Baseball is now offically back! The Phillies will play their annual "On Deck" Series at the Bank before they head to Texas for Opening Day on Monday. The biggest decision on the 25 man roster is if they carry a 5th starter during the 1st 2 weeks or go with either an 8 man pen or a 6 man bench. The Phillies will also be on crunch for spots on the 40 man, as my projection would have them at 41. But guys like Jeremy Horst and Luis Garcia could be DFA and MAG's could be put on 60 day DL.
We all have a love-hate relationship with DeSean Jackson. On the field the dude is a stud. He leaves DB's in his dust, eating turf, as he effortlessly blows past them. Strutting across the goal line with a mocking stare at the defense. LaRon Landry still has nightmares about that Monday Night game where he opened his big mouth and ate every word. He's the kind of player that you LOVE to have on your team but would HATE on any other team. On the field there is no denying the talent. His antics off the field leave the Eagles shopping the Pro Bowl wide receiver to any and all takers. With all that being said DO NOT TRADE DESEAN JACKSON!
Its crazy to think, but in just one week, there will baseball at Citizens Bank Park. Yes, its the on-deck series but its one step closer to Opening Day! The amount of options for the final few spots is getting smaller by the day. Over the last few days a few players have been demoted or even shipped away and recently we that both Darin Ruf and Freddy Galvis will likely start the season on the disabled list. This leaves the door open for a veterans to make a claim to a spot.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, one part of the roster became a lot clearer this week. On Thursday we learned that Hamels would not throw for at least a week and is now likely to miss most of April if not longer. That leaves a gaping hole at the back of the rotation and it will likely be filled by someone who isn't currently on the 40 man roster. As I have mentioned earlier, they will not need a 5th starter during the first 2 weeks of the season, but its almost a guarantee that the likes of Manship, Buchanan or O'Sullivan will make a start for the Phillies in April.
Jason Avant epitomizes character and class. There is something different about #81 and it shows on and off the field. A far cry from the last player to wear that number. Last summer when fellow Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper found himself in dangerous waters, it was Avant who stood beside Coop with forgiveness and mercy. As other players were quick to build up walls, Avant was the first to embrace Coop on his first day back to practice. During a time when Avant had every reason to be angry he chose grace.
It was June 26, 1996 when the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Allen Iverson first overall out of Georgetown University. These were the days when your Philly sports fix came from a Prism cable box. The Sixers were coming off an 18-win season, reminiscent of the current state of the Sixers. On Saturday night the SIxers, in the midst of an 11-game home losing streak, honored the man who routinely sold out the CoreStates/First Union/Wachovia Center. The Answer came back one last time to pack out the house. One last love fest.
We are now 5 games into the 2014 Grapefruit League schedule and there are still plenty of spots up for grabs. With the injuries to Hamels, Adams, Pettibone and Martin, the main competition will be in the back-end of the bullpen. Plus it looks as though several veterans will be pushed by some youngsters for the final few spots on the bench. It should be an excited few weeks in Florida!