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

2011 SEASON RECAP

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.

FREE AGENTS

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

OFFSEASON FOCUS

  • 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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Comments

Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: October 8, 2011 11:12 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies will not win with Howard. Is not a big game player
will hit 40 home runs a year when club is up by 5. Trade this overrated guy.



Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2011 11:07 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Wouldn't signing Aramis Ramirez to play 3B and then letting Polanco float around the IF make more sense to improve hitting. Polanco could super sub, and though he hasn't played much 1B or OF, he has played a few games there and has always been pretty good at D. You'd have to really be sold that Michael Martinez ready to step in at 3B to think that Polanco is reliable for next year. Otherwise 3B seems like a big trouble spot.



Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: October 8, 2011 1:59 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Couldnt agree more with ya.  Phillie needs situational hitter or coaches that can better teach situational fundamental small ball when needed.



Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2011 12:29 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Need to get better at the plate. Chase should have a good year next season having been a year removed from his injury. Rollins is likely gone but there is a chance he remains. Although he  didn't come up big in game 5, Jimmy played well overall including settting the table many times in game 2....a game the phils were able to spot Lee a 4-0 lead and still lose.  Worley will make it easier if the phils must dump Oswalt. Lidge is still good in the right situation so keeping him for relief wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Bottom line is the phils need a bat or two, and the core guys have got to hit in the clutch. The worst part about this loss is that all through the 2012 season the games will mean little because all this team will talk about is doing well in october. We can bring in whoever but it's going to come down to the core guys just like it always does. Those guys gotta come through. Halladay pitched a great game, but tonight will be remembered for the phils not doing ANYTHING at the plate. Bad, Bad week to be a philadelphia fan



Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2011 12:19 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Please trade Ryan Howard and sign Albert Pujols!!!



Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:49 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

I disagree with the idea of signing Papelbon. While he is good closer, I think the top priority has to be getting a PROFESSIONAL hitter or two. That lineup is filled with guys who don't know how to work the count, hit behind baserunners or even make contact with guys on 3rd base and less than 2 outs. You can get away with not doing those things in the reg. season, but in playoffs thats what you need to do to win. I think thats been proven the last 3 years when the lost to Yankees,Giants and now the Cardinals. I think they have to do what they can to get a left fielder and a third baseman.



Since: Nov 13, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:45 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

2011 Philadelphia Phillies = Epic Fail!!!


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