Phillies

Phillies reportedly interested in Giants OF Andrew McCutchen

Phillies reportedly interested in Giants OF Andrew McCutchen

For the first time in seven years, the Phillies will be buying at today's 4 p.m. MLB trade deadline and they reportedly have their eyes on a former National League MVP.

Per MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, the Phillies are one of three teams that have "varying levels of interest" in acquiring rightfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Giants.

Now before we go forward, it should be noted that McCutchen isn't the player he was when he won the NL MVP in 2013 and made five straight All-Star teams from 2011-2015 with the Pirates, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't help the Phillies.

The Phillies are in the market for outfield and bench help and while Nick Williams' emergence has changed their deadline needs, McCutchen would provide manager Gabe Kapler a capable outfield platoon option and a bench bat.

McCutchen has played right field with the Giants but can still pass as a centerfielder, where he's spent the majority of his career. He'd be an instant upgrade as the team's fourth outfielder and could spell Odubel Herrera in center and Williams in right.

The 31-year-old is hitting .258/.352/.407 with 10 home runs, 24 doubles and 43 RBI in 104 games this season with the Giants. He's also hitting .299 against left-handed pitching since the start of 2017.

Trading for McCutchen would serve a similar purpose as a move for Orioles outfielder Adam Jones or Blue Jays OF Curtis Granderson, but there is one major difference between McCutchen and the others.

McCutchen is owed approximately $5 million over the final two months of the season, so San Francisco simply could be looking for salary relief since it is a .500 team and its ace, Johnny Cueto, may need Tommy John surgery.

The Phils reportedly had an offer to acquire Jones from Baltimore but the veteran wasn't ready to wave his no-trade rights. McCutchen does not have those rights.

As for what the Phillies would have to pay to acquire McCutchen, one has to think the Giants' asking price cannot be much unless they're willing to pick up some of the outfielder's salary.

And since he's not the same player he was a few years ago, the return on him probably wouldn't hurt the Phils' farm system too much.

Stay tuned as the deadline is only a few hours away.

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Toronto's 3-month shutdown doesn't bode well for any pro sport

Toronto's 3-month shutdown doesn't bode well for any pro sport

The announcement Tuesday that the city of Toronto has banned all public events through June 30 is not a good sign that games in any North American professional sports league will be back by then.

This is the longest-ranged shutdown any city has enacted, a span of three months. What is more likely: That only Toronto makes this decision, or that by the end of April many cities in the U.S. have followed suit?

In Toronto, this pertains to city-permitted events such as festivals and parades, city-led conferences and cultural programs, and major mass participation events organized by external groups at civic centers and squares, parks and public spaces. It's logical that sporting events could follow.

Previously, we knew that MLB's regular season would begin no earlier than late May or early June. That is an optimistic target date. If the season somehow does begin by June, it will likely be in empty stadiums. This is going to be gradual. It's unrealistic to expect 30,000 fans plus hundreds of stadium workers to be carefree and packed into a venue in just a few months.

"If you have municipalities doing that, to me it's tough to open your doors at a ballpark," Jim Salisbury said on our Phillies Talk podcast Tuesday.

"You think, well, OK, play with no fans, but they need personnel in the ballpark just to get the ballpark open. These clubhouses are big complexes, multi-room complexes. You're gonna have an expanded roster of like 30 players, then you'll have guys on the IL, 10-plus man coaching staffs and video staffs and analytics staffs and athletic training staffs and there's even the guys in there nightly who do the drug testing. 

"Your clubhouse complexes are very populated. There's a lot of people in there, and you don't know where people are going in those 10, 11 hours that they're out of the ballpark. You have umpires and TV personnel. To me, those are still gatherings. I don't even know if you can play with nobody in the ballpark. I don't have any idea how this is gonna play out."

The Phillies were supposed to host the Blue Jays in April and visit them in mid-September. Toronto's NBA and NHL teams are both heavily in the playoff mix. The Raptors are the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference and the Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic. Playoffs in both leagues end in June; how far could they extend this year?

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How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

The Oakland Athletics were slated to visit Philadelphia in mid-June in 2020 which, for the A's, would have been a return to the franchise's original home.

But the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has Major League Baseball adjusting its 2020 schedule on the fly, so let's take some time to exploring a particularly quirky connection between Philadelphia and the Athletics' whimsical elephant mascot, Stomper.

You know, this guy:

Stomper dates all the way back to 1902, when professional baseball was still finding its footing, according to a neat little video on a slice of baseball from NBC Sports Bay Area.

It was a different time: Philadelphia had a team called the Athletics, and a man named John McGraw was managing the New York Giants. (Yes, the baseball Giants.)

McGraw, during a press conference, said he didn't think the Athletics' decision to buy up expensive star players' contracts was going to pay off, and said they would be left with "a big white elephant on their hands".

Famed Phillies owner and general manager Connie Mack laughed at McGraw's characterization, and decided to make a white elephant the Athletics' unofficial mascot. Eventually it became official, and before the Athletics and Giants faced off in the 1905 World Series, Mack presented McGraw with a white elephant statuette.

What an unreal Philly zinger.

You can watch the video from NBC Sports Bay Area below:

When the Athletics moved to Kansas City, the elephant disappeared (politics) but after the Athletics moved to Oakland, the team made the decision in the late 1980s to have the elephant make a triumphant - tri-unk-phant? - return.

I'm glad it came back, because now we have a reason to remember a sick 115-year-old burn. Connie Mack forever.