As the last out was recorded in last night's game and the Phillies sprinted out on the field to celebrate. I couldn't help but think how impressive it was that the Phillies made it back to the World Series. No one should be surprised by the Phillies' success because just last year, the Phillies won the World Series.
But there's something very different about last year and this year.
Last year, everything seemed to go right for the Phillies. The Mets collapsed (again). Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley put together huge seasons. Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth gave the Phillies much needed right handed pop. Shane Victorino gave the Phillies a swagger. Cole Hamels developed into an ace. JC Romero continued his dominance out of the bullpen. And closer Brad Lidge was perfect.
But this year, so much has gone wrong for the Phillies:
-Brad Lidge was terrible ($11.5 million)
-JC Romero was suspended and hurt ($4 million)
-Brett Myers was hurt ($12 million)
-Jimmy Rollins struggled at the plate ($7.5 million)
-Jaime Moyer proved that he too can age ($6.5 million)
-Cole Hamels was not his dominant self ($4.35 million)
For those of you counting at home, that's roughly $45 million dollars worth of the Phillies 2009 payroll. That's almost 40% of the total payroll. All of those guys either struggled, were not effective, or injured. Think about how devastating the manifestation of all those struggling, ineffective players should have been on the Phillies.
But the Phillies won anyway.
How'd they do it? Shrewdness, that's how. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made some quality trades (Cliff Lee!), summoned J.A Happ from the minors, and was not afraid to see what Pedro Martinez had left in the tank.
I'd argue that the Phillies making it this far with all the stuff they had to deal with along the way is far more impressive than what the team accomplished last season.
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