Phillies becoming baseball's model of consistency
Issue date: 7/31/09 Section: Sports
The trade turned out to be a steal of grand proportions, as the Bronx Bombers essentially landed Abreu and Lidle for absolutely nothing. None of the four prospects ever made an impact in the majors, Abreu hit .330 and was a vital cog in propelling the Yanks into the playoffs, and the deal was looked at as yet another failure for a franchise that had seen one too many mishaps in its storied history.
However, despite giving away two key members from its roster, the Fightins' made a late playoff push, not being eliminated from wildcard contention until the penultimate day of the season.
In the end, though, it was just too little, too late. Another year came and went for naught. And it was quite fair to say that the Phillies had earned their stigma as an organization that was more interested in making money than actually being committed to winning.
The fans, of course, had every right to be angry.
Sure they had a brand-new ballpark, but they still had Abraham Nunez and David Bell platooning at third base. And new General Manager Pat Gillick couldn't have felt any less like his predecessor Ed Wade a year into his tenure.
The bottom line was simple: this team just didn't go out and make the necessary moves in order to compete. Changes needed to be made, and fast.
Of course, as it turned out, the Phillies just continued to stay committed to their philosophy that they were could not compete financially with the Yankees or the Red Sox.
Instead, the focus was on developing home grown talent that was drafted by the organization and making minor trades and tweaks via free agency - at least from the outset.
The team already had a strong core with emerging home grown stars that had been fine-tuned in the farm system like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels.
But it was the other moves that the Phils made that put them in the position to the professional baseball organizational model - the juggernaut - they have become.
Aside from drafting well, the team also opted to find diamonds in the rough, rather than spend mega dollars on high-profile free agents.