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: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:03 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Jonathan Papelbon fills a need.  But his Red Sox days show he's not quite the clubhouse guy a winner needs.  The Phillies need a closer.  They should let Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge move along.  I dont know who we sign instead of Papelbon.  Vance Worley looked ready for the #4 slot.  And I always liked Joe Blanton.  Do we move Blanton into middle relief while he's not starting?  I like adding Adam Kennedy.  The same with Josh Willingham.   John Mayberry won me over for LF.  Maybe we can get somebody for Domonic Brown.  But maybe we should give him another chance.  I think hes still pretty young.  I liked the suggestion of moving Chase Utley to first until Ryan Howard gets back.  Do we really think that happens at all in 2012?  Who will play SS?  Jimmy Rollins belongs in Philly, but isn't worth the money he will be asking.

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 10:47 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Helpful publish, it's. It takes place to become normally great to take place across a submit that could be surely practical.

Since: Jan 30, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 5:02 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

You are such a DH Thats great blame the manager  What the hell did he do that pissed you off. Oh I know he left Lee in too long. He coulden"t hold a 4 run lead.

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:40 am

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

The Papelbon idea is creative, but I strongly disagree with it. Closers of the non-Mariano/Hoffman category have short lifespans, and Papelbon seems to have less and less late-inning electricity every year. I would trsut Madson here, he had a great year and the Phillies have raised him right. Willingham is a smart idea and so is letting Oswalt walk, given the success of Worley.

Love how they write two articles about the regular season, and then say: oh by the way, they were bounced from the 1st round of the playoffs. Then go right back to saying that the Phillies are the class of the NL. Not that they aren't or that they had a bad season, but this team did NOT have a 1st round exit in mind when they built this team and "Mount Pitchmore". Don't give these guys anything to be satisfied with, they know real well how disappointed they were with this season

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:56 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Wow MrB great ideas!!! haha.  Lets get all these guys who can't preform in small market cities and bring them into the big market of Philly, GREAT IDEA!!  None of those guys are high OBA guys or even decent AVG guys....sounds like exactly what the Phillies have now. 

The only person i'd like to see here or the only 2 would be Aramis Ramirez, moving polanco to his natural position of 2B and Utley to 1B while Howard is out.  Platoon Brown/Mayberry in LF (or Sign Swisher for LF, he gets on base, knows how to work a count, look at his numbers....the back of a baseball card doesn't lie).  Once Howard gets back then Polanco (unless having an amazing season) goes to the bench a super utility guy playing some 3B, 2B, 1B, LF...remember utley was supposed to get some break this year bc of his injury, can you remember any time when he actually got time off?  Nope.   This is what I would do with their offense.  Aramis is also a .300 hitter, plus him in CBP he maybe be a 40plus HR guy while still hitting .300 and protecting Howard batting 5th.   Not sure why Pence was batting 3rd in the playoffs when Utley was hitting well and Pence was brought here to hit 5th behind howard.  When Pence was hitting 5th Howard was hitting well.  Also Polanco who wasn't hitting anything would have been productive hitting 2nd by just using his bat to move runners over bc he sure wasn't getting hits with his bat.

Since: Oct 14, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:30 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

 you and watchdog are right, I cannot understand the reason for signing a Papelbon over Madson, it's not like Madson stunk it up this season. Papelbon will be expensive. The author also forgot to mention that Cole Hamels and Pence are arbitutration eligible this season. The Phillies have to fine money to pay them. The Phillies need less smashers and more reliable contact hitters. Realy 3B has been an issue since 2009 when Feliz could no longer hit. Polanco was a upgrade, but was snakebitten with some really bad luck. (hit in the elbow by a pitch against the Giants in 2010, back issues, and the sport hernia.) Polanco should stay as a replacement, but the Phillies may be best at platooning that possition. The other thing is getting another reliable bat in the OF, no one is sold on Brown, and we do not know if Mayberry's success will translate into 2012. Please no more HR hitters, the phillies have two much of that. And the Phillies need speed, guys that can run the bases. The game is vastly differnt than 2008 and 2009, you have to manufacer runs.

Since: Dec 21, 2007
Posted on: October 11, 2011 6:00 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2011 10:01 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Phils need to upgrade their hitting while realizing CBP is much like Coors field, it turns average hitters into great hitters, and bad hitters into average hitters (see Jayson Werth).  With that in mind I wouldnt overpay or overvalue hitters and instead would try to bring in some guys coming off down years, guys with splits that would be suitable for platoon roles and/or from tough hitting parks.  With Howard likely to miss at least the start of the season guys I wouldnt mind seeing in spring training next year who should be real cheap. 

Jose Lopez, kid is two years removed from a 25 hr season in Seattle.  Sure he couldnt cut it in Colorado and he cant lay off a pitch, but with a 25 hr season in Seattle on his resume and ability to play 3B I dont see any downside to giving him a shot. 

Speaking of Col, Ian Stewart has pretty much worn out his welcome there and would probably be available for next to nothing.  While he's a K machine a change of scenery might help, and given he plays 3B we wouldnt be giving up much if we put him out there.  Worth a shot if the price is right. 

Here's a guy who seems to have a great year ever 3 or 4 years, Jorge Cantu.  Once again he would be extremely cheap to bring to camp and CBP might revive his bat for one last season.   

In the OF guys like Nix and Gomes who have power, but have struggled to hit for average would probably find the short porches in CBP to their liking, would make great platoon guys, can cover 1B and/or bats off the bench.   From the tough park category guys like Will Venable or Cody Ross might play well here, but would most likely just be positional depth.  I would avoid guys like Swisher who had his numbers inflated by hitting in a great lineup in a great hitters park, and Willingham who is a certainty to miss half the season with a bad back.   For the most part I'm pretty happy bringing back Mayberry, Victorino, Pence and Brown as our OF.

Cheap 1B options.  I'm sure SF would be happy to get rid of Huff with Brandon Belt looking on the horizon.  I cant imagine they want to hurt a great staff with one of the worst OFs to ever patrol left or right field, and coming off a dismal 2011 season the would probably be willing to eat half or more of his contract.

Derek Lee.  Hard to believe only a few years ago this guy was considered one of the top options at 1B.  But injuries have sapped his power, and he should be pretty cheap coming off another bad year.    

Then again maybe we can take a parting shot at St Louis and sign Pujols to a monster deal.  Dont ask me what we would do with Howard at that point, but a guy can dream.     

Given what a great hitters park is I dont think the Phillies need to go out and sign a big name free agent, just bring in some guys who would be content with a part time role.  Of course, none of it will matter if we bring our idiot coach back since he cant manage under the best of circumstances much less what we're likely to be facing next year.

Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: October 8, 2011 7:40 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Maybe we can draft coaches from the Eagles - they know a lot!

Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2011 6:28 pm

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies' biggest problem is offense.  Specifically, pitch selection, or severe lack thereof.  They went hacking, and it showed.
Watchdog is right.  3B is the biggest upgrade option.  Polly has had major arm injuries the past 2 years and isn't getting any younger.  He'd be an awesome super-utility player and injury replacement option.  I like Ramirez, but this screams Ibanez Contract -- he's 33 and making $16M.  I'd consider going after Barmes, at least as the backup option to Ramirez.  Barmes would be much cheaper and probably wouldn't demand as many years.

Also, I just don't understand why they'd prioritize Papelbon over Madson -- unless they think Madson's arm is shot.  Madson has been the better pitcher each of the past 2 seasons.  Papelbon is the same age and will be more expensive (both money and years).  That's the kind of move that the Mets would make.

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