Then Pat Gillick constructed the rest of the team with savvy veterans like Pedro Feliz(3B) via free agency, Joe Blanton (SP) via trade, Jaime Moyer (SP) via free agency, Brad Lidge (Closer) via trade, Jayson Werth (RF) via free agency and Shane Victorino (CF) via free agency. Of course there were other key parts that the Phillies acquired during the season...Geoff Jenkins, Matt Stairs, Tom Gordon, Scott Eyere, and Chad Durbin to name a few. The key ingredient here was there were no superstars, but players that gave 100 Percent every game and the team was able to go all of the way and bring the city of Philadelphia a World Series Championship. Exit Pat Gillick/Enter Ruben Amaro Jr. And it was all downhill from there.
During the 2009 Offseason, Pat Gillick retired and Ruben Amaro replaced him as the General Manager. The Phillies had a team that had won consecutive Division Titles and the 2008 World Series, so Amaro was inheriting a team that was in its prime and would only need some tweaking here and there. Free Agency saw key departures in Pat Burrell, So Taguchi, Eric Bruntlett, and Tom Gordon. The Phillies key free agent signing that season was 38 Year Old Raul Ibanez who signed for 3 Years at 31.5 Million (WTF). Can you say hold on a minute. The Phillies also signed Chan Ho Park as insurance for J.C. Romero who was serving a 50 Game Suspension due to violating the leagues substance abuse policy. After Jaime Moyer was demoted to the bullpen, the Phillies quickly signed free agent pitcher Pedro Martinez. Then the Amaro traded for Cliff Lee giving up minor league catcher Lou Marson, and pitchers Carlos Carasco and Jason Knapp (All of these Players are in the majors now). The move turned out to be golden at the time as the Phillies made it to their second consecutive World Series where they unfortunately lost to the New York Yankees.
In 2009, the Phillies finished 93-69, winning the National League East and making the playoffs for the fourth straight season. At age 29, Ryan Howard still had an impressive season, although his home run totals dropped again. His stats: .279 AVG, 45HR, 141RBI, 105R, 172H. Not bad for a player that the league was starting to figure out. Chase Utley chipped in with a .282AVG, 31HR, 93RBI, and 112R. Jimmy Rollins had a fine season going .296, 21HR, 77RBI, and 100Runs. And the Ibanez signing looked like a home run as he finished .272, 34HR, 93RBI, 93Runs. But the biggest surprise that season was Jayson Werth, who became an absolute beast going .268, 36HR, 99RBI, and 98Runs. The rest of the Phillies offense was dominant and after making the moves at the deadline, the Phillies made it almost. But as they say, almost does not count except in horseshoes and hand grenades. Three Phillies starting pitchers finished with 12 wins: Joe Blanton, Jaime Moyer, and J.A. Happ. After Cliff Lee arrived down the stretch he finished 7-4, 3.39 ERA, 3 Complete Games, 1 Shutout, and 79K's in 79 Innings Pitched.
After the Phillies were dispatched by the Yankees in six games, it was time to see what went wrong? Well, the first move was letting Brett Myers leave in free agency as well as Pedro Martinez and Pedro Feliz. Placido Polanco was brought back to replace Feliz. In a surprise move, the Phillies traded for former Cy Young Award Winner Roy Halladay. But here is where it went ugly. Instead of keeping Lee and Halladay, Amaro shipped Lee to Seattle for Tyson Gillies, Phillipe Aumont, and another lower level prospect. Well, here we are in 2014 and those prospects are all out of baseball. We will return to this moment, but lets keep moving forward to see how things declined fast. Well for one, the Phillies offense was a bleep on the map compared to the past few years. All of their star players numbers declined. Roy Halladay dominated and took the team on his back. He went 21-10, 2.44ERA, 9 Complete Games, 4 Shutouts, 250 Innings, 219 K's all on his way to winning the CY Young Award.
Now, imagine if the Phillies had kept Lee. Well, well, well...we will never know. Instead, midway through the season, Amaro realized that they had made a mistake by getting rid of Lee and traded for Roy Oswalt who went 7-1 down the stretch, once again making Amaro look like a genius. On July 29th, the Phillies sent J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose, and Jonathan Villar to the Astros for Roy Oswalt. Well, we all know how that turned out don't we. All three of those prospects are now starting for various teams and Oswalt is out of Baseball. In fact, he would be out of Baseball before the following season's end. Well, that Phillies team made it all the way to the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants, but were upset by the Giants who eventually went on to win the World Series. Roy Halladay was the only player who seemed to show up as the offense once again went flat.
Ok...fast forward to the 2011 Offseason. Instead of keeping Werth, the Phillies let him walk as he signed an 7 Year Contract with the Washington Nationals. Now here is where I completely loose my shit. The Phillies then go and sign Cliff Lee, whom they had just traded the season prior for a bag of loose pucks (I'm sorry wrong sport). Ruben Amaro once again thought he was a genius and wanted to build the morale as the team put out the "FOUR ACES." Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. The Phillies finished the regular season 102-60, first in the entire league. The Four Aces carried the Phillies as no one could stop them. However, they completely forgot about their offense. Well, Amaro did try and address the offense by trading for Houston Astros star slugger Hunter Pence. But, once again, we know how this trade worked out. The Phillies sent Four Prospects to the Astros for Pence, including John Singleton (Ryan Howard's Replacement), Jarred Cosart (#2SP future), Josh Zeid (Future Closer) and Domingo Santana (5Tool OF). As previously reported, Santana was reportedly a mistake and should have not been involved in that trade, but that is another argument for another day. All these moves and they were still dispatched by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the first round, who went on to win the World Series. Are you seeing a reoccurring theme? And then, to add insult to injury, Ryan Howard went down with an injury on the last play of the series trying to run out a ground ball.
Well, that was the last time the Phillies would sniff the playoffs as they went 81-81 in 2012. The Phillies were eliminated from wild card contention on September 28th, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006. This offseason saw some familiar faces come back to the fold. The Phillies signed Jim Thome as insurance for Ryan Howard, who was still recovering from his leg injury. Then on November 14th, the Phillies signed All-Star Closer Jonathan Paplebon to a 4 Year Contract, worth 50 Million Dollars. They also brought in some other minor free agents: Dontrelle Willis, Laynce Nix, Scott Posednik, and Ty Wigginton. The opening day lineup in 2012 was very different than what Phillies fans were used to. This is how it looked: SP-Roy Halladay/C-Carlos Ruiz/1B-Ty Wigginton/2B-Freddy Galvis/3B-Placido Polanco/SS-Jimmy Rollins/LF-John Mayberry Jr./CF-Shane Victorino/RF-Hunter Pence. So any true Phillies fan had to be shaking their heads at this point. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were declining fast and were both injured at this point.