Jimmy Rollins Hits Stand-Up Inside-the-Park Home Run

J-Roll ripped an inside-the-park home run off of Stephen Strasburg and it was totally awesome.



Valle Promoted to ‘Pigs, Brown in 2013 OF

Valle has been promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Photo by Ian Riccaboni

According to Matt Gelb, catcher Sebastian Valle has been promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Valle, 22, was an Eastern League All-Star this year for Reading, hitting .261/.281/.438. Valle has struggled with plate discipline, walking at a low 3.8% and striking out 25.5% of the time, but has seemed to recouped some of the power (13 HR, 13 2B in 2012) he displayed in 2010 (16 HR, 28 2B for Lakewood). Tommy Joseph, acquired in the Hunter Pence deal, will start every day for Reading.

In a corresponding move, Michael LoRe of the ExpressTimes is reporting that Tuffy Gosewisch of the IronPigs has been sold to Toronto to make room for Valle and to create space for Erik Kratz, who will be bumped to Triple-A with the return of Brian Schneider.

In a corresponding but separate Tweet, Gelb reported that Ruben Amaro Jr. stated that Domonic Brown will be in the Phillies outfield for 2013. Brown is expected to play each of the three outfield positions and will receive everyday playing time in 2013. Brown was originally penciled in tonight’s line-up but is a scratch due to a delayed flight.



On to the Next Thing: Some New Phillies Era Begins Tonight in DC (Or Something)

Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were sent off the west coast while Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton, Ty Wigginton, and Juan Pierre are still wearing Phillies uniforms this evening. That doesn’t mean all of them are here for the next two-plus months, however, as they could still be dealt in August if they clear waivers.



Trading Danny Briere? Sabres could be potential trade partner

Photo

When Danny Briere signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent in the summer of 2007, we all assumed that he would be here until the end of his eight-year, $52 million contract.

Those terms were massive at the time and the Flyers were laughed at around the league for handing out such an albatross contract. They’d be paying Briere $6.5 million against the cap at age 37. Ha, idiots.

But as Briere prepares to enter Year 6 of that contract, the chance the Flyers could trade Briere suddenly seems less far-fetched than it did six years ago or even two years ago. Let’s speculate. (Seriously, emphasis on speculate. There’s no indication besides what appears to be common sense that the Flyers are talking about a Briere trade.)

Before a Danny Briere trade actually happens, several questions have to be asked and answered:

  • Is there a willing trade partner out there?
  • Is it worth trading him, given what the Flyers would lose and what they could potentially gain?
  • Would Briere waive his no-trade clause?

To the first point, Sabres blog Die By The Blade asked this exact question today.

With the contract situation five years in the past, it makes sense to ask this question. Would the Buffalo Sabres actually bring back Daniel Briere into the fold?

Since leaving Buffalo, Briere has played 330 games and put up 267 points in five years. His playoff statistics are even more impressive with 72 points in 68 games. His 37 goals over five years during the playoffs are more than the Sabres have had as a team in the playoffs since he has left.

Briere’s a good player and a team like Buffalo in need of some scoring punch might be interested in acquiring him. Regardless, the league knows he’s a good player. The problem with a potential trade has always been his contract. Why would a team take that thing?

But that’s just it: Looking at the front-loaded structure of Briere’s deal, there’s really not all that much money left to be paid to him, at least relatively speaking. He’s received $40 million of the $52 million total he’ll earn in these eight seasons.

Year Salary Cap Hit Age
2007-08 $10,000,000 $6,500,000 30
2008-09 $8,000,000 $6,500,000 31
2009-10 $8,000,000 $6,500,000 32
2010-11 $7,000,000 $6,500,000 33
2011-12 $7,000,000 $6,500,000 34
2012-13 $7,000,000 $6,500,000 35
2013-14 $3,000,000 $6,500,000 36
2014-15 $2,000,000 $6,500,000 37

When looking at this deal from the Flyers perspective, all we think about is the cap hit. After all, salary isn’t much of a big deal to this team. That’s why they’re able to send offer sheets that pay guys $27 million over the course of 11 months. The number that matters most to the Flyers is the cap hit, because its really the only number that truly limits how much they have to spend. Being the rich kid is fun, you guys.

For many teams, though, the cap isn’t the limiting number. It’s the salary — the actual money due to the player each season. There are any number of sub-cap teams out there that could be interested in a guy like Briere given this — Carolina immediately comes to mind given their clear desire to spend money this offseason in improving their team — but since Die By The Blade originally broached this subject, let’s focus on the Sabres.

The Sabres are indeed a cap team under new owner Terry Pegula, but they could easily fit Briere’s $6.5 million cap hit in on their roster even with two RFA’s to pay this summer. It’s only more pleasant that most of the actual money due to Briere has already been paid. Just one $7 million season and $12 million in total due to Briere over the next three years? Seems pretty damn reasonable. Could even be considered a bargain since the cap hit likely won’t limit them much if at all.

So, the answer is yes: After five years of thinking a team would never take Briere in a trade, other teams could definitely be interested in acquiring Danny Briere.

Yet the biggest question for the Flyers is likely No. 2 on our list here: Is it worth it to trade him?

Again, the Flyers will spend to the cap — over the cap if you’re considering Chris Pronger’s LTIR status in its truest sense — over the next three years of Briere’s deal. We can’t look at him as a $3 million player in 2013-14. He’s still a $6.5 million player to us over the next three years. And is Briere going to be worth that money for the next three years?

Well, that’s pretty dependent on how well he bounces back after an awful 2011-12 season. Briere had his worst full season as a Flyer, scoring just 16 goals and 49 points in 70 games. He had scored at least 26 goals — and twice over 30 goals — in every other non-injury plagued season as a Flyer before last year.

What’s encouraging is that Briere’s shooting percentage last season was also an anomaly — 9.2 percent versus his career average of 14.7 percent. We should expect that number to come back up in a big way this season, and it’s possible that Briere could return to 30 goal form. If that’s the case, the Flyers would have to get a nice return back for Briere to make it worth a trade. Losing 30 goals would … you know, hurt.

Then again, there’s no guarantee Briere ever scored 30 goals again. A bounce back would be more of a certainty if he were younger, but he’s 34 and will be 35 the next time he plays a meaningful NHL game.

We all know the Flyers strength is up front and that they have holes on defense. Those holes will only get bigger once Kimmo Timonen retires, potentially as soon as next summer. Whether they have an in-house solution for this upcoming season or not, they’re going to need to find a way to replace Kimmo’s minutes.

Buffalo is a fantastic trade option in that sense. Briere clearly has a history there and the fans still have a soft spot for him, and at the same time, there’s a serious glut of defensemen on Lindy Ruff’s roster.

Any and all trade discussions involving Buffalo defensemen have to begin with 22-year-old future No. 1 defenseman Tyler Myers. He’s locked up through 2019 but by shedding Briere, the Flyers would actually save money against the cap with Myers’ $5.5 million cap hit. Myers could find a nice home on the Flyers top pairing for the next seven years.

Of course, I’m not sure if that’s a deal Buffalo would be interested in — Briere’s clearly on the downside of his career and Myers is a future No. 1 — but Sabres fans over at Die By The Blade do seem excited about the possibility of getting Briere back in their mix as both a goal scorer and a mentor to their younger forwards. Maybe they could even get something out of Ville Leino if he could return to Briere’s wing, which obviously ups No. 48′s value to them.

Perhaps it’s a deal that makes sense for both sides, but to make this even, the Flyers would certainly have to throw in another piece or two. Myers is just too young and too good.

So let’s continue down the list, then: Robyn Regehr, Andrej Sekera or Jordan Leopold all seem like solid options. A quick glance at these three (numbers in parentheses are where they rank on the team, unless otherwise noted):

Player Age GP ES TOI/G PP TOI/G Corsi Rel QoC Cap Hit (Yrs Left)
Robyn Regehr 32 76 15:54 (7) 1.153 (1) $4.02 million (1)
Jordan Leopold 31 79 18:02 (2) 1:59 (3) 0.203 (6) $3 million (1)
Andrej Sekera 26 69 17:06 (4) 0:51 (4) 0.878 (2) $2.75 million (3)

Sekera’s a fantastic puck mover but isn’t too physical. Regehr’s a big shutdown guy who can go up against top competition but isn’t as great with the puck. Leopold’s strength is definitely his mobility and his puck skills as well, but he hasn’t been put up against the other team’s top competition.

All things considered, Sekera looks like a fantastic second choice if the Sabres were to ask too much for Tyler Myers — which we’d have to assume they would. Sekera can play top-4 minutes, can play on the power play, is still a young player and is locked up at a reasonable number for the next several seasons.

He’s not a No. 1 guy but he’d definitely be a nice asset to have on the Flyers’ blueline.

Timonen – Coburn
Grossmann – Sekera
Meszaros – Schenn
Gervais

… and $3.75 million in extra cap space to plug up the lost offense?

Would it be worth giving up 30 goals for Sekera? Perhaps not, but again, there’s no guarantee Briere ever returns to that form. I’d give up a declining one-way forward in Briere for an immediate solution to any problems the Flyers’ defense might face, especially considering the Flyers’ strength at the center position.

The Flyers would have over $7 million in space (without even considering Chris Pronger on LTIR) and a forward unit that looks like this. Goal totals from last year in parentheses:

Voracek (18) – Giroux (28) – Hartnell (37)
Simmonds (28) – Schenn (12) – Read (24)
Fedotenko (9) – Couturier (13) – ??/Talbot (19)
Wellwood (5) – Talbot/?? – Rinaldo (2!)

Plenty of guys left on the market to fill that hole. Hey, they’d even have plenty of space for Shane Doan. (lol see what i did there?)

And that brings us to the final question: Would Briere waive his no-trade clause to go to Buffalo? I’d have to imagine it’s one of the few places he’d rather be than Philadelphia. He always talks fondly of the city in which he realized his NHL potential, and he still has several close friends on the roster. It’s also much closer to family in Quebec.

All things considered, the Flyers and Sabres could be phenomenal trade partners and Danny Briere could be right at the center of a deal. Buffalo gets a beloved hero back in town with hopes of big-time offense, while the Flyers shed some salary while also shoring up the defense with any number of strong options. Would you pull the trigger?





Video: a surprised Hunter Pence reacts to hearing about his trade, reflects on time in Philadelphia



Official: Hunter Pence Traded to Giants In 3-for-1 Deal

It’s official. Hunter Pence is heading to San Francisco for three players in return.



Phillies Send Pence to Giants in 4-Player Deal

Moments after the Phillies finalized a deal sending Shane Victorino to the Dodgers (see story), reports surfaced that the Phils and Giants were close to completing a deal for Hunter Pence.

A few hours and a few issues later, the deal was finalized. Pence is on his way to San Francisco for three players: catching prospect Tommy Joseph, major league outfielder Nate Schierholtz and Single-A pitcher Seth Rosin.

The Phils and Giants had been negotiating all week, but the acquisition of Victorino by their NL West rival likely escalated talks between the parties.

Joseph is 21 years old, was a 2009 second-round pick and entered the season as the Giants’ No. 2 prospect, behind centerfielder Gary Brown. Joseph has a .315 wOBA in Double-A this season and has hit slightly below average relative to his level in each of his first three years in the minors. But then again, he’s only 21, and he’s in Double-A. So growing pains are to be expected. Last season, Joseph hit .270/.317/.471 with 22 home runs and 33 doubles at High-A San Jose.

Scouts consider him a viable catching option, which obviously increases his value to the team, with Carlos Ruiz a potential free agent after the 2013 season. The Phils also have Sebastian Valle waiting in the wings, though his struggles at Double-A have caused some concern. Plus, catcher is one position where depth is welcome. Acquiring Joseph means the Phillies have two solid catching prospects in the system.

Joseph, Rosin and Schierholtz might seem like an underwhelming return, but Joseph is now one of the top prospects in the Phillies’ system, Rosin has some potential, and Schierholtz, if platooned with Mayberry, could be pretty effective. It’s an interesting deal. Here’s why…

Schierholtz is an intriguing piece. He’s a corner outfielder currently in his first year of arbitration, who has seemingly settled into the .325 wOBA area. Given that the league average is .313, he is an above-average hitter. However, relative to outfielders, he is closer to average, as they have a collective .331 wOBA.

He plays solid defense, has an exceptional arm and runs the bases fairly well. Put together, Schierholtz is a perfectly average player who is best utilized in a platoon. This season, the lefty-hitting Schierholtz has a .363 wOBA against righties. Last year, he had a .346 wOBA against righties. He is a decent throw-in but nothing more.

Rosin, 23 years old, is a 6-foot-6 righty pitching in High-A. He looks like a big-time strikeout pitcher, although he may also be considered on the older side for his level. In 56.1 innings this year, he has a 10.9 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9.

When the Giants Come to Town ranked Rosin No. 18 on their pre-season prospect list, suggesting that he might have the best fastball command of any pitcher the Giants have drafted since Madison Bumgarner. Rosin pounds the strike zone with both a two- and four-seam fastball and works to keep the ball on the ground. He throws around 93-96 mph as a reliever and features a changeup, as well. The Giants tried him as a starter but he seems primed for bullpen duty as his breaking ball is sub-par.

Fangraphs’ minor league expert, Marc Hulet, also summarized Rosin in his pre-season prospect rankings thusly:

SLEEPER ALERT: Seth Rosin, RHP: If you’re a rival executive talking trade with the Giants this winter you’ll want to ask for Rosin as a throw in to any deal. He’s made easy work of pro ball so far. He has a big, strong frame at 6’5” 240 lbs and has shown the ability to both start and relieve, while producing both strong strikeout rates and good ground-ball numbers. Despite spending the entire 2011 season in low-A (for no good reason), the club challenged the right-hander with an assignment to the Arizona Fall League and he’s more than held his own. As a pitcher from a northern state (Minnesota) he could be a late-bloomer.”

In trading Pence, the Phillies will free up approximately $14 million next season because they won’t have to worry about his final year of arbitration. They brought back a solid catching prospect, a big-strikeout relief pitching prospect, and a major leaguer who has utility as the left-handed bat in an outfield platoon. It’s not the sexiest return, but bolstering depth at an important position and freeing up money are both long-term interests of this organization. And the Phillies accomplished both goals today.



Noted Kings Fan Will Ferrell Uses Visit to National Constitution Center to Mock Flyers

Funny men Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis were visitors at the National Constitution Center on Tuesday afternoon to add the final and most important signatures to the Declaration of Independence. Wait, not that. They were actually promoting their new movie, The Campaign.



This Is Brandon Graham’s Time

Jason Babin could miss the entire preseason with a strained calf, but that means former first-round pick Brandon Graham has a chance to step up and shine this summer.



Pence to Giants Trade Talks Are ‘Pretty Hot’ Update: Maybe Done

Philadelphia’s bizarre on-off love affair with Hunter Pence may soon be coming to an end.



Shane Victorino Traded to Dodgers

Shane Victorino, core player on the 2008 WFC Phillies, has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a middle reliever and prospect.



Phillies Deal Victorino to Dodgers for RP Lindblom

Shane gave the Phillies some great seasons (MLB.com)

The Phillies have sent two time all-star outfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for relief pitcher Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports was the first to finalize the news, via twitter.

Victorino spent six full seasons, and parts of two others, with the Phillies, joining the team  late in the 2005 season. This year, Victorino is hitting .261 with nine homers, but also shows a career-low .724 OPS.

Lindblom, 25, has a 3.02 ERA in 47 2/3 relief innings this year. Some of his other peripherals: 8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.70 HR/9, and 38% groundball rate. The homers are bit concerning, but he is young and under team control through 2018. Lindblom is also pronounced “Lind-Bloom” for those who were unaware.

The righty reliever is mostly fastball/slider, topping out around 94 on the gun. He would instantly be there second best relief pitcher upon arrival.

Martin, 23, is currently in Double-A and has started 20 games this season. Over 118 innings, Martin has struck out 112 but walked 61. Walks have been an issue for him throughout his minor league career, allowing 269 free passes in 426 innings in the Dodgers organization.

Domonic Brown is on his way to Washington D.C. to meet the Phillies for their series with the Nationals.

As our Eric Seidman pointed out, it actually made some sense to keep Victorino around next year. The Phillies felt it was time to get as much for him as they could, so on he goes to the team that actually let him go in the 2005 Rule 5 draft.

As frustrating as Victorino can be at times, he gave the Phillies some really great seasons. It was the ultimate low-risk, high-reward player that often times does not pan out. He will be missed in Philadelphia, as the city had grown close with the Flyin’ Hawaiian. However, his contractual demands were over the top in the eyes of the Phillies brass, so they made a move to at least capitalize on his remaining value.

Victorino is the first chip to fall on Trade Deadline Day. It feels like the end of an era. Who will be next?



Victorino to L.A. Close, Dom Brown Scratched in LV

The Shane Victorino-to-Los-Angeles trade is reportedly very close. It’s so close that Domonic Brown as been scratched from the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs lineup ahead of the noon start today. That information comes from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

We’ll have more as soon as it becomes available.



Dom Brown Scratched In Lehigh, Appears Headed to Phils



Waiting Out a Seller’s Christmas in July

We quickly became comfortable rooting for a big-chip buyer on deadline day. Today, we look at who might be leaving Philadelphia.