If one word could describe this week as a Philadelphia sports fan it would be, "WOW!". Between the Phillies and the Eagles, Philadelphia fans are ecstatic about the players their teams picked up and they have every right to be. Could 2011 be the year that both the Phillies and the Eagles win it all for the first time in Philadelphia history? Get pumped because the remainder of 2011 (and into 2012 hopefully) will be an exciting year for Philadelphia sports fans.
Philadelphia started off the week with Halladay getting the win against the Padres with a Phillies win on Sunday followed by a loss on Monday San Diego. The NFLPA agreed to the new CBA and teams could start talking about trades. In most circumstances, free agents have months to agree to teams. However, because of the NFL lockout, teams have to cram in months of talks into a few short weeks (free agency must be done by the end of the preseason which is the beginning of September). Imagine being Jerry Maguire in this situation!
(Start of Brett Favre rant.)
Then the rumors started. It was already known that Kolb was more than likely going to be going to the Cardinals. So who were they going to get for a backup QB? Brett Favre?! You have to be kidding me. Here's a guy that said he was going to retire numerous times and still played. He's 41 years old (42 in October) and Favre's season last year showed that he might be getting a little too old. The following day, Sportsnation had a poll asking are you excited for brett favre coming back and possiably playing with the eagles? Where I believe 84% said HELL NO! Look... I'm not going to knock on Favre for he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. However, did you see any of the greats playing when they were 42? No. (Bart Starr: 37, Terry Bradshaw: 35, John Elway: 39, Dan Marino: 38, Johnny Unitas: 40, Joe Montana: 38, Roger Staubach: 37) Even the great Johnny Unitas knew when to hang up his cleats. So was I excited to learn Favre maybe the Backup QB for the Eagles? Not really. In a perfect world, it would be great to have Vick learn from Favre and maybe even bring in Favre and slide Vick to the outside as a receiver for a couple plays. But you know Vick is going to get injured. What if he were out for a month with an injury? You think Favre is going to be able to carry this team? I doubt it. If he went down then we would have to worry about Kafka carrying the team (and you know that will not happen. Kafka still needs a couple more years before he is even remotely ready to start). Favre has way to big of an ego to ever be a backup quarterback and not a started. In the end Favre didn't get the job and thank god for that.
Moving on; on Tuesday talks were heating up with the Phillies. They had until Sunday to pick up a player. Uncle Charlie stated that the Phillies were looking for a right handed batter. Speculation was that the Phillies were looking at Beltran, BJ Upton, and Hunter Pence. However, a lot of insiders stated that for the Phillies to be able to acquire one of these players, they would have to give up Worley (P) or Domonic Brown (RF). Later that evening, the Phillies beat the San Fransisco Giants with Chase Utley having an amazing in-the-park home run (On a side note, I've never seen Chase hustle as hard as when he rounded second for third). You can see video of this below:
It was announced during that broadcast that Beltran currently packed up his things in the Mets locker room and was currently on his way to Philadelphia. Not to meet up with the Phillies, but to meet up with the Giants to be able to start their next game in Philadelphia. Philly would wind up losing that game the next evening.
Then, within three days, the city of Philadelphia would be welcoming a slew of amazing talent. The following are who the Eagles and the Phillies picked up:
Ex-Titans Defensive End Jason Babin has come back to reunite with the Philadelphia Eagles. It was officially announced on Friday, July 29th. Babin had a pro-bowl year last year with 58 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He is a great addition to the Eagles defensive line. Babin will be re-united with former Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Babin's deal is worth approximately $28 million dollars for 5 years. Let's hope he can continue the success he had in Tennessee.
Who was going to fill out that second string QB position that Kolb left open now that he is traded to the Cardinals? Brett Favre? NO THANK GOD! Matt Hasselback? Nope... went to the Titans. Wait... wasn't Vince Young the Titans QB? Not anymore... now he's on the Eagles. Vince Young signed a one year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles this week. Good Move? As my grandmother liked to say.... menz-a-menz. Yes he is a great quarterback. Top in the league? Lets just say he isn't a Manning or Brady. He was a pro-bowl selection twice (2010 and 2007). He currently holds a QB Rating of 75.4. He's at an even 42-42 with Touchdowns/Interceptions and he does have 1,380 rushing yards with 12 rushing touchdowns. However, he does come with some baggage. Let's just hope that if Vick goes down and Young is sent in that he doesn't get frustrated again and throw his shoulder pads into the crowd.
Cromartie comes from the Kolb trade to the Cardinals. The Eagles picked up Cromartie and a second round pick in next years draft. Not bad at all. A great young cornerback and a second round draft pick for next years draft? Sounds like a great deal (which it is). Cromartie has a career 136 tackles and 13 interceptions. Not bad for only being in the league since 2008. Philly fans will be seeing a lot of great things from Cromartie this year and for years to come. Could this be a hint at the future of Asante Samuel? Samuel's contract is up in 2014.
His deal with the eagles is a five year deal estimated at $60 million dollars. It is well known in the NFL that QBs don't like to even throw in his general direction. Nnamdi Asomugha is considered one of if not the best corner in the league right now. Now with Asomugha, Cromartie, and Samuel, the Eagles Cornerback core is set to devistate. However, I wonder how Samuel feels about these two corners being signed. Again I say, could this eventually lead to the end of Asante Samuel as an Eagle?
So who won the sweepstakes in the right handed bat for the Phils? Beltran went to the Mets. BJ Upton? Upton (as of this morning at least) is still on the Rays. The Fightin' Phils picked up Houston Astros' right fielder Hunter Pence. Pence is batting .308 this season and has 11 home runs and 62 RBI's. As if this Phillies team couldn't get any better. Like general manager Ruben Amaro said earlier this week: "There's always room to get better." The Phillies have been looking for a right fielder to fill the void left by Jason Werth who was traded to the Nationals in the off-season. Domonic Brown and Ben Fransisco have been playing right field this year. Now that the Phils picked up Pence, they can add a veteran presence not only in right field but also into their batting lineup. I think Uncle Charlie summed it up best yesterday when asked about the acquisition of Hunter Pence he stated, "He’s a .300 hitter. He’s got some power. He’s a good player. I like him. Yes. I like him quite a bit."
The Phils are currently 5 games up on the Braves in their division and have the best record in baseball with a 66-39 record. Everyone is picking the Philadelphia Phillies to not only win the NL Pennant but the World Series.... if I was a betting man? I'd go all in that the Phils will not only get to the World Series but also win the championship.
The fact that Amaro worked out the Pence deal without having to get rid of Worley or Domonic Brown is amazing. Look what Amaro has done for this team the past couple years! He has assembled the best pitching rotation in baseball with Halliday, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, and Blanton, signed Hunter Pence, and oh yea.... he was the assistant to now hall of famer Pat Gillick who made the Phillies 2008 World Champions!
Leaving the Phillies for Houston will be A-list prospects pitcher Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathan Singleton and from the minors pitcher Josh Zeid. There is also one more player that will be traded that is still unknown but it was well worth it.
The Eagles will be losing a couple players as well. Leonard Weaver and David Akers will no longer be Philadelphia Eagles. However, I'm not to upset with this. Weaver had a bad injury last year and Akers (as good as he is) is getting up there in age. Akers is now 37 and he has been picked up by the San Fransisco 49ers. First, the Niners pick up Westbrook and now they pick up Akers. Thankfully, the Eagles picked up Alex Henerey in the 2011 NFL Draft. Philly will see how good of a pickup Henerey was come the beginning of September. Then there is Kevin Kolb. Kolb was the starting QB for the Eagles last year until he got injured in the season opener against Green Bay. From then on, Mike Vick took the reigns as the leader of the Eagles. With Kolb's contract ending it came to no surprise that he was going to be traded. And in the end, he was traded to the Cardinals. However we received Cromartie and a second round draft pick next year. Like I said earlier in this article: not to bad.
All in all, this week has been very big for Philadelphia sports fans. 2011 has been a great year to be a Philadelphia sports fan. I have a feeling it is only going to get better and better as the months/years go on.