The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.
NL East Champions
National League Champions
World Series Champions
That is what you call a productive and successful season, and one that is very hard to improve on.
But the Phillies have seemingly found a way so far this off season to put themselves in position to do just that with three steps.
Easily the Phillies' most important offseason move.
With Ibanez signing a deal of three years worth $30 million, the Phillies have freed themselves of the whole Pat Burrell situation in left field, allowing the free agent to find a new home.
And the Phillies added a more versatile left fielder that may not require that defensive replacement late in games.
Ibanez may not be that big of an upgrade in speed, but he is much better than Burrell when it comes to driving in runs.
Take a look at last season's stats:
Runs Batted In
Not to mention Burrell's inconsistencies. The first half of the season, he led the Phillies.
Not so much towards the end. His highs are high, but his lows are way too low.
It should be a great move as long as Ibanez stays healthy, and a big financial load of the organization’s back by removing Burrell's salary.
We all knew that Chase Utley hurt himself shortly before the All-Star break, aggravated whatever injury he had at the Home Run Derby and the actual game, and was never the same hitter the second half of the season.
His statistical breakdown:
First Half Stats:
Batting Average: .291
Runs Batted In: 69
Home Runs: 25
Stolen Bases: 10
Post-All Star Break Stats:
Batting Average: .292
Runs Batted In: 35
Home Runs: 8
Stolen Bases: 4
It is quite obvious that Chase Utley was hampered down the stretch by that injury, and this surgery will go a long way towards getting him back to the old Chase Utley, the MVP candidate.
The Phillies' rotation was at its strongest during the playoffs with these four pitchers:
And signing Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA) insures those four will be back.
Moyer means more than just another pitcher. He is a captain of this team, and his presence is a strong one from a leadership standpoint for sure.
This move gives the Phillies some depth for that fifth rotation spot.
Before the All-Star Break, Kyle Kendrick all but had this spot locked up. But when he struggled after...it opened the floodgates.
J.A. Happ (Myer's replacement when he was demoted), Carlos Carrasco (top pitching prospect in the organization), and now Chan Ho Park will be competing vigorously for that fifth spot.
But who doesn't love depth and competition?
May the best man win.
The 2009 season will bring much to the table.
The Phillies' N.L. East rival Mets have shored up with some huge deals of their own, such as K-Rod and Putz.
But as Jimmy Rollins pointed out during the Phillie's World Series Parade, one big name player can't save a team.
And as Cole Hamels would reiterate, the Mets are choke artists.
But I digress.
The N.L. East should be just as if not much more competitive this year.
The Phillies have the tools to compete with their rivals, and the whole division.
Can they defend their World Series title?