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Breaking Down Josh Richardson's Career, Why He Fits with 76ers

By Kevin Condit, Sports Talk Philly Writer

On June 30th, 2019 the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Josh Richardon for Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade-deal with the Miami Heat. This was a move that confused many 76ers fans who thought we were not getting enough in return for Butler, who carried the team in the previous postseason. The hard truth to swallow is that Jimmy Butler wasn’t going to end up a 76er anyway, so picking up Richardson was a very solid consolation prize.

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Phillies Acquire RHP Dan Straily from Orioles

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Outfielder Corey Dickerson was not the Philadelphia Phillies' only acquisition on trade deadline day.

More than 30 minutes after the 4 p.m. deadline, it was announced that the club acquired right-handed starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations.

Straily, 30, will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In 14 appearances and eight starts this season with the Orioles, the Redlands, California, native went 2-4 with a 9.82 ERA, 33-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.993 WHIP spanning 47 2/3 innings; had been playing for Triple-A Norfolk since being demoted in June. In his three seasons prior with the Cincinnati Reds (2016) and Miami Marlins (2017-18), Straily combined to go 29-23 with a 4.03 ERA, 431-185 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.256 WHIP over 90 appearances (87 starts) and 495 1/3 innings.

Acquiring the eight-year veteran yields another arm for the Phillies' pitching depth, but is far from the high-tier acquisition that Phillies fans sought, such as the Houston Astros getting Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Phillies Acquire OF Corey Dickerson from Pirates

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later and international bonus money, according to's Todd Zolecki. Injured outfielder Dylan Cozens was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Dickerson, who has a groin injury and will be "eased into action," per General Manager Matt Klentak.

Dickerson is a seven-year veteran that this season, entering Wednesday, slashed .317/.376/.556 wuth 18 doubles, four home runs, 25 RBI, 13 walks and 23 strikeouts spanning 43 games and 141 plate appearances. The 30-year-old bats left-handed.

The McComb, Mississippi, native earned his first and only career Gold Glove Award with the Pirates in 2018, and his first and only career All-Star nod with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017; Dickerson has primarily played left field in his career, and could become the Phillies everyday starter at the position. He has also logged innings playing at the center and right field positions.

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Smyly Dazzles as Phillies Reclaim Postseason Spot

On Tuesday, LHP Drew Smyly became the first Phillies southpaw to throw seven-plus scoreless innings since Cole Hamels in his last start with the club — a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs on July 25, 2015

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Behind seven solid shutout innings from veteran LHP Drew Smyly, the Philadelphia Phillies (56-50) topped the San Francisco Giants (54-53), 4-2, Tuesday evening in the first of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.

Despite making his first career start both at Citizens Bank Park and against the San Francisco Giants overall, Smyly showed no signs of unfamiliarity on the pitcher's mound. He yielded just four singles and one walk, while striking out five batters on 103 total pitches (71 strikes, 11 swinging strikes).

With the win, the Phillies won their second straight game and reclaimed the second National League Wild Card spot with less than 60 games remaining in the season (upon conclusion of the Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals game). Also, the Phillies have now won seven straight home games against the Giants since June 2017, outscoring and outhitting them 50-20 and 73-47, respectively.

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Report: Phillies Among Teams Interested in 1B Justin Smoak

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly interested in acquiring long-time Toronto Blue Jays 1B/DH Justin Smoak.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the market for Smoak is "starting to smoke," with the Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, Phillies, and "one or two other teams" eyeing the 10-year veteran.

Smoak, 32, is slashing just .215/.357/.427 this season, albeit slugging 18 home runs and 46 RBI over 86 games and 359 plate appearances. Overall, since debuting with the Texas Rangers in 2010, the switch-hitter has slugged 187 home runs and 540 RBI.

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Phillies Add RHPs Eflin, Parker to Bullpen, Subtract Garcia, Walding

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies added two pitchers to its bullpen on Tuesday — one pitcher already on the big-league roster, RHP Zach Eflin, and another that signed through free agency, RHP Blake Parker.

Eflin's transition to the bullpen comes as a result of his own struggles, and the Phillies' recent signing of LHP Jason Vargas, who will make his club debut this Friday against the Chicago White Sox in his place. The Athletic's Meghan Montemurro reported the right-hander was " a little surprised" by the move: “If I don't like it, I should pitch better," Eflin said. "I hadn't really been doing my job. Going to the bullpen is another opportunity for me. It's a challenge. I'm a fan of challenges. ... I wholeheartedly believe I'm a starter.”

Parker, 34, recently cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Minnesota Twins, who then sent him outright to Triple-A Rochester. Yesterday, the seven-year veteran instead elected to become a free agent, before agreeing to a deal with the Phillies.

As the corresponding move, RHP Edgar Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and third baseman Mitch Walding was designated for assignment. Right-hander Yacksel Rios was designated on Monday to make room for Vargas on the 40-man roster.

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Phillies' Smyly Set for Citizens Bank Park Debut in Series Opener Against Giants

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Looking to build off their 9-4 win on Sunday, the Philadelphia Phillies (55-50) and LHP Drew Smyly will take on the San Francisco Giants (54-52) and rookie RHP Tyler Beede Tuesday evening in the first of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.

The first three games of their Phillies' nine-game homestand featured 9-2 and 15-7 blowout losses, however the club recovered on Sunday; they slugged four home runs — including a grand slam by catcher J.T. Realmuto, the first Phillies catcher to do so since Mike Lieberthal in 2006. The Phillies have played just five games since July 22, with three off-days giving some much-needed rest to everyday players like right fielder Bryce Harper, who slugged his 18th home run in Sunday's victory.

The Phillies have won six straight home games against the Giants dating back to June 3, 2017; over this stretch, they have outscored the Giants 46-18 and outhit them 62-41.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

San Francisco Giants (54-52) Philadelphia Phillies (55-50)
RHP Tyler Beede LHP Drew Smyly
(3-4, 4.85 ERA) (1-5, 7.69 ERA)

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Nick Pivetta Destined to Be Remembered As the Phillie You Forget

By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

Interesting article in the Inky the other day, pontificating on the future role of Nick Pivetta.  Once considered a prime candidate to fill the role of starter, now considered for a role in the bullpen, his ultimate role remains unsettled.  But I think I know what it will be.

Nick Pivetta has all the makings of the sort of guy you’re most likely going to forget when you look back years later trying to recall the nightmare rotations the Phillies of the late teens put together.  You’ll no doubt remember Aaron Nola because he’ll be quickly recalled as the only one who actually resembled a legitimate Major League starter during this era.  In his way, he’s the Steve Carlton of the current group, although Carlton’s 346.1 innings pitched in 1972 renders any comparison to Nola, whose goal is to reach 200 innings every season, somewhat ridiculous.  Regardless.  Somebody has to be the Carlton of this group and nobody else is even in the stratosphere.  So you’ll remember Nola.  No question.

You’ll also probably remember Jake Arrieta because he was a significant free agent bust and just flat-out looks funny in his uniform.  You can always tell when Arrieta is on the mound.  Nothing seems to fit correctly, everything’s just a bit off.  And he’s usually out of the game by the fifth inning after yelling something stupid at someone who only did what he was being paid to do when a flat frisbee sails right over the heart of the strike zone.  You won’t forget Arrieta.

Vince Velasquez will likewise stand out because he’s been singularly horrid during his tenure here, after tantalizing us with an otherworldly start back in April of 2016.  After shutting out the Padres while striking out 16 we all thought we had something.  And we did.  We had a really crappy pitcher who took forever to make it past the fourth inning save that one fantastic start.  It will be difficult to forget someone who was as painful to watch as Velasquez.

And you’ll remember Zach Eflin for no other reason than because his name reminds you of Zac Efron.  You won’t remember him for any other reason but so what?  You’ll remember him nevertheless.

Which leaves Pivetta.  Why would anybody ever remember Nick Pivetta?  He wasn’t a high draft choice and he didn’t come here with any sort of fanfare – he was the penance the Phils were compelled to suffer in exchange for the Nationals’ taking Jonathan Papelbon off their hands – so he wasn’t on anyone’s radar.  And outside of one hot stretch at Lehigh Valley, he was an invisible man on the minor league circuit.  And then there’s the name – Nick Pivetta.  Who remembers a Nick Pivetta?  Everybody went to high school with a Nick Pivetta.  And nobody remembers that guy, either.

For as long as there has been baseball, there has been a guy on every team, usually a pitcher, you can’t remember.  From the Phillies of the ‘80s, Bruce Ruffin is the guy you struggle to recall.  He was sometimes a starter, sometimes a reliever, but always forgettable.  Don Carman might very well have been that guy but for the fact that Harry Kalas so loved rolling his name around his mouth before expelling it that you can't forget Don Carman. 

Going even further back, to the ‘70s, I think that guy was Ron Schueler.  I say “I think” because if I knew for sure then he wouldn’t be that guy then, would he?  But, yeah, I’m pretty sure he was.  He won a few games, lost a few more, and never distinguished himself in any way.  Baseball Reference tells me he played for eight seasons, which is seven more than I remember him playing.  But I do remember that the mid-70s Phils had Carlton, Jim Lonborg, Wayne Twitchell, Tommy Underwood, Jim Kaat, Larry Christenson and somebody else in their rotation.  That somebody else was Ron Schueler. 

Today’s somebody else is Nick Pivetta.  He’s not the worst and he’s not the best.  He’s just there.  And on a team that’s going nowhere, just being there is as good as not being there at all when it comes to one’s legacy.  He’s the guy you’re going to forget merely because he’s not as awful as Vince Velasquez.  10, 15 years from now you’ll be talking Phillies with your friends and the late teens’ Phils will come up.  You’ll of course remember Bryce Harper because he’ll still be there.  Pinch-hitting at $23 million per annum.  And you’ll remember Hoskins and Realmuto, and at least one of your friends will call out “Maikel Franco!” and you’ll go “Yes!” 

Then the discussion will turn to the rotation and you’ll all name Nola and, with some effort, the others.  But then there will be one spot left and nobody will be able to nail it.  It’ll be on the tip of your collective tongues but still just beyond reach.  Finally, you'll give up and one of you will Google the Phillies’ 2019 rotation.  “Nick Pivetta,” will pop up.  “Oh, yeah,” you’ll all go.  “That guy.”  There’ll be a moment of quiet contemplation and then one of you will go, “Jesus.  Nick Pivetta.” 

Then you’ll all start talking about something else.

Rising 41 Spots on the List, Fletcher Cox Appears on Fourth Straight NFL Top 100

Embed from Getty Images

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The first Eagle to appear on the 2019 NFL Top 100 List was Carson Wentz, who took quite a disappointing drop.

Just a few days later, Jason Kelce saw his name appear on the list for the first time in his career.

The next player, Zach Ertz, made a huge leap by moving up to the 40th position following his record-breaking 2018 season.

That jump was nothing compared to the fourth Eagle to appear on the list.

Continue reading "Rising 41 Spots on the List, Fletcher Cox Appears on Fourth Straight NFL Top 100" »

Phillies Acquire LHP Jason Vargas from Mets

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired another left-handed starting pitcher, complementing fellow southpaw Drew Smyly. On Monday, just days before the July 31 trade deadline, the club acquired LHP Jason Vargas and cash considerations from the New York Mets in exchange for minor-league catching prospect Austin Bossart. As a corresponding move, RHP Yacksel Rios was designated for assignment.

Vargas, 36, is a 14-year veteran  that over the past two seasons with the Mets went 13-14 with a 4.88 ERA and 165-69 strikeout-to-walk ratio spanning 186 1/3 innings, 39 appearances and 38 starts. This season, since returning from the injured list in late May, Vargas has posted a a 3.34 ERA over 12 starts. 

The Apple Valley, California, native earned his first and only career All-Star nod in 2017, when with the Kansas City Royals he posted a MLB-best 18 wins. Vargas appeared in three starts with the Royals during the 2014 postseason, including a World Series start opposite the eventual champion San Francisco Giants (4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO).

Bossart, 26, slashed just .195/.303/.335 with seven doubles, seven home runs and 28 RBI spanning 63 games this season at Double-A Reading.

Vargas will replace RHP Zach Eflin in the starting rotation, and will make his Phillies debut this Friday against the Chicago White Sox. Vargas is owed a total of $8 million this season, which will be entirely covered by the Mets. For 2020, the Phillies are on the hook for either exercising Vargas' $8 million team option or buying the contract out at $2 million.