Philadelphia Phillies: Power Ranking the 10 Best Trades in Team History
There may not be a team in baseball with more passionate fans than the Philadelphia Phillies. For all of the years of losing through the early 1970's, late 1980's and early 1990's, they have seen many years of success as well.
To solidify several more years of success, an incredible pitching staff has been assembled at Citizen's Bank Park. The incredible front four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels was assembled to make a big push for another World Series in Philadelphia. With three of these four pitchers acquired through trades (sort of, in Lee's case), it only seems appropriate to examine the best trades in team history.
From the late years of World War I to just this past year, Philly has pulled off some very good deals. Here are the best.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
1959: Phillies trade Gene Freese to the Chicago White Sox for Johnny Callison
Callison made four all-star teams with the Phillies and finished second in the 1964 MVP vote.
2008: Phillies trade Josh Outman, Adrian Cardenas, and Matt Spencer to the Oakland A's for Joe Blanton.
Only Outman has played at the major league level of the players Philly gave up. Blanton, though not a stellar pitcher, was a key member of the 2008 World Champions. He pitched extremely well during that postseason as well as during the second half of 2009.
2010: Phillies trade J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose and, Jonathan Villar to Houston for Roy Oswalt.
In half a season with the Phillies Oswalt has been an incredible addition to the pitching staff, going 7-1 after his acquisition. The only reason this won't make the top 10 is because of Happ's potential and Oswalt's limited time in Philadelphia.
10. Senator Bunning
Jim Bunning's career as a Phillie was relatively short-lived. But in his first four years (not including two mediocre seasons at the end of his career with the team), Bunning was fantastic. He won 74 games over those years, finishing second in the Cy Young balloting in 1967.
All the Phillies had to give up for Bunning was utilityman Don Demeter and pitcher Jack Hamilton. This 1963 trade was the first of several heists of pitchers that Philadelphia was able to pull off. Despite Bunning's short time with the team, he was extremely productive during those years.
And when Bunning was elected to Senate in 1999, the Phillies could also claim a United States senator from that trade.
9. Kevin Stocker for Bobby Abreu
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
In 1997, the Phillies did the baseball equivalent of robbing a baby. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays had selected Astros outfielder Bobby Abreu in the expansion draft. He had yet to play a full season for the Astros and had not shown great potential.
Knowing this, the Devil Rays traded Abreu to the Phillies for veteran shortstop Kevin Stocker. While Stocker flamed out in Tampa Bay, Abreu quickly developed into one of the best natural hitters in Phillies history.
Over nine and a half seasons with the team, Abreu never hit below .285 and always seemed to hover around 25 home runs and 90 RBI. He was a two-time All Star, including 2005, when he put on an incredible show in the Home Run Derby in Detroit.
Currently, he has the 12th most hits in Phillies history and ninth-most home runs.
8. Halladay Ultra-Blockbuster
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
One of the most hyped trades in baseball history, the 2009 deal that brought Roy Halladay to the Phillies and sent Cliff Lee to Seattle was one of a flurry of trades made by GM Ruben Amaro between 2008 and 2010.
In the trade, the Phillies had to part with top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek and catcher Travis D'Arnaud along with Lee, the ace of the 2009 World Series team. In return, Philadelphia received Roy Halladay, widely considered baseball's best pitcher. Though many were unsure of how the trade would play out, so far, the trade has been a huge win for the Phils.
Lee has returned to the team as a free agent to join Halladay, who won the NL Cy Young award in 2010, Roy Oswalt and homegrown Cole Hamels. Drabek and D'Arnaud are both still works in progress.
7. Cy Williams
Almost all living Phillies and Cubs fans have forgotten this trade ever happened, but it was one of the more one-sided and fruitful trades in Philadelphia history. In 1917, the Phillies traded outfielder Dode Paskert to the Cubs for the hard-hitting Cy Williams.
Paskert only played four more years for the Cubs, but Williams went on to become one of the most productive offensive forces in Phillies history. With the club, Williams led the league in home runs three times, including 41 in 1923. He has the ninth-most hits and the seventh-most home runs in team history.
Along with Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby, he is one of three players born before 1900 to hit 200 career home runs.
6. Dykstra Arrives
Getty Images/Getty Images
In the middle of the 1989 season, the Phillies made a splash by trading talented second baseman Juan Samuel to the New York Mets for outfielder Lenny Dykstra, pitcher Roger McDowell, and minor-leaguer Tom Edens. Samuel hit .228 the rest of the season and never really made a major impact the rest of his career.
McDowell became a valuable reliever for the Phillies in his two and a half seasons in town. But Dykstra would go on to become one of the Phillies' best players, and though he created much controversy and was often injured, he had a definite impact. In 1993 he finished second in the NL MVP vote, leading the team to the World Series (lost against Toronto).
Dykstra has fallen into much trouble, but during his playing days with the Phillies, he was a bargain received in that 1989 trade.
5. Manny Trillo
In 1979, the Phillies traded Henry Mack, Derek Botelho, Barry Foote, Jerry Martin and Ted Sizemore to the Cubs for Greg Gross and Manny Trillo.
Of the five players traded to the Cubs, only two ever saw major league playing time. Compared to the production of Gross and Trillo, this one was a highway robbery.
Both players were key contributors to the 1980 World Series team and the 1983 NL Champions. Gross was a bench player who was also a key pinch hitter. Trillo was a fixture at second base and formed a great middle infield combination with Larry Bowa. Trillo won three Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and was a two-time all-star for the Phillies.
4. Bruntlett and Lidge
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
In November of 2007, new Astros GM Ed Wade (who held the same position with the Phillies) struck up a deal that would prove to be fruitful for both sides. The 'Stros traded Brad Lidge, one of baseball's best closers at the time, along with utilityman Eric Bruntlett to Philadelphia. In return, the Phillies gave up outfielder Michael Bourn, reliever Geoff Geary, and third baseman Mike Costanzo.
In the years since, Lidge has had up-and-down seasons, but was on the mound in 2008 when the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series. Over three seasons, Lidge has racked up 99 saves. Bruntlett is most known for his 2008 World Series performance, where he hit two huge home runs and score the Series-winning run in Game 5.
On the Astros side, Bourn has become an excellent center fielder, while Geary has not pitched since 2009.
3. Stealing Schilling
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Arguably the best pitcher for Philadelphia during the 1990s was righty Curt Schilling. But before he was the Curt Schilling we all know (and love?), he was just another reliever for the Astros.
Picking Houston's pocket seems to be a recurring theme, and the Schilling trade was one of the better trades in Phillies history. The trade sent Jason Grimsley to the 'Stros on April 2nd of 1992 and netted Schilling, who was just coming into his prime. The result?
Grimsley never pitched for Houston. He became a semi-effective MLB reliever and won two World Series rings with the Yankees. But in 2006, he was found to have used performance-enhancing drugs. He finished his career with a 4.77 ERA.
Schilling won 101 games for the Phillies, playing an instrumental role in the 1993 World Series run. His 1,554 strikeouts are the fourth-most in team history. Of course, the Phillies were robbed when they sent Schilling to Arizona for limited-impact players. But in his time in Philly, Schilling was terrific.
2. Heist of Cliff Lee
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
At the trade deadline in 2009, the Phillies had a very comfortable seven-game lead over the Marlins in the NL East. But with Cole Hamels pitching inconsistently, Brett Myers injured, and Jamie Moyer being 46, Philadelphia had a need for a big-time starter to help them in a quest for a World Series repeat.
In this, probably Ruben Amaro's best trade, the Phillies acquired left-handed ace Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Indians for pitcher Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson, and shortstop Jason Donald.
Following the trade, Lee went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA but was an incredible 4-0 in the postseason. Though he was traded that offseason to Seattle, Lee returned to the Phillies via free agency this year. Francisco saw some playing time in the outfield last year and will probably be starting in right field until Domonic Brown is ready.
On the Indians' side, none of the players have made significant contributions at the major league level. Most notably, the Phillies were able to keep their top prospects, J.A. Happ (later traded for Roy Oswalt), Kyle Drabek (later traded for Roy Halladay), and Domonic Brown.
1. Goodbye Rick Wise, Hello...
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
By far the most one-sided trade in Phillies history occurred before the start of the 1972 baseball season. At the time, Tim McCarver described it as, "a real good one for a real good one." The Phillies had traded Rick Wise, who had gone 17-14 with a 2.88 ERA the previous year, to the St. Louis Cardinals for a left-handed pitcher named Steve Carlton. Despite having won 20 games in 1971, a contract dispute forced the Cardinals to trade him.
Wise went on to pitch eleven more seasons in the majors with mild success, but only two of those were with the Cardinals. All Carlton did for Philadelphia was win four Cy Young awards, win 241 games, strike out 3,031 batters, and compile a 3.09 ERA. During his tenure as Phillies' ace, the team won two National League championships and one World Series.
He is considered the best pitcher in Phillies history, and he is currently enshrined in Cooperstown. All for the price of Rick Wise.