Freddy Galvis hasn’t slowed down much since last season. The Phils shortstop played his last winter ball game on February 6. Nine days later he reported to Clearwater… with a groin strain. Galvis called it “day-to-day” with little concern it would hold him back for long. He’s already participating in live batting practice and taking infield work… but felt the groin issue was enough of a reason to pull out of the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) to focus on getting ready for the season.
This is good news for both player and team. There is no shortage of plans for what to work on with Freddy this spring. The team expects Galvis to focus less on the power numbers and more on plate discipline. Galvis walked just 25 times in 624 plate appearances last season and his on-base percentage was an abysmal .274.
While Freddy only hit from the right side 23% of the time last season, it’s where he needs the most improvement. As a right-handed hitter against left-handed pitchers, Galvis batted .217 with a .226 OBP. New hitting coach Matt Stairs has it broken down into two different approaches:
From the right side: “We’re going to make some changes in his right handed swing to where I think he needs to have a better balance. And that’s the biggest thing for Freddy is his balance, and this sounds funny but you think about with your stride, you think about stepping on some eggs, you don’t want to break them so you think about landing as soft as possible. Nick Williams has been doing great with it, so really, slowing your body down and trusting your hands and throwing the barrel to the ball.”
From the left side: “We need to have him realize he can’t be a left-handed hitter in his fourth year of baseball and be known as a pull hitter. I understand he had 20 home runs last year and he understands his pitch selection has to be better and I think that goes to the point coming back to where, how are you going to improve the on base percentage? Well, you limit the giveaway at-bats and your on-base percentage is going to go up. You’re going to see better numbers. With Freddy it’s just a constant reminder of, left side, be comfortable.”
Phillies coaches had their share of frustrations with Galvis last season. They tried to get him to use a lighter bat, which he did, sometimes… and manager Pete Mackanin had mixed emotions every time Galvis hit a home run. The organization realizes that when you’re in the money years of your contract, like Freddy is, homers pay more than on-base percentage. But Freddy has to realize that the Phillies only want to invest in a player who buys into their plan. As third base coach Juan Samuel put it, “Not going to crack ‘em right away. Sometimes they need to fail, but they have to buy into it.”
Being in camp all spring will give Freddy time to work on his approach, as well as give his groin time to heal, although nobody seems too concerned about it. Some thought his decision to forgo the WBC may have also been a slight case of J.P. Crawford-itis. There’s no better motivator than a top prospect breathing down your neck.
A source said that Temple is putting its full efforts into working with the community, considered one of the major obstacles of building the $130 million on-campus stadium.
If Temple doesn’t get the cooperation of the neighborhoods, then a feasibility study, which is budgeted for $1.25 million, becomes unnecessary.
But does that mean things are sailing along smoothly? Absolutely not.
Two Temple sources have said throughout the process that they knew it would be a challenging task to work with the neighborhoods on an agreement. There are many other challenges in getting this project done, not the least of which is fund raising.
$130 million for Temple to build a football stadium that they’ll play in six times per year in a part of the city no one wants to go to. I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY COLLEGE TUITION COSTS ARE SKYROCKETING DISPROPORTIONATELY TO, WELL, EVERYTHING ELSE IN AMERICA.
Can I make this a Villanova post? You bet I can!
After winning the National Championship, Villanova received a donation for $22.6 million from William Finneran to renovate the Pavilion, which is awful and sorely in need of renovation. I’m all for it. One could argue that makes me a hypocrite, but there’s a huge difference between renovating an arena that will forever be too small for its occupant to make it at least viable… and building a football stadium in North Philly for a program that peaked when it eeked into the top 25 for, like, a week in 2015, just lost its coach, and hasn’t had less than four losses in a season since 1979(!!!). Their deal with the Linc sucks, but it’s more or less the best option they have. Temple doesn’t need its own stadium. And they probably wouldn’t be able to fill it anyway. The proposed stadium, in North Philly, would have 35,000 seats. Not once this season – one of Temple’s best, which resulted in a bowl loss – did Temple get 35,000 fans for a home game. In fact, they only surpassed 30k once– a 28-3 loss to Army on September 2. The basketball program, which is generally better and more respected than the football program, doesn’t even come close to filling its outstanding arena on a regular basis, so why would football be any different?
Temple says the stadium would also be used for high school games and community events, and they claim they don’t want to use tuition dollars to pay for the proposed stadium. But that sounds a lot like NFL owners saying they don’t want to use taxpayer dollars for their stadiums and then the city winds up footing the entire bill. Temple cites similar sized stadiums (stadii?) in the AAC in Cincy, Houston and East Carolina as examples of why their plan could work, but those are all in more college-friendly markets and cities without four pro sports teams. Philly is simply not a great college sports town, and it’s a downright bad college football town.
I’m just blown away that Temple, despite basically no one thinking this is a good idea, continues to pursue the stadium at all costs.
Yesterday, I wrote about how the DeMarcus Cousins trade has thrown trade values for a tizzy. Last night’s Lou Williams-for-Corey Brewer-and-a-first-round-pick deal may have started to put player values back in their rightful places. But teams still only have until 3 p.m. tomorrow to get deals done. According to David Aldridge, Jahlil Okafor will be gone then.
Speaking on NBATV yesterday, Aldridge said that the Sixers have “a lot of offers to sift through,” including ones from the Pacers and Kings, and said Okafor “will get moved by Thursday.”
Speaking with such conviction is probably just Aldridge’s way of putting a bow on all of the Okafor trade rumors. Where there’s smoke, there’s got to be fire, right?
Two things can be inferred from Aldridge’s report:
- Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype published a great inside look at how NBA trade talks go down. He wrote: “When a team is shopping a player, they are selective about the teams they’ll call. Not only is this done to prevent leaks, but a general manager pointed out that calling every team can devalue your asset and hurt your leverage since it’s clear that you’re moving the player.” Using that logic, Aldridge’s claim that an Okafor deal is certain to get done hurts whatever leverage the Sixers may have had.
- One GM told Kennedy the obvious– that some teams will leak interest in their own player to increase his value. Go figure.
Additionally, Woj reported on a recent podcast that if an Okafor deal doesn’t get done, Nerlens Noel could be moved:
If they can’t get a deal for Okafor done before the deadline, I’m told that it’s possible they’ll start – there are still teams still checking on Noel, re-engaging on him. What complicates it for Noel is that he’s a restricted free agent, and teams want to know ‘what is it going to cost to us to re-sign him’. And it’s going to be a big number.
Woj is typically deadly accurate, but he has a lot of qualifiers in his statement here. He said a Noel trade is only likely if the Sixers can’t get an Okafor deal done, even though Aldridge is claiming that it will. As Kennedy wrote, “if Woj reports something, he has it from strong sources and it’s rarely wrong,” and when Aldridge does it’s often a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” situation. It sounds to me like an Okafor deal is certainly likely, but Woj is leaving the door open, still, for Noel to get moved, sub-optimal.
The NBA trade deadline is tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Credit to Rob Tornoe– he beat on finding out the deal with Mike Missanelli:
According to sources at the station, Missanelli underwent major back surgery in December. Despite a recovery time of typically 6 to 8 weeks, Missanelli returned to the station in late January, but only made his back worse after about two weeks on the air.
Sources say they expect Missanelli to return to the station sometime in March. Until then, Jason Myrtetus will continue to fill in alongside midday co-host Harry Mayes.
I reached out to Mike to see how he’s doing, but didn’t hear back right away. I’ll update the post if I do.
According to my Twitter mentions and comments, people like what they hear from Myrtetus and Mayes. And it’s not like Missanelli’s absence in December hurt ratings at all– Chris Carlin and Ike Reese on WIP were still getting doubled by 97.5’s B team.
This offseason, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and his right-hand man Joe Torre were set on making changes to the game of baseball to increase offense, speed up the game, and gain a larger audience. Among ideas pitched by the two were a no-pitch intentional walk (since approved), a smaller strike zone, a pitch clock, and starting extra innings with runners on second base. Some ideas (strike zone) were fine, others (starting extras with a runner in scoring position) were colossally misguided, though Manfred said that wasn’t presented for the big leagues just yet. Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, told ESPN that with only weeks until the start of the season, there’s no time to discuss and implement significant changes. “I’m always interested in trying to hear ways to make improvements,” Clark said, “but I think the game itself is pretty sexy the way it is despite its challenges.” Manfred is not happy or sexy.
Speaking at Spring Training media day, Manfred came out saltier than a poorly balanced soft pretzel: Continue Reading
Hey, did you know the Flyers are playing in an outdoor game this weekend against the hated – and, sadly, superior – Penguins, and NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT? Outdoor games – the Winter Classic – were once so perfect. They were #adorable. The little baby cherubs of sports. But then the league had to bastardize them by scheduling a series of games in locations where people don’t care about hockey, and, just like that, the mystique was gone. The allure went poof. All because The Shield saw a pile of cash and seized upon it like Scott O’Neil diving atop a proposed ticket upcharge. Gimme gimme gimme. Keep in mind, this is the same league whose commissioner who once allowed his all-star game to be played on a Tuesday night on Versus, so we’re not exactly dealing with a full unit here.
Don’t get me wrong– outdoor games are still cool and better than the average bear, but they’ve lost… something. Not having 24/7 hurts, but it’s more than that. They feel almost routine now. The intrigue about building an outdoor rink is all but completely gone. Still, here are some pictures of the water they’re freezing in Pittsburgh: Continue Reading
Like time itself, NBA trades may now be discussed in BC (before Cousins) and AD (after DeMarcus). The Pelicans/Kings swap that sent shockwaves through the NBA likely jostled some things already in the works. As Ramona Shelburne of ESPN put it, “Think of like real estate. When the mansion on your block goes for half of what it should, it throws off the comps for every other house.” One other deal will need to happen to reset that valuation, but until it happens, everything is in flux.
So where does that leave Jahlil Okafor and his potential suitors? Well the Pelicans are out. So are the Trailblazers and Nuggets (who may have never been interested in the first place). The Bulls were one of those original suitors, and Jon Johnson said the Bulls and Sixers have had ongoing conversations over the past few days. The Boston Globe said Jah is not on the Celtics’ radar, but there could be another interested party in the mix: The Indiana Pacers want help for Paul George. He’s no DeMarcus Cousins (for many reasons), but he’s one of the few legit two-way superstars in this league, and he needs bodies. For some reason, one of the bodies the Pacers are reportedly looking at is Okafor.
The Pacers have reportedly made their 2017 first round pick available, but there’s no word on if that would be in exchange for Jah, or if they’ve just made it available to whoever gives them the best return. “Paul George needs help” + “We got Jahlil Okafor” doesn’t equal a ton of wins. SI also reported that the Mavericks could be in the mix.
The trade deadline is just over 48 hours away.
A lot going on around here. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! In the comments.