YWT: The Philadelphia Flyers Podcast - YWT #121 - Keeping Up with the Joneses

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The YWT Podcast is back and following the first few days of free agency. The Flyers capped off a busy offseason by making three signings, and the guys are here to discuss.

Kyle Collington and Kevin Durso take a closer look at the newest Flyers, including one familiar face returning, plus look ahead to what could be the last order of business for the offseason. In light of that, they also look at if Chuck Fletcher's active offseason has made the team better. 

You can listen to this episode of the podcast below and be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Podcasts and Podbean

You can also watch the episode and subscribe to watch all episodes of the YWT Podcast on YouTube.

As always, we want you to follow the podcast on Twitter @YWTpodcast and follow Kevin Durso on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.


Phillies: 2021’s New NL East’s Chase

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The Philadelphia Phillies are down to two rivals for the National League East crown, but you might not know it because the naysayers will immediately eliminate them if they haven’t already since the Pittsburgh Pirates series. Yes, it’s inevitable!  

 

The Aftermath:

Some Phillies faithful will have no difficulty finding a reason to doubt them regardless of their trading-deadline moves. And even if Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations, acquired the players they had preferred, there will always be one difference-maker still needed to avoid another postseason miss. 

IN OTHER WORDS:

“Whenever you make a big decision in life, at least any decision where you have a viable alternative, there is an inevitable uneasy aftermath.” - Emily Giffin

Many supporters increase their expectations near July’s end and rarely express satisfaction afterwards. Unfortunately, the franchise didn’t pick up the star they had wanted, and adding three pieces instead of four is always one deal short. The club, basically, can never do enough during the season, even when they win.    

For doubting Thomases, it is impossible to be wrong. Because if the team loses more than their prediction, it is even worse than they thought. But winning more works too because they hoped they were wrong, which cancels out their original forecast.            

The locals here don’t have a patent on this thinking. No, there’s no difference in any baseball city except for much-worse Gotham. Their supporters aren’t happy to just make the playoffs because the New York Yankees haven’t even appeared in one World Series in the last 10 summers.   

Continue reading "Phillies: 2021’s New NL East’s Chase" »


Week 17 Recap: Back to the Drawing Board

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By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer

It was another game and another disappointing draw for the Union as they ended their matchup against the Chicago Fire with a 1-1 result. The Union’s usual problems reared their ugly heads again, and a rather strong performance was overshadowed by the scoreline.

Chicago found the back of the net, with Przemysław Frankowski scoring just ten minutes into the game. However, the Union quickly took back control of the game, comfortably maintaining possession and controlling the movement of the ball across the field.

In the 34th minute, a video review call reduced Chicago to 10 men after it was determined that Wyatt Omsberg was guilty of denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Omsberg got tangled up with Union striker Cory Burke and his own goalkeeper, Bobby Shuttleworth, and his foul led to the free kick that Kai Wagner easily converted into the Union’s lone goal of the game.

Although having a dominant performance for the rest of the game, the home side just couldn’t find it in them to finish any of the many, many chances they had in front of the net. Although they outshot Chicago 25-4, and had a 13-1 corner kick advantage, the numbers don’t necessarily reflect the relatively easy night Shuttleworth had.

“Once again, we have them pinned in and we create the 25 shots, but just the final decision making, I think we can be a little bit sharper so that we’re scoring three, four goals a game, rather than scraping out with just one,” Jim Curtin said in a post-game press conference. “So that obviously has to improve. It’s obviously an empty feeling here at home.”

Even the offensively-minded substitutions of Ilsinho, Quinn Sullivan, and Jack McGlynn, along with almost 10 minutes of stoppage time, couldn’t give the Union that one extra goal they needed to boost them from fifth to third in the Eastern Conference standings.

Man of the Match: It’s difficult to pinpoint just one Man of the Match when the entire team look stronger than they have these past couple of games, but Burke marked his return to the Union with good pressure, solid shots on goal, and never stopped working for a goal the entire game (even though he didn’t actually get one).

The Main Takeaway: Finishing. Finishing. Finishing. The Union could have absolutely obliterated the Fire if they had properly capitalized on their numerous chances, but they didn’t. It’s maddening to know that the Boys In Blue have all of the pieces they need for an unstoppable offense, but can’t quite seem to fit them into the puzzle.


Week 17 Preview: Union vs. Chicago Fire

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By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer

The Union will want to leave July behind as they return home from a disappointing road trip in Florida to face off against the Chicago Fire. Playing in front of a home crowd for just the third time since Memorial Day will hopefully start August off on the right foot, and put three points back in the Union’s Eastern Conference tally.

It certainly helps that goalkeeper Andre Blake and striker Cory Burke are finally set to return to MLS play after being away on international duty for Jamaica’s run in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Having Blake in front of the goal will obviously bolster the Union’s defense, but his vocal leadership and demanding of nothing short of excellence from his teammates will (hopefully) see Jim Curtin’s men look more like the disciplined and organized Union side fans have grown used to seeing this season.

Kai Wagner and Olivier Mbaizo will also be essential in beating the Fire. One of the Fire’s biggest weaknesses is defending against counterattacks on the wings, and both men have proven that they can control the entire flow of the game from their respective sides of the pitch. Their reading of the game needs to be razor-sharp, able to spot a good run from the back and get their central midfielders involved in time to move the ball forward. Keeping the midfield in more of a triangular shape will expose the Fire’s preferred three-at-the-back defense, and give plenty of space to create goals.

This game is yet another chance for Curtin to start some of his young players. One has to wonder what more Quinn Sullivan has to do off the bench in order to earn a spot in the starting lineup, or if perhaps Paxten Aaronson stole Curtin’s parking spot at Subaru Park, hence the shockingly limited playing time in all competitions this season. There are plenty of tired legs in the Union’s usual starting lineup, and it wouldn’t kill their manager to make good on his promise to give minutes to the Homegrowns.

Predicted Lineup: Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Olivier Mbaizo, Jose Martinez, Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, Cory Burke, Kacper Przybyłko

  • It would be nice to see the young guys start, but it’s not looking likely after the poor results the Union have recently sustained. Blake will be a breath of fresh air in a disorganized Union back line, but he’s probably going to be the only real change in Curtin’s lineup. Sergio Santos is facing a one game suspension for kicking an object at fans during the Union’s game against Orlando City SC, which will allow Burke to get some minutes up front.

Score Prediction: This Union offense should be better than scraping together a 2-1 win against the Fire, but the finishing, pressure, and intensity on the counterattack just haven’t been satisfactory as of late. However, three points is three points, especially since the Union will soon have to balance MLS with the CONCACAF Champions League again.


With Deadline Passed, Phillies Will "Revisit" Idea of Cole Hamels

Hamels
(Photo: Kevin Durso/Sports Talk Philly)

The Phillies acquired three players of note ahead of Friday's 4:00 p.m. MLB Trade Deadline.  They added starter Kyle Gibson, closer Ian Kennedy, and infielder Freddy Galvis.  They also picked up a prospect in starting pitcher Hans Crouse, who immediately became their number four Phillies prospect on MLB Pipeline.  But the Phillies might not be done.  With an injury to Zach Eflin and the need to replace Vince Velasquez in the starting rotation, the Phillies need one more arm.  

That arm could come in former Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels.   The Phillies were one of 20 teams who watched Hamels throw on July 16.  Hamels has continued to build up strength and it is believed that he would be able to help a Major League team.

But are the Phillies interested?

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com wrote on Friday evening that the Phillies still could look at Hamels, and Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski seemed to indicate it was possible: 

“It’s a topic that we still need to revisit, actually,” Dombrowski said Friday evening. “Because again, we just did all these types of [trades]. We like Cole. There’s a lot of things we like about him. But now we need to sit down actually after we’re done here. We’re going to try to revisit the conversation ourselves and see where it takes us.”

Here is how it might work for the Phillies.

The Phillies had about $4.5 million or so available under the competitive balance tax threshold as the deadline was about to hit.  The Phillies received in trades just about that money, before adding salaries of Gibson, Kennedy, and Galvis.  That means the Phillies still have about $4 million to work with.

That could be a competitive advantage compared to other teams looking to add a starter.  The Phillies could have accommodated Gibson, Kennedy, and Galvis under their available money.  Yet, they got some money back in trades anyway.

Will they spend that on Hamels?

The Los Angeles Dodgers might have been interested in Hamels.  Instead they landed Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals.  Presumably, they will not have interest in Hamels.

The one team that could be a challenger for Hamels is the San Diego Padres.

The Padres were reportedly close to a deal that would have sent Scherzer to the Padres.  But the Phillies and Nationals were still mid-game and Scherzer did not have the opportunity to review potential trade destinations.  What exactly happened is unclear, but Scherzer ended up going to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Padres added reliever Daniel Hudson and outfielder Jake Marisnick at the deadline.  But not a starter.

Hamels is a San Diego native who once dreamed of playing for the Padres.  But as he approached free agency in the past,  Hamels said there was a "one in 30 chance" he would play for the Padres.  Would this time be different? 

The Phillies have more money available than the Padres.  Would they be willing to spend it on Hamels?  And how much would it take?

Hamels earned $18 million (prorated by COVID) to throw 3 2/3 innings for the Atlanta Braves last season.  There are two months left of the 2021 season, and Hamels would be lucky to throw one month's worth of starts in the major leagues.   Would he play for an amount that fits comfortably in the $4 million space the Phillies have left?

The Padres, meanwhile, would likely have to exceed the threshold.  Sportrac has the Padres about $1.6 million below the competitive balance tax threshold.  The Padres may not wish to exceed that for Hamels, who remains somewhat of a wild card.

But the Phillies, who perhaps could use a boost of energy from a Hamels signing, could spend a month knowing he is on the way and the benefits coming from that.  It would excite the fan base, well ahead of when he might pitch for them in Philadelphia.   And, perhaps most importantly, he might pitch better than Chase Anderson, the likely replacement for Velasquez, and Matt Moore.

This is worth watching.