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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Looking back at the Phillies’ decade of unfulfillment, what-ifs and huge change

Roy Halladay sat with his head buried in his hands and stared for what seemed like an eternity at the floor in front of his locker.

Ryan Howard hobbled gingerly toward the door on a pair of crutches.

And Shane Victorino reached into his locker, grabbed a strip of tickets reserved for the World Series, tore it up and dropped it into the trash.

Though it came just 645 days into a decade that will have lasted 3,652 days by the time it ends next week, no day symbolized the last 10 years of Phillies baseball more than October 7, 2011.

A consideration of a decade in decline, and the transitions that took place during that decade.

 

QLE Posted: December 28, 2019 at 02:13 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies, what-ifs

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   1. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: December 28, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5911396)
the phillies' comprehensive inadequacy is actually kind of impressive. most teams get a few things right, a few things wrong, and it all generally evens out. not this one...

-- the phillies sign a veteran and it becomes a disaster (saunders, robertson, benoit)
-- they try to add some stability and it blows up in their face (buchholz, arrieta, santana, papelbon)
-- they have a dozen potential young middle of the rotation starters (eflin, morgan, thompson, lively, velasquez, eickhoff, pivetta, etc.), and every one of them ranges from consistently mediocre to maddeningly inconsistent
-- they end 2017 with a roster full of promising young position players (franco, hernandez, galvis, joseph, rupp, alfaro, williams, herrera, altherr, crawford)...and that entire core is gone within 2 years
-- they get the #1 overall pick; it's the worst draft class imaginable
-- they make 4 huge moves to juice their lineup (harper, segura, realmuto, mccutchen) and all of them look 'meh' at best, one year later.


is this what it's like to be a knicks fan?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 28, 2019 at 03:10 PM (#5911419)
is this what it's like to be a knicks fan?

C'mon, the Knicks haven't been nearly that successful.
   3. Hot Wheeling American Posted: December 28, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5911431)
I was going to object to McCutchen as a ‘huge’ move, but I guess I forgot the size of that contract, so someone was expecting something out of him.

And I would have better been able to enjoy this sad Phillies decade had they not won the whole damn thing in 2008, what with flags flying foreves, and all.
   4. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 04:42 PM (#5911434)
I don't know, a lot of what you listed could be expected to not add up to much or the Phillies got what was expected out of the player
   5. Buck Coats Posted: December 28, 2019 at 05:15 PM (#5911442)
kinda harsh "meh" on realmuto - if you believe bWAR he just had the best year of his career!
   6. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:10 PM (#5911460)
kinda harsh "meh" on realmuto - if you believe bWAR he just had the best year of his career!
yeah, i guess. the 'meh' part is mostly because realmuto is now in the last year of his contract and any extension for him would start at age 30.

you make that trade because you think it's going to put you in the playoffs. it didn't.
I was going to object to McCutchen as a ‘huge’ move, but I guess I forgot the size of that contract, so someone was expecting something out of him.
plus he's a former MVP, and he was playing really well up until he broke down.
I don't know, a lot of what you listed could be expected to not add up to much or the Phillies got what was expected out of the player

yeah, but usually you get some good mixed in with the bad. it's not surprising when any individual outcome is disappointing; what's surprising is that almost all of them have been disappointing.

the phillies are actually trying to win games; they're trying to be good; they're trying to develop their young players. they just completely ####### suck at all of it.
   7. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:14 PM (#5911461)
Pittsburgh during the Bell/Meares era were trying to win games as well. How many of their moves worked out better than the 0hillies' moves?
   8. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:25 PM (#5911462)
Brian Giles for Ricardo Rincon?
   9. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5911463)
Then after getting the best 5 years of his career, they traded him for Jason bay and got the best 5 years of his career.
   10. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:31 PM (#5911464)
I can save myself in regards to getting Giles by saying he predates my arbitrary era that I have selected.
   11. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:37 PM (#5911465)
On the plus side for the Phillies is Cliff Lee and Aaron Nola. Hell, Roy Halladay is on the plus side for the decade as well.
   12. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:37 PM (#5911467)
No he didn't. They both came to the Pirates in the same 1998-99 off-season.
   13. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:41 PM (#5911468)
Cliff Lee came to the Phillies in 2011. Nola became a good pitcher in 2017, and a great one in 2018. If you are only going to count 3 Pirate years, you have to do the same for the Phillies, otherwise you have to count drafting McCutchen.
   14. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:42 PM (#5911469)
Hell, Roy Halladay is on the plus side for the decade as well.


Now you are comparing a whole decade to 3 years?
   15. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:51 PM (#5911470)
No he didn't. They both came to the Pirates in the same 1998-99 off-season.

Look again. He came in before Meares.


Now you are comparing a whole decade to 3 years?


Calming made the claim that nothing worked out for the Phillies over the decade. That isn't true.
   16. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 28, 2019 at 06:58 PM (#5911472)
Look again. He came in before Meares.


Don't argue like Kevin. It's not a good look. They both came to the Pirates after the Pirates played their last game of 1998 and before they played their first game of 1999. They both played their first game for the Pirates in April of 1999.
   17. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5911479)
I'm winding you up. You're taking this way too seriously.
   18. Hot Wheeling American Posted: December 28, 2019 at 08:21 PM (#5911481)
The troll’s credo
   19. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 08:26 PM (#5911483)
Sure, sure except I specifically said I created an arbitrary era in which Meares is in and Giles is out. It was misirlou who decided, "oh no, I cannot let this pass. Let's argue over it."
   20. bbmck Posted: December 28, 2019 at 09:13 PM (#5911491)
To have reasonable position/pitching split, 5+ position player WAR (264 seasons) and 4+ pitching WAR (215 seasons) from 2010-2019, some seasons don't qualify because of a mid-season trade:

30 - BOS
26 - DET
22 - COL
21 - WSN
20 - CLE, HOU, LAD

19 - ARI, TBR, TEX
17 - ATL, LAA, NYM, NYY, STL
14 - CHW, PHI
13 - CIN, SFG
12 - BAL, CHC, SEA, TOR

11 - MIA, OAK
10 - MIL, MIN, PIT
7 - KCR
1 - SDP (2012 Chase Headley)

Playoff Series Wins including Wild Card games:

11 - SFG
9 - STL
7 - HOU
6 - BOS, CHC, KCR, LAD, NYY

4 - DET, TEX, WSN
3 - TOR
2 - BAL, CLE, MIL, NYM, TBR
1 - ARI, COL, PHI, PIT
0 - ATL, CHW, CIN, LAA, MIA, MIN, OAK, SDP, SEA
   21. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: December 28, 2019 at 09:16 PM (#5911493)
Calming made the claim that nothing worked out for the Phillies over the decade. That isn't true.
eh....not really.

the first 5 years of this decade weren't great, but everything i complained about happened in the klentak era, which began after 2015.
   22. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 28, 2019 at 09:17 PM (#5911494)
It was misirlou who decided, "oh no, I cannot let this pass. Let's argue over it."


I can assure you, I will never make that mistake again.
   23. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2019 at 09:21 PM (#5911495)
I somehow doubt that.
   24. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: December 28, 2019 at 09:26 PM (#5911496)
To have reasonable position/pitching split, 5+ position player WAR (264 seasons) and 4+ pitching WAR (215 seasons) from 2010-2019, some seasons don't qualify because of a mid-season trade:
...
14 - CHW, PHI
...

the last position player who's had 5+ WAR in a year for the phillies is shane victorino, who hasn't been on the team since 2012.
   25. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: December 28, 2019 at 09:27 PM (#5911497)
yesterday's xkcd is surprisingly applicable.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: December 28, 2019 at 11:24 PM (#5911524)
It was a pretty sorry collection of position players. Only 6 of them had more than 5.5 WAR in the decade. All 6 of those were over 10 but that's a pretty massive absence of solid players. The top players and their last years in Philly were Utley 2015, Carlos Ruiz 2016 (forgot about him), Rollins 2014 (just 11 WAR), Victorinl 2012, Cesar Hernandez (non-tendered) and Odubel Herrera. The #8-10 WAR for the decade are single years of Jayson Werth, Harper and Realmuto.

But the issue here really is a lack of talent. Agreed, you might have thought 1-2 of this guys would hit (I guess that Cesar Hernandez) but Galvis et al were never expected to be particularly good. Galvis had 4 full seasons and put up just 2.9 WAR. Altherr, Alfaro, Franco. In terms of position player WAA, Vince Velasquez, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are 4 of the top 17.

They did a lot better on the pitcher side -- 30 WAR for Hamels, 20 for Lee and Nola, 17 for Halladay. But it drops off fast after that with Papelbon at #5 with 7 WAR.

In those terms, with 6 position players putting up 10+ WAR in the decade, the Phils are in a many way tie from 9th to 16th. While it's as bad as the O's, it's as good as the Cubs, Red Sox, Astros, and maybe most relevantly, as many as the Braves and Nats and two more than the Marlins and Mets. (Dodgers and Yanks lead the way with 9 so it's not a hugely common thing to happen.) For some reason the corresponding search is not working in the pitcher PI.
   27. Howie Menckel Posted: December 29, 2019 at 12:19 AM (#5911533)
teams that have won a World Series since the Phillies last did:

Yankees, Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox, Royals, Cubs, Astros, Nationals

but not the other 21

I have a co-worker who is an Eagles fan who whines - so aggrieved at their mediocrity this season.

the ONE thing that fans of a champion lose is the legitimate "long suffering" angle.

it's a great trade-off, of course. but you do lose it, outside of insular fanboy team message boards.

nobody else wants to hear Phillies or Eagles fans try to take the "tortured" high road. that ship has now sailed for decades, fellas. deal with it.
   28. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 29, 2019 at 12:26 AM (#5911534)
teams that have won a World Series since the Phillies last did:

Yankees, Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox, Royals, Cubs, Astros, Nationals


I can't get enough of that. I'm sure Royals, Astros, and Nationals fan feel the same.
   29. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 29, 2019 at 12:32 AM (#5911535)
Excluding the Red Sox, 4 of the last 5 championships have been won by teams who have won a total of 7 in their last collective 281 seasons of WS play. Or put another way, when they won their championships, it had been a collective 243 years since their last championship or inception.
   30. puck Posted: December 29, 2019 at 12:45 AM (#5911538)
30 - BOS
26 - DET
22 - COL
21 - WSN
20 - CLE, HOU, LAD


It does seem like every year the Rockies waste their star seasons by having a horrible bench and other holes in the lineup. If they were better at finding averagish players, they might have won more than one playoff series.
   31. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: December 29, 2019 at 01:34 AM (#5911540)
It was a pretty sorry collection of position players. Only 6 of them had more than 5.5 WAR in the decade. All 6 of those were over 10 but that's a pretty massive absence of solid players.
...is what i find so inexplicable.
But the issue here really is a lack of talent.
i might be willing to blame the failures on a lack of talent if they maxed out their development, become the best version of themselves and still not been good enough...but that's not what happened. they may not have had earth-shattering talent, but they had enough to be contributors. they wouldn't have gotten as far as they did, without at least that much.
I have a co-worker who is an Eagles fan who whines - so aggrieved at their mediocrity this season.
in fairness, this was a massively frustrating season for the eagles.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: December 29, 2019 at 01:48 AM (#5911541)
I can't get enough of that. I'm sure Royals, Astros, and Nationals fan feel the same.

and rightly so!

"in fairness, this was a massively frustrating season for the eagles."

a "was" in which a feeble W tomorrow gives them an undeserved home playoff game against a much more deserving loser of the NFC West title game having to travel 3,000 miles - and thus a realistic/undeserved shot for the Eagles at the second round.

in fairness....

   33. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 29, 2019 at 09:15 AM (#5911549)
Looking at the "decade" for the Phillies doesn't make a lot of sense. They had a very nice run, including five straight playoff appearances and a championship, that straddled the decades and ended in 2011. At that point, they had an old roster. All but one of their starting position players was 30+ and would predictably decline. They would get one (one-half?) good year from Domonic Brown and later Maikel Franco, but otherwise could not replace the production from their aging core over the next few years. The quick decline of Odubel Herrera also hurt.

The rotation was also pretty old at the start of the decade. Lee and Halladay were 32+ in 2011. Oswalt was about to leave as a FA and Blanton was pretty much done. Hamels was still in his prime and had good years ahead of him, but didn't have much around him.
   34. send the 57i66135 over with flamethrowers Posted: December 29, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5911572)
"in fairness, this was a massively frustrating season for the eagles."

a "was" in which a feeble W tomorrow gives them an undeserved home playoff game against a much more deserving loser of the NFC West title game having to travel 3,000 miles - and thus a realistic/undeserved shot for the Eagles at the second round.

in fairness....
yeah, and they'd be 11-4, if they had receivers who could catch a well-thrown pass while running free in the endzone in the last two minutes of the game. winning the super bowl takes the edge off, but it's not going to change the fundamental nature of who philly fans are:
Philadelphia Eagles fans waited nearly 60 years to raise their latest NFL championship banner. Then they waited nearly an hour for kickoff before welcoming the defending champs to the field thanks to lingering thunderstorms.

And then they waited fewer than two quarters to boo their home team.

but i do agree that the eagles shouldn't get a home playoff game. when a 5-seed has 2 or more wins than the 4-seed, the 4-seed should have to go on the road.
   35. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 29, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5911573)
but i do agree that the eagles shouldn't get a home playoff game. when a 5-seed has 2 or more wins than the 4-seed, the 4-seed should have to go on the road.


Well, if it's Seattle, it would be payback for 2010 when their 7-9 division winner got to host, and beat, the 11-5 Saints.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5911589)
i might be willing to blame the failures on a lack of talent if they maxed out their development, become the best version of themselves and still not been good enough...but that's not what happened.

That's a weird statement. On what basis can we make a claim that Freddy Galvis did or did not "max out his development?" The Phils hit on two guys -- Hernandez and Herrera. Hernandez never made a top 100 prospect list and produced 10 WAR, that's a great outcome. Herrera never made a top 100 list and was a rule 5 pickup and produced 10 WAR, another great outcome.

Galvis was also never ranked and produced positive WAR which is a perfectly solid outcome. The Phils do seem to have been pointlessly aggressive with the young Galvis -- full season A ball at 18 where he hit like crap but was promoted to A+ and AA at 19 despite hitting like crap, AA at 20 where he hit like crap. (And by crap I mean amazingly consistent OPSs of 588, 587, 586.) He finally showed some life at 21 so spent all of age 22 on the bench in the majors. He then bounced back and forth to AAA for 23 and 24 because, surprise, he couldn't hit. He was then pushed into the starting role at 25 when Rollins left despite the fact that, to that point, he hadn't hit at any point in his pro career.

Now given how aggressive the Phils were with Galvis and given he's been a better player since he left, we can make a decent case that the Phils messed that one up and maybe Galvis could have given them 6 WAR instead of 3. But that's one player, surely every team has at least one guy like that and even doing things right probably only adds something like 3 wins over 4 seasons which wasn't gonna change the Phils' fortunes.

Franco is the only "big name" position player prospect that springs to mind in this decade for the Phils but things don't really look that rosy in hindsight. He hadn't done anything too exciting at 18-19 then had a huge year at A+/AA at age 20. That did get him noticed and he was ranked #17 at BA, #26 at mlb and #52 at BPro entering the 2014 season. Unfortunately, he had a very mediocre year at AAA and a lousy Sept debut so, the next year, he was mid-50s at BA and MLB and barely made the top 100 at BPro. But he hit well at AAA in 2015 although that was mostly an excellent 355 BA with few walks and only moderate power in 150 PAs ... but still just 22. Promoted to the majors where he hit well (130 OPS+ on solid across-the-board peripherals with nothing wacky).

Offensively it's actually kinda hard to tell what happened to Franco. His K-rate has been stable (and always low), his walk-rate came down vs. 2015 but was never good and was stable after that, his HR/FB was stable, his HR/PA was stable, if anything his G/F ratio slightly improved -- his LD rate in 2015 was an unsustainable 30% and that drop seems to have killed his BABIP but that's a pretty thin diagnosis for a drop to a 89 OPS+ over the last 4 years. He's probably a prime candidate for a launch angle makeover. Nevertheless, his defense was never any good so I don't think anybody ever really expected him to last at 3B for very long and there was never a lot of evidence that he had the bat to be a star 1B. Maybe the Phils mis-developed him but really it looks more like they over-rated him and refused to cut bait for too long.

Anyway, I think the surprising (to me) dearth of players in the 5-10 WAR range is more due to what you suggeste first in #1 -- the Phils were still trying to compete, at least in the first half of the decade, and so were the sort of team you'd expect to sign solid 2-3-WAR vets to 2-3 year contracts and so have a reasonably long list of uninspiring names that would have given them 5-8 WAR in the decade. But that wasn't really Michael Saunders who was a decent-hitting but oft-injured late-blooming corner OF coming off a 1.4 WAR season with poor defense and turning 30. ZiPS projected him to just 1.7 WAR (granted more of a PT issue). He obviously did much worse than expected but that was a clear miss in talent evaluation (unless he got hurt again) as he hasn't played in the majors since and washed out of AAA in 2018.

Where the Phils fell over is where teams that look like this over a decade almost always fall over -- draft/sign and develop. They hit it big with Hamels in 2002. They didn't have a 1st round pick in 2003. From 2004-2013, their 1st round picks delivered essentially nothing (other than a bit of trade bait in Travis d'Arnaud). They hit it pretty big again with Nola in 2014. They had some later-round success early in that period (JA Happ, Michael Bourn) but not enough to compensate. Some teams make up for poor drafting with good international signings but if Hernandez and Galvis were the cream of that crop, then they didn't do very well there either.

How much of that was poor decisions on who to draft/sign, how much was poor development of perfectly decent talent in the minors and how much was just bad luck (injuries) I don't know and would be very tough for anybody to assess.

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