Blog Entry

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:23 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 5:20 pm
PhilliesBy Evan Brunell

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series... 

Team name: Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 102-60, First place NL East. Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3-2.
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Best hitter: Shane Victorino -- .279/.355/.491, 17 HR, 95 R, 19 SB
Best pitcher: Roy Halladay -- 19-6, 233 2/3 IP, 2.35 ERA, 35 BB, 220 K


The Phillies didn't waste time asserting their superiority, running out to an 18-8 record. Cliff Lee needed some time to get going in uniform, racking up a 4.15 ERA in five starts, but better times were on the way. Meanwhile, the other three aces didn't have any problem locking down games, even though the offense was exposed with the loss of Jayson Werth. Ben Francisco got April off to a rollicking start, but tailed off in May as the club went 16-13. Vance Worley, who stepped into the rotation to replace Joe Blanton, made his first start on April 29, posting a 2.14 ERA in his first five starts.

R.I.P. series

The club then registered two consecutive 17-win months and struck for Hunter Pence at the trade deadline. Philly then ran a nine-game winning streak into August, leading to their best month with an 18-7 record. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, their shot at extending their 102 victories higher was derailed by a September that saw an eight-game losing streak. Despite that, they were so dominant, they posted a 30-10 record in blowout games, as defined by Baseball Reference.

The playoffs were another story, though, as the Phillies lost in five games to the wild-card winning Cardinals. The offense was mostly the culprit.

2012 AUDIT

Philadelphia is still the class of the NL, even though everyone is one year older. Fortunately, the team is shedding the contracts of Raul Ibanez and Brad Lidge most notably, so there is payroll flexibility to be had that will allow for a significant signing. It will still be some time before the Phillies drastically drop out of contention, and the club needs to continue its philosophy of putting all its eggs in one basket and contending while it still can. Flags fly forever.


Ross Gload, 1B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Brad Lidge, RP ($12.5 million club option)
Ryan Madson, RP
Roy Oswalt, SP ($16 million mutual option)
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Brian Schneider, C


  • Sign Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies will throw gobs of cash at the best closer they can get. Ryan Madson had an incredible season, finally delivering on his potential, but he's no Papelbon. Papelbon has done it all -- won a World Series, pitched in incredibly tight situations, pitched against elite competition and has experience playing in a hitter's park. (Health Bell, for example, would likely succeed no matter where he plays, but it's inarguable that he also is lucky to pitch in Petco Park.) Who knows if the Red Sox will let Papelbon get away, but the Phils need to try. Madson or Bell would be Plan B. Obviously, the team shouldn't pick up Lidge's option, but should absolutely explore bringing him back as setup man.
  • With Ryan Howard's injury knocking him out until at least May -- if not longer -- the Phillies need to get aggressive on offense. They simply had too much trouble in 2011 with the bat, so need to go after one of the better bats on the market and sign Josh Willingham. Willingham can fill in at first base with Howard's absence. That allows John Mayberry and top prospect Dominic Brown to share time in left. When Howard returns, Willingham simply shifts to left field. Yes, that puts Mayberry and Brown on the bench, but word is Philadelphia has soured on Brown as a long-term player. As for Mayberry, he had quite the coming-out party, but a team like Philadelphia can't make any assumptions about his long-term viability.
  • Bring back Jimmy Rollins. Rollins may not give the club a hometown discount, but he's a very popular player in town and will cost much, much less than Jose Reyes. Even the Phillies can't throw cash around at any player they want. They could potentially sign Jose Reyes, but that would likely mean giving up on Papelbon (or any high-salaried closer), and that would be the wrong move.
  • Let Roy Oswalt walk. While Oswalt is still a good pitcher, $14 million is a lot to pay for someone that may not be capable of making 32 starts anymore. (He has a $16 million mutual option with a $2 million buyout, so the true cost is $14 million.) There doesn't need to be any replacement starter, as Vance Worley can move up to No. 4 and Joe Blanton can slide in at No. 5. The club would need to sign some solid pitchers for Triple-A as depth, though.
  • Bring in a solid utility infielder. One of Philly's biggest issues this past season was offense. Hunter Pence helped address that, but the team needs to upgrade where they can regardless. Wilson Valdez is fine as backup shortstop, but Adam Kennedy should be brought in to man second and third, as well as become pinch-hitter du jour after revitalizing his career in Seattle. Kennedy would have to settle for less playing time, but here's figuring that's not an issue for Philadelphia.
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 12:16 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 4:43 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 17, 2011 8:20 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:42 am

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

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Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:34 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

The best news has to be shedding the R. Ibanez contract. Don't get me wrong I enjoied watching Raul play while he was in Philadelphia, espescially since my season tickets were section 142 row 20...if you don't know that directly behind left field. As the players would take the field, our section would stand up and bow in approval of him, of course while shouting RAUUUUUUUUL!! For that I will always remember his play, how could you forget the way he "tore the cover off the ball" when he started in Philly, probably the best he's ever hit in his career. Good times but letting him become a free agent only helps the club, he was far from a gold glove leftfielder. 
Seems tons of people are quick to look at Dominac Brown to get the bulk of playing time but, take it from me as a season ticket holder for the AAA Ironpigs, it's not him who will get the most of the playing time. Look not further than John Mayberry! Every bit of Brown size with more games under his belt. 

Since: May 22, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 6:02 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

they already did.

Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:57 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Absolutely agree with bringing back Lidge as a set up man.  Absolutely agree they should immediately re-sign Jimmy Rollins and I love the idea of going after Papelbon.  One more piece though.   I'd like to see the Phillies bring back Jim Thome.  We could use him to play first base the first month of the season while his legs are fresh and Howard is still mending; he'd be a nice left handed power bat off the bench and could spell Howard at first during the season so we could keep Mayberry Jr., in left field.

Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:54 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

You're insane.

Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:53 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

This coming from a Braves fan.  Remind me again how many World Series titles your team has and how many times you've won the NL East in the last five years?

Since: Sep 10, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:43 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Jonathan Papelbon is a competitor and the Red Sox will keep him.  Theo may try to grab him for the Cubs.  The Phillies don't get him.  They have enough pitching already.  But they do need bats.  They'd be smart to get the guy from the Dodgers, Jamey Carroll.  Less interesting is Casey Blake.  Move Placido Polanco back to 2B, move Chase Utley to 1B.  I saw these moves in an earlier post and thought they were spot on.  Nod to that poster.

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