As the Eagles and Flyers sink further in their respective standings and prospects for the Sixers remain poor, the Phillies may provide most of the sports excitement this autumn and winter.
Reports out of Arizona that Gavin Floyd has pitched well in his last two outings should be taken with a huge grain of salt applied liberally around the rim of whatever it is the Phillies alleged brain trust is drinking out there in the desert.
While the AFL might not be in the immortal words of AI “practice”, it cannot be more than one step up from it. Maybe Mike Arbuckle and Pat Gillick are better at playing poker than I gave them credit for. If they are attempting to build up Floyd’s stock prior to throwing him in on some pending deal, well, my hat is off to them. I for one am not counting on the youngster contributing to any major league club calling Philadelphia home. If anything, he should have sparkled in the AFL about three years ago, not now.
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The two players most often mentioned as being on the Phillies radar for the coming Hot Stove League are Alfonso Soriano and Gary Sheffield. The likelihood of Soriano joining the Phillies has to be somewhat less than that of the City of Brotherly Love hosting a parade on Broad Street for guys dressed in Black and Green or Orange and Black. Ever since he was traded by the Yankees to the Texas Rangers, who in turn sent him to Washington, control of Soriano’s destiny was out of his hands. Now that he has regained control, he is going to make the most of it and I cannot imagine the Phillies will be willing to meet his price.
As for Sheffield, there are those who think the soon-to-be 38-year old still has a lot left in his tank and would provide the perfect protection for Ryan Howard, but it’s hard to imagine how the Yankees and Phillies could get together on another trade following their mid-summer deal that sent Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Bronx. And a trade is what it is going to take since the Yankees will likely exercise their option on Sheffield and thus hold all of the cards in his immediate future.
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While I don’t have major problems with the re-signing of Jamie Moyer, I am less than thrilled about offering him two years, not one, and a “limited no-trade clause” for which there were no specifics disclosed. Moyer was on the verge of retiring, not an altogether surprising development for a fellow who is about to turn 44, but suddenly he is back for more than anyone would have thought. I have to assume the second year of that contract is not guaranteed until I read otherwise. As for teams to which he would not accept a trade, however limited they are in numbers, I thought Gillick was on record as disliking those kind of terms.
Everyone agrees Moyer brings a lot to the dugout as a mentor and coach without portfolio. Indeed, I would have thought he might be auditioning for pitching coach, but not at $5 million a year. The other concern I have is how Moyer will fare his second time around the league. I guess we are about to find out!!