The 2010 Former Philadelphia Phillies All-Star Team
The 2010 Philadelphia Phillies wake up Tuesday morning 2.5 games back in the NL East division and on the cusp of getting two of baseball's best players, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, back from injuries.
The Phillies, of course, are in the middle of a mini-dynasty, having been to the World Series for two straight years, and they hope to break into full-grown dynasty mode with a trip back to the Fall Classic this year.
Once the team gets its core of Utley-Howard-Jimmy Rollins back together, plus component parts Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, and Shane Victorino and the deadly pitching trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, the Phillies have to be the odds on favorite to make it out of the National League.
Nevertheless, as great as the 2010 Phillies roster is, one cannot help but to look around the league and be enamored with the list of former Phillies currently starring around the league. Would the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies be able to handle the 2010 Former Philadelphia Phillies All Stars?
Lets have a look.
Catcher: Rod Barajas, New York Mets (2007 Phillies)
For a very brief period of time, Rod Barajas was one of the New York Mets leading hitters. Barajas had 11 home runs through the end of May, which for the Mets and their cavernous ballpark is pretty good.
Nevertheless, Barajas has hit only one home run since May 31st, and currently has a .685 OPS. Compare that to Carlos Ruiz, who has emerged as one of the elite catchers in the National League, and the Phillies have no complaints.
First Base: Jim Thome, Minnesota Twins (2003-2005 Phillies)
Jim Thome is showing the youngsters how its done in Minnesota this season, hitting 16 home runs with a .968 OPS in limited playing time over 80 games. Pressed into action in the wake of Justin Morneau's concussion, he has performed admirably.
Nevertheless, there is no room for an aging, lumbering first baseman in the National League, and getting rid of Thome was the best thing the Phillies ever did because it made room for Ryan Howard.
Second Base: Miguel Cairo, Cincinnati Reds (2009 Phillies)
Ironically, Miguel Cairo–a career supersub who can play any position other than pitcher and catcher–played in only 27 games for the Phillies last season; in 2010 he would be playing every day in the wake of injuries to Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins.
Would the Phils have rather have had Cairo in the lineup instead of Wilson Valdez? Maybe, but I think Phillies fans are developing a begruding love for Valdez, our own supersub.
Third Base: Scott Rolen, Cincinnati Reds (1996-2002 Phillies)
Scott Rolen has been gone so long that the Phillies fans' bitterness over his departure has nearly subsided.
Nevertheless, Rolen remains one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball and is enjoying a resurgent year at the plate.
While the Phillies own third baseman, Placido Polanco, has been one of the Phillies best performers, there is no doubt that Rolen has outplayed him in 2010.
Shortstop: Pedro Feliz, Houston Astros (2008-2009 Phillies)
We move Feliz to shortstop for the purposes of this list.
When the Phillies acquired Pedro Feliz from the San Francisco Giants before the 2008 season, I personally was dead-set against it.
All Feliz did was provide stellar defense at third base and played an under-valued role in two trips to the World Series. When the Phillies jettisoned him in favor of Polanco, I was shocked.
It was the right move. Polanco has been great and Feliz is playing his way out of baseball.
Look for him in a Camden Riversharks uniform next season.
Left Field: Pat Burrell, San Francisco Giants (2000-2008 Phillies)
Pat-the-Bat is having a resurgence since joining the San Francisco Giants. In only 50 games, he has 10 home runs, 30 RBI, and an OPS over .900.
Pat Burrell vs. Raul Ibanez, at this point, probably results in a tie.
Nevertheless, Ibanez substantially outplayed Burrell last season after the Phillies let Burrell go to the Tampa Bay Rays, and that was a difference maker en route to the Phillies second World Series.
Center Field: Marlon Byrd, Chicago Cubs (2002-2005 Phillies)
It took Marlon Byrd a long time to finally come around; after poor showings in Philly and Washington he finally arrived with the Texas Rangers. In 2010, as a Chicago Cub, he has made his first All Star team and is the leading hitter on a terribly under-achieving team.
Given the totality of their performance since 2007, I think Phillies fans will happily take Shane Victorino.
Right Field: Bobby Abreu, Los Angeles Angels (1999-2006 Phillies)
Bobby Abreu's worst season has been, nevertheless, solid: 16 home runs, 16 stolen bases, 31 doubles, .800 OPS.
Considering the fact that trading Bobby Abreu opened the door, eventually, for Jayson Werth, this is not a move the Phillies would ever consider taking back.
Utility Outfielder: Michael Bourn, Houston Astros (2006-2007 Phillies)
Michael Bourn has truly emerged in Houston. He is all set to lead the National League in stolen bases for the second straight year, and he will in all likelihood win his second straight Gold Glove in 2010. On top of that, he made his first All Star team in 2010.
While the Phillies are, no doubt, happy for Bourn's success, he would not have had the opportunities he's had in Houston had he stayed in Philly.
Starting Pitcher: Cliff Lee, Texas Rangers (2009 Phillies)
Cliff Lee is on pace to absolutely obliterate the single-season K:BB ratio record. He is also the AL Cy Young favorite at this point in the season.
If you believe the Phillies could not have had Roy Halladay AND Cliff Lee, you're fine with Lee's success and glad the Phils' have Halladay.
If you believe the Phillies could have had both if they'd just ponied up some greenbacks, you're furious.
Starting Pitcher: Carlos Silva, Chicago Cubs (2002-2003 Phillies)
After a miserable couple of seasons with the Seattle Mariners in 2008 and 2009, Carlos Silva was the surprise of the first half of the season for the Chicago Cubs, going 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA through his first 11 starts.
Silva has certainly returned to earth, going 2-5 with a 5.58 ERA since his 11th start.
Not sure the Phillies would rather have him than Joe Blanton at this point, and the Phillies certainly would have had no use for him the last two years.
Starting Pitcher: Brett Myers, Houston Astros (2002-2009 Phillies)
Say what you will about Brett Myers and his 8-7 record and 3.13 ERA. Sure, it would be nice to have him in the Phillies rotation right now.
But know this: he never did for the Phillies what he is doing for the Astros right now, and his record is inflated by his 6-0 record and 2.20 ERA at Minute Maid Park.
He would never have done that with the 2010 Phillies in Citizens Bank.
Starting Pitcher: Vicente Padilla, Los Angeles Dodgers (2000-2005 Phils)
Vicente's record (6-4, 3.96 ERA) looked a lot nicer before he got shelled by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, giving up eight earned runs in 4.1 innings.
Of course, if a guy only looks good until he gets shelled by the Braves, the Phillies don't need him anyway.
Closer: Billy Wagner, Atlanta Braves (2004-2005 Phillies)
Billy Wagner is currently 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA and 29 saves in a league-leading 48 games finished for the NL East division leading Atlanta Braves.
Where's that nervous laughter coming from?