Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Players Phillies Regret Letting Walk
The Philadelphia Phillies are known, especially in recent years, to make the blockbuster trade or big offseason signings.
However, Phils fans often look past the impact players the Phillies let venture into the cynical world of free agency thus signing with other teams.
Especially with Jimmy Rollins almost not returning as the face of the franchise for the upcoming season, this gave thought of what past Phillies players fans didn't want to leave the City of Brotherly Love.
Here are the top five.
No. 5: Pat Burrell
Is it ironic the picture is of Pat the Bat fielding? Yes, there's no doubting Burrell was as lackadaisical an outfielder as it gets.
Also, he took a lot of grief during his tenure in Philly, after all he was the first overall draft pick in the 1998 draft.
But let's not forget the positives Pat brought to the table and who the Phillies decided to replace the left-fielder with.
Burrell smacked in 827 RBI, which is seventh all time for the Phils. He also belted in 251 homers, which is second all-time as a Phillie outfielder. Burrell's best two seasons without a doubt were 2002 and 2005, where he had 116 and 117 RBI respectively.
After winning the 2008 World Series, every one knew the Phillies were not going to re-sign Pat Burrell because he was going to want big time money, and the Phils weren't going to give in.
At the time I, and I think all Phillies fans a like, were all for letting Burrell walk. But when his replacement was washed up Raul Ibanez, that raised many eyebrows.
Was Ibanez an upgrade to Burrell? Certainly not and he was as much a risk in the field as Burrell.
Although it seems Burrell's best playing years are behind him and he never fully lived up to his hype, he did win a World Series ring and drove in runs. Knowing how the Raul Ibanez experiment worked out, I think fans would have liked to kept Pat the Bat.
No. 4: Mike Lieberthal
Mike Lieberthal spent 13 seasons as the back stop for the Phillies. He replaced another Phillies catching legend Darren Daulton, but little did the organization know just how good Lieby was going to be.
He is arguably the best catcher in franchise history and played during arguably the Phillies' worst years. He was as durable and long lasting as the energizer bunny as he caught the most games in franchise history, 1,139.
He hit 149 homers, which also is the most among any Phillies catcher. His best season was in 1999 where he batted .300, belted 31 home runs, knocked in 96 RBI, won the Gold Glove Award and played in the All-Star game.
A very important asset that didn't show up in the box score was how loved he was in Philly. Easily one of the most loved Phillies of all time who always gave his best effort despite ailing knees.
An interesting fact, the Phillies never made the playoffs when Lieby was on the team, but they made it the year before he joined and the year after he left.
So why should the Phillies not have let Lieberthal walk after the 2006 season? Because they would platoon catchers between journey-man, Rod Barajas and the 33-year-old rookie, Chris Coste. It took a year and a half before Carlos Ruiz separated himself from the rest.
Lieby was loved and he produced great numbers, unfortunately he wasn't getting any younger and the Phils let him go where he signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then called it a quits the next year.
Phils fans would have loved to see him spend his entire MLB career in Philadelphia. He signed a one-day contract with the Phils in 2008 and officially retired as a Phillie, the best Phillies catcher to ever play the game.
No. 3: Jayson Werth
If you were offered a seven-year, $126 million deal would you turn it down? That's what I thought.
The Phillies were not going to come anywhere near that number, so Jayson Werth high tailed out of Philly to go swim in his money while being on a team who will have a loosing record during his entire tenure there.
He already has a World Series ring, what else does he need?
Once again with losing a player to free agency, the Phillies were left with a void to fill. Werth was an RBI machine driving in 300 runs in his four seasons with the Phils.
The organization was hoping that young prospect Dom Brown would step up and become the future of right field for the Phillies, but his dismal play caused them to trade prospects for Hunter Pence.
In a perfect world and at the time, Phillies fans would have loved to re-sign Werth. But maybe it will work out in the end because they have now upgraded in right field at almost a quarter of the cost of what Werth is making in Washington DC.
No. 2: John Kruk
The man who made the mullet cool and was known for playing old-school baseball.
Another fan favorite who became famous by saying, "Lady, I'm not an athlete. I'm a professional baseball player."
This man, ladies and gentleman, walked the walk and talked the talk. He was part of the 1993 Phillies team, which could easily be made into a big motion picture.
Oh yeah, he was pretty good at baseball too.
He was a three time All-Star, had a career batting average of. 300, had two 20 home run seasons and drove in over 100 runs in 1993.
Dubbed as the leader of Macho Row, Kruk wore his heart on his sleeve, which automatically made him loved.
Serious weight gain and on-going knee problems led to the Phillies granting him free agency. Needless to say, even for his antics, Phillies fans would have loved to see him stick around for a couple more seasons.
Here are my favorite words of wisdom from the Kruker: "I would think I drive most hitting coaches crazy. During one single at-bat I used six different stances on six pitches. Oh yeah, I also struck out. So what do I know?"
No. 1: Steve Carlton
It's hard to imagine Lefty in any uniform other than the Phillies. Even though the Phillies have dominant pitchers on their roster currently, no one compares to Steve Carlton.
He won the Cy Young Award four times and is in the Hall of Fame. What more can you ask out of a pitcher? What more stats and awards do you need to prove greatness in the MLB?
The man who holds the major league record for balks is also the last pitcher in the National League to win 25 games in a season. He accomplished that in 1972 when the Phillies went 59-97, as the lone cellar dwellers.
His performance festered in the 1985 and 1986 seasons, which was caused by nagging injuries that ultimately lead to his release by the Phillies.
Again, a huge fan favorite and a strikeout machine. Lefty will go down as one of the best pitchers of all time and as the best pitcher in Phillies history. It's a shame he couldn't have finished his career as a Philadelphia Phillie.
Nevertheless, every time Carlton stepped foot on the mound, it seemed to be an automatic win for the Phillies.
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