First up, B.J. Upton. According to a report from CSN’s Jim Salisbury, the Phillies are quite interested in Upton: [CSNPhilly.com]
A number of executives at the GM meetings said they believed the Phillies to be serious players for Upton. One executive said signing Upton was the Phils’ priority.
An executive from a team that has probed the outfield market predicted that Upton would at first look for a seven-year deal worth between $13 million and $16 million annually. The executive said it would probably take five years to get Upton and that the team that stepped up with a sixth year would probably land him. Amaro has confirmed that Upton is “a candidate” for the Phils’ opening in centerfield, but, citing policy, won’t comment further.
“The asking prices are always very high early,” said Amaro, speaking in general about the current state of the free-agent market. “Once you get signings that set markets, they tend to get higher or lower depending on the quality of the player and needs.”
After a season of shit, the offseason may provide some much needed entertainment. Charlie Manuel and, to a lesser extent, Amaro are on seats with varying degrees of warmth. The Phillies have to make some sort of significant move or signing if they want to compete for a World Series. Status quo won’t cut it this year.
Upton makes the most sense– he’s 28, has speed and power, though he doesn’t hit for average. He’s essentially a developed Dom Brown, or, at least what we thought Brown could be.
Gruden: LA Times reporter Sam Farmer spoke with Jon Gruden. Guess which young quarterback Gruden likes, a lot? Nick Foles: [LA Times, via Philly Mag]
I had Nick Foles in the preseason against New England. Michael Vick got hurt on the fifth or sixth play, and Foles went the distance, on the road in Foxborough. If you like prototype pocket passers with some functional mobility and a tremendous amount of toughness, Foles is interesting.
What really impressed me in the preseason was they weren’t running generic formations. They ran about 30 different formations out of about eight different personnel groupings in successive plays. So I see him recognizing coverages. I see him getting to second and third receivers, just like you’d want a quarterback to do in that system, and I love his NFL size. He reminds me a lot of Brad Johnson, from his football character to his ability to decipher a lot quickly, and we won a championship with Brad.
[Video of Gruden and Foles together, after the jump.]
An interview with Charles Barkley in Sports Illustrated contained this interesting nugget from Chuck:
“I love my job,” Barkley said. “I love the people I work with. And I’m going to try to do things to keep me engaged. But I have four years left on my current deal and to be honest with you, it’s going to be a struggle for me to make it for the whole four years. I really don’t know how much longer I’m going to do this. I need something more, or something else to do to be honest with you.”
So, last night, the NBA on TNT folks held a mock retirement for Barkley, starting some Twitter rumors that he’s retiring. He’s not. Not now, at least. That video, and Gruden with Foles, after the jump.