10 Most Estranged Players in Phillies History
Throughout the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, a handful of players have enshrined themselves both in the Phillies' team record books and fans' hearts. Then again, there are also those who have done the exact opposite and completely made it known that they hold a hatred for the Phillies in their hearts, which has resulted in a mutual hatred towards them by the fans.
Whether about a refusal to sign, a request to be traded, or simply a bad performance, there have been some Phillies over the years who—they themselves or the fans—wish to have no previous association with the team. Granted, this existed more when the team was terrible, especially in between the team's World Series championships, but there have been other cases of players who have made it known that they want out during the team's success. We're going to take a look at all cases.
Here we go.
Dishonorable Mention: J.D. Drew
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Yes, I'll be a little biased here and call J.D. Drew's mention "dishonorable." I'll also cheat here, since Drew was never officially a Phillie.
The J.D. Drew experiment began when the Phillies, despite knowing that he wanted upwards of $10 million to sign with whomever drafted him, chose him in the 1997 MLB Draft with the second-overall pick. Drew's agent, Scott Boras, had persisted with Drew's demands upon receiving $10 million to sign, but the Phillies refused to give that kind of money to a player unproven in the major leagues. So, with that, they let Drew walk, and thus began the team's dislike of Boras.
Drew ended up playing a year in an independent league before re-entering the next year's draft. He was selected with the fifth-overall pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, and he ended up signing with the team. While he reached the majors quickly, he was struck with injury most years during his Cardinals tenure and was traded to the Atlanta Braves after the 2004 season. After spending a year there, Drew signed a lucrative contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers before opting out of it after two years. He then signed a five year deal with the Boston Red Sox, which just ended after last season.
And now Red Sox Nation hates him just as much as Phillies fans do.
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If you see the picture to your left, you'll see exactly what Scott Rolen did to this team: turn the other cheek.
Rolen was drafted with the Phillies' second round pick in the 1993 MLB Draft, and he made his way through the team's system until he debuted in 1996 at third base. The next year Rolen won the NL Rookie of the Year Award, and the year after he won his first of eight Gold Gloves, third all-time for third basemen behind Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt, who have 16 and 10 respectively.
The defensive stud continued to do well through the end of the 1990s and into the beginning of the 2000s, and was highly considered as a one of the final answers to the Phillies' struggles to make the playoffs since their last appearance in the 1993 World Series. However, in 2002, Rolen asked to be traded to a contender, claiming that the Phillies didn't want to spend the money to win. On July 29, 2002, Rolen was traded along with reliever Doug Nickle to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for second baseman Placido Polanco, reliever Mike Timlin, and starter Bud Smith.
In the years following the trade, things went right for the Phillies. The offseason after the trade, they signed slugging first baseman Jim Thome to a six-year, $85 million deal, and he is often unofficially credited as being the player who jump-started the Phillies' road to success. The Phillies ended up winning it all in 2008, and they have since brought in many high-profile players through trades and free agency, such as Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, all of whom have chosen to come here because they know the Phillies "want to win."
As for Rolen, he still won a World Series and received a nice extension from the Cardinals not long after he was dealt. But can he eat his words today? Yes. Yes he can.
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Ah, good ol' Billy the Kid. No, not the outlaw. I'm talking about the closer.
Billy Wagner started out his career on the Houston Astros as starter in their minor league organization and has great success there, but upon reaching the majors in 1995, he was used solely as a closer. Wagner quickly rose to the top in the majors, taking the NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year award in 1999 when he posted 39 saves and set a new all-time K/9 record among pitchers who had pitched a minimum of 50 innings in a season with 15 strikeouts per nine innings.
Wagner did even better in the years to come, but grew unhappy with the Astros' state of affairs, and like the aforementioned Rolen, he felt that the team didn't care enough about winning. He was soon traded to the Phillies for right-handed pitchers Brandon Duckworth, Taylor Buchholz, and Ezequiel Astacio.
The fire-balling closer pitched to success in his first year as a Phillie, but in 2005, his second year on the team, he lead the league in ERA and games finished, though he did strain his hand. However, after the 2005 season, Wagner signed a four-year, $43 million contract with the Phils' division-rival New York Mets. Wagner claimed to be unhappy with the Phillies' lack of winning as well, and when Wagner stated in a 2005 media interview that the team didn't stand a chance of making the postseason, he was angrily confronted by his teammates, with Pat Burrell reportedly going as far as calling Wagner a "rat" for his comments.
Simply put, Wagner didn't like Philly. He retired after the 2010 season with 422 saves, fifth all-time and first among southpaws. But what puts the icing on the cake is that the Phillies reportedly called Wagner before they signed Jonathan Papelbon earlier this offseason to see if he was interested in coming out of retirement. Unsurprisingly, Wagner refused.
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"The Chief" sure wasn't a leader in Philadelphia.
Lacking a top-of-the-rotation starter, the Phillies decided to go and look for someone who could lead the team to success. In the 2006 offseason, the team traded for Chicago White Sox ace Freddy Garcia and shipped off top pitching prospects Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez.
Phillies fans rejoiced. They finally had their ace, and they were now ready to make the postseason.
Garcia failed to live up to the hype. In his first 11 starts of the season, he managed just one win and posted an ERA of 5.90 and a WHIP of 1.60. He had also apparently hid a shoulder injury he had been suffering from for the first half of the season, and in June, he was placed on the DL for the remainder of the season. The Phillies ended up making the playoffs for the first time since their World Series loss in 1993, but Garcia was barely a contributor to the team's success.
On the other hand, the trade that sent him to the Phillies has been hailed as one of the worst in team history. Aside from the trade that sent future-Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs, this trade is considered the worst by many, due to the fact that both Floyd and Gonzalez have since developed into top-of-the-rotation starters themselves, while Garcia was nothing close to it in his short time in the City of Brotherly Love.
While it's nice to see him succeed again with the Yankees, it's hard to forget the lasting impression he left on Phillies fans...if he left one at all.
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Perhaps he's not hated as much as Freddy Garcia, but Arthur Rhodes sure wasn't better.
Also a part of the 2007 Phillies, Rhodes was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfielder Jason Michaels. Rhodes was the veteran southpaw reliever the Phillies needed, and along with Garcia, it seemed as if they had finally constructed the roster that would lead them to win it all.
And like Garcia, Rhodes didn't come close to living up to expectations. During his one year in Philly, Rhodes went 0-5 with a 5.32 ERA in 55 appearances. He also posted a WHIP of 1.69 and struck out only 48 batters in comparison to 30 walks (1.60 K/BB ratio). Simply put, he was horrible in Phillies pinstripes, and he was not welcomed back the next year.
Was he even close to being worth the $3.7 million he made in 2007 with the Phillies? For other teams' hitters, yes. But for the Phillies? Not a chance.
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Just looking at that picture of Wes Helms in a Phillies uniform makes me cringe.
Helms was a third baseman who was coming off being a backup following a DL stint in Florida with the Marlins. The Phillies were in need of a third baseman aside from Abraham Nunez. Helms was their guy, and he signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract prior to the 2007 season.
But did Helms get the job done? No. In 112 games that season, Helms hit just .246 with five home runs, 39 RBI, and posted a .665 OPS, consisting of an abysmal .297 OBP and .368 SLG.
As a result of his poor performance, Helms was released following the 2007 season with the remainder of the contract he signed still due to him in full by the Phillies. Although he's not currently signed with a team, whenever the Marlins came to town, Helms was promptly booed at every plate appearance.
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I'm angry just looking at this guy.
Adam Eaton is by far one of the biggest busts in Phillies history and as a result Phillies fans speak lowly of him, if at all. And trust me, it took a lot for me to include him in this.
Somehow, Eaton was a first-round pick, chosen 11th overall with...you guessed it? The Phillies. However, Eaton wasn't with the team long—he was part of the trade that brought Andy Ashby back to Philadelphia before the 2000 season.
Before the 2007 season, Eaton signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Phillies. Considered a decent number two or three starter for the team, Eaton proved to be much less, going 10-10 on the season with a 6.29 ERA, a 1.63 WHIP, and just 97 strikeouts in 30 starts (161.2 IP). He earned the loss (yes, he earned it all right) on July 15 of that year against the Cardinals, 10-2, which was the Phillies' 10,000th loss in franchise history, and despite the Phils making the postseason, Eaton was excluded from it.
2008 was nothing better. Eaton went 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA in just 21 appearances (19 starts). His WHIP was a tad higher at 1.64, but the point is that he flat-out stunk in Philly, and was cut after the season.
Eaton could be a bad memory that could pass...but the worst thing isn't his stats. It's that he got a World Series ring when the Phillies won in 2008. That should be a crime. He didn't earn it.
But hey, it's my opinion. And I think it's a slide here that, in spite of my bias, everyone can agree on.
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Well if it isn't our good friend, Jayson Werth.
Werth was at rock-bottom when he signed with the Phillies before the 2007 season on a one-year, $850,000 deal. He was used primarily as a bench outfielder, but in 2008 he re-signed with the team and platooned right field with Geoff Jenkins. However, due to an injury to Shane Victorino, Werth took over center for the interim, and performed with excellence, hitting .298 in 94 games and helping lead the team to the 2008 World Series.
Following a two-year, $10 million extension with the Phillies, Werth took over duties as the Phillies' starting right fielder. In 2009, he posted a 20-20 season, his second in a row, and hit .268 with an .879 OPS. 2010, on the other hand, was a significant improvement—Werth hit .296 with 27 home runs, a .921 OPS, and led the NL in doubles, with 46. He also hit in 85 runs, down from 2009 when he drove in 99, but still a decent number.
Then came free agency. The Phillies offered Werth arbitration, but he refused, feeling that the Phillies' offer wasn't substantial enough (they supposedly offered him a four-year, $48 million contract). After rejecting the Phillies, Werth moved on, and with the help of his new agent Scott Boras, Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals to start off the Winter Meetings. But with the Phillies' right fielder gone, they took advantage of the contract room they had and signed the prize of the free agent market, Cliff Lee, to a five-year, $120 million deal.
Werth was later interviewed about the situation and was upset that the Phillies wouldn't give Cliff Lee money to him. Later confronted by the media on a separate issue, Werth, along with Nats GM Mike Rizzo, commented that he "hated the Phillies."
In 2011, the first year in both Lee and Werth's deals, Lee went 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA and 238 strikeouts to place third in the NL Cy Young Award voting. Werth, on the other hand, hit just .232 with 20 home runs, 58 RBI, and posted an OPS of .718.
Would you take Lee or Werth at age 32? I think we know the answer, and he sure isn't Werth his contract.
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This is the one deal on this list without any controversy surrounding it.
Ferguson Jenkins, known as "Fergie," had an illustrious Hall-of-Fame career, but it wouldn't have necessarily began had it not been for the Phillies. They signed him in 1965 when he was 22 years old, and traded him the next year to the Chicago Cubs. It all got better from there.
Jenkins went 284-226 in his 18-year career with a 3.34 ERA and 3,192 strikeouts. Along with the Cubs, Jenkins was also a member of the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers during his career. With the Cubs, he earned three All-Star nods in 1967, 1971, and 1972. In 1971, he won the NL Cy Young Award, becoming the first Cubbie and Canadian to win the award.
Jenkins' career was one for the ages, and thanks to his numbers he was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1991. But had it not been for the Phillies, who saw potential in him and signed him as a relief pitcher, who knows what could have been? The Phillies sure weren't a huge part of Jenkins' historical career, but they sure were an integral one.
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Okay, so maybe Curt Schilling is still widely thought of as a Phillie. Then again, maybe he isn't. Let's take a look.
Traded to the Phillies in 1991 from the Houston Astros, the Phils converted him back into a starter, where he did well, going 14-11 with a 2.35 ERA, 147 Ks, and a 0.99 WHIP that led the majors. With another good year in 1993 that led the Phillies to a World Series appearance, Schilling won the NLCS MVP that year due to his 1.69 ERA and 19 strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves in the series.
Things seemed to go down from there when the strike occurred and Schilling tore his labrum the year after. However, in 1997, Schilling earned his first of six All-Star nods, the others in a Phillies uniform coming in 1998 and 1999. But in 2000, Schilling had had it, and he demanded a trade. On July 26 of that year. Schilling was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks for four players: first baseman Travis Lee, and pitchers Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla, and Nelson Figueroa.
Schilling did okay in 2000, but in 2001, he won the World Series and its MVP award along with Randy Johnson. He also placed second in the NL Cy Young Award voting in both 2001 and 2002, placing second both years to Johnson, his teammate. Schilling went on to win two more World Series titles, both with the Boston Red Sox.
Despite Schilling's slight association with the Phillies today, he'll likely be enshrined in Cooperstown with either a D'backs or Red Sox cap. Schilling just didn't enjoy Philadelphia's lack of wanting to contend in the early 2000s, but with his trade also went some of his respect from Phillies fans.
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Dick Allen had estranged himself from the Phillies for a while, yet even though they have seemingly "made amends," he was still one of baseball's most controversial players.
Allen, a seven-time All-Star and perennial MVP candidate, started out his career with the Phillies in 1963, being promoted to the majors and making his debut on September 3 of that season. In 1964, though, he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award, and boy, was it a stellar season. He hit .318 with a .939 OPS, 29 home runs, 91 RBI, led the league in 125 runs scored, 13 triples, and 352 total bases, and placed in the top five in slugging percentage, hits, and doubles. He also placed seventh in the NL MVP voting that year.
Allen spent six years in a Phillies uniform, hitting .300 with a .933 OPS, 177 home runs, and 544 RBI. The 1972 AL MVP, he was best known for using a heavy 40-ounce bat rather than a smaller, lighter one, and due to his increased bat weight, he smacked home runs out of Connie Mack Stadium with ease. His body complexion has also been considered among the most muscular of any baseball players in history, and his ability to hit baseballs high and out of the ballpark earned praise from fellow All-Stars such as Willie Mays and Willie Stargell.
Even though he did well in Philadelphia, Allen was undoubtedly the most controversial of Phillies players. Not only did he make racist comments, but like others on this list, he trashed his clubs. He engaged in a fight with teammate Frank Thomas (not The Big Hurt) in 1965 where Thomas swung a bat and hit Allen in the shoulder. Thomas was released the next day.
In addition, Allen had trashed the Phillies in the past, making the statement "I can play anywhere; First, Third, Left field, anywhere but Philadelphia." This caused much controversy with Phillies fans and caused them to lose a bit of respect for Allen, and though he came back in 1975 to play there for two more years, he was constantly booed by the fans for his off-the-field antics. He has since returned to the Phillies on numerous occasions (as seen in the picture above) and was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1994.