After their transactions in recent years, the Philadelphia Phillies declining to make a big-name, mid-season acquisition ,would be like seeing Bill Belichick without his sweatshirt; it just wouldn’t be right.
From Chuck Klein and Harry Walker, to Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt, the Phillies have been trading their fair share of big-name players for over 70 years.
Unfortunately, these trades have not always improved the team.
For every deal that brought the Phillies players such as Joe Blanton and Hunter Pence, there have also been deals such as the one that sent Curt Schilling to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000, and the trade that dealt Bobby Abreu to the New York Yankees in 2006.
While some of these trades resulted in setbacks, or minimal improvements, others paved the way for World Series appearances.
As of late, Phillies fans have been spoiled by general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., and his recent mid-season acquisitions.
Although teams have a shorter window to get deals done by the non-waiver deadline than they do in the offseason, these deals may be the final chance a team has to make the postseason, and advance.
And, in the Phillies case, eventually become World Champions.
The Phillies have been exchanging big-name players for over seven decades.
While some have left fans scratching their heads, others have led to instant success.
Players such as Curt Schilling, Bobby Abreu, Placido Polanco, Scott Rolen, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and, more recently, Hunter Pence, have all been dealt or acquired as part of mid-season trades by the Phillies.
As well as numerous prospects.
Other players who were mid-season additions by the Phils, but not placed on this list include: Hunter Pence (too early to tell) Kyle Lohse, Lenny Dykstra, Scott Eyre, John Kruk, and Matt Stairs.
Lohse was a 2007 mid-season addition from the Cincinnati Reds, and was a member of the Phillies team that started the string of success that the team is still currently enjoying.
Dykstra and Kruk were both members of the 1993 Phillies team that advanced to the World Series, and both batted over .300 three times for the team.
Eyre came over from the Chicago Cubs in a 2008 mid-season trade, and went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 14.1 innings for the Phils.
Stairs, meanwhile, batted .294 in 16 games, and had just five hits.
But, with one swing of his bat in the 2008 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Stairs forever left his mark in Phillies postseason history.
Willie Montanez, the stylish fielder who entertained fans in Veterans Stadium while playing in 651 games for the team, was part of two memorable trades for the Phillies.
After coming to the Phillies in 1969 following the Curt Flood debacle, Montanez was then traded six years later to the San Francisco Giants, for Garry Maddox.
Although the trade took place on May 5, 1975, the deal was still an in-season acquisition that proved beneficial for the Phils.
Maddox would only go on to win eight straight Gold Glove awards.
In 1,328 games for the Phillies, Maddox had 1,333 hits and drove in 566 runs while batting .284 for the team.
“The Secretary of Defense” was not just one of the best center fielders in Phillies history, but arguably one of the greatest fielders of all time.
In 12 seasons with the team, Maddox posted a .986 fielding percentage, and had four seasons from 1975-1985 in which he committed three errors or less.
Through his first 11 seasons, Maddox batted under .275 just twice, including a .330 average in 1976.
As a member of the 1980 World Series team, Maddox drove in the third-highest amount of runs in his career, while smacking 11 homers and stealing 25 bases.
Maddox finished in the top-20 in the National League in hits three times while with the Phils.
Maddox’s acquisition may have occurred a few weeks too soon to be officially called a “mid-season addition.”
Nonetheless, his in-season addition gave the Phillies arguably their greatest center fielder of all time.
When Jamie Moyer was acquired from the Seattle Mariners on August 19, 2006, most fans were still trying to figure out how the team had gone from sellers to buyers within a month.
After spending 11 years with Seattle, and going 6-12 with a 4.39 ERA in 25 starts, Moyer’s acquisition did not bring with it the same level of hype that surrounded, say, Cliff Lee’s arrival.
56 wins later, Phillies fans were glad to have the 43-year-old back home.
The Phillies win total increased each year following Moyer’s arrival, going from 85, to 89, to 92, to 93, to, in 2010, 97 total wins.
In his five seasons with the team, the Phillies made the playoffs four times, including three trips to the NLCS, two World Series appearances, and one World Series title.
Moyer went 56-40 with a 4.51 ERA, as well as 439 strikeouts in 719.5 innings.
What kind of pitches did he use to achieve these results?
A fastball that stayed in the 80-mph-range and a curveball that traveled about ten mph slower.
During the Phillies 2008 World Series run, Moyer went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA and 123 strikeouts.
Moyer started game three of the 2008 World Series and received a no-decision, after allowing three earned runs in 6.1 innings.
Moyer also finished in the top-20 in the National League in wins with the Phillies from 2007 through 2009.
Moyer was the first of a number of both mid-season and off-season additions that not only moved the Phillies from mediocre to successful, but also paved the way for some of the team’s best seasons in franchise history.
It is not often that a team drafts a player, and eventually makes two trades involving him.
But that describes Dick Ruthven’s career with the Phillies.
Ruthven was actually traded twice in three days.
However, it was Ruthven’s second go-around with the Phils that proved to be memorable.
From 1973 to 1975, Ruthven went 17-24 with a 4.14 ERA.
Ruthven’s second stint with the Phillies was a bit different.
And included a World Series Championship.
After the Phillies acquired him from Atlanta for Gene Garber on June 15, 1978, Ruthven went 13-5 the rest of the season, while posting a 2.99 ERA.
After battling through injuries in 1979, Ruthven had arguably his best season in 1980, as he went 17-10 with a 3.55 ERA in 33 starts.
Ruthven even earned the victory in game five of the NLCS versus the Houston Astros.
As a relief pitcher.
Against Nolan Ryan.
From 1978 to 1983, Ruthven went 61-41 with a 4.23 ERA, as well as 440 strikeouts.
During this time period, Ruthven finished in the top-25 in the National League five times in wins, three times in strikeouts, and twice in ERA.
After helping the Phillies win the World Series in 1980, Ruthven made his second All Star team in 1981.
Ruthven’s second stint with the Phillies not only included a World Series title, but also some of the pitcher’s best seasons.
First, the St. Louis Cardinals dealt Willie Montanez to the Phillies. Then, they traded a future piece of the 1980 World Series Championship team.
On June 15, 1977, the Phillies traded Tom Underwood, Dane Iorg, and Rick Bosetti to St. Louis for Bake McBride.
McBride would go on to collect 616 hits in 553 games for the Phils, while hitting 44 homers and driving in 258 runs.
The former Rookie of the Year batted .292 with the Phillies.
During the team’s 1980 championship season, McBride batted .309, which was the fourth-highest average in the National League, to go with 171 hits in 137 games.
McBride finished in the top-20 in stolen bases in the National League three times with the Phils, and stole a total of 98 bases in five seasons with the team.
McBride had a .990 fielding percentage in his five seasons with the Phillies, while also hitting 106 doubles.
In a little over two years, the Phillies were able to acquire two outfielders who helped the team win their first ever World Series title in 1980.
The next time the Phillies saw such a high success rate with their mid-season additions within two years of each other was, more recently, in 2008 and 2009.
It seems as if when the Phillies hit a home run with their mid-season additions, a chance at a World Series is right around the corner.
Joe Blanton may be one of the few pitchers who is known more for the home run they hit in the World Series, then they are for winning the game itself.
However, that’s exactly what Blanton did game in four of the 2008 World Series.
After being traded to the Phillies from the Oakland Athletics on July 17, 2008, Blanton went 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA, while racking up 49 strikeouts in 13 starts.
Blanton also never game up more than four earned runs in any start with the Phils.
In the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers, Blanton gave up one run in six innings, while striking out seven, walking none, and earning the win.
After receiving a no-decision in the NLCS, Blanton would go on to win game four of the 2008 World Series. For the game, Blanton struck out seven batters and gave up just two earned runs.
In three playoff starts, Blanton went 2-0 with a 3.30 ERA, and had 18 strikeouts.
Since his arrival, Blanton has gone 26-16 with a 4.64 ERA, but has 370 strikeouts in 78 starts.
In 2009, Blanton’s 195.1 innings, 163 strikeouts, and 12 wins were all ranked in the top-25 in the National League; his first full season in the league.
Blanton made four more postseason starts, including one in the World Series, as the Phillies tried to repeat in 2009.
Blanton, as well as Scott Eyre and Matt Stairs, arrived just in time for the Phillies in 2008.
Although Blanton has been a solid starter for the Phillies, his 2008 postseason success is what makes him one of the Phils best mid-season additions.
Roy Oswalt’s addition on July 29, 2010, taught Phillies fans two things about the team: (1) Ed Wade still enjoys seeing his former team succeed and, (2) the Phillies were no longer going to sit idle when they felt they had a pressing need, or had a way to improve the team.
Even if it meant spending money.
Prior to Oswalt’s arrival, the Phillies were three and a half games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.
After his acquisition, the Phillies were able to advance all the way to the National League Championship Series for the third consecutive season.
In 12 starts for the Phillies, Oswalt went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA, and 73 strikeouts.
In 82.2 innings, Oswalt managed to hold opponents to a .186 average.
After coming over from the Houston Astros, Oswalt gave up two earned runs or less ten times, and had a 1.53 ERA for the month of August.
In the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds, Oswalt gave up three earned runs in five innings, while also striking out five batters.
In the NLCS, Oswalt made three appearances, including two starts, while striking out 14 batters in 14.2 innings. Oswalt also had a 1.84 ERA.
With Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels already in the rotation, it is debatable whether or not the Phillies could have made it to the NLCS without Oswalt.
However, what is more certain is the impact that Oswalt had on the Phils winning their fourth-consecutive National League East title, and their journey to the NLCS.
And, if he can return to form, his presence in this year’s rotation, or postseason bullpen, could mean his success with the Phillies isn’t over just yet.
It’s hard to believe that Cliff Lee hasn’t played a full season with the Phillies yet.
He has, however, guided the team to the 2009 World Series, and struck out 265 batters in 38 starts.
On July 29, 2009, the Phillies landed the big-name pitcher they had coveted all season.
Only it wasn’t Roy Halladay.
Just prior to the 2009 trade deadline, the Phillies turned their attention away from Halladay and towards Lee, the reigning American League Cy Young winner.
After going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA with the Cleveland Indians a year earlier, Lee went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts with the Phillies, while striking out 74 batters and walking just ten.
However, it was his performance in the playoffs that raised his status from “great mid-season addition” to “beloved.”
Lee went 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA in two starts in the 2009 NLDS, while striking out ten and holding opponents to a .186 average.
In the NLCS, Lee again went 1-0 with ten strikeouts. This time, however, Lee did not give up any earned runs over eight innings.
In the World Series, Lee went 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 16 innings.
In his first trip to the postseason, Lee went 5-0 with a 1.30 ERA and 33 strikeouts in six starts.
And so the legend was born.
After coming over from Cleveland, Lee won his first five starts, two of which were complete games, and allowed two runs or less each time.
Lee also had a 2.00 ERA during his first full season with the Phils, and pitched three complete games in his 12 starts with the team.
It is debatable as to whether or not the Phillies would have returned to the World Series in 2009, even without Lee.
What is also debatable is whether Lee’s first arrival or second arrival to the team generated more excitement.