Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Time With Andy Reid: A Kidnapping

With OTA’s officially underway and preseason football a mere 2 months from now Philadelphia is abuzz with Eagles fever.  And why shouldn’t we be?  The Eagles are returning everyone, sans Peters, to their explosive offense.  And with the additions of DeMeco Ryans, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry the defense just might be able to stop somebody this year.

And let’s not forget our great, benevolent, attractive leader; Andy Reid.

Andy Reid is the greatest coach in all of football. Period.  Did you see I used a period, followed by the word ‘Period’ and then put another period after that.  That’s three periods.  That’s how great Andy Reid is. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'm Back

Sorry for my long absence.  School + band = little time to blog.  But now it's summer and I am watching all the Phillies games, and I am getting sick.  The Phillies are something like 4 for their last 39 with RISP.  They have lost 4 winnable games in a row largely because of this failure.  They are worst in the majors with scoring runs with a runner on 3rd and less than two outs.  I am writing this blog post to propose some possible solutions:

1. Ride it out.  It is still May.  The Philies are still right around .500.  The Big 3 are still healthy and the bullpen is starting to pick it up.  Things are bound to pick up sooner or later and as long as the Phillies can keep around .500, they will easily be able to vault up the standings.

2. Fire Greg Gross.  The situation the Phillies are in currently reminds me of when the Phillies fired Milt Thompson.  Nobody was hitting, the Phillies were doing poorly, and the team needed a scapegoat.  Considering that the Phillies were supposed to come into this season with an entirely new approach to hitting, firing Greg Gross might be a good idea anyway.  Even disregarding the Phillies utter failure in situational hitting, the Phillies have still lacked patience at the plate.  Plus, the Milt Thompson, Greg Gross caravan hasn't exactly been successful the last few years anyway.  I propose bringing in a big name from outside the organization.  Or maybe Ryne Sandberg could be promoted internally.  Or how's this for an idea: Make Sarge the hitting coach, move Wheeler to radio, and bring Larry Anderson to the TV booth.  Win, win, win.

3. Call up Dom Brown.  Brown is finally off the disabled list.  He is 24 years old and his prospect status (and therefore his trade value) are probably as low as they have been since we first heard this guy existed.  Why bring him up now?  Maybe what this guy needs is a vote of confidence.  Bring him up and start him everyday in left field.  Yes, I know Juan Pierre then ends up on the bench, but I think we can all get over that one.  Put Mayberry at 1st full time for now and make Pierre the 4th OF.  Stick Dom in the middle of the lineup and hope that he can provide a spark for the team.  At this point, even with his shoddy defense, the Phils have little to lose.

4. Trade Cole Hamels for a bat.  Now that Vance Worley will be forced to pitch hurt all year, the Phillies might balk at dealing any of their pitching, but dealing Hamels, as much as I don't want to, might be the only solution that can work for the offense.  With Halladay and Lee at the top of the rotation, and Worley, Blanton, and Kendrick at the bottom, this rotation is till well above average, even without Hamels.  Halladay and Lee and continuing to age, and sinking additional money into the rotation could prove to doom this team in the long-run.  Right now, the Phillies don't even know if they can resign Hamels, and his value on the trade market is astronomical.  What to do?  Trade Hamels for a young, impact 3rd base bat and prospects.  Shift Peanut Head to a super-utility role.  Drastic?  Yes.  Potentially season saving?  Yes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Could Parise and Weber be in Flyers' future?

Now that the gut-wrenching disappointment of that second-round manhandling is finally working its way out of our systems, we Flyers faithful can safely turn our attention to the offseason ahead. And my, what an offseason it could be.

The two undisputed gems of the free agent class are Devils forward Zach Parise and Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. Flyers fans seem to largely be clamoring for a push to land Suter, while the Inquirer's Sam Carchidi penned a strong case for the Flyers to pursue Parise.

Quick math says the Flyers can't really afford both, even in the event that both wanted to sign in Philadelphia. But what if there were a way to pair Parise with another dominant defenseman, while maintaining the team's cap flexibility in the near term?

Enter Shea Weber.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Reevaluating Ilya Bryzgalov's future in Philadelphia

Ilya Bryzgalov, the $51 million dollar man. Noted philosopher, one-time star goaltender, occasional headcase, and would-be savior of the Philadelphia Flyers. And this past season's most colossal disappointment. What's a general manager to do?

I've argued since Bryzgalov was acquired last offseason that the move was ill-fated, that the Flyers were overpaying a goaltender who had been ordinary or below-average far more often than he had been good in his time with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Recognizing that goals against average is not necessarily the best way to judge a goaltender, in his four years in Phoenix from the 2007 to 2010 seasons, Bryzgalov ranked tied for 15th, 38th, sixth, and tied for 15th again in GAA. Save percentage, in which he was ranked tied for sixth, 30th, tied for eighth, and tied for tenth, tells a slightly more positive story--but still not one of an elite goaltender.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thank You Flyers

Like the eye of a storm, there is a calm that settles in when you know your team is going to lose.  Oh sure you go through the seven stages of grief, most of which involve putting the batteries back into the remote after smashing it against the floor.  But once your passed anger, no matter how long it lasts, you come to peace with your plight.

“It’s only a game, really what’s the sense of getting upset about a game.  I should be focusing on bigger things like austerity in Europe or figuring out the perfect gift idea for Blue Ivy.” 

Monday, May 7, 2012

No method to Shanahan's suspension madness

The NHL playoffs, regrettably, have already seen ten players suspended for various lengths of time after committing various infractions. The latest to sit, of course, is the Flyers' own Claude Giroux, suspended for one game after his illegal hit against the Devils' Dainius Zubrus on Sunday.

Nearly every single suspension, and several hits that didn't result in suspension, has brought an outcry from some party or another confused about the standards applied by the NHL and Brendan Shanahan, the league's Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations.

Luckily, Shanahan provides explanations for his rulings, complete with video highlights, online at NHL.com. Using those explanations, we can try to construct a framework for how Shanahan arrives at his decisions. The first part of this post is going to be pretty analytic. If you're interested in my methodology, keep reading. If you just want to hear me rant, skip down to the bottom.