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Game Recap: Sixers Trounced by Warriors, 126-86.

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The Philadelphia 76ers (4-26), worst-team in the NBA, went head-to-head with the best team in the league Tuesday evening, the Golden State Warriors (25-5).

Results from the game showed the extreme mismatch between the two teams, as Golden State defeated the Sixers 126 to 86, a margin of 40 points. Trailing 61-34 at the half, the Sixers were not able to recover in the latter 24 minutes of game play as they fell for the 26th time this season. Philadelphia was out-shot by the Warriors, 56.1% to 38.4%. 

Three former Sixers took the court for the Warriors, and produced the following results:

  • Justin Holiday | SG | 15 min, 4-10 FGM-A, 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 2 TO, 11 pts
  • Andre Iguodala | SG | 20 min, 3-3 FGM-A, 2 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl, 7 pts
  • Marreese Speights | PF | 24 min, 9-13 FGM-A, 4 reb, 4 ast, 4 blk, 23 pts

Sixers Starting Five

Warriors Starting Five

  • Stephen CurryPG | 27 min, 4-7 FGM-A, 3 reb, 9 ast, 3 stl, 3 TO, 13 pts
  • Klay Thompson | SG | 24 min, 6-14 FGM-A, 3 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 4 TO, 14 pts
  • Harrison Barnes | SF | 28 min, 3-6 FGM-A, 7 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 8 pts
  • Draymond Green | SF | 29 min, 3-7 FGM-A, 10 reb, 3 ast, 4 stl, 3 blk, 2 TO, 10 pts
  • Marreese Speights | PF | 24 min, 9-13 FGM-A, 4 reb, 4 ast, 4 blk, 23 pts

Atlantic Division Standings

  1. Toronto Raptors (24-7)
  2. Brooklyn Nets (15-16) | 9 GB
  3. Boston Celtics (10-18) | 12.5 GB
  4. New York Knicks (5-28) | 20 GB 
  5. Philadephia 76ers (4-26) | 19.5 GB

What's Next:

  • Friday | January 2, 2015 | @ Suns | 9:00 pm EST | TV: TCN; Radio: 97.5 FM
  • Saturday | January 3, 2015 | @ Clippers | 10:30 pm EST | TV: TCN; Radio: 97.5 FM
  • Monday | January 5, 2015 | vs. Cavaliers | 7:00 pm EST | TV: CSN; Radio: 97.5 FM

Matt Rappa (@mattrappa) is a contributor to Sixerdelphia.com.


The 2014 Eagles: Reflections on the road ahead

The Philadelphia Eagles season ended Sunday with an unfulfilling and unimportant win against the Giants in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, without the annual budding hope of Spring Training & given the lackluster play of the local winter-sport franchises, many fans will be left in the cold for four months until wide-eyed, potential rookies convene upon Chicago for the 2015 NFL draft.

Like the Eagles brass, however, it is impossible to consider future talent without first evaluating the performance of this most recent team.  With that said, we look back on another Lombardi-less season and make observations: in the hope that better times are ahead.

1.     These are the facts:

        a.     This is a team just 2 years removed from 4-12.

        b.     They had a last place schedule in 2013 & finished 10-6.

        c.     This year, playing a first place schedule, they finished...10-6.

Kelly’s Eagles v.2.0 managed an identical 10-6 record (4-2 in division) to their 2013 counterpart.  In 2013, the Eagles opponents managed a combine .453 winning percentage.  Comparatively, the Eagles opponents managed a .475 winning percentage this , sure. At the Cowboys: the shine has faded there.  Fortunately, there is no Bowl Selection Committee for CHip & Co. to impress & they scraped by “beating the teams they should beat.”  On the other hand, their six losses came to four playoff bound teams (Arizona, Green Bay, Seattle, & Dallas), a talented (though underachieving) 49ers team on the road, and an infuriating loss to an inferior Redskins team in DC.

2.     As pretty picture a picture painted above, believe it or not, this represents an improvement:

This above facts can (obviously) be viewed in one of three ways: as a step backward, if your expectations coming in were high; as a step forward, if you prioritize strength of schedule; as a step laterally, wherein you likely blame the NFL allowing a 7-8-1 Panthers team to compete in the postseason. 

What cannot be denied is that this team is 2 years removed from a top-5 draft pick & organizational overhaul.  On January 16th, 2013, if you had been told Kelly would go 20-12 in his first two seasons, you’d have taken it.

 

3.     The Eagles lost games this year b/c the talent on the field wasn't up to the task against more talented units.

Is there any doubt that the Eagles have less talent on their roster, top-to-bottom, than San Francisco, Green Bay, Seattle?  The only team here that you could argue against is San Francisco.  The truth is the 49ers have more a more talented roster but a coaching staff & front office that couldn't handle the ego growth that came with short-lived success.  The Eagles more comfortably fit into the next tier of NFC contenders: accompanied by the Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, and precisely no one from the NFC South. 

Consider this: how many defensive starters would play meaningful snaps for the Cardinals?  Fletcher Cox? Mychal Kendricks?  Maybe Connor Barwin?  How many offensive starters would play meaningful snaps for Dallas?  Jason Peters, Shady, Maclin?  The Lions have talent but not discipline but are the Eagles any better in this regard: more on that below.

 The lone exception is, perhaps, the last loss of the season at the Redskins.  Though the Birds have an undoubtedly higher talent level from 1-53, they happened to be immeasurably inferior in defending the Redskins biggest strength in the receiving corps.

With the book closed on the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles: the following truths have been written in ink:

            a.     The offense wasn't talented enough to beat good defenses (SF, ARI, SEA)

            b.     The defense wasn't talented enough to stifle good offenses (GB, DAL)

4.     When your raw talent is roughly even, you'll lose games b/c of penalties, turnovers, & fluke plays.

In Arizona, the Eagles committed three turnovers: including a Josh Huff fumble & interception in the red zone.  They were penalized 11 times for 104 yards.  Hosting Dallas, they again turned the ball over three times—including the opening kickoff—and were penalized 8 times for 95 yards. Though the Eagles committed just two turnovers—see how we’re settling now—at the Redskins, they committed 11 penalties to the tune of 102 yards.

This is, perhaps, the most alarming issue going forward the Eagles face.  Largely because this is a reflection of coaching.  Turnovers, mindless errors & penalties are the signature of undisciplined teams.  Undisciplined teams, as we have seen, rarely make the playoffs.  When they do, it is a short lived Lombardi threat.  Simply put, if Chip Kelly wants to make viable attempts at an NFL championship, he is going to need more disciplined play from the 22 on the field.  Which brings us to…

5.     Talent Evaluation:

Holding, facemask, horse-collar tackle, pass interference, etc.  What do all of these penalties have in common?  They are all committed by players who have been beaten by their opponent.  Infrequent & uncommon flags for these reasons can be often reasoned as “bad calls” or, at the very least, tolerated by the team, coaches, fans, bloggers, etc. 

But consider this, the 2013 Eagles were flagged 99 times for a total 889 yards.  Both of these figures are middle of the road in the NFL last season.  This year, however, is another story.  The 2014 Eagles committed 115 penalties accounting for total of 995 yards given away to opponents. Only 11 teams had more penalties; only 7 teams gave away more free yards.

What does this all mean?  It means many in Midnight Green were getting beat frequently enough to, for lack of a better term, cheat in order to do their jobs.  A not so alarming example for you: the starting secondary—Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Nate Allen, & Malcolm Jenkins—combined for 20 penalties & 268 yards surrendered.  By the eye test, we know Jenkins was the best player of them on the field: he was responsible for 2 of those flags & just 20 of those yards. It should be noted that talent isn’t always the answer: as Jason Peters was the most frequently flagged member of the offense.

The point?  More talented players would not be in positions to hold, interfere, or otherwise impede an adversary who had won the play.  The real point? This coaching staff had to do a better job of talent evaluation & roster management.  If Andy Reid had a problem putting his guys in the right position to succeed, then Chip Kelly has a problem succeeding to put the right guys in position.  But rosters aren’t rebuilt in a day.  So, looking back what could have been done, but…

 

6.     Scheme better. A couple random thoughts here.

        a.     If coaching staff distributed more to Sproles, Ertz, & Chris Polk (I said it), this Eagles would have finished at least 12-4.

The logic here is simple enough.  Darren Sproles’ average touches per game in 10 Eagles wins: 7.1.  Sproles average touches per game in 6 Eagles losses: 4.3.  With the Saints: 173 touches in 2011, 123 in 2012, and 124 in ’13.  Sproles had 97 touches this year in an offense that average nearly 71 offensive snaps per game.  You spent a 5th round draft pick to bring him here from New Orleans and that is exactly the production you got: but only because it was schemed that way.

Zach Ertz: This goes to the point above.  Talent needs to be on the field.  Admittedly, this is more of an eye test argument than the Sproles argument mathematically engineered above.  Ertz had more receptions, total yards, and yards/game this season than he did in 2013.  He was also on the field for a higher percentage of snaps.  The problem, he isn’t on the field enough in the red zone.  He is an athletically-gifted, big-bodied target that can make contested catches in a shortened field.  He is a guy that absolutely must be available to help a team that ranked 23rd in red zone scoring percentage.

Chris Polk: the change-of-pace back du jour.  Again, no math here.  Just argument.  But you’re reading the blog for a reason, so…  If Chip Kelly had utilized Chris Polk in short yardage & goal line situations earlier in the season—against the 49ers or Cardinals, for instance—it is probably that one of those games is a W & the Eagles are in the playoffs.

        b.     This Eagles coaching staff distributed the ball too much to Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, and LeSean McCoy (I said it).

Riley Cooper. He is an able blocker and sometimes comes down with contested catches based on his size alone.  He has sure hands, dropping <4% of his targets, despite the memorable drop in San Francisco.  The problem?  He is overpaid for his production and his targets at crucial moments takes the ball out of the hands of those guys listed above. Riley Cooper is not of the same natural talent level as Sproles, Ertz, or Polk. He caught 55 balls on 95 targets for 577 yards & 3 touchdowns.  Based on his annual average salary ($4.5M per year), for every reception in 2014, Riley Cooper earned roughly $82,000. This is just absurd.

Josh Huff.  The guy is a rookie fourth round draft pick.  He seems to have some real talent and showed incredible flashes: most notably the 107 yard kickoff return TD against the Titans.  He made an impact on special teams.  The reasoning he is here and not listed with Sproles et al. is that he, like Riley, is taking targets away from the those guys.  I am not saying he can’t be listed with those guys: possibly even next year.  Does Chip see him as a possible DeSean Jackson type? Possibly, but this year he made too many costly/rookie errors.

LeSean McCoy.  Wait, isn’t this counter-intuitive given the arguments above? No…idiot.  Why not?  Some people are going to say he had the second best year of his career in 2014.  They’re wrong.  In 2010, McCoy had 285 touches for 1672 yards & 9 TDs.  In 2011, Shady had 321 touches for 1624 yards & 20 TDs.  In 2013, he had 366 touches for 2146 yards & 11 TDs.  This year: 340 for 1474 & 5 TDs.  True, he was playing behind a patchwork offensive line for a third of the season.  True, he didn’t have his boy DeSean to pull a safety out of the box.  The truth is this: LeSean McCoy—for whatever reason—had his fourth best season in the NFL.  This is NOT an argument against his talent.  But if we want Sproles to get more touches, then they have to come from somewhere, right? If he is a running back, as Chip insisted, then this is where they come from.

 

7.    Moving Forward

        a.     This team is still 2 drafts (assuming they aren't blundered a la 2014) away from legit Super                 Bowl competition.

                    These are the positions (in order) that need addressing: QB, CB, S, WR, LB, OL, CB.  We                     have over 100 days to analyze the draft.  This will be another post.  For now, let’s get into                     known NFL commodities.

        b.     Free agency: Who to keep? Who to ditch? Who to target?

Maclin. Having taken a chance on a one-year deal, he delivered elite production on the outside: 85 receptions for 1,318 yards & 10 TDs.  All of those rank him in the top 15 in the NFL.  For comparison’s sake, in 2013 DeSean Jackson had 82 catches for 1,332 yards & 9 TDs. It doesn’t get more similar than that.  The prevailing argument is that Maclin was unable to “take the cover off the defense” in the same way Jackson was, right? DeSean had 25 plays go for longer than 20 yards in 2013.  Maclin in 2014: 21 plays of 20+ yards.  Talent? Check. Culture fit? Check. This is a receiver you have to have back, regardless of cost.  He’s earned it.

Brandon Graham.  Seriously? The guy that cost us Earl Thomas? Let him walk! Not so fast.  He matured into a major contributor in the final year of his 5 year contract: notching 46 tackles to accompany 5.5 sacks & 4 forced fumbles.  That is solid production for a part time OLB.  Is he a more natural fit for a 4-3 defense? Probably.  Is there anyone on the roster that will pick up that production? Nope…not even your 2014 first round draft pick.  The guess here is that the front office focuses on the secondary first: hoping Graham is still available after the first wave of free agent signings.

Casey Matthews. Here’s another Reid-era draft bust that managed to come in and change Delaware Valley perceptions in his contract year.  He is never going to be a disruptive force in the middle.  He’s never going to be Chuck Bednarik Jeremiah Trotter or DeMeco Ryans.  But he held down the fort after Ryans’ injury and is a capable backup who knows the scheme.

Bradley Fletcher & Nate Allen.  I can’t even type these names without putting holes in my keyboard. Later guys.  If you’re smart, you’ll follow whatever highway Patrick Chung did north to resurrect your careers in New England.

Speaking of which: can this front office please saddle up and acquire Darrelle Revis? The Eagles are projected to carry over roughly $15.5M dollars of cap space into the 2015 season.  This is the 3rd highest in the NFL.  Howie Roseman, as Chip Kelly infers, is a salary cap whiz.  Assuming the following players have their contracts renegotiated—or they are outright cut—this total could rise prior to the start of free agency: LeSean McCoy, James Casey, Riley Cooper, Todd Herremans, Cary Williams, Trent Cole, & DeMeco Ryans.  The general point here is this: the Eagles have money to spend and there are free agents that could make this defense instantly stout on the back end.  Some names to consider/dream of:

  • Darrelle Revis (NE): Likely too expensive.
  • Chris Culliver (SF)
  • Byron Maxwell (SEA): We saw what he can do in this league first hand.
  • Devin McCourty (NE)
  • Rahim Moore (DEN): Ball hawker to pair with Jenkins
  • Demaryius Thomas (DEN): Probably not going anywhere
  • Ryan Mallett (HOU): Would make a great backup QB in this system.
  • CJ Spiller (BUF): Eagles reportedly tried to acquire before Sproles.
  • Dez Bryant (DAL): Chip loves acquiring players who have beaten him.
  • Torrey Smith (BAL): Burner: would immediately displace Riley Cooper.
  • Michael Crabtree (SF): may be had cheap because he played on a poor offense.
  • Mike Iupati (SF): see Crabtree, Michael. Option if Mathis holds out/exits.
  • James Carpenter (SEA): huge part of Marshawn Lynch’s success.
  • Pernell McPhee (BAL): If the Birds can’t agree with Cole/Graham, someone needs to play OLB. Apparently it won’t be Marcus Smith.  This could be the guy.
  • Jason Worilds (PIT): Ditto above.

Honestly, all of the above is likely a pipe dream.  The last two offseasons, the front office has avoided big name, expensive free agents; instead, signing more players at mid-tier contracts & hoping to get lucky.  Many of the names won’t reach free agency at all: either being locked up or franchise tagged.  If some of the names happen to slip a couple weeks, especially the defensive guys, don’t be surprised if the Eagles get into it. 

What do they need to do in free agency to be more viable in 2015? Finding a starting CB, S, OLB would be great.  Most likely, they go after 2 of those.  If they happen to find a WR & OL depth, that’d be gravy.

        c.     2015 Schedule

Next season, the NFC East will be pitted against the AFC East & the NFC South.  Having finished second in the division this year, the Eagles will play the other NFC division runner-ups—the Lions & Cardinals—to round out the 16 game schedule. In 2015, South Philly will kindly host the Cowboys, Giants, Skins, Saints, Buccaneers, Bills, Dolphins, & Cardinals.  If you’re planning a road trip with the Birds in 2015, here are the teams you could be seeing: Cowboys, Giants, Skins, Panthers, Falcons, Patriots, Jets, & Lions.

Ready for an entirely too early prediction for 2015? Here it comes.  Eagles finish 4-2 in the division…again.  They beat Marcus Mariota’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints, Bills, and Dolphins at home. They cough up a home loss to the Cardinals.  Road losses in Foxborough & Detroit; wins in Charlotte, Atlanta, & New Jersey.  For an overall record of 11-5.

 


Former Phillie Tomas Perez Still Swinging Away Down in Venezuela

Former utilty infielder for the Phillies, Tomas Perez, is still playing professional baseball despite last appearing in a Major League Baseball game on April 21, 2008 with the Houston Astros. Turning 41 on Monday, Perez of the Caribes de Anzoategui Venezulan Winter League team, has 24 hits, seven doubles, one triple, one home run and five runs-batted-in with 90 at-bats this season.

On Tuesday, Perez played in all nine positions in his team's 4-3 victory. He finally got his wish, as back in 2002 Bob Brookover writes that Perez long-lobbied to manager Larry Bowa and general manager Ed Wade to accomplish such feat.

Having played 24 seasons of Venezuelen Winter League Baseball, Perez announced in October that this will be his last with the hopes of becoming a coach.

In six seasons with the Phils (504 games) from 2000 to 2005, Perez batted .249 with 20 home runs and 128 runs batted in. He was released by the Phillies on April 1, 2006 after they acquired outfielder David Dellucci from the Texas Rangers.

Tomas Perez is remembered in Philadelphia for being a reliable fielder, stepping-in for when the everyday starter needed a rest. The statistics below show that he had just 24 errors in 2,328 innings of work while wearing red pinstripes.

YearTmLgAgePosGGSCGInnChPOAEDPFld%
2000 PHI NL 26 SS 44 39 35 343.2 169 76 89 4 20 .976
2001 PHI NL 27 2B 29 14 11 148.0 85 36 49 0 11 1.000
2001 PHI NL 27 3B 9 7 7 66.0 32 13 18 1 2 .969
2001 PHI NL 27 SS 8 5 4 48.0 28 8 20 0 4 1.000
2001 PHI NL 27 OF 1 0 0 3.0 0 0 0 0 0  
2001 PHI NL 27 RF 1 0 0 3.0 0 0 0 0 0  
2002 PHI NL 28 2B 50 21 18 249.2 158 67 90 1 22 .994
2002 PHI NL 28 3B 14 9 8 95.2 33 5 25 3 0 .909
2002 PHI NL 28 SS 13 12 9 103.1 63 30 33 0 11 1.000
2002 PHI NL 28 1B 3 2 1 16.0 10 10 0 0 1 1.000
2002 PHI NL 28 P 1 0 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0  
2003 PHI NL 29 3B 58 36 32 387.1 129 37 86 6 12 .953
2003 PHI NL 29 2B 26 17 16 165.0 108 52 54 2 11 .981
2003 PHI NL 29 1B 9 3 3 37.0 38 35 3 0 5 1.000
2003 PHI NL 29 SS 4 4 4 34.0 12 4 7 1 3 .917
2004 PHI NL 30 3B 22 7 7 97.2 36 12 22 2 1 .944
2004 PHI NL 30 2B 17 11 9 108.1 58 26 32 0 7 1.000
2004 PHI NL 30 1B 10 6 4 56.0 56 49 5 2 4 .964
2004 PHI NL 30 SS 10 9 8 86.0 42 14 26 2 5 .952
2005 PHI NL 31 1B 24 15 12 146.0 158 148 10 0 17 1.000
2005 PHI NL 31 3B 15 7 7 73.0 28 11 17 0 2 1.000
2005 PHI NL 31 SS 14 5 5 61.0 20 8 12 0 2 1.000
 

Perez's biggest "claim to fame", however was when he threw shaving-cream pies in the faces of teammates being interviewed after games.

 
Matt Rappa (@mattrappa) is a contributor to Philliedelphia.com.

Is Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Ignoring Charlie Manuel's Advice On Red Sox System?

RubenAmaro

Peter Gammons, long-time Red Sox writer for the Boston Globe, followed by a stint at ESPN and now MLB Network is still regarded as one of the top Red Sox insiders in the industry.  As it has been well-documented, the Phillies and Red Sox have talked trade for a while now, centered around Phillies ace Cole Hamels.   A recent Gammons column on Gammons Daily suggests that Amaro is ignoring the advice of assistant to the General Manager Charlie Manuel.

In Peter Gammons' column, he says that the Phillies would be prudent to follow Manuel's advice regarding Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini:

Now, Charlie Manuel saw more games in the Boston system than any other team and believes Garin Cecchini is a rising star and loves several others, but while Manuel is one of the best evaluators—particularly of hitters—in the game, his voice is not heard by Amaro. 

Is this necessarily a reflection that something is awry?  Probably not.

At the end of the day, the Boston Red Sox desperately need an ace.  Trades this offseason  have netted the Red Sox a collection of third and fourth starters.   At the end of the day, this would not cut it.  The Red Sox are in dire need of an ace.  They have spent a ton of money to bring in free agents Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez; why would they call it an offseason with a mediocre rotation?

The reason Amaro is wise to wait is that the Red Sox situation could turn more desperate, particularly when not-an-ace-but-almost starter James Shields signs.  If Shields signs with the Giants, then the Red Sox will face more pressure, as the options will be limited to Max Scherzer (who is seeking a reported $200 million) and Hamels.  Comparing the two, Hamels is the more attractive option, contract-wise.  If the Red Sox are that concerned about the future, signing Scherzer for way too long will not help.

So, Amaro is prudent to wait.  Phillies fans probably will not be satisfied with the deal without Betts or Swihart.  Perhaps Cecchini is indeed on the Phillies' radar as the primary piece in the trade, but rather as a secondary piece for the player that they want.   There is still plenty of time before February 19 when pitchers and catchers report for the Phillies to make a deal.  Amaro must get this deal right, and therefore should wait until it is right.


Postgame Perspective: 2nd-period struggles continue for Flyers

When the Flyers lost to Nashville on Saturday night, it was difficult to tell if the Flyers were experiencing the pitfalls of a break or just struggling to get going against a tough defensive team.

The Arizona Coyotes entered Monday's game allowing 111 goals this season, fourth-most in the NHL. This was not a feared defense. And the Flyers made them look like one.

When the Flyers finally turned it on, they nearly made it all the way back. In 10 minutes of energetic play, the Flyers almost got a point. But it's the play in the first 50 minutes, most notably the second period, that was so alarming.

Continue reading "Postgame Perspective: 2nd-period struggles continue for Flyers" »


Coyote Ugly: Vermette scores twice as Coyotes down Flyers

The Flyers loss to Nashville on Saturday was somewhat expected, especially off of a break. But as the road trip entered the latter half of eight games, the schedule appeared to be significantly easier.

The Arizona Coyotes had other ideas.

A late goal in the first by Shane Doan gave the Coyotes the lead and they never looked back, downing the Flyers, 3-1, on Monday night at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Az.

Continue reading "Coyote Ugly: Vermette scores twice as Coyotes down Flyers" »


Game 36 Preview: Flyers hit Arizona to face Coyotes

The Flyers met a tough foe in their return from the Christmas break, suffering a 4-1 loss on Saturday to the Nashville Predators, snapping a three-game winning streak.

Special teams was what really did the Flyers in on that night, and if not for two quick goals on a 5-on-3, the Flyers may have earned a point out of the game given their 5-on-5 play.

The road trip continues as the Flyers look to rebound on Monday night against the Arizona Coyotes. The opening face-off is set for 9 p.m.

Continue reading "Game 36 Preview: Flyers hit Arizona to face Coyotes" »


Closing the book on 2014

Like it or not, the Flyers are set to close out the 2014 portion of their schedule, as just two games remain -- tonight at Arizona, and Wednesday at Colorado.

There are plenty of adjectives that the Flyers and their fans could use to describe calendar-year 2014. "Boring," however, isn't one of them.

Continue reading "Closing the book on 2014" »


Marlon Byrd Trade to Cincinnati Reds Falls Through; Could Re-Surface

DSC_0285
Photo: Philliedelphia/Andrew Gillen

When the Jimmy Rollins trade rumors really started swirling during the Winter Meetings, it seemed as though Ruben Amaro Jr. was finally ready to break up the party and rebuild the Phillies organization. Talks about Chase Utley on the move as well, and Amaro's conversation with Ryan Howard seemed to be signs of real change. However, the trade of Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers became the only significant move, and, once again, the sense of the team staying put for yet another offseason became more palpable.

Today, though, a report from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network may reveal just how active Amaro truly has been:

It is unclear when the discussions occurred or just who the Phillies may have been getting in return, but it does seem Marlon Byrd may be on his way out of Philadelphia. Previously, the Cincinnati Reds had not been linked heavily with Byrd, but with their window of opportunity closing, the move makes sense on both ends.

Morosi notes the possibility of the trade still being made, though nothing is imminent. Perhaps the biggest block in reestablishing the move is whatever it was that made the move fall apart. Did one of the teams back out? Were their issues in deciding a return package to Philly? We may never find out, but just what caused the friction may be the reason the Phillies look elsewhere to officially move Marlon Byrd.