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A.J. Burnett has until Monday night to decide on his player option

With the Giants coming out victorious, the clock starts ticking toward the start of the free agency period. Teams have five days after the conclusion of the World Series to make qualifying offers to their free agents. Those players then have another week to make a decision. Although the Phillies are extremely unlikely to offer any of their free agents a qualifying offer, but pitcher A.J. Burnett has the same time to notify the Phillies if he will exercise his 2015 player option in his contract.

Burnett, who will be 38 at the start of the season, can return to the team if he decides pick up his $12.5 million player option in the contract he signed last February. That option rose from $7.5 million, because Burnett was able to make 32 starts during the 2014 season.

After the 2014 season, Burnett was uncertain if he wanted to come back for his 17th big-league season.

Burnett said, “There are too many things. Off the bat, my family. It’s ultimately going to come down to me. I had the same thoughts last year. Then I woke up and I wantd to compete. So I can’t just shut that down id it’s still there. But then again, my kids, they have a say in it.”

With that said, Burnett clearly didn’t have his mind made up after going 8-18 with a 4.49 ERA last season, while pitching through a sport hernia injury. Burnett did lead all MLB pitchers in the loss and walk departments though.

If Burnett takes his players option, the 2015 Phillies five-man rotation could look like Cole Hamels, A.J. Burnett, Cliff Lee, David Buchanan, and Jerome Williams, with Jonathan Pettibone as a possible sixth man.

Andrew Shipotofsky is a writer for Philliedelphia


Phillies Decline Mike Adams' Contract Option

  MikeAdams

Mike Adams, we hardly knew ye.

The Phillies announced officially that they would be declining Mike Adams' contract option for 2015:

Adams signed a two-year, $12 million deal with a club option of $6 million for 2015.

Adams told CSN Philly back in August that he regrets "stealing money":

“When I signed here two years ago, I expected a lot more than what I've done,” Adams said. “There probably isn't anyone more disappointed by the situation than myself. I proclaimed it would be a good three-year deal, and obviously it hasn't worked out that way. I said I didn't want to steal money, and that's exactly what happened.”

For his $12 million, Adams made 50 appearances, fewer than Adams' average season.  For the Phillies, Adams posted a 3-5 record with 14 holds and no saves.  Adams pitched to a 3.96 ERA in 2013 and a 2.86 in limited action in 2014. 


Mailbag: Stay or go for Gostisbehere?

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Shayne Gostisbehere skates during the Flyers 3-2 overtime win against the Kings on Tuesday. (Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography)

Good morning, Flyers fans!

Thursday is Flyers Faithful Fan Thursday here at Flyerdelphia. This week, and every week, I will be taking questions for a mailbag. This is your chance to ask questions and have them answered.

Let's take a look at what we have this week.

Continue reading "Mailbag: Stay or go for Gostisbehere?" »


Sixers Fall to Pacers in Opener

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 After a long summer full of roster moves made by General Manager Sam Hinkie, it was finally time to lace up the sneakers and hit the floor again Wednesday night in Indiana. This also meant fans would get their first glance at Sixers big man Nerlens Noel as he made his NBA debut after missing the entire 2013 season recovering from an ACL injury. Noel was just one of many making their Sixers debuts as 2nd year coach Brett Brown led his Sam Hinkie assembled team in front of a capacity Pacers crowd eager to see some basketball after their playoff loss last season and the loss of their star forward Paul George. Opening night was sure to be a thriller that would catch the eyes of fans from around the league.

 As the game began, the Sixers defense began to take advantage of Indiana’s mistakes offensively and capitalized with points on the other end. They forced the Pacers into eight first quarter turnovers, seven of which came within the first eight minutes of the game. The swarming defense led to Sixers guard Tony Wroten getting his season off to an impressive start with a few easy breakaway slams throughout the first quarter. Nerlens Noel was forced into foul trouble, picking up two fouls in the first five minutes, but was able to respond with an impressive drive on Pacers forward Luis Scola, finished off with a left handed floater for his first career bucket. The Sixers were in control early, breaking out to a 22-12 advantage before squandering the lead only to trail 26-24 to Indiana after the 1st Quarter.  

 Opening night also meant Sixers fans could get the joy of watching their 2nd round pick, SEC defensive player of the year, K.J. McDaniels. The young defensive specialist came off the bench for coach Brett Brown and instantly ignited the defense but struggled offensively in the 2nd Quarter. Likewise, Noel also had a rough go in the 2nd. Both rookies were forcing shots and both had ugly turnovers. The game proceeded to get a little chippy when Sixers recent free agent signing Malcolm Thomas pushed veteran Pacers center Roy Hibbert to the floor after a rebound. Hibbert showcased a small sample of his acting ability on the play and was later called for a technical foul, while McDaniels received a flagrant foul. By the way, the new NBA replay system was put to use on the play and unfortunately didn’t work effectively. First problem was the refs wound up making the wrong call and second problem was it took a boring five minutes to receive the wrong call.

 The 3rd Quarter was the turning point as the Pacers went on a 16-6 run to give them a 78-67 lead and they never looked back. The Sixers did show some promising fight and heart throughout the 2nd half led by a few Alexy Shevd bombs from beyond the arc that kept the team in the game but they never really posed much of a threat to the much more experienced Frank Vogel led Pacers. Although the young Sixers team was able to hang in for a while, the Pacers iced the game in the 4th Quarter and went on to win the opener 103-91.

 Roy Hibbert led the way for the Pacers totaling 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots. Rodney Stuckey provided the fire off the bench tallying up 16 points to go along with 5 assists leading Indiana to their first win of the young season.

 For the Sixers, guard Tony Wroten paved the way with 22 points along with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Surprisingly, coach Brown has to be pleased with what he saw from Alexy Shevd. He posted 18 points off the bench, while also contributing 5 assists and he threaded the needle on a few of the pretty dimes.

 Overall, I’d have to say Sixers fans should be feeling fairly well after the opening game. Noel only accumulated 6 points but he was able to rack up 10 rebounds to go along with 3 blocks. He struggled offensively, shooting 2-11 from the floor, but defensively he looked pretty solid. It’s going to be fun to watch him improve throughout the season. The Sixers do need to work on some foul shooting as they went an abysmal 17-30 during the game but maybe that’s their way of getting the first game jitters out of the way. The long journey of this season is now underway. It’s going to be a long season with many downs and very few ups, but I can assure you that this team is going to be exciting to watch.

 Next up: @Milwaukee, Friday 8:30pm Tip

 

-Follow @WillRock2424 on Twitter

 

 


All Phillies Coaches Accept Offer To Return

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Earlier this offseason, the Phillies had stated that the entire coaching staff from 2014 was "invited to return".  That meant, of course, that those not under contract would certainly be allowed to pursue other options before deciding to accept.  The Phillies announced today (via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com) that the entire coaching staff will return in 2014.

The Phillies coaching staff is:

  • Bob McClure, pitching coach
  • Larry Bowa, bench coach
  • Rod Nichols, bullpen coach
  • Steve Henderson, hitting coach
  • John Mizerock, assistant hitting coach
  • Juan Samuel, first base coach
  • Pete Mackanin, third base coach

Bowa had a two-year deal when he was brought aboard prior to 2014, but others were working on one-year deals.


Sixers open 2014-15 season in Indiana

Sixers to sit out Nerlens Noel

Opening Night has a different meaning for each team and fan base, as each team heads in with a different approach each season. For some teams like San Antonio, it means the first game in what they hope to be a championship season. Others, like the Lakers last night, have opening night represent a return or first appearance of a returning icon, like Kobe Bryant.

The Opening Night of basketball in Philadelphia falls a bit shy of qualifying for consideration for the start of a championship run. It is no secret the Sixers have low expectations, but there are still plenty of other reasons to get excited for the return of basketball.

One thing to really keep an eye out for is the NBA debut of center Nerlens Noel. The sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft is fully healed from his torn ACL, and will be without any limitations. Remember when Michael Carter-Williams seemingly won the Rookie of the Year award with his impressive rookie debut this year? Those are the kind of surprises you get out of the start of a season full of unknowns.

They will face an Indiana team that had arguably the strangest season in the NBA last season, being a dominant team for more than half the season, only to have internal clashes and struggle down the stretch. Their once-promising outlook in becoming a perennial contender is now actually rather bleak. Center Roy Hibbert regressed considerably last season and superstar forward Paul George suffered a gruesome broken leg and now they seem like a rather ordinary team. So for even a casual NBA fan, this game will be interesting to see how the Pacers come out of the gate looking, and if there is restored chemistry after last year’s challenging times in the locker room and at practice.

As for the matchup on the court, it represents an interesting contrast. On one side of the court are the slow-paced, veteran Indiana Pacers. Head coach Frank Vogel also will be challenged for depth, as the Pacers are down a handful of players (see injury section). On the other side, though, are the up-tempo, younger 76ers. Last season, the Sixers ranked 4th in the entire NBA with 17.4 fastbreak points per game.

Game Notes:

  • The Pacers swept the three-game season series last season.
  • Chris Copeland, who is starting in Paul George’s spot, has a career shooting percentage of 42% from three. The Sixers were 29th in the NBA in defending the three a season ago.
  • The Sixers are 32-19 all-time on opening night.
  • The only returning starter for the Pacers is Hibbert.
  • In the last time these two teams met to open the season, Charles Barkley dropped 29 points in leading the Sixers to victory.

Injuries:

Starters George (leg), George Hill (knee) and David West (ankle) all will not dress for Indiana. Reserves C.J. Watson and Rodney Stuckey both are suffering from foot injuries, but Stuckey will play while Watson is out. For Philadelphia, Joel Embiid (foot) and Michael Carter-Williams will not play, recovering from off-season surgeries. Luc Mbah a Moute is out with a back injury, and Jerami Grant will also miss the game with an ankle injury.

Starting Lineups:

Sixers:

PG- Tony Wrotten

SG- K. J. McDaniels

SF- Hollis Thompson

PF- Nerlens Noel

C- Henry Sims

Pacers:

PG- Donald Sloan

SG-C.J. Miles

SF- Chris Copeland

PF- Luis Scola

C- Roy Hibbert

Prediction: The depleted Pacers lineup keeps this closer than most Sixers road games will go against playoff teams from a season ago, but they still prevail with a 102-87 victory.


Morning After: Strong game shows Flyers confidence

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The Flyers celebrate after Chris VandeVelde's goal in the first period of the Flyers 3-2 overtime win against the Kings. (Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography)

From the start, the Flyers had a little more jump than usual. Against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings, they needed every bit of it.

The Flyers fourth win of the season came the same way the first did, with an overtime goal. Brayden Schenn was the hero this time, but there could have been many others.

In the end, it didn't matter who played hero. The Flyers effort, their best of the season, was enough reason to see the confidence forming in this group.

Continue reading "Morning After: Strong game shows Flyers confidence" »


Nerlens Noel Eager for Sixers Debut

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When the Sixers traded away All-Star Jrue Holiday last season for Nerlens Noel, I scratched my head. I was a Holiday fan and didn't understand why in the world you would part ways with someone with his talent. Clearly, he wasn't in the future plans of Sam Hinkie. The Sixers drafted Michael Carter-Williams, who had a great rookie year on a Sixers team that was clearly at the start of a rebuild process. 

Tonight, Sixers fans will get to see the prized Nerlens Noel make his regular season debut...on television. Standing at 6-11 and weighing in at 220 pounds, Noel is ready to go despite sitting our three preseason games with an upper-respiratory infection. Coach Brett Brown also expressed that Noel won't be limited in his play, but yet seeing what he can do will be a learning experience in itself. (via CSNPhilly.com)

"I am coming in with no restrictions like any other player would be," Noel said.

"I don't expect to rest him in one of those games," Brown said when asked if three games in four nights this week was too much for the rookie. "I hope I don't have to rest him in one of those games. Him playing legitimate basketball and minutes in real NBA games is uncharted territory for all of us.

"The preseason you can judge a little bit but now with three games in four days, the rules change. Whether it is fatigue or foul trouble or soreness, I just feel we are going to learn a lot on how better to use Nerlens."

In the four preseason games Noel played for the Sixers, he averaged just over 30 minutes and ranked second in the NBA with 2.5 blocks per game and ninth in steals with 2.25. His rebound numbers came in at 12th through his four games, grabbing on average 8.5 per. Noel was an all-SEC Defensive Team pick and averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocks in 24 games for the Wildcats in college.

His offense left much to be desired, shooting 35.1% (13-37) from the floor and making just eight of his 18 free throws. While it is no doubt Noel's game is a work in progress, seeing him perform at full speed in the preseason without restriction was a positive. Noel averaged 8.5 points per game over the four contests. 

In tonight's opener against the Pacers, Nerlens will start at power forward with Henry Sims at center. Even though he will start at the four spot, that doesn't mean we won't see Noel at center as well. (via CSNPhilly.com)

"You are not hamstrung to play just those two [Noel and Sims] together," Brown said. "You can sub early and then have Nerlens play some five. I said from day one I never intended playing Nerlens as a four. I anticipated getting Andrew Wiggins as our pick and Noel is back at the five. All the sudden you get Joel (Embiid) and I said this is a great opportunity to try something and see if they can coexist.

"I think it is possible. That doesn't make him only a four man this year. He can go back to playing some five with screen-and-roll and let Brandon (Davies) and Malcolm (Thomas) play some four alongside him."

Henry Sims, the Sixers starting center envisions other teams having a difficult time scoring in the paint and at the rim with him and Noel protecting the inside. Sims averaged 11.1 points an 6.3 rebounds in eight preseason games for Philadelphia. 

"We are going to be most effective defensively," Sims said. "I will handle the bigger, stronger guys and Nerlens can handle things at the rim, blocking shots and getting those over-the-rim rebounds that may be out of my reach."

The Sixers open their season tonight in Indiana against Roy Hibbert and the Pacers at 7pm on Comcast Sportsnet. Indiana will be without their leading scorer, Paul George, possibly all season, while David West (ankle) and George Hill (knee) are both recovering from their respective injuries.

Brandon Apter is a writer for Sixerdelphia.com


Durso: Signs of success as October closes for Flyers

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The Flyers past week has featured wins over the Penguins, Red Wings and Kings. (Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography)

It was pretty hard to find a positive note on the Flyers last week after a 4-0 loss in Chicago. A listless team took the ice that night.

In the last three games, the Flyers have showed the signs of success while facing the most adversity. They are missing arguably their top defensive pair. They played Saturday without four members of the opening night lineup. And in that time, they have gone from four points in the standings to 10.

Continue reading "Durso: Signs of success as October closes for Flyers" »