Genard Avery, Nate Gerry Placed On IR

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

While much of the injury news for the Eagles has been positive leading into Dallas week, there was some negative news to be had as is the norm in the NovaCare Complex.

On Friday afternoon, the Eagles placed two additional players on IR: defensive end Genard Avery and linebacker Nate Gerry.

Continue reading "Genard Avery, Nate Gerry Placed On IR" »


Doc Rivers Adds Two Coaches to His Staff

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Doc Rivers wasted little time starting to build a top-level staff in Philadelphia. First he went and got Dave Joerger to be his lead assistant, and now has gone and added two more experienced coaches to join him. Reports have come out that the Sixers have hired Dan Burke and Sam Cassell to join Rivers' coaching staff.

Burke has been a longtime assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers. He has been part of the Pacers' staff for the past 19 seasons. One thing Burke has been known for is his work on the defensive side of the ball. Between Joerger and Burke, the Sixers should have a more impactful defense than they had last season.

After it was announced that Ty Lue would be bringing in Chauncey Billups to join his staff in Los Angeles, Sam Cassell became a name speculated to come to Philadelphia. Cassell was a member of Doc Rivers' staff with the Clippers for six seasons.

Along with bringing years of coaching experience, Cassell is also a former player. He spent 14 years in the league, playing for multiple franchises. The Sixers now have two former NBA guards on their coaching staff with Rivers and Cassell, this should do wonders for the growth of Shake Milton going forward.

The Sixers continue to make the necessary moves to improve the team. Doing a complete makeover of the coaching staff was much needed if this team was going to see improvement. Now with a completely new set of fresh faces and minds, it will be interesting to see what kind of changes they make and what kind of impact they have with this roster.

Sixerdelphia


Phillies President MacPhail Will Be Lame Duck; No GM Imminent

AndyMacPhailBy Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA - Andy MacPhail, CC BY-SA 2.0

Phillies president Andy MacPhail held his annual year-end press conference on Friday afternoon.  On Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic, MacPhail offered some insight to the 2020 season, his future, and the future of the general manager position.  While much is still unclear, MacPhail notably stated his plans to exit his role as club president at the end of the 2021 season.

Here is a rundown of some of the key moments of the press conference as told by reporters.

MacPhail plans to step aside at the end of the 2021 season, or perhaps even sooner:

The Phillies do not appear eager to hire a general manager:

The Phillies financial picture is "not pretty":

MacPhail offers credit to the draft picks under Matt Klentak:

The Phillies aren't as good as Tampa Bay Rays organization in developing players:

John Middleton should be more engaged next time:


So what is there for people to make of this press conference? 

It sounds like 2021 will be a transitional year.  With MacPhail serving as a lame duck president, he probably will not make any long-term decisions.  That could mean that interim general manager Ned Rice sticks around for the year, too.  Expect a lot of one-year deals as the Phillies and the rest of the baseball world seek to navigate through this pandemic.


Phillies Claim Reliever, Cut Ties With Several

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Phil Gosselin hit .250 for the Phillies in 2020 (Frank Klose/Sports Talk Philly)

The Phillies continued a major overhaul of their roster on Friday afternoon with a number of moves.  The Phillies cleared even more room in their bullpen as the Phillies seek to move forward after a season in which the bullpen was historically bad.  

The Phillies announced that they have made the following moves:

Phillies declined the contract option for RHP David Phelps 

Phelps would have made $4.5 million if the Phillies picked up the contract option.  They will instead pay a $250,000 buyout.  Phelps is not likely to receive the $4.5 million in free agency, though Phelps is likely to find a team to pitch for in 2021

Phillies declined the contract option for RHP Hector Neris

This move is interesting.  Had the option been picked up, Neris would have earned $7 million plus incentives.  Neris does remain under Phillies control but wil instead be eligible for salary arbitration.  Could the Phillies be banking on a lower dollar amount for Neris through the arbitration process?  Neris earned a pro-rated portion of $4.6 million in 2020 and likely would get a raise.  So the Phillies could be looking to save some money here.  They also have time now to decide to non-tender Neris down the line if htey wish.

Phillies claimed RHP Johan Quezada on waivers from the Miami Marlins

The Phillies pick up a player that had a brief appearance in 2020 (three innings, three earned runs allowed).  Quezada had previously not pitched above Class A Advanced in 2019.  This is someone the Phillies might hope to get a chance to develop in 2021 in hopes that he will be a long-term piece.  Quezada turned 26 in August

Phillies declined $12 million option on David Robertson

This move was expected. The Phillies signed Robertson to a two-year deal prior to 2019 and got very little production for their investment:  Robertson made just seven appearances and had a 5.40 earned run average when Robertson hit the injured list in 2019.  Robertson missed all of 2020 after undergoing "Tommy John" surgery.

Phillies outrighted RHP Blake Parker, IF Phil Gosselin, RHP Heath Hembree and LHP Adam Morgan; all elected free agency

We learned over Hembree and Morgan yesterday, but the decisions on Parker and Gosselin were unknown.  The Phillies could re-sign Morgan, Gosselin, and Parker, but likely to minor league deals.  Morgan is recovering from elbow surgery and will be out a while.   Parker and Gosselin tend to sign minor league deals in recent years, and look to prove their worth in Spring Training.  That could happen in Philadelphia or elsewhere.


Average in the Outfield: A Look at the Current State of the Phillies Outfielders

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By Siobhan Nolan, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

If the Phillies infield was not a pressing matter, as we established in last week’s article, the outfield might be considered even less so. It’s getting a bit repetitive to say that an aspect of the Phillies team this past season was “mediocre at best”, but that is the unfortunate reality of this current team. And just like the infield, there are plenty of questions as to how to strategically arrange this outfield in order to get the best results of our defense.

Let’s begin at left field, where Andrew McCutchen mercifully was able to play after suffering a devastating ACL injury last season. While it was promising that McCutchen was able to get back on the field, it seemed as though his defensive abilities didn’t fully follow him there. No errors in 47 chances was the highlight of his defense this past season, but other than that, his performance was fairly forgettable. Did the major knee injury affect his performance? Most likely. Did his offensive performance make up for what he lacked in the field? Not really. McCutchen went 1 for 18 in his first few games of 2020, but had three multi-hit games over the next nine. Although it took him 17 games to hit his first home run of the season, he managed to hit safely in the next 12 out of 14 games (including seven multi-hit games), and was batting .261 by the end of August. Finishing the season with a .253 average, 10 home runs, and 34 RBIs isn’t spectacular, but right now, the Phillies don’t have many options when it comes to a left fielder or a leadoff hitter, making Cutch invaluable although admittedly average right now.

This brings us to right field, where Bryce Harper shines defensively. He’s a force to be reckoned with in his tried-and-true position, along with being one of the better offensive performers this season, but even Harper wasn’t exempt from setbacks. He started off 2020 incredibly strong, but did so at a pace that simply wasn’t sustainable. He suffered several dips in performance, many of which can be attributed to a back injury that Joe Girardi admitted started “four to five weeks” before it was public knowledge. Girardi acknowledged that in a regular 162-game season, Harper might have been temporarily shut down to get treated and recover, but this 60-game season didn’t allow that kind of time, forcing him to play when he wasn’t at 100% fitness. Despite the injury, Harper finished with a .268 average, with 13 home runs and 33 RBIs, making him one of the less frustrating players in the lineup.

Then, there’s center field, which is another position where the Phillies lack a player able to play consistently. There’s several options as to who should be the everyday center field, but none of them spark feelings of security in Phillies fans. The first option is Adam Haseley, who had a promising 2019 season, but regressed in basically all aspects of his game in 2020. Girardi’s plan from the get-go was to have Haseley platoon at center with Roman Quinn, but it became evident that the skipper preferred Quinn, giving him 28 starts to Haseley’s 18. Even when the outfield depth was seriously depleted, not much faith was shown in Haseley’s ability to play center. Case and point: an injured Bryce Harper was played in center field over Haseley against the New York Mets in September. Some argue that Haseley been given ample opportunity to shine (seeing as he was rather hurriedly called up from the minors last year), but there is plenty of reasonable doubt over Haseley’s abilities in center field. A second option in center would be the aforementioned Roman Quinn, but he’s not much more promising than Haseley. The literal fastest man in baseball obviously has speed as a valuable quality, but he also spends quite a bit of time on the injured list. His inability to properly play balls off the wall and tendency to dive when he should let balls drop in front of him are faults that need to be improved upon, but it’s clear that Girardi prefers Quinn over Haseley in center field at the moment. It also helps that Quinn’s speed on the base paths makes him preferable to Haseley in the batting lineup, along with the fact that there seems to be some sort of unspoken consensus that Haseley can’t hit against left-handed pitchers. Either way, Quinn is a bit of a dark horse player that still has plenty to prove, but it looks as though he’s the man Girardi prefers in center field.

Technically a third option would be Scott Kingery, although his only real qualification for this position is that he spent much of his time under Gabe Kapler in center field. It’s unlikely that he’ll feature there much, as Girardi intends to keep Kingery at second base, or at least somewhere in the field. (And honestly, we might be better off forcing Shane Victorino out of retirement than having Kingery be the everyday CF. He’s just not an outfielder.)

Much like the infield’s issues, the outfield’s problems are not a matter of life and death. There needs to be more depth in the outfield, along with a player who can consistently play well at center, but there are plenty of silver linings. Haseley and Quinn are both fairly young players who have plenty of potential, and could benefit from some healthy competition to play center. Harper has 11 years left on his contract, and has been nothing short of exemplary in right field.

There just might be some hope for the Phillies defense after all.