Browse Month

February 2017

Philadelphia Phillies MLB Season Preview

Last year, the Philadelphia Phillies finished fourth in the National League of Major League Baseball winning 71 games and losing 91 games. On April 3, 2017, the team will play their regular season opener in Cincinnati.

What Did the Philadelphia Phillies do in the Offseason?

The Phillies acquired right-hander Clay Buchholz in a trade with the Boston Red Sox giving that team second baseman Josh Tobias. They also got Howie Kendrick who only has one year left on his contract from the Los Angeles Dodgers giving the West Coast team Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney. The Phillies snagged Pat Neshek from the Houston Astros for a player to be named later or cash. Philadelphia also became the new home for outfielder Michael Saunders and relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit who the Toronto Blue Jays let become free agents.

In addition to the players already named, the Phillies cut outfielder Cody Asche lose as a free agent. He ended up with the Chicago White Sox. The team also allowed starting pitcher Charlie Morton to become a free agent. Morton moved on to the warmer weather of Houston. The fact that team owner John Middleton turned Howard lose may signal that he is ready for a new era to begin in Philadelphia.

Who will Likely Pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies?

The team still lacks a pitching ace that can guarantee a win almost every time that he is on the field. Aaron Nola is still the best pitcher that the Phillies have, especially if he can play like he did in the opening part of last season. Jeremy Hellickson decided to stay with the team after his contract was renegotiated. Jerad Eickhoff is capable of being a third solid starting pitcher, but do not expect any flash.

The first thing that must happen is that Vincent Velasquez must stay healthy. After a complete shutout during his second game with the Phillies, the rookie became inconsistent. Then, he suffered some injuries before coming back with too many walks in July and a high home run rate. He has four balls that he can throw well. If the Phillies want to finish the year better than their fourth place finish last year, this player must stay healthy and pitch well. There are a lot of unknowns which has not served the team well in the past.

Will the Phillies Hit the Ball this Year?

Last year, the team finished with the fourth fewest runs in baseball. Unfortunately, the team was not able to pick up any ready talent in this area during the offseason. The team did add Peter Bourjos who may be able to add some points to the scoreboard. General manager Matt Klentak is hopeful that young players will develop quickly this year.

A lot of the success of the Phillies may rest on the ability of Maikel Franco to consistently hit home runs. The Dominican Republic third baseman finished dismally in 2016, after showing much promise in the farm leagues in 2015. This player should really benefit from the hiring of Matt Stairs as Philadelphia’s new hitting coach.

Spring season for the Philadelphia Phillies renews hope that this season will be different for this team. The team is still without an ace pitcher or reliable hitters. They do, however, have talent in their farm system, so young players may be able to move up quickly. Alternatively, the team may be able to make some trades during the All-Star break to help them down the final stretch.

Philadelphia Eagles Upcoming NFL Draft Needs

After starting the 2016-2017 season with three impressive victories, the Philadelphia Eagles looked like they might be contenders for the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the rest of the season was not as good with the team winning only four more games. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie thinks he has found his quarterback in Carson Wentz, so they will be using the 2017 National Football League(NFL) draft to fill in key positions around him.

Cornerback

The team gave up the most 30-plus yard plays in the NFL during this last season. They released Leodis McKelvin after his dismal year. Ron Brooks still has three years on his contract, but the Eagles may try to unload him as well. Therefore, they have a crucial need to find a great cornerback during the draft. The problem, however, is that many teams have this same need, so they may not have a chance at the top recruits as their first pick is number 15 in the first round. They might be interested in:

  • Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore
  • Florida’s Teez Tabor
  • Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey
  • Middle Tennessee State’s Jeremy Cutrer
  • Oregon State’s Treston DeCoud

Wide Receiver

Jordan Matthews is one of the top wide receivers in the National Football Conference NFC) East division, but he received no help from the outside receivers. Some experts expect that the Eagles will pass up a cornerback in the first round to snag a wide receiver, especially if Clemson’s Mike Williams is still available. You can expect the team to take a serious look at:

  • Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp
  • California’s Chad Hansen
  • Clemson’s Mike Williams
  • Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook
  • Ohio State’s Noah Brown

Edge Rusher

It is vital that the Eagles find an edge rusher as the only one that they currently have is Brandon Graham. The team may be able to get a good one during the draft including possibly:

  • Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett
  • Stanford’s Solomon Thomas
  • Tennessee’s Derek Barnett
  • Auburn’s Carl Lawsom
  • Alabama’s Tim Williams

Running Back

The Eagles already have Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Ryan Matthews and Kenjon Barner, but they may like to add to this position as Matthews and Barner are questionable for the future. This year’s class seems to be particularly full of running backs. Some that might interest the Eagles include:

  • Pittsburgh’s James Connor
  • Texas’ D’Onta Foreman
  • Clemson’s Wayne Gallman
  • Toledo’s Kareem Hunt

Offensive Line

Despite rumors that Jason Peters was asked to take a pay cut, he will be back with the team this year at his regular pay. The Eagles may still try to trade Jason Kelce during this offseason. Stefen Wisniewski became a free agent. Therefore, look for the Eagles to try to add some depth to their offensive line during the draft. They might like to add:

  • Temple’s Dion Dawkins
  • Michigan’s Taylor Moton
  • Washington’s Joe Mathis
  • Indiana’s Dan Feeney
  • Oregon State’s Sean Harlow

With a great start and a dismal finish to last season, the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping that the 2017 NFL Draft is a great start to the future. The team which led the league in giving up 30 plus yard plays is likely to focus on the defensive side of the field for most of their picks. There first pick is number 15 in the first round. If Marion Humphrey is still available, then expect that to be their choice. The retaining of Jason Peters at full pay means that the team does not have a lot of money to spend this year.