Okay, so twice today I've gone to SI.com and learned that a Philly team made a big move. Just a few minutes ago, I saw that the Phillies had pulled off the long-discussed trade for Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence, which seems like a fine move. They gave up some good prospects, but ones far down in their system. This is a move the Phillies needed to do, because adding a right handed bat to their lineup may be the key to this being a truly special year. We all know that this post season (in the NL at least) will come down to pitching, and the Phillies have an edge over just about everybody, but the Phillies stark vulnerability to lefthanded pitching is too big an Achilles heel to carry. Pence isn't a huge run producer, but he's a multi-tooled young player who'll be a big upgrade to the corner outfield spots. Even better, they didn't do something foolish like trade young Dominick Brown, still considered by most a top prospect. I entered this season with some reservations about Brown, but that was as a replacement for Jayson Werth. As a replacement for Raul Ibanez, I've got no problem with the kid.
But, anyway, that's not even the really big news around these parts. Nope, the really big news is that the Eagles, from seemingly out of nowhere, swooped in (yeah, I'm making that pun too ) and stole the best free agent in football, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The best part? They snatched him out from under the Cowboys! Ha!
Anyone that's followed the Eagles for awhile shouldn't be all that surprised. Yes, they just acquired a corner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, in the trade for onetime starter Kevin Kolb (what was my prediction for him last year?... oh yes. *cough*). But Andy Reid has always valued corners: he signed Troy Vincent when he had Bobby Taylor and Al Harris (both pretty good corners); he drafted Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard (in the same year!) when Vincent and Taylor were still one of the best corner tandems in the league; and he signed Asante Samuel when Brown and Sheppard were still making Pro Bowls. Last year, when the Eagles had basically one good corner (Samuel) was the aberration. Because the Eagles play such an attacking style of defense, they rely on their corners even more then most teams, and last year, they sucked.
They don't now. Suddenly, the team's biggest flaw has become (perhaps) its' strength. The pass defense was the big flaw in last year's team; it's not too big a stretch to say that the secondary kept the Eagles from the Super Bowl. Well, that's how we roll in Philly these days. We want something, we go get it. Well, except for the Sixers. Ignore them.
Right now, this feels a lot like the last time the Eagles went out and got the best player available at their biggest position of need. You might remember him? Wore number 81? Well, he was kind of quiet. Anyway, that worked out pretty well... for awhile. If memory serves, that was also the year they signed Jevon Kearse, which didn't really work out all that well, but was still a move that signaled the Eagles were in it to win it. When does the season start again?
Man, what a day. The only thing that could make it better would be if they brought back Brian Dawkins....