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Source: Jeffrey Lurie to hire a permanent head of player personnel

Brandon Apter (@bapter23), contributor 

With Chip Kelly's bags packed, the Eagles have already begun to find ways to restructure the way they do things, most specifically at head coach and the head of player personnel, two positions held by Kelly during his three year tenure. Tom Donahoe, the Eagles senior director of player of personnel, is apparently not in the teams' long term plans. CSN's Derrick Gunn hears that Donahoe's role is on an interim basis while Jeffrey Lurie searches for someone to run the day-to-day player personnel aspect of the organization. That being said, Lurie mentioned during his press conference that Donahoe will play a "crucial" part in the personnel process.

During that press conference, Lurie said Donahoe's new position was "a crucial hire and a crucial position in terms of player personnel."

Lurie spoke of a collaboration between Roseman, Donahoe and whomever the team hires as its new head coach. Now, it appears the collaboration will be between Roseman, and two people who aren't yet with the organization.

"A new head coach, an executive vice president of football operations and a player personnel head are all partners to collaborate," Lurie said.

Over the coming weeks, the Eagles plan to move forward will become more clear, but now it's all about the matchup with the Giants on Sunday when the team will be led by Pat Shurmur. 


WJC Report: Quarterfinal matchups are set

Seven Flyers prospects headed to Helsinki for this year's World Juniors tournament, and as the preliminary round comes to a close, all seven will be playing in this weekend's quarterfinal round. All prospects were active on Thursday, in a day that included a thrilling matchup between four Flyers prospects.

Continue reading "WJC Report: Quarterfinal matchups are set" »

Deja Vu?: Flyers stumble out of post-Christmas gate


Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

One year ago, the Philadelphia Flyers had 34 points and a 14-14-6 record at the Christmas break. Although, the team endured an horrific 0-8-1 spell in the latter part of November to early December, the team took a 6-1-3 run and a three-game winning streak into Christmas.

Things seemed to be headed in the right direction as the team reconvened in Nashville on Dec. 27 for the fourth game of a seven-game road trip.

Unfortunately, the Flyers staggered to four straight losses, 0-3-1, over the rest of the road trip. Even as the team surged again right before and immediately after the All-Star break, the Flyers spent the rest of the season struggling in vain to get back into the playoff race.

Is history repeating itself?

Continue reading "Deja Vu?: Flyers stumble out of post-Christmas gate" »

The Phillies end 2015 in a much better place than when it started

This time last year, the Phillies still felt they were going to be contenders.  If Cliff Lee was healthy and paired with Cole Hamels, the Phillies could content for a playoff spot, they thought.  Even without Jimmy Rollins on board, the team felt that they were going to have a shot to win.  Aaron Harang would be a reliable veteran starter, and the Phillies bullpen was going to be a lock-down sure thing at the end of games.    Phillies legend Mike Schmidt declared that the Phillies would not be the worst team in 2015.  Of course, we all knew better.   Here are some 2015 developments that shows that the Phillies are looking better as we turn the page to 2016.

Cole Hamels goes out with a bang, nets a haul of prospects
The Phillies did very, very well in the Cole Hamels trade.   Just like that, the Phillies added someone who could pitch in their starting rotation immediately in Jerad Eickoff, someone who could be ready soon (sorry Alec Asher, for throwing you out there too much too soon), and real prospects in starter Jake Thompson, outfielder Nick Williams, and catcher Jorge Alfaro.   And while it was not fun to part with our long-time ace, Hamels sure left on a high note, no-hitting the Chicago Cubs.

Aaron Nola, Maikel Franco are now Major Leaguers
It was pretty clear during Spring Training and at the end of 2014 that Franco was not quite ready for the big leagues.   But by late April it was clear Franco was ready.  The Phillies waited until his service time clock ticked past May 15 and brought up Franco.  Nola came to the big league club in July and fans flocked to the stadium to watch Phillies baseball.   Finally, some young players to be excited about.

Somehow, Ruben Amaro, Jr. gets the Nationals to take Jonathan Papelbon
After many, many months of hearing, "he's a bad clubhouse guy" and nobody wanting to trade for the then-Phillies closer, the Washington Nationals took Papelbon off of the Phillies' hands.  And they got a prospect in return.   The Nationals had a closer already, and that did not go well as both Papelbon and the Nationals collapsed down the stretch.  Now the Nationals want to unload Papelbon but will have to eat $11 million if they want to cut him.   Amaro might have earned himself a promotion had he already not been so close to the axe.

Phillies net two flame-throwing pitchers for their light-hitting left fielder
Ben Revere was really a superfluous piece for the Phillies after Odubel Herrera took hold of center field for the Phillies.  Both being left-handed hitters whose value is best in center field, the Phillies had no need for Revere, a nice player.   The return the Phillies was right-handed pitchers Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado.   Having both in the system may have been what enabled the Phillies to trade closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros and add five more pitchers to the system.

Domonic Brown is gone
Dom Brown is a nice guy.  He was fun to follow on social media.  But clearly Brown had worn out his welcome and was not going to reach the lofty expectations people had for him.   Mike Trout and Domonic Brown spent some time first and second on MLB prospect lists.  Trout worked out just fine; Brown not so much.  Brown likely will have to settle for a minor league deal and an invite to Spring Training in order to stay in the game in 2016.

Tyler Goeddel, Aaron Altherr, and a younger lineup
The Phillies position players will look much different heading into 2016.  Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are still Phillies, but most of the old guard has moved on.   Cesar Hernandez enters Spring Training a favorite to start at second base for the first time in his career, and Freddy Galvis will come to camp a second year with the shortstop job.   The outfield will feature Odubel Herrera, and young outfielders Aaron Altherr and Tyler Goeddel, possibly platooning with Cody Asche in left field.

New leadership: Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak
A fresh perspective is something the Phillies desperately needed.   One of the most loyal organizations, the Phillies sometimes are known for being too loyal.  MacPhail's philosophy in Baltimore was to load up on pitching and then supplement what the team has in terms of bats in free agency when they need to contend.  That probably will not be in 2016, but there are plenty of young players to be excited about going forward

Prospects, prospects, prospects
The top 30 Phillies prospects list on looks a lot better now than it did as 2015 began.  Some will work out, some will not.  But the likelihood of having some players work out is definitely  greater the more they put into the pipeline.   The Phillies may continue to add to this list should some of their low-risk non-roster invitees pan out and they can flip them at the trade deadline.

By the Numbers: Sharks power play sinks Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers welcomed Mark Streit back to the lineup as the team looked to rebound from their loss to the Anaheim Ducks a few nights ago. With Streit's return, the team needed to do some lineup juggling, and sent little used Sam Gagner to the AHL.

With the new defensive lineup, which still lacked an injured Michael Del Zotto, the Flyers didn't find much offense against the San Jose Sharks.  The Flyers had only three shots on goal in the first period, but found themselves with a 2-1 lead early in the third period nonetheless. Unfortunately the Flyers couldn't hold onto that lead. They took a string of penalties, and the Sharks scored three power play goals plus another one seconds after a penalty expired to seize a 4-2 victory.

Continue reading "By the Numbers: Sharks power play sinks Flyers" »

Former Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick signs with the Atlanta Braves

Kyle Kendrick is headed back to the National League East.  A year ago, Kendrick was able to pick up a $5 million guaranteed deal with the Colorado Rockies.   However, this time it will not be worth the same kind of money, and will not be a Major League deal.

The Braves announced the news Thursday morning:

The rebuilding Braves just may have a spot for Kendrick on their big league roster after camp.

The 2015 season was Kendrick's worst in Major League Baseball.   In the high altitude of Coors Field for half of his starts, Kendrick went 7-13 with a 6.32 earned run average for the Rockies in 27 starts.  Kendrick had a 7.62 earned run average at Coors Field, but still had a 5.24 mark on the road.   Lifetime, Kendrick is 81-81 with a 4.63 earned run average. 

Lurie makes good decision, but leaves Eagles in bad shape

The more the Eagles season shifted toward mediocrity during the 2015 season, the more Jeffrey Lurie knew he didn't have much of a choice. Less than one year after handing over the reigns of player personnel and decisions to Chip Kelly, the head coach hired to bring an innovative system and lead the Eagles into a new era was gone.

On the forefront, you admire what Lurie did. Faced with a difficult, but necessary decision, Lurie stayed firm. He made a decision that was going to resonate with fans in a positive light, that would make them feel like their voices were heard.

But beneath the surface of the Kelly firing is the admission of a mistake, a risk that didn't pan out, and an earlier decision that has left the team in a state of disarray.

Continue reading "Lurie makes good decision, but leaves Eagles in bad shape" »

Lurie shows less patience with Chip

Jeffrey Lurie did not wait for "one year to many" to come.

After waiting 14 years to pull the plug on Andy Reid, he fired Chip Kelly after just about three seasons, in which the Eagles missed the playoffs in the final two.

Lurie explained at his Wednesday press conference addressing Kelly's firing that his reasoning for keeping Reid on as long as he did was that he always rebounded from down years.

Continue reading "Lurie shows less patience with Chip" »

Postgame Perspective: Fixing special teams a Flyers New Year's Resolution

The stat sheet said it all about the Flyers latest loss, a 4-2 defeat in San Jose on Wednesday night.

The Sharks were 3-for-5 on the power play. The Flyers were 0-for-3. 

In their last five games, the Flyers have gone 2-for-17 on the power play and allowed seven power play goals on 19 attempts. The Flyers have 29 shots on those 17 power play attempts. On the penalty kill, they have allowed 39 shots on 19 kill attempts.

Special teams has been killing the Flyers of late, and it a large part of their back-to-back losses in returning from the holiday break.

Continue reading "Postgame Perspective: Fixing special teams a Flyers New Year's Resolution" »

Pavelski nets 2, Flyers fall to Sharks to end 2015 on sour note

West coast trips have not been kind to the Flyers in recent years, especially when the team makes the trip to San Jose.

The trend continued on Wednesday night.

The Flyers saw an early lead in the third slip as the Sharks scored three goals to down the Flyers in their final game of 2015, 4-2, on Wednesday night at SAP Center.

Continue reading "Pavelski nets 2, Flyers fall to Sharks to end 2015 on sour note" »