Just a few years ago, comparing the Philadelphia Phillies to the New York Yankees would have been unfathomable to most fans. For one the Yanks had a payroll that was perennially over $200 million while the Phillies routinely maintained one half that.
Furthermore, from a historical perspective the Yankees were baseball's most successful franchise while the Phillies were baseball's least successful.
But here in 2011, the comparison not only makes sense but is thrown around often. After all the Phils have been baseball's most successful franchise the last four going on five years. Nobody has won more divisions, pennants or World Series in that span.
In fact, should the Phils hold on to win their fifth consecutive division crown, only the 1998-2006 Yankees and 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves will have had longer streaks than this current Phillies run.
The Phils are a destination team now much like the Yankees. When veterans want to win, they seek out the opportunity to play for the Phillies. Roy Halladay orchestrated a trade specifically to Philadelphia. Cliff Lee took less guaranteed money to be a Phillie. Roy Oswalt waived his no trade clause to come to Philadelphia.
A decade ago the Phillies could not even keep their own stars in town; now stars are tripping over themselves to get here.
However, when people say the Phillies are the Yankees of the National League, they are not referring just to those similarities. Instead, the connotation is clear—
The Phillies are trying to buy a championship.
Not hard to see how one would come up with that though. All you have to do is take a look at their star studded roster, a payroll which is over $170 million, see big free agent signings like Cliff Lee and you can easily draw that conclusion.
But is that really an accurate representation of the franchise? Continue reading to find out.