The 10 Best Moves the Philadelphia Phillies Never Made

Pat EganCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2010

The 10 Best Moves the Philadelphia Phillies Never Made

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    "You remember when they traded Bobby Abreu for Matt Smith, CJ Henry, Carlos Monasterios, and Jesus Sanchez?"

    "Yeah, that was bad but they got Shane Victorino in the Rule 5 draft so it makes up for it."

    People remember the good trades and the bad trades but no one ever seems to talk about the moves that didn't happen. Most of the moves that you will read about led to a World Series Championship in 2008 and a World Series appearance in 2009.

    Without some of these moves, the people in this picture would have had no reason to congregate in Center City, Philadelphia on October 31, 2008.

10) Not Trading Jayson Werth

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    Jayson Werth was signed by the Phillies in a deal that made no headlines. €

    The former first round pick, who was looking for the fourth team of his young career, had been plagued by injuries. That didn't stop former Phillies GM Pat Gillick from taking a shot on the athletic outfielder.

    In his first season with the Phillies, Werth showed potential, hitting .298 with 8 HR and 29 RBI in only 255 at bats. It was enough for the Phillies to resign the right fielder, and it looked as if he would take over as the starting right fielder come 2008. But then the team signed Geoff Jenkins and put Werth back on the bench.

    Many know the story of Werth walking into Manuel's office and telling him he thought he should play everyday. Manuel said he would make him the starter if he hit right-handed pitching better.

    Werth did just that and then some more, having a breakout year in 2008. He hit .273 with 24 HR and 67 RBI, in 418 at bats. 

    In 2009 he had a career year, hitting .268 with 36 HR, and 99 RBI while being voted to his first All-Star game.

    In the process, Werth became a fan favorite in Philadelphia. But he was also going into the 2010 season on the last year of his contract. Seeing players like Joe Blanton, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Carlos Ruiz all sign extensions, fans were wondering when it would be Werth's turn.

    He started off the season hot, hitting way over .300 and leading MLB in extra base hits. His early production had fans begging management to resign the right fielder, but he still saw no contract extension.

    Then Werth came down to earth after his hot start.

    He started, along with the rest of the team, slumping hard and failing to hit with runners in scoring position. With the team slumping, rumors started circulating that the Phillies would trade Werth so they could get some value for him instead of letting him walk at the end of the season.

    A three team trade was rumored to be in the works that would send Werth to Tampa Bay, Roy Oswalt to Philly, and prospects to Houston.

    The Phillies decided to keep Werth; they even got Oswalt without including Werth in the trade. It's a good thing they didn't, because Werth has come out of his slump, hitting .329 in the month of August.

9) Not Signing Carl Pavano

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    In 2004 Carl Pavano had a great season.

    He went 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA for the Florida Marlins. He was their ace and their work horse, pitching in 31 games for a total of 222.1 innings. He was selected to his first All-Star game and finished sixth in the NL Cy Young voting. He was also a free agent after the season.

    In the 2004 offseason, the Phillies were rumored to be one of many teams with interest in Pavano. They didn't have a true ace and had failed to win the NL East crown the previous season. Phillies GM Ed Wade contacted Pavano's agent about coming to Philly, and for a time it looked like they had a shot.

    However, Pavano did not chose Philadelphia. Instead, he chose the bright lights of New York for four years at $39.95 million.

    What Pavano didn't count on was the backlash from the New York media when he failed to meet expectations.

    Pavano not only never lived up to expectations, but was barely ever on the field. In three seasons in New York (he missed the 2006 season entirely due to injuries) he pitched in just 26 games, posting a 5.00 ERA with a 9-8 record. The Yankees paid him a little over $1.5 million a start during his career in pinstripes.

    Pavano has never matched his 2004 numbers with the Marlins.

    He has failed to throw more then 200 innings in a season and has never been back to the All Star game.

    Pavano is enjoying a nice season for the Twins this season, but he's not getting paid $10 million anymore.

8) Not Resigning Aaron Rowand

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    In two season Aaron Rowand became a fan favorite.

    After smashing his face into the center field gate catching a ball, he endeared himself to the fans of Philadelphia.

    But after an All-Star season in 2007—in which he hit .309 with 27 HR and 47 doubles, and nabbed his first Gold Glove—Rowand spent the offseason running down a big pay day instead of fly balls.

    Rowand found a team that was willing to accept his demands and he took his talents to San Francisco for six years at $60 million.

    It was way more money then the Phillies were willing to offer him and its paid off.

    Since 2007, Rowand has never matched what he did with the Phillies. In three seasons with the Giants he has never hit more then 15 HR, and has never hit higher then .271. This season he lost his starting job and has been regulated to coming off the bench.

7) Not Trading Jason Donald For Ron Mahay

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    In 2007, Phillies fans had a taste of post season baseball and in 2008 they were hungry for more.

    Coming up on the 2008 trade deadline the Phillies needed another starter and a lefty out of the bullpen. While the addition of JC Romero was paying dividends, it wasn't going to be enough for them to really compete with the elite teams.

    Rumors started to swirl that the Phillies were in talks with the Kansas City Royals for veteran lefty Ron Mahay. Mahay would have been a decent acquisition, but it wasn't what the Phillies were getting in this case, it was what they would have to give up.

    Reports indicated the trade would be Ron Mahay for young SS/2B Jason Donald.

    Donald was a third round pick in 2006 draft out of Arizona State. He was enjoying his best season as a professional in 2008 with AA Reading. In 2008, Donald hit .307 with 14 HR and 54 RBI, along with 11 SB for the R-Phils. He was selected to the MLB Futures Game and also to the Eastern League All Star game.

    But Donald's road to the major leagues was blocked by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Some Phillies fans thought he could play third base. It was obvious that if he wanted to reach the majors with the Phillies he would have to change positions.

    While it was obvious that Donald had become trade bait, the Mahay trade seemed a bit much. A young SS/2B prospect for a decent lefty reliever didn't seem right, and the Phillies agreed. They instead chose not to trade for Mahay but to pickup veteran lefty Scott Eyre during the waiver deadline. Eyre was un-hittable in his two seasons for the Phillies posting a 1.62 ERA in 61 games.

    Donald was used to acquire another lefty, as he was sent to Cleveland along with three other prospects for Cliff Lee. Donald is the only player from that Lee trade who is an everyday player for the Indians and was a key piece of the deal.

    If the Phillies had traded Donald for Mahay there is a chance they wouldn't have gotten Cliff Lee.

6) Not Trading For C.C. Sabathia

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    2008 was an amazing year for the Phillies. But before there was a parade on Broadstreet, there was a clamoring for a certain Cleveland ace named Carsten Charles Sabathia.

    Sabathia was in the last year of his contract and the Indians were awful. Everyone in baseball knew that the big lefty was on the block and Phillies fans wanted him.

    The Phillies organization would have loved to have Sabathia but they did not have enough to compete with the Brewers, the team that did end up trading for Sabathia. CC was traded for power hitting 1B/LF prospect Matt Laporta, speedy outfielder Michael Brantley, and pitchers Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson.

    The Brewers were OK with trading their blue chip prospect because of the positions he played. At first base the Brewers had Prince Fielder while in left field they had Ryan Braun. There was no room for LaPorta and the Brewers knew that, so they shipped the prospect off to Cleveland and didn't think twice.

    The Phillies, failing to get Sabathia, went out and got Joe Blanton. Most Phillies fans had no idea who Joe Blanton was and its a rule of thumb that if you've never heard of a guy chances are he's not too good. Fans were even more infuriated when they found out that the team traded their second and fourth best prospects to get Blanton.

    What most fans didn't realize was that those prospects had names.

    Adrian Cardenas was a supplemental pick in the 2006 draft. He played short stop and second base and while he had tons of talent there was no place to put him. It was the exact same situation that the Brewers had with LaPorta.

    Josh Outman was a very good lefty starter, but with the Phillies having a surplus of lefties in their system they moved Outman to the bullpen to become a reliever.The Phillies, while liking Cardenas and Outman, really didn't have a game plan on how/where to play them. Because of this they became expendable and brought Joe Blanton to Philly.

    Blanton went on to not lose a game for the Phillies that season and is still with the team. Having an up and down season, he has looked very good of late.

    Meanwhile, an overworked Sabathia got rocked in the NLDS by the Phillies.

    After the season he left for the big payday in New York and is now the Yankees ace.

5) Not Resigning Billy Wagner

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    Billy Wagner spent two seasons in Philadelphia and was just what they needed. His Phillies career saw him record 59 saves and have a 1.86 ERA.

    However, he may be better known for two things.

    The first is the blown saves against Houston in 2005. The Phillies were battling for the Wild Card and they just could not seem to beat the Astros. No matter what the score was, the Astros, led most of the time by Craig Biggio, would find a way to come back. The Phillies missed the playoffs and it was later revealed that all they had to do was beat the Astros once and they would have been playing baseball in October.

    The second thing that people in the city of Philadelphia think of when they hear the name BIlly Wagner is "rat." Wagner has got to be one of the worst teamates ever seen and Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell had no problem telling him that. After he talked to the media, and blamed a teammate for the loss, Burrell called Wagner a rat. Its a nickname that has stuck with the lefty every time he has come back to the city.

    Wagner went on to sign a four year deal with the hated Mets. But because the Phillies offered him arbitration, and he was classified as a Type A free agent, the Phillies received the Mets first round draft choice.

    The Phillies chose the son of former NL Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, when they selected Kyle Drabek with the 18th overall pick.

    Drabek went on to be the center piece in the deal that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. If the Phillies resigned Wagner they would not have recieved the Mets pick, and might not have Roy Halladay at the top of their rotation.

4) Failing To Sign J.D. Drew

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    In 1997, JD Drew was one of the best collegiate players in the country.

    He was expected to go in the top three in the June 1997 draft, hiring super agent Scott Boras. Boras had said that Drew wouldn't sign for less then $10 million and warned teams about drafting Drew.

    The Philadelphia Phillies had the second overall pick and had no plans of paying an unproven player that much money.

    GM Ed Wade figured that Boras' stance would soften as time went on, but it never did. The Phillies failed to sign the Florida State product.

    Drew played independent league baseball and waited to see where he would go in the June 1998 draft. The Phillies held the first overall pick in the 1998 draft and chose 3B/1B Pat Burrell.

    Drew went fifth overall to the Cardinals and signed with the Red Birds.

    Burrell went on to become a fan favorite in Philadelphia and recently got a standing ovation upon his return. Drew has been booed every time he plays in Philadelphia. In his first trip to Philadelphia he was pelted with batteries.

    While he has always been a decent player he has never lived up to the hype. He's collected big pay days with the Red Sox and Dodgers, but never played up to the amount that he gets paid.

    Failing to sign Drew is on the list because of a trade involving him. Drew was traded to the Braves for Ray King, Jason Marquis, and a young right-hander named Adam Wainwright.

    If the Phillies had signed Drew then Wainwright would probably still be on the Braves. The Phillies would have to see him a few times a year instead of once a year.

3) Not Hiring Jim Leyland

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    Going into the 2005 season the Phillies needed a manager.

    They had fired long time skipper Larry Bowa and were looking for a guy to take them back to October baseball. Many fans in Philadelphia wanted one man, Jim Leyland. Leyland was like the Larry Brown of baseball, winning wherever he went. He was a no nonsense type of manager who many thought would get the best out of the players.

    While Phillies fans wanted Leyland, what they got was a good ole' boy with a deep southern drawl.

    Charlie Manuel was hired to take over the team in a move that was widely criticized by Phillies fans. Many took Manuel's accent as incompetence and because of this they questioned his baseball IQ.

    The following season, Leyland was hired as the manager of the Detroit Tigers and in his first season took them to the World Series. As a result, even more people questioned the hiring of Manuel, who had yet to bring his team to the playoffs.

    However, since then Charlie Manuel has gone from village idiot to king of the castle. Nowadays Manuel can do no wrong in the city of Philadelphia, after guiding the team to three straight post seasons, two straight World Series appearances, and one glorious title.

    On the other hand, Leyland has failed to return to the October classic. Manuel has gone from hated to loved in the city of Philadelphia and Jim Leyland supporters are nowhere to be found.

2) Not Trading Ryan Howard For Rocco Baldelli

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    In 2004 the Phillies had a problem that most teams would love to have. They had a star at first base, and a player in the minors loaded with potential that played the same position.

    The Phillies were paying a ton of money to power hitting first basemen Jim Thome, but they also had a young star in the making who was mashing his way to the majors in a young Ryan Howard.

    Howard was setting records in the minors for his home run hitting ability. However, with Thome in the way, many Phillies fans put pressure on the organization to do something with Howard.

    They tried him out in the outfield but it didn't work and it was clear that Howard would either be a first basemen or a designated hitter for an American League team.

    With pressure mounting, then GM Ed Wade made a call to Tampa Bay. Wade knew he had an aging center fielder in Kenny Lofton who was on a one year deal and was likely to leave for free agency. He also knew that he didn't have a young center fielder in the system who was capable of taking over the next season. So he offered the Devil Rays GM Ryan Howard for center fielder Rocco Baldelli.

    This time it was the other team in the mix that saved the Phillis from making a mistake. The Devil Rays said no to the deal. They wanted to keep their young center-fielder.

    Good thing if your a Phillies fans.

    Howard went on to win the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year, and the 2006 MVP, while Baldelli had injury problems. Then doctors discovered a mitochondria problem which made Baldelli easily fatigued. He is currently attempting a comeback with the Rays. 

1) Not Trading Ryan Madson, Michael Bourn, Chase Utley for Barry Zito

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    The 2004 season was a rough one for Barry Zito.

    He had never struggled in his major league career and Athletics GM Billy Beane thought he might be able to flip him for some prospects based on past year's performances. If you've ever read the book "Money Ball" you would know that Beane loves to take players and trade them before their big payday.

    Zito's big payday was still a few years away, but it didn't stop Beane from making a few calls. He found some interest in former Phillies GM Ed Wade. Wade was looking to get back in the postseason and keep his job. A player of Zito's caliber might be the ticket back into the postseason.

    However, the price was steep.

    Beane wanted speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, reliever Ryan Madson, and second basemen Chase Utley. Madson was still thought of as a starter to some in baseball, so there was a chance that he would have been converted back to starting games. Utley would have been the center piece of the deal. The Phillies had two good second basemen in Placido Polanco and the emerging Chase Utley so Beane figured they may be more willing to give up the less proven Utley.

    Thankfully for Phillies fans Wade said no to the deal. It was just too much for Zito, who finished the season with an 11-11 record, and a 4.48 ERA.

    He bounced back nicely in 2005, and 2006, but then booked it for San Francisco for a big pay day that makes Giants fans cringe.

    While Zito has had a bounce back year in 2010, he would have never been as good as the players the Phillies decided to keep.

    For once Ed Wade made the right call when it comes to trades.

Moves That Led To A World Championship

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    The moves that are listed led to the World Series in 2008. Guys like Bourn led to the trade for Brad Lidge, the closer for the team since 2008. Youngsters like Donald and Drabek have led to the acquisition of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

    Sometimes its the moves that a team doesn't make that are the most important.

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