English: 2008 World Series. The scoreboard at ...
English: 2008 World Series. The scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park declaring the Philadelphia Phillies world champions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It wasn’t that long ago when the Philadelphia Phillies were considered the upper echelon of the National League East and, for that matter, all of baseball.  They were the team with the unstoppable core of young players looking to win multiple championships.  In 2008,  they did just that, being crowned ” the world champions of baseball, ” ever so eloquently by the late,  great,  Harry Kalas.  However,  they have been on a steady decline ever since their moment of glory,  scratching and crawling to get their crown back in their sights.

After winning the World Series in 2008,  Ruben Amaro Jr. took over for Pat Gillick as General Manger and decided to shift focus into a win now philosophy because the average age of the roster and most of the core players was around 28 years old.  This is widely considered the prime age for most players and the Phillies decided to take a win at all costs approach to climb atop of the mountain at least one more time.  They did get back to the World Series the following year (2009),  but went down swinging to the New York Yankees. In the game of baseball,  it is extremely hard to win back to back championships,  which makes it unbelievably special that the Yankees won it three years in row in 1998, 1999,  and 2000.

The Phillies management,  led by Dave Montgomery (President) and Ruben Amaro Jr. (General Manager),  started to spoil us with the big and bold move every year,  making us come to expect it and be disappointed when it didn’t come to fruition.  Consequently,  this year has been a different course of events,  as the Phillies brass decided to make several small moves instead of their normal big splash.  It looks as though,  this is a transition year where the Phillies look to lean on production from some of their high profiled horses,  specifically Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.  The team has alot of money invested in these two players,  and needs them to give back some return on their investment.  One of the problems is,   these guys are becoming injury prone and vulnerable,  two things that are common with aging veterans.  Unfortunately,  the Phillies do not have the youth to replace any of the aging either,  as they traded away most of their high prospects over the last few years for guys like Roy Halladay,  Cliff LeeRoy Oswalt,  and Hunter Pence respectively.  I am not saying any of these prospects would have turned into high-caliber players,  but it has definitely hurt the depth and foundation of the current roster.

In retrospect,  the Phillies have done everything in their power to win as many games as possible,  and for that they should be commended.  This team and organization has come along way with the way they handle their players and adore their fans.  The team has gone from trotting out players like Paul Abbott and Omar Daal donning their uniform,  to guys like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee,  who have publicly admitted they would rather play for the Phillies instead of the Yankees.  Looking into the future,  it seems like our chances of being dominant again maybe dropping harder than Manti Teo’s draft stock in April.  However,  no matter what happens,  I think we all have enjoyed the success and definitely loved the ride!

By: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )

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