So I was released from slavery (Wing Bowl) today and have the chance to write again. And so I decided to get back into gear with a jumpstart from our friends at 3D Philly Sports! Me and Derrick Alvarez tackle Phillies positivity, Thad Young, Steve Mason, and the Eagles biggest need!
There’s a lot of negativity surrounding the Phillies…what keeps you positive about the club?
Derrick: Even though the Phillies haven’t done much at all to write home about this winter, I’m still holding on to the fact that they still have a brand new manager with fresh ideas and perspectives. Sandberg got off to a decent start at the end of last season,and I’m curious to see what kind of carry-over this will lead to in 2014. Focusing on some other positives, Cliff Lee/Cole Hamels is arguably the best 1-2 combination in the National League, Ryan Howard should be coming back entirely healthy, and I don’t think we can forget about how good Ben Revere was looking before he went down last July with an injury. In my mind, this was their biggest turning point of the season. Revere went down and the rest of the season went in the same direction only a few days later.
Vince: Ryne Sandberg. I like that he’s an outside influence that likes to crack the whip a bit on veterans, which is great for this team. According to someone I spoke to who has spent a lot of time with the team, “the inmates were running the asylum.” I think Sandberg can whip the team into shape and drive out guys who are problem children (Papelbon). Does it change the talent? No. But a culture change is welcome at this point. I’m pulling for him.
The Steve Mason contract is _____________.
Derrick: A bit premature. Steve Mason started out the season absolutely on fire. The guy was playing the best of any netminder I’ve seen here in Philly in the past decade and a half. He probably kept the Flyers season alive in November with his .938 Save Percentage. The Flyers offense got red hot in December and in the early portion of January, but now Giroux and friends arent’ able to cover up for Mason’s flaws any longer. Put frankly, Steve Mason has been terrible in January, Through 9 games this month, he’s sporting an. 877 Save Percentage and 3.60 Goals Against Average. That’s absolutely awful. I get it though, small sample size, let the guy settle in again after the Olympic as they go on a run towards the playoffs, so on and so forth. Maybe he’ll rebound in March (the Flyers barely play in Feb), but I really don’t think we needed to hand him a 3 year extension worth $12.1M so early in his tenure here in Philly.
Vince: Bad business. Let me begin by saying that I don’t hate this deal, but it certainly is too early to tell whether he’s the early season stud of the scraps from Columbus. As a result, I’m neutral on the deal, but disappointed in the logic applied to his signing. Mason hasn’t played enough games to prove anything yet (only 47 games as a Flyer) and the market for free agent goalies
is solid. I just wish Homer played the game a little more before committing 3 years, $12.3 million
What are the odds that Thad Young finishes the season in a Sixers uniform?
Derrick: 67%. Personally I feel as if the only reason to trade Thad is if he strongly demands to be moved off of the team. Some players are okay with the rebuilding process, other players don’t want to waste away 2-3 years of their prime with a very mediocre roster in a city that is trying to get it’s basketball back. And really, I’d respect him either way if he demanded a trade or chose to stick it out here in Philly. He has another year on his contract making $9.4M (really not that bad) and then a player option for the 2015-16 season. Technically, Sam Hinkie can drive us his value as the star player here in Philly for another 12 months (especially if he deals Turner next month) and then flip Thad for some more draft picks next February. BUT if Thad wants to stick around and become the veteran rock of the team as the 76ers mature into an Eastern Conference contender in 3 years, he has a chance to be a hero in this city for decades beyond his playing days.
Vince: 90%. There’s a couple of things in play here. First off, his team-friendly non-expiring contract is a good asset that doesn’t have to be moved. Even if he’s a bit grouchy Thad won’t be doing sit-ups in the driveway any time soon. Throw in the upcoming draft class, the lack of contenders in the East, and the upcoming free agent class I don’t know how many teams are willing to pay the price necessary for Thad’s services. Barring an injury I think he stays put.
What is the Eagles biggest offseason need?
Derrick: Cornerback. If the Eagles can acquire/draft a stud of a cover corner, then I think a lot of issues will start to become alleviated. I don’t even need a Revis or Richard Sherman on this team. Having another guy similar to Cary Williams would be great though. He’s not going to wow you on a weekly basis, but he’ll play some solid defense, quietly take some skilled receivers out of the game for chunks at a time, and will make some game-altering plays with his long arms. I also love how Cary Williams doesn’t take shit from anyone. When the Patriots were in town for a joint practice, he was kicked off the field shortly after the day commenced because he felt the Patriots were disrespecting the Eagles on their own home turf. I love it. The only way to get on the level of San Fran, Carolina, and Seattle in the NFC is to become as ruthless of a team as they are (especially on the defensive end). I’d love to pick up a safety and OLB as well, but I’m perfectly content starting with taking a cornerback in the first round of the 2014 Draft.
Vince: Outside Linebacker. I firmly believe that this defense will live and die by their young defensive line. As a result, I’m a huge proponent of adding a top notch pass rusher to the team. Getting consistent pressure (sorry, Trent) will make the line better and compensate for a weak secondary. The problem is that there’s not a lot of great options out there for 3-4 outside linebackers except for Brian Orakpo, who’s injury prone. As a result I’m expecting the Eagles to go after a safety.