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Updated Playoff Bracket Challenge

The first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs is finally complete. It is close so far as eight out of eleven got at least seven points out of the first round.  Here are the updated standings for our first ever Flyerdelphia Playoff Bracket Challenge.

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Braddock: Key to Mariota lies in hands of Cleveland Browns

It appears as though the fate of whether or not former Oregon Duck quarterback Marcus Mariota will reunite with coach Chip Kelly in Philadelphia lies in the hands of the Cleveland Browns.

Jayson Braddock, the writer who broke the news of cornerback Byron Maxwell signing with the Eagles in early March, tweeted the following early Thursday morning, based on information from his source:

Source says the key to Mariota is whether the Browns want Bradford or Mariota more. Cleveland in the driver seat. Philly needs Browns picks.

Sam Bradford was acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles on March 10 in a surprise move which sent Nick Foles, who had a 27:2 TD-INT ratio in 2013, to the St. Louis Rams. The Eagles also sent their fourth round pick in this year's draft, as well as their second round pick next season, and received in return the Rams' fifth round pick for this season, and a conditional pick for next season.'s Eliot Shorr-Parks writes:

The Browns' interest in Bradford is crucial for the Eagles, as they could try to flip the quarterback for one of the Browns' first-round picks (No. 12 or No. 19), and then use that pick in a package to land Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Whether Cleveland wants Bradford enough to get this trade to come to fruition will be tough to decipher. Just recently, however, Bradford reportedly desires a no-trade clause, and he will not sign an extension with any other team but the Eagles.

When Bradford's introductory press conference was held in March, Chip Kelly revealed that a team offered the Eagles a first round pick in exchange for the quarterback. This team has been speculated to be the Browns.

Only time will tell how this all plays out, and whether or not Marcus Mariota will be an Eagle at the conclusion of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft later this evening.

Matt Rappa (@mattrappa) is a contributor to

Howard's fourth blast of season not enough as Phillies fall to Cardinals

Final: Cardinals 5, Phillies 2

WP: Carlos Martinez (3-0, 1.73 ERA) LP: Aaron Harang (2-2, 2.51 ERA) SV: Trevor Rosenthal (8)

St. Louis, MO - Tonight, in the third game of a four game set, the Philadelphia Phillies (8-14) sent starting pitcher Aaron Harang to the mound in search of his team's third road win, and his third overall victory for himself this season. Opposing Harang was 23-year-old right hander Carlos Martinez, whose name has reportedly come up in trade discussions surrounding Phillies' ace Cole Hamels.

Continue reading "Howard's fourth blast of season not enough as Phillies fall to Cardinals" »

Low Risk For Philadelphia Eagles, Others To Trade Up


Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has gone on record saying the Eagles will not "mortgage" their future to trade up in the NFL Draft.

That's good. That makes sense.

There is also no clear definition of what it means to "mortgage" the future. And there is no evidence to suggest dumping a bunch of draft picks hurts one team or helps another.

Draft picks have value, but they're like lottery tickets. If you gather a bunch of tickets, there is a chance - albeit a small one - that you'll have a jackpot. Some will be "winners" of varying degrees. Most will be losers.

The same goes for draft selections. There is safety in numbers. Theoretically, the more picks you have, the more players you get, the more chances you have that, when you get them in your uniform and scratch them up, they'll be a winner. The rest will be a mixed bag of serviceable players and guys who are - sorry - busts.

Take a look back at the 2012 NFL Draft. Andrew Luck went No. 1 overall and has provided dividends to the Indianapolis Colts. But he, along with the other 31 players selected in the first round, have combined for just 10 Pro Bowl appearances. Nine of the 32 players have started for their respective teams in one season or less. Read that again. A third of these guys haven't even been NFL starters. A third of the first-round picks. 

Continue reading "Low Risk For Philadelphia Eagles, Others To Trade Up" »

Phillies to face rumored return in potential Hamels trade, Carlos Martinez

The Philadelphia Phillies (8-13) will send one of their most successful starting pitchers to the mound this evening, right hander Aaron Harang, as the four-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals (13-6) is currently evened at one.

Harang's opposition on the mound tonight is worthy of attention for Phillies' fans.

With Cardinals' ace starting pitcher Adam Wainwright being sidelined for 9-12 months with a torn left Achilles, trade discussions involving Cole Hamels have picked up in momentum, even as recently as Tuesday morning.

Phillies' general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has been hesitant to "pull-the-trigger" early without getting a sense of market value for the 2008 World Series MVP. With many teams currently interested, however, perhaps now is the 'perfect time', as phrased by USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Given the Cardinals' long history of having a successful farm system, they would be the most intriguing trade partner if the Phillies were to part with Hamels.

One of the rumored players that would be sent to Philadelphia in exchange for Hamels, according to reports, would be tonight's starter for St. Louis, Carlos Martinez. Martinez has been long-linked to the Phillies, almost from the get-go with discussions involving the Cardinals.'s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi were amongst the first to report the Phillies' interest in the 23-year-old right hander. The following is an excerpt from their January 7, 2015 article:

The Cardinals’ biggest problem, perhaps, would be satisfying the Phillies.

To secure Hamels, the Cardinals likely would need to part with [Carlos] Martinez or [Marco] Gonzales as well as an outfielder such as Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty (the Phillies have long coveted Peter Bourjos as well, sources say).

Nearly a month-and-a-half later, on February 18, Martinez was linked with Hamels rumors once again, this time by USA Today's Bob Nightengale:

The Phillies keep shopping Hamels, and have had plenty of talks with the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, but continue to await an acceptable proposal. They won't trade Hamels to Boston without getting catching prospect Blake Swihart in return. The Padres' offer of prospects Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges isn't enough. The Dodgers have yet to include any of their top four prospects in a proposal. And the Phillies won't listen to the St. Louis Cardinals unless pitcher Carlos Martinez is in a deal.

Hamels' contract does not prohibit a trade to the Cardinals. One of the main reasons for that is because his wife, former Survivor contestant Heidi Hamels, is native to Jefferson City, Missouri.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (8-13)St. Louis Cardinals (13-6)
RHP Aaron Harang RHP Carlos Martinez
(2-1, 1.37 ERA) (2-0, 1.35 ERA)

Harang is coming off of his best start of the season on Friday, where he threw eight shutout innings, yielding just two hits and one walk, against his former team in the Atlanta Braves.

Apr 8   BOS W,4-2 W(1-0) 6.1 2 0 0 1 8 0 0.00 22 105 70 4 9 2 1 0 0
Apr 13 @ NYM L,0-2 L(1-1) 6.0 4 1 1 2 1 0 0.73 24 97 63 5 16 6 4 1 1
Apr 18 @ WSN W,5-3 W(2-1) 6.0 7 3 3 2 6 1 1.96 26 91 60 9 9 6 0 0 0
Apr 24   ATL W,1-0   8.0 2 0 0 1 6 0 1.37 25 104 66 6 12 5 2 1 0
          26.1 15 4 4 6 21 1 1.37 97                

Over each of Harang's four starts this season, he has lasted at least six innings. If he has capable of achieving that feat once again this evening, that would be huge considering the Phillies' bullpen was heavily relied upon last night in their 11-5 defeat to Michael Wacha and the Cardinals.

In 11 career starts at the new Busch Stadium, Harang is (3-6) with a 3.88 ERA in 69.2 innings.

This season for the Cardinals, Carlos Martinez has been just as successful, if not better, than Harang's contributions to the Phillies. Over three starts, 19.0 innings, Martinez has given up just 11 hits and six walks to yield a WHIP under 1.00.

Apr 5 @ CHC W,3-0 H(1) 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 4 20 11 2 0 0 0 0 0
Apr 12 @ CIN W,7-5   6.0 4 2 2 2 8 2 2.57 24 100 66 8 6 4 0 1 0
Apr 18   CIN W,5-2 W(1-0) 6.0 3 1 1 2 4 1 2.08 23 86 53 4 13 7 2 0 0
Apr 24 @ MIL W,3-0 W(2-0) 7.0 4 0 0 2 8 0 1.35 25 98 68 8 7 3 1 1 0
          20.0 11 3 3 7 21 3 1.35 76                

Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies (8-13)St. Louis Cardinals (13-6)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 LF  Ben Revere  L 1 CF Peter Bourjos
2 CF  Odubel Herrera L 2 3B Matt Carpenter
3 2B  Chase Utley  L 3 LF Matt Holliday 
4 RF Jeff Francoeur  R 4 1B Matt Adams  L
5 1B  Ryan Howard L 5 SS  Jhonny Peralta 
6 3B  Cody Asche  L 6 RF Jason Heyward L
7 C Carlos Ruiz 7 C Yadier Molina 
8 SS Freddy Galvis  S 8 2B  Kolten Wong L
9 P Aaron Harang 9 P Carlos Martinez R

Broadcast Information:

  • First-pitch: 8:15 pm EST
  • Radio: 94 WIP, 1210 WPHT, SBP 1480 (Sp.)

What's Next:

Thursday, April 30, 2015: at St. Louis Cardinals, 1:45 pm

  • RHP David Buchanan (0-4, 7.52 ERA) vs. LHP Tim Cooney (M-L debut)
  • TV: CSN, MLBN; Radio: 94 WIP, 1210 WPHT, SBP 1480 (Sp.)

Matt Rappa (@mattrappa) is managing editor of


Charlie Manuel is scouting Boston Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot for Phillies

David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News reports today that the Phillies have sent Charlie Manuel to Salem, VA to scout Red Sox oufield prospect Manuel Margot. Coming off his strong start Monday night and with a cast of starters going down including Adam Wainwright and Brandon McCarthy who are both on contending teams, the Cole Hamels market might be heating up. The Red Sox have a rotation that is really struggling so crunch time to make something happen with Hamels might be coming sooner than later. 

Margot is currently hitting .344/.382/.557 for Class-A Salem and is a rising star in the Boston system. 

Peter Gammons tweeted today that he feels Margot and pitching prospect Henry Owens would likely be the centerpieces of any deal involing Hamels and the Red Sox. 


Domonic Brown will report to Lehigh Valley for tonight's game

Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown was activated from the disabled list Tuesday and optioned to AAA Lehigh Valley.  Brown expected to play at Lehigh Valley last night, before joining the Phillies in St. Louis on Wednesday.  But yet, Brown was a no-show last night at Coca-Cola Park where the IronPigs were to take on the Durham Bulls.  Tonight, Brown is expected to be present.

Matt Provence of the IronPigs broadcast and public relations staff reports:

Brown's absence upset some Phillies fans.

While players technically do have 72 hours to report to the minor leagues after a demotion, Brown did himself no favors by refusing to play on Tuesday night.  If the Phillies were sincere that they felt that Brown need some more at bats before joining the Phillies full-time, Brown should have gotten right to work; after all, Brown was already scheduled to start in Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.

Brown is likely on his last legs with the Philadelphia Phillies organization.  After making the National League All-Star team in 2013, Brown has disappointed at the plate and in the field.  Brown's future with the Phillies needs to be determined sooner than later as the Phillies tinker with Cody Asche in the outfield and look at long-term solutions for the club.


Phillies third baseman Cody Asche worked out in the outfield yesterday as Maikel Franco rakes at AAA

When will the Phillies see Maikel Franco?  Where will he play when the day comes?  That question might need to be answered soon, and the Phillies are exploring possibilities now.   The Phillies appear to be looking at the possibility of moving Cody Asche out of third base as the time to promote Maikel Franco could be drawing near.

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports:

Asche was seen taking balls off the bat – he charged them and tracked them back to the wall – in left field after he concluded his regular work at third base.

The left-field workout, Asche's first since early spring training, was not a recreational exercise. It was all business.

“I wanted him to do it,” manager Ryne Sandberg told “It could be helpful down the road adding versatility.”

How soon down the road might that be?   If the Phillies wait just about two more weeks, the Phillies would gain an extra year's control of third baseman Maikel Franco.

Franco is hitting .333 with one home run and 11 RBI at AAA Lehigh Valley so far this season.  Franco has an OPS of .883 in 84 at bats, not a small sample size.   While first base was seen as an option for Franco, the Phillies seem content in keeping him at third base.  Franco dabbled at first base a little bit this season, but has mostly played third base.

Adding Asche to the infield would make it even more crowded.  The Phillies already have Ben Revere and Odubel Herrera, and though he is currently at AAA, Domonic Brown figures to be in the Phillies' plans at some point.   While adding Asche to the outfield would create an all-lefthanded outfield, the right-handed Franco could be the right-handed balance that the Phillies have tried to get from Jeff Francoeur thus far.

Earlier this offseason we learned that Asche was doing some preparations in the outfield.  Asche moved permanently to third base after a rough year in Class A Williamsport at second base.  Asche's defense has mostly been solid at third base, but Franco was rated the top defended in the International League at third base last season.

Online-only All-Star ballot released; Domonic Brown among Phillies players on ballot

The 2015 All-Star game ballot was released today, even though we are not yet done the first month of action.  The voting in 2015 will be different than the past; "hanging chads" will not be a worry, nor will fans have to worry about finding a way to punch ballots with their keys, straws, or whatever else happened to be nearby in the ballpark.   

The Phillies players on the 2015 ballot are:

  • Ryan Howard, first base
  • Chase Utley, second base
  • Freddy Galvis, shortstop
  • Cody Asche, third base
  • Carlos Ruiz, catcher
  • Odubel Herrera, outfielder
  • Ben Revere, outfielder
  • Domonic Brown, outfielder

Yes, Lehigh Valley IronPigs outfielder Domonic Brown is on the All-Star ballot.   The release of the ballot led to plenty of jokes from Phillies fans.  Jeff Francoeur has started most of the Phillies games in right field thus far, but I think fans would laugh just as much had Francoeur been on the ballot instead.

The release on, sponsored by Esurance, explained that All-Star voting in 2015 will be online-only:

Balloting is underway for the 86th All-Star Game on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, with Wednesday's launch of the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. It begins your annual privilege to decide the starting position players for the American and National Leagues, but there is one big difference now: it's online only.

MLB's All-Star balloting program, which moves forward in a digital world without paper balloting at the ballparks, is the largest of its kind in professional sports. Nearly 160 million ballots have been cast over the past five years, including a record 40.2 million ballots cast in 2012. In addition, more than 300 million votes were submitted in 2014.

Vote for Domonic Brown or anyone else you wish here at

The 2015 All-Star game is schedule to take place on Tuesday, July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.

According to Sal Pal, Philadelphia Eagles, Chargers Favorites for #2 Overall Pick

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio sent Philadelphia Eagles fans abuzz this morning when he reported on ESPN that the Eagles were one of the front runners to land Marcus Mariota.

Sal Pal went on to 97.5 the Fanatic to provide further insight to his report. He said that he spoke to people inside Mariota's camp, who indicated that the Chargers and Eagles are the front runners: 

Sal Pal told 97.5 the Fanatic that this was consistent with the wide spread speculation he was hearing around the league, and that he would not rule out an Eagles trade for Mariota:

Continue reading "According to Sal Pal, Philadelphia Eagles, Chargers Favorites for #2 Overall Pick" »