By Dylan MacKinnon
It has not been the easiest of years for Philly Sports fans. Sixers choked vs the Hawks in the playoffs. And now in the new season they are barley a playoff team so far. The Eagles have been up and down (though could still be a playoff team). The Phillies made it 10 straight seasons without making the playoffs. The Union looked primed to win it all, but a Covid outbreak ended their season. And the Flyers took what was once a super promising team, and in two seasons were playing so bad their coach was fired.
But it is the Holiday season. It is not the time for wallowing in our misery. Its the time for hope. Hope that maybe things can get better. It was only a few years ago all of us were convinced that the 2020’s would be our decade. So far it has not gone well, but there are 8 years left, and plenty of time to make the decade a great one for Philly. But it will take a lot to turn things around. Thankfully, it is the time of the year where you can ask for a lot. Here are the things that Philly fans should be asking for Santa to leave under our Christmas tree, so that the next 8 years can make up for how crappy the first two of this decade were.
1)An All Star in a Ben Simmons Trade
This is the obvious one. Sixers are sorely in need of a playmaker. Their best player is a center, but they have no one who can reliably get it to Joel Embiid for him to get easy baskets. Say what you will about Ben Simmons, but he was a pretty damn good passer. Tyrese Maxey is great, but creating plays for other players is not his best skillset yet. He is not terrible at it, but he is their only option and hasn’t fully developed that ability yet. The lack of a playmaker is hurting Tobias Harris too.
They need a all star caliber player who can not only score himself a bit, but help the Sixers other guys get buckets as well. Who will that be? It remains to be seen. But it certainly would be a sweet Christmas if in the morning we had a new All Star under the Christmas Tree.
2) For Jalen Hurts to Prove Himself as a Franchise Guy
It remains to be seen if Jalen Hurts can be the guy. He has had moments of brilliance. But he has also at times looked like he couldn’t make all the passes needed of him. Even in games he has at times looked like two different QBS. Which is why another thing I want for Christmas is a complete game from Jalen Hurts. For him to dominate from the opening drive, to when he takes a knee to run out the clock. Completely dominate the Washington Football team tonight and how he is more than capable of being a QB in the NFL.
Because despite all the talk of the Eagles trading for, or drafting a QB, the best case scenario is Jalen Hurts is their QB going forward. If in these final 4 games, plus potentially the playoffs, he proves he can be the franchise guy, that is what the Eagles need most. Then instead of using draft picks on anther QB, they can focus on rebuilding their defense.
Because every aspect about his game besides his arm so far screams he is a guy you want to build your team around. He is a great leader, his team mates rally around him, and from everything we know, he seems like a great dude. Then there is the dynamic aspect he adds with his legs. Not only is he an explosive runner, but he is smart enough not to take hits. The only area he needs to improve is his arm. If tonight he can come out and show he is capable of making great passes and winning games with his arm, that would be an amazing Christmas gift.
3) A Power Hitting Left Fielder
This one wont be under the tree by Christmas. Unless there is one of those classic Christmas Miracles, the MLB Lockout will not be over by Saturday. But with shipping delays, there may be a lot of Christmas gifts that show up late this year. One of the things I bought my mom still hasn’t even shipped and apparently wont show up until mid January. So if my gift for my mom can show up late. Then So can Santa’s gift for the Phillies.
The Phillies really need another power bat in this lineup. Ideally a righty to protect the reigning MVP Bryce Harper. And they also need a Left Fielder with Andrew McCutchen no longer under contract. So kill two birds with one stone, and grab a power bat in LF. And whenever they can sign players again, there will be some very good options.
Kris Bryant will reportedly not return to San Francisco. For me he would be the ideal signing. He will likely give you 25-30 HRs and he was 39th last year in OPS. Nick Castellanos would also be a great move. Another power hitting righty bat, he had 34 home runs last year. And if you cant get one of those two, Kyle Schwarber wouldn’t be a bad constellation prize. He bats lefty, so he is less ideal than the other two options, but then you could have Hoskins protect Harper, and have Schwarber bat 5th. But they need one of these guys. They are way behind the Braves and Mets in terms of talent, and need some pop in the lineup.
4) A Miracle for the Flyers
You know the saying, “how do you buy for the man who has everything,”? In the Flyers case that saying should be how do you buy for the man who needs everything. There is no one thing the Flyers need. They are struggling to score goals, to defend the puck, and in goal. The Power Play is a joke and they are almost better off at even strength. Players they thought they would be building around, are not living up to expectations.
There is no one thing that can fix this team. If Santa is going to help the Flyers, he is going to need to use some Christmas magic to help some underperforming guys get their groove back. While it is not great for the other teams, there are some singular things that could change that could maybe turn things around. Flyers however are such a mess, nothing short of a miracle will get them back on track.
5) No health issues next year for the Union
Contrary to the other four teams, the Union issues are not on the field. They were arguably the best team this year. Unfortunately they were hit with some bad luck, and lost most of their team on the eve of a playoff game. They were only two wins away from a Championship. So they don’t need much. just better luck.
Even with that, they almost beat NYFC. Had they been healthy its not crazy to say they could have won it all. So they don’t need much. All they need is a normal offseason, and to not have terrible health luck in the playoffs next year. Hopefully next year we wont still be in this mess. But if we are, then Santa can use his Christmas magic to help the Union avoid another situation where they lose their goalie, their whole backfield, along with several other key players right before they play for a chance to go to the MLS Cup.