Your Desolate Sports Morning Links: Haynesworth & Donny Mac, Deion & Dez, Plax, Sixers Sale, and Vokoun

Your Desolate Sports Morning Links: Haynesworth & Donny Mac, Deion & Dez, Plax, Sixers Sale, and Vokoun

So, it's midsummer, and the Midsummer Classic is behind us, which can only mean one thing. There's no sports today. Nada. I'm on vacation as I often am when the All-Star Game rolls around, so it's decent timing for me, except that I usually like to spend these few days reading up on the next NFL season in preparation for dominating my fantasy football league. With the lockout still in place and free agency yet to have its way with the current league reality, it hardly seems worth the effort yet.

But two full days without any live local sporting action are underway, so we'll get our Wednesday programming started with some stories of interest from around the Webs this morning. On the docket for today: The Sixers sale could happen very soon, reports on the future of McNabb and Haynesworth in DC, Plax's game of Mad Libs, Deion's Dez diss, Conlin declares WAR, and the "market" for Tomas Vokoun.

Let's start with the Skins. Jason La Canfora of NFL.com is reporting that Washington will try to land some big targets in free agency. Someone needs to overpay a few guys they should probably stay away from, right? Of course, that will likely mean a few possible bidding wars with the Eagles, who were long ago predicted to be a big spender once the market opens. Also of interest in Jason's story is that the Skins will attempt to trade Albert Haynesworth and probably release Donovan McNabb, two of the bigger off-season acquisition busts in a franchise with a solid recent history of them. They'll want to try to get something for Haynesworth and keep him from heading up 95, but finding a team without Jim Washburn on its welcoming committee to trade for his contract will have its challenges. When FA does open though, remember the names of Haynesworth and McNabb when looking around the league at sure-fire team-improvers. [NFL.com, via Rotoworld]

Elsewhere in the NFC East, it seems Deion Sanders has given up on Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, although not given up talking about him. Note to NFL players who are still, ya know, playing: Give up on Deion before he tries to keep his name in the headlines by attaching it to yours. Unless you play for Dallas, in which case, feel free to keep this little carousel moving right along. [ESPN]

You remember all those nice things Plaxico Burress said about joining the Eagles? Remember Mad Libs? NFL.com has a good version where "Chicago Bears" been substituted for "Philadelphia Eagles" in the "NFL team" field. [NFL.com]

The sale of the Sixers to a few business school All-Stars is close to being finalized, says Bob Cooney of the Daily News. [philly.com]

Bill Conlin throws a grenade at Ryan Howard haters and the SABR community at large. Then he throws five more for good measure. [philly.com]

One of the more interesting stories of the NHL free agency signing frenzy was that it didn't include goalie Tomas Vokoun, who ultimately received no initial offers and finally settled on a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Washington Capitals. While the match could make a true Cup contender out of an already very good team, Vokoun seems to have been hoping for a better financial reward for his many years of notable netminding. That he turned down a three-year deal prior to July 1 is telling of the disparity between market expectations and reality. [Puck Daddy]

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).

Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).

“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).

Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.

Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.

“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

It looks like the Flyers and Brayden Schenn are heading towards arbitration. 

A source tells CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that the Flyers and Schenn's camp are at odds over the salary of Schenn's next contract.

Schenn turned down a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second, according to the source, noting that Schenn is looking for a deal that would pay him $5.5 million this upcoming season.

Schenn is coming off a career year, setting career highs in goals (26) and points (59), and is now looking to cash in on his best season. Last season, Schenn earned $2.75 million.

General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he believes a deal will get done, but at the moment nothing looks imminent.

Schenn's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored. 

Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.

Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.

Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs. 

After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career. 

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P