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The Phillies trading for Mike Trout is a pipe dream

The Phillies trading for Mike Trout is a pipe dream

Through the first ten days of the 2017 baseball season, one of the most prominent topics surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies has for some reason been... their desperate need to make a trade for Mike Trout. 

Facing a young team bereft of superstars and a lackluster start to the season, a lot of Phillies fans are having starry-eyed dreams about the pride of Millville, N.J. putting on red pinstripes sometime soon. After all, Trout grew up rooting for the Phillies. He goes to Eagles games, and he's even hunting buddies with Carson Wentz. If there's any star athlete on another team who's "one of us," it's Trout. 

Radio hosts and fans alike are calling for the Phils to put a huge package of their top prospects on the table in an offer for the superstar outfielder, a two-time American League MVP and the best player in baseball, and bring Mike Trout to Philadelphia as soon as possible. 

It should go without saying: I would love it if Mike Trout ended up with the Phillies. You would love it. It would be incredible. Trout would probably shatter every record for jersey sales and usher in an era of Phillies excitement unlike anything since the World Series runs of the last decade. 

But let's slow down here. If Trout becomes a Phillie, it's unlikely to happen this year, next year, and probably not the year after that. Trout is not available now and there's no indication of that changing anytime soon. If you're ignoring the Phillies, barring the supposedly imminent arrival of a superstar with no plausible short-term path to your team, that's a great strategy for perpetual disappointment.  

Let's look at the practicalities: Trout is signed with the Angels for four more years, through 2020. The Angels have not made him available, and seem highly unlikely to make him available at any time in the near future. After all, if you were the Angels, wouldn't you want Mike Trout to spend his entire career with your team? And much as the Angels are described as a hopeless team with no future, they are, in the early going, in first place in the AL West. 

Now the Phillies could try to "make them an offer they can't refuse" of every single minor-league prospect you've ever heard of, and "do what ever it takes" to get a deal done. But that's not a strategy likely to get Trout to Philly. 

That's because there's probably no possible combination of players currently in the Phillies organization, whether in the majors or minors, that could get the Angels to say yes on giving up four years of team control of Mike Trout. 

Nola, Crawford and Alfaro? Crawford, Hernandez, Kingery and Hoskins? Herrera, Eickhoff, and Appel? If you were the Angels, would you say yes to any of those packages? I know I wouldn't. Hell, if the Phillies offered their entire current 40-man roster for Trout and Trout alone, I bet the Angels would still say no. 

Trout is, after all, the best player in the game, a probable future Hall of Famer, young and in his prime. Four years is a long time and while the Angels might not be world beaters now, they have plenty more chances to build a winner around Trout before his time in Southern California is up. There’s currently no force applying pressure -- a trade demand, a financial crunch, impending free agency -- that would give the Angels any urgency to trade Trout this year, or even next year. 

But let's say the Angels do eventually decide to trade Trout. Once again, it would likely not happen until 2019 at the earliest. Rather than negotiate with the Phillies exclusively, the Angels would probably attempt to set off a bidding war in which the Phillies would need to compete with various other teams. Were that to happen, the Phils wouldn't be offering their prospect list of today, they'd be offering their prospect list of a couple of years from now, which would probably consist of all different players and might not be as strong as the current list. 

There is a much more likely scenario: Trout signs with the Phillies as a free agent, after the 2020 season. They wouldn't have to trade anything, he'd get to choose his own hometown as his destination, and he'll still only be 29. 

Sure, it's a long time to wait. But it also doesn't entail the Phillies offering to jettison their entire future nucleus in a long-shot trade bid. If they did do that, the Phillies may very well end up with Mike Trout, no other star players and a barren farm system. In other words, they'd look a lot like the Angels right now. 

There's also the assumption that superstar players always live happily ever after once they sign crowd-pleasing nine-figure contracts with their hometown team. See the story of the Minnesota Twins and Joe Mauer for a particularly painful counter-example. 

The Phillies' brain trust has been consistent about their plan for the last 18 months: Develop the current core of young players, and when the team looks like a contender, start spending that sweet Comcast cable cash on free agents. 

Signing Trout in 2020, to go with today's prospects as they approach their primes, would fit with that strategy. But a trade of all their prospects for Mike Trout right now wouldn't be a Matt Klentak move at all -- it would be a Ruben Amaro Jr. move. 

Would the Phillies be better with Mike Trout right now? Yes. Would they be more exciting? No doubt about it. Is it going to happen? It's highly unlikely. Does Trout-to-the-Phillies have any business dominating discussion of the Phillies in 2017? Of course not. 

Sixers pick up first boring win of the season against Jazz

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Sixers pick up first boring win of the season against Jazz

There was a time as Sixers fans when being 16 games into the season meant it legitimately felt like there was no chance the team would ever win another game of basketball. Now, we're beating teams at home by a lot because we're better than them, moving to multiple games over .500, and -- as of last night -- even breaking even with our overall scoring differential. Yawn. 

The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Utah Jazz last night by a score of 107-86. Joel Embiid had something of an off night (15 points on 7-16 shooting), our shooters couldn't quite get it going (4-15 from deep), but we still won by 21. It wasn't quite a blowout, but it definitely wasn't a nail-biter. It wasn't an upset or a moral loss or a validating triumph. It wasn't anything, really, except a win. 

In it's own way, of course, that makes it the most meaningful W of the season for Philly. It has been a very long time -- maybe since the Doug Collins era -- since the Sixers won a game without it being a referendum on either team. The Sixers simply won because they're a better team with more good players -- especially with the Jazz missing a couple key dudes, though we also beat them in Utah a couple weeks ago without Joel Embiid, so whatever. And the Jazz aren't even the worst team in the league, or really even one of them -- they're just a not-totally-terrible team that the Sixers are still decisively superior to. 

Long have I dreamed of wins like this, to have a game where there was nothing to say in the recap except how there's nothing really to say in the recap. Next time the Sixers pick up another W this casual -- and it probably won't take all that long, either -- I won't even be able to write this column again. I'll probably have to try writing in haiku or cryptogram or something to attempt to make the story interesting. 

And that's fine: After four years of historic losing, we'll trade narratives for Ws any time. You keep it real boring, Sixers.

Joel Embiid swatted Donovan Mitchell, drew a tech, and ignited a Philly explosion

Joel Embiid swatted Donovan Mitchell, drew a tech, and ignited a Philly explosion

We didn't even know if Joel Embiid was going to play just hours before tonight's contest as he was listed as a game-time decision with knee soreness.

Play he did. And he treated the Wells Fargo Center crowd to one of the more energetic moments of the evening. 

The Sixers beat the Jazz in South Philly on Monday night, 107-86, to bounce back from that tough loss on Saturday (see observations).

Embiid was a big part of that. He finished with 15 points, 11 boards, three assists and a couple of blocks.

It was one block on Donovan Mitchell in particular that had The Center going bonkers.

Watch:

The block, the stare down, the technical foul signal, the crowd pumping ... Embiid provided a perfect moment.

"It was some good theater and the two embraced afterwards. It was fun to watch," Marc Zumoff said after the game.

Mitchell wrote it off as a rookie mistake.

"Just gotta keep my head," Mitchell said. "It's a learning experience, especially in that situation when we're making a comeback."

Whether they were making a comeback or not is debatable. 

"I shouldn't have done it. I should have just let it go."

Brett Brown was OK with the play.

"I'm always mindful of how do we stay disciplined," Brown said. "Jo understands it's risky if you taunt. I want my guys playing with an edge. I want them to feel some level of swagger and feel good about themselves. That was a big play. It certainly got the crowd involved."

As for his part in the incident, Embiid admitted he may have embellished just a bit. The big guy is not that easy to move.

"I flopped and he got a technical for it," Embiid said. "That's basically how it happened. It's all fun. After the game, we shook hands."