2005 Record: .543 (88-74), 2nd place in NL East
2004 Record: .531 (86-76)
Who’s Out: Kenny Lofton (OF), Todd Pratt (C), Billy Wagner (P), Robinson Tejeda (P), Ugueth Urbinad (P), Tim Worrell (P), Pedro Liriano (P), Ramon Martinez (INF), Endy Chavez (OF), Michael Tucker (OF), Jim Thome
Who’s In: Tom Gordon (P), Ryan Franklin (P), Abraham Nunez (OF), Alex Gonzalez (3B), Arthur Rhodes (P), Julio Santana (P), Sal Fasano (C), David Dellucci (OF), Aaron Rowand (OF)
Notes: The Phillies have been making post-season runs for the past several years, winning 86 games in ’01, ’02, ’03, and ’04. Last year, they won 88 games and were in the NL Wild Card race right up to the bitter end, but ended up missing the playoffs for the 12th consecutive year. A 12th playoff-less year seemed to push the Phillies over the edge, as they kicked GM Ed Wade to the curb in favor of post-season veteran GM Pat Gillick, who won back-to-back World Series titles with the Blue Jays in the early nineties. Gillick is a respected front office manager who has a reputation for putting together key trades at key moments.
Billy Wagner’s move to New York could have been devastating to the team, but the Phillies moved quickly and locked up Tom Gordon and signed Arthur Rhodes for relief duty. Gillick wisely traded injury-prone Jim Thome for Aaron Rowand and 2 White Sox pitching prospects (a steal of a deal for the Phillies—were the Sox confused as to who Thome was?) and will use young Ryan Howard at first base. The Phillies didn’t make any truly blockbuster trades, and they could have benefited from a starting pitcher to support Jon Lieber, Brett Myers, and Cory Lidle, but with the slim free-agent market they were unable to capitalize. Regardless, their roster still includes Abreu, Utley, Burrell, and Rollins behind the plate and near-superstar Jon Lieber at the mound, so it is certainly within the realm of possibility that 2006 could be the Phils year.
Next Up: Houston Astros
Labels: 2006 team profiles