtin as head coach.

Like anyone, Curtin has his faults. Deciding not to tinker with the lineup and bench slumping players like Sapong may have hurt the Union down the stretch. And his comments now about how no one thought the Union would be in the playoffs are both not true (CSN’s two Union writers both picked them to sneak in!) and unfairly diminish expectations for a team he himself says should be considered in the top 10 of MLS.

But re-calibrating expectations after a season is nothing new. Former Union manager John Hackworth did the same after the Union barely missed the playoffs in 2013, essentially saying he got the most out of his team and that it was a rebuilding season (which came to a surprise to some players at the time). Curtin and Hackworth also, perhaps, share a loyalty to the players they like even in times of struggle — which can be problematic but is a far better trait than Nowak’s old habit of tossing club stalwarts to the scrap heap.

Why bring up the Union’s past coaches when neither have been around for years? Because it’s important for this franchise to learn from mistakes at what is now a critical junction in its history.

The Union have already done that well by building a beautiful new training facility and hiring a smart sporting director in Earnie Stewart, who helped put the team on a better path in his first year. But it will be much harder to continue the building process by undergoing a roster overhaul or switching head coaches in the offseason.

Sometimes, a coaching change is necessary. But Curtin has a lot of good qualities that embody what this franchise is striving to be and has been a big part of turning the team around from the dark days. And as Union fans know well, a new coach also can mean going back to square one — which is not something this team can afford right now.

The only other time they made the playoffs, the Union were dismantled. This time they need to do the opposite.