MLB Trade Deadline: After Landing Hunter Pence, Whom Will Ruben Amaro Target?

July 30, 2011 by Tom Mechin  
Filed under Fan News

Do you have any friends who you absolutely adore, but hate talking to? I know I do. Whenever they call, I can’t seem to get off the phone fast enough.

That’s what it must be like for Ruben Amaro’s fellow general managers around Major League Baseball. 

Amaro has been in baseball his entire life and knows everyone.  However, when other GMs see his caller ID on their phones, they must cringe.

“Oh no, what does that man want now?” they all must say.

Whatever it is that Amaro does say to them must make them want to get off the phone quickly; they must be willing to give up practically anything to just shut him up. 

There’s no other explanation for how he continually gets the players he wants from the teams he wants by giving up the scraps he no longer needs.

For the second time in as many Julys, Amaro has “stolen” a player from the Houston Astros.

Reports were that he’d offered Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart for the 28-year-old Hunter Pence a while back, but was flatly rejected. Then rumors started surfacing that Domonic Brown’s name was being floated around in trade talks for Pence, and many Phillies fans panicked. Why give up the future that is currently learning at the major league level, a player that is projected to be better than the one you’re acquiring?

Instead of parting with the one player he’d refused to in dealing for aces Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt, Amaro re-offered the package, included a couple of “players to be named later” (one of whom is rumored to be Double-A pitcher Josh Zeid), and wouldn’t let Astros GM Ed Wade off the phone until he accepted. 

Thus, the Phillies acquired Hunter Pence, who will be starting in Philadelphia's right field beginning Saturday night.

Ruben Amaro has struck again! 

Once again he has gotten the player he targeted and only given up what he felt was expendable.

Now that he has done so, two questions have arisen: Do the Phillies have enough? If not, who will Amaro go after next?

As constructed, the Phillies have enough to potentially win the World Series. 

But before they dealt for Hunter Pence, the same could have been said. He’s an extra piece for a team that could have won the World Series without him. 

But he’s nice to have.

Now that the right-handed hitter they lacked is in the fold, what other piece or pieces do they go after? 

With Roy Oswalt seemingly on his way back to the rotation (and if history tells us anything, Oswalt is going to be dominant down the stretch and into the postseason), Vance Worley impersonating Roy Halladay, and the other aces performing well, the rotation is stacked for another deep run into October.

Once Placido Polanco returns from his injury, the Phillies will have nine everyday players for eight spots.  (The bet here is that Domonic Brown’s playing time gets cut down, as he has not produced as well expected and has actually cost the Phillies some games this year.)  

The only two places at which the Phillies really could use an upgrade are on the bench and in the bullpen. 

The bullpen has been strong all year, and with Brad Lidge back and showing his best stuff since 2008, it could get stronger. 

But it’s difficult to imagine the Phillies having 100-percent confidence in the abilities of Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes to get the biggest outs of the season under the hot lights of October. 

A veteran arm would be a tremendous addition, and with the market flooded with them, an acquisition shouldn’t be too hard to imagine.

Heath Bell and the like are probably out of the question, given payroll constraints and a dearth of prospects in the minor leagues.

But the Phillies could add a midlevel piece such as Tyler Clippard or Mike Gonzales. Some rumors put Octavio Dotel on the market as well, but nothing to tie the Phillies to him.

The Phillies definitely need some help on the bench. 

The only rumor floating around the internet is that Ruben Amaro has contacted the Minnesota Twins about the possibility of reacquiring Jim Thome.  The 40-year-old slugger is closing in on 600 home runs and would fit in with the Phillies much the way Matt Stairs did in 2008. Nothing would be sweeter than watching Thome launch a Brian Wilson fastball into McCovey Cove in the NLCS.

The Phillies are going to win the 2011 World Series.

I’ve believed that from the start of the season, and nothing I’ve seen has change my mind.

Ruben Amaro has his faults as a general manager, but he is aggressive and makes bold moves.  

With only hours left before the 2011 trading deadline, it will be interesting to see what other rabbit Amaro can pull out of his hat.

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MLB Trade Deadline: Phillies Overpaid for Hunter Pence

July 30, 2011 by John Bowen  
Filed under Fan News

In 2010 Hunter Pence must have hit .345 with 43 home runs, 52 doubles, 125 walks, and 173 RBI.

He also must have sucker punched the official scorer’s child.

Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why the Philadelphia Phillies (along with some other teams) were so intent on acquiring him.

The Phillies committed four prospects to acquire the former Houston Astros right fielder, including pitcher Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathon Singleton, the 70th and 39th ranked prospects in the country according to Baseball America (pre-2011).

Now, Hunter Pence is a very solid player. He is above-average at every aspect of his game, except for patience.

And, in defense of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Pence represents a significant upgrade over 23-year-old rookie Domonic Brown and is under team control through 2013.

But for two top prospects, as well as two additional prospects, the impact of a new player needs to be absolutely huge, such as transforming a borderline contender to a playoff team.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ 2008 trade to acquire CC Sabathia in exchange for top prospects Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, and Michael Brantley is a great example of this. The Brewers were in the hunt and would have been on the outside looking in if Sabathia hadn’t come to Milwaukee and gone 11-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 17 starts.

Upgrading right field in Philadelphia will not have that big of an impact at least not in 2011.

The Phillies are already the best team in the National League. They’re already the odds-on favorite to win the World Series.

Unless Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee break each other’s left thumbs in a pregame arm-wrestling match, the Phillies will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

This trade doesn’t substantially change the likelihood of anything that could be influenced by the regular season.

Once you just get into the playoffs, anything can happen. Your odds of winning it all whether you’re the 2001 Seattle Mariners or the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals are basically one in eight, whether your right fielder is an established big leaguer or a roughly league-average rookie.

In a small enough sample of five or seven games, anything can happen. Alex Rodriguez can go 1-for-14. Chad Ogea can pitch like Cy Young.

That’s what makes October so great.

If the Phillies don’t win it all, it won’t have anything to do with any lack of production they might get from right field, but rather it will mean that their star-studded rotation imploded and Rollins, Victorino, Utley, and Howard all struggled mightily.

Look at the player they acquired to upgrade their outfield. Really look at him. This isn’t a big-time game changer.

This is Hunter Pence.

Pence owns a career on-base percentage of .339, one point lower than that of the immortal Roger Cedeno. In three full seasons, Pence has not eclipsed a .500 slugging percentage.

He’s a good player. He’s not a game-changer.

You don’t trade top prospects for the Hyundai Elentra of ballplayers. 

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Philadelphia Phillies: Are They Interested in Jim Thome or Jason Giambi?

July 30, 2011 by Michael Fogliano  
Filed under Fan News

After acquiring Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros just yesterday, it looks like the Philadelphia Phillies have no intentions of slowing down.

Jayson Stark tweeted earlier that the Phillies may be interested in another power hitter, specifically Jason Giambi or former Phillie Jim Thome. The tweet stated:

Next #Phillies move might not be for an arm. Still have interest in HR threat off the bench like Jason Giambi. Even asked on Thome.

When everyone in the lineup is healthy, the current bench players include: Ben Francisco, Brian Schneider, Wilson Valdez, Michael Martinez and Ross Gload.

There isn't much power there.

Considering Schneider is the backup catcher, the Phillies probably want to replace Gload, who has just six RBI this year with no home runs.

The Phillies were rumored earlier in the week to be interested in Giambi and he "appeared almost certain to go to Philly" according to Troy Renck, who covers the Rockies. But Thome is a brand new name.

Although Giambi and Thome are both 40 years old, I think they would be solid fits for the Phillies. 

Giambi is used to the "bench-power guy" role with the Rockies and has done a great job with it by hitting 10 HR and knocking in 24 runs so far this season.

Thome, on the other hand, has been a valuable DH for the Twins. In just 52 games this year (he suffered an injury this year), he has seven home runs and had 25 last year in just 108 games.

Both of these guys still have some pop in their bat and could become valuable options for the playoffs. Just think of them as playing the same role Matt Stairs did in 2008.

If the Phillies can get one of these guys for cheap, I say go for it. Besides, wouldn't you want to see Thome hit his 600th home run in a Phillies jersey? 

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Phillies Fans Need to Temper Expectations for the Team and Hunter Pence

July 30, 2011 by Bobby Yost  
Filed under Fan News

Sure, Hunter Pence is an improvement right now. Even though offensively, I expected Brown and Pence to be roughly equal for rest of the season, Pence certainly is the better defensive player at this point. No Brown supporter will deny that. But the trade does not guarantee anything.

I'd be a lot more on board with the move if I knew our worst outfielder, not including Gload, was not going to be manning left field every night. I'd even be fine with moving Brown down to Triple-A if I knew it was John Mayberry Jr. going to be starting instead of Ibanez. But that's not happening.

Back to Pence. Fans should be prepared when he hits a slump this season, which is bound to happen as his batting average of balls in play regresses to more normal levels. When that happens, I'm sure you'll hear sports talk folk attributing it to "adjusting" to his new team.

Around this time you'll also be hearing such questions as, "How does he hit in Citizens Bank Park?" "What are his numbers against the Braves?" "Does he hit the Giants well?"

I can tell you the answer quite easily. Despite whatever numbers you'll read and look up in such splits, he's going to hit pretty much the same as his overall career numbers suggest. Citizens Bank Park is a better hitter's park than Minute Maid Park, but not as much as people think. In fact, so far this year, Minute Maid has been more hitter friendly than Citizens Bank. 

Sure, 3-for-22 with one walk and eight strikeouts against Tim Lincecum is not a good start, but 23 plate appearances is hardly enough of a sample. Chances are he'll do better in the future—certainly not .800 OPS good, but better than .356.

Pence is a nice player, but not a great one. Since 2009, he's a very respectable 15th among outfielders in fWAR with 9.9. Unfortunately among these top 15, his .351 wOBA is 14th, ahead of only Michael Bourn. If you prefer Baseball-Reference's WAR, he's accumulated 7.7 wins over the same time period. If he was starting in right field from day one with the Phillies, they'd probably have an additional one or two wins.

That one or two wins should put things in perspective when entering the playoffs. For the sake of argument and giving him the benefit of the doubt, say he would have been worth two extra wins in those 105 team games. That comes to roughly .02 wins added per game. In a seven game series, his addition would add roughly .14 wins. That should help show that his addition does not make a drastic difference in a single playoff series.

Yes, the addition of Pence slightly increases the Phillies chances of reaching and winning the World Series, but in the crapshoot that is the playoffs, nothing is certain. Just ask the Cardinals.

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An Analysis of the Phillies Acquisition of Hunter Pence

July 30, 2011 by Will Shaffer  
Filed under Fan News

Yesterday, Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. cemented himself as one of the greatest GMs in Philadelphia history with the acquisition of former Astros right fielder Hunter Pence.

Since taking over for former GM Pat Gillick, each July has produced a top tier non-rental talent for the Phillies.

Last year it was Roy Oswalt, the year before Cliff Lee, and now this season Hunter Pence.

With the acquisition of Pence, the Phillies—on paper—have one of the most beautiful team makeups I've witnessed since the Oakland A's of the late '80s and early '90s.

They have pitching in their four aces and a surprisingly effective bullpen.

They have speed in Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Pence, Dominic Brown and John Mayberry.

They have power with Howard, Utley, Pence, Rollins and Ibanez.

And the team already has the fewest errors committed defensively in the majors to this point in the 2011 season.

What Pence brings to the Phillies is invaluable.

When I think of a ballplayer like Pence, I compare his grittiness, work ethic and love of the game to that of Chase Utley's.

In my mind, the acquisition of Pence gives the Phillies virtually a second Chase Utley—only from the right side of the dish with a rifle arm in right field.

There was no other deal for Philadelphia to make that could have improved the overall everyday ability of the ball club.

Sure, it would be great if they were able to nab another bullpen piece, but the team's offense clearly needed an upgrade and with this move the Phillies plugged every offensive need they had with the acquisition of Pence.

Prior to the trade, I was a little concerned Pence might not be happy in Philadelphia because he seemed so happy and comfortable in Houston.

Pence going four for his last 31 at-bats concerned me.

After hearing his remarks following the trade, my disposition has changed—it seems Pence is genuinely excited to play for a great team and to get out of an organization clearly in a rebuilding phase.

With Polanco coming off the DL, Lidge pitching effectively from the bullpen and the arrival of Pence, the trade San Francisco made to acquire Beltran seems a whole lot less scary than it did for that one day in Philadelphia fan's minds.

More to come in a few days after watching this revamped lineup.

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After Hunter Pence and Nnamdi Asomugha Moves, Philadelphia Fans Are Flying High

July 30, 2011 by Brett Deckert  
Filed under Fan News

Ah, the city of Philadelphia—home of the best cheese steaks you'll ever taste, the grumpiest fans you'll ever meet and the some of the worst teams you'll ever watch. It is also popularly known for its 10,000 losses, zero Super Bowl rings and 36-year Stanley Cup drought.

The streets are dirty, the people are blue collar and it's not always sunny like a certain television show may lead you to believe.

There is no getting rid of those 10,000 losses, our ring fingers are still missing that Super Bowl bling and the Chicago Blackhawks ruined the most recent shot the Orange and Black had at raising Lord Stanley's jug, but there's no denying there's almost never been a better time to be a Philadelphia sports fan.

What we're experiencing in the nation's Cradle of Liberty is something special. It's been three decades since the Philly faithful have seen a commitment to winning quite like this.

While the rings haven't been parading down Broad Street like they have a few hundred miles north in Boston, the Philadelphia front offices have continually been hard at work fielding their best possible teams over the past few seasons.

For three trade deadlines in a row, the Phillies have reeled in the big fish on the market, mostly without overpaying. On top of that, they have managed to assemble one of the greatest rotations baseball has ever seen with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and rookie sensation Vance Worley. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and company continue to show their willingness to construct a winning baseball team.

Since 2007, they have strung together four straight National League East titles (in position for their fifth) and the biggest prize of all, a World Series. These certainly aren't your father's Phillies who, before their recent string of relevance, had only won six division titles in team history. If they can continue on the track they're on with a fifth consecutive title in a row seeming likely, it would only take one more division crown to double their pre-2007 total.

Miles away in Lehigh, the Eagles have been busier than ever assembling a team that seems set for a Super Bowl run. The Birds have made a bevy of brilliant moves ever since the end of the NFL lockout, including signing top free-agent prize Nnamdi Asomugha, but this is quickly becoming the norm for an organization once viewed as a stomping ground for failure.

General manager Howie Roseman, along with team president Joe Banner and owner Jeffrey Lurie, hasn't exactly been able to hold up a positive reputation around the city. It's rather difficult to find a decision that, looking back, shouldn't have been made.

We don't like to admit it, but the Eagles brass actually knows what they're doing—more so than most NFL teams out there. Their smug and arrogant nature doesn't bode well in a city of hard-nosed people, but year after the year they continue to make smart football decisions that have allowed the team to experience one of the winningest decades of football in its history.

Back on Broad Street, the Flyers have been a magnet for controversy ever since their not-so-smooth departure from this year's playoffs. General manager Paul Holmgren and owner Ed Snider set off on a mission to drastically change the team's culture within the locker room by trading troubled captain Mike Richards and top scorer Jeff Carter, as well as nearly half of the team's nightly roster last season.

Just a year removed from a Stanley Cup appearance, some have questioned the need for a complete makeover like what has taken place. But whether you disagree with the decisions that have been made is beside the point.

The Flyers did not turn half of their team over in an attempt to simply dump salary or just to go into win-now mode. From the moves that have been made they have set themselves up to be winners, not just now, but for years to come. That Holmgren and Snider were able to recognize the problems that existed as two players they both developed strong friendships with and then let them go in an effort to better their team, says something.

It may take a few years to see drastic results on the ice, but the Flyers are better suited now for a playoff run, and, ultimately, a run at Lord Stanley's Cup, than they previously were.

The 76ers aren't quite there yet, but with a new owner and a promising youthful team, there is hope to be had.

This moment of reflection comes on the heels of just another day in what is now Philadelphia sports.

The Eagles began the night by announcing their signing of Asomugha, which was later followed by the finalization of a trade that put the highly coveted Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence in a Phillies uniform. Oh, and the Phils went on to win 10-3 in another dazzling start from Doc Halladay.

This has become the norm around the area. This has become the world of Philadelphia sports.

From the earth shattering signing of Cliff Lee this past offseason to the recent addition of Asomugha, we here in Philadelphia have grown to expect these kinds of moves. Suddenly a city known for its blue collar toughness has acquired a flare for the dramatic.

Ruben Amaro Jr., Howie Roseman and Paul Holmgren have created a winning atmosphere that players and fans alike can't get enough of. Athletes wish to play here now more than ever. Philadelphia, even without the plethora of rings (yet), has become a winner.

Cherish these next few years, Philly fans. For the first time in a long while, we very well could see multiple parades down Broad Street within one calender year.

We have been gifted with three devoted front offices that put results first and business second. Each have proven they are dedicated to doing whatever it may takes to better their respective teams and, while it's only panned out for one team thus far, there is reason to believe.

Think back to the late 1990's when the Eagles were the laughingstock of the NFL, the Phillies hadn't been relevant since their World Series defeat at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 and the Flyers had been swept out of the Stanley Cup Finals by the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, extending their Cup drought to 22 years. My, how the tables have turned.

The Phillies, the losingest team in baseball history, are suddenly dominating their division and are poised to make a run at their third World Series appearance in four years. The Super Bowl-less Eagles have managed to scrap together a decade as football's third-winningest team and look better equipped than ever to claim that elusive ring. Oh, and the Flyers continue to be one of the NHL's marquee franchises.

Soak it up. Take it in. Stop and smell the roses. However you want to put it, just appreciate what we have.

This is a special time in Philadelphia. If all those years of failure and heartbreak taught us anything, it should be that nothing comes easy and success rarely lasts. It is easily possible that in 10 years, Philadelphia sports could fall back into its previous woes.

In the event that happens, at least we'll have these memories. And boy, are they good ones.

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Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Hunter Pence, but Will They Stop There?

July 30, 2011 by Alec Snyder  
Filed under Fan News

Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies made a big yet somewhat expected splash when they received All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence and $1 million from the Houston Astros in exchange for four minor-league players, including their top two prospects—starting pitcher Jarred Cosart and first baseman/outfielder Jonathan Singleton.

Despite the ridiculous comment made by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. earlier this season that the Phillies "would not make a major move this year" at the trade deadline, Amaro has gotten the job done again for the Phillies.

This is the third major move he's made at the trade deadline in as many years as the Phillies general manager—two years ago, he traded four prospects to the Cleveland Indians for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco, and last year he traded pitcher J.A. Happ and two prospects to the Astros for Roy Oswalt. This year, he got the Phillies the right-handed bat they needed since Jayson Werth signed his mega-deal with the Washington Nationals. And us Phillies fans are happy about that.

However, just because Amaro has made this big trade with Houston doesn't necessarily mean that he's done for the year. While most reports indicate that he's done dealing for the year—he's even stated that he's "very comfortable with the ballclub"—but as we've come to know with Ruben Amaro (as mentioned above), most things he says should be taken with a grain of salt.

The Phillies are now the team to beat in the National League. With a major league-best 66-39 record, not only are they the team to beat in the NL, but they very well could be in all of baseball.

Sure, the San Francisco Giants just got New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran in a trade, who was arguably the best all-around bat on the trade market this year, but he's only with the team for the remainder of the season. And with the Phillies' acquisition of Pence, he's not only with the team this year, but also the next and the year after that.

In short, the Phillies have basically one-upped the Giants.

But does that mean the Phillies will stop here?

Earlier in the season, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel asked for both a right-handed bat and a relief pitcher. While Ruben Amaro has granted one of those two wishes (and the more important one as well), could he potentially look to get a deal done for a bullpen arm?

In the past when Ruben Amaro has made his trade deadline splashes, he has stood pat for the last few days following his deals. But could this year be a change to his status quo?

Prior to the completion of the Pence trade, Amaro had released a list of his top three priority players to acquire at the deadline this year. That list, from top to least priority, was Pence, White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin and Padres setup man Mike Adams. Now that the Phillies have Pence, Quentin isn't needed anymore, so Adams technically becomes the Phillies' top priority should they continue to pursue other players. But will Adams be theirs for the taking?

As we've already covered, the Phillies have traded their top two prospects, Cosart and Singleton. Due to their departures, the Phillies' new top prospect is starting pitcher Brody Colvin. If the Phillies, or any team for that matter, wants Adams, then they would most likely have to part with at least one top prospect. Should the Phillies pursue Adams, could Colvin be that prospect?

Even if the Phillies decide not to go the Adams route, they could trade for a smaller-market reliever like Chad Qualls of the Padres or Jon Rauch of the Blue Jays. It could be very interesting to see which reliever the Phillies get if they choose to go hunting for one.

And while the Phillies' other primary target is a bullpen arm, they are also supposedly looking for a power bat off the bench. They inquired about Jason Giambi of the Rockies prior to his injury and they even asked the Minnesota Twins about the availability of their former first baseman Jim Thome, who is just four home runs away from reaching the 600 home run milestone for his career. Wouldn't it be something if he did it in a Phillies uniform?

Yes, the Phillies have done something special in acquiring Hunter Pence. They've got the right-handed bat they have coveted and they'll have it for two and a half years. But there's still one lingering question: with just over 24 hours before the trade deadline (as of 1:35 p.m. EDT), will the Phillies make another move?

Only time will tell.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Hunter Pence Shows Just How Far Club Has Come

July 30, 2011 by kevin mcguire  
Filed under Fan News

With a couple of days to spare before the Major League Baseball trade deadline expired, the Philadelphia Phillies made a move that many thought was becoming less likely to happen.

The acquisition of Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence was made in such a way that ensures outfielder Domonic Brown and pitcher Vance Worley remained in Phillies pinstripes. Instead, the Phillies have packed top prospects Jonathan Singleton and Jared Cosart with Josh Zeid and a player to be named.

It was not all that long ago the Phillies were the team selling off established players in exchange for prospects.

The 2008 World Series champions were built on a homegrown foundation. Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and World Series MVP Cole Hamels all came up through the Phillies farm system. That championship team also consisted of a couple guys the management took a chance on with Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, and was supplemented by a couple of trade acquisitions in pitchers Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer.

The team's final piece of the puzzle came in closer Brad Lidge, who was traded from the Houston Astros in exchange for a couple of system products highlighted by center fielder Michael Bourn.

Just three years later the Phillies are led by a number of free-agent signings and traded players. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee both cost the Phillies a number of prospects over the past two years, and Roy Oswalt sent another couple of prospects and J.A. Happ out of town. This latest move to bring in Pence required giving up top pitching prospect Cosart and top hitting prospect Singleton.

In the move to acquire Halladay the Phillies had to give up former top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek and one of the top offensive prospects in Michael Taylor. When all was said and done, the Phillies got to hold on to Domonic Brown, who was sent down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make room for Pence.

It is no secret to anyone who follows baseball that the Phillies are playing like a champion on and off the field. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., since taking over the job, has made it clear that he will make the moves needed to give the Phillies the best chance to win possible. He has done his job, but it will ultimately be up to the players to follow through.

The Phillies were thought to be the World Series favorite last season with a starting rotation with Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels. Now with Lee in the rotation as well, the Phillies have put together the best record in the majors, and Amaro knows that adding Pence to the roster fills the biggest hole in the team. He certainly is not standing pat, which is what Hall of Fame general manager and Amaro's predecessor Pat Gillick was often known for doing.

Former general manager and current Houston Astros GM Ed Wade set the foundation for the Phillies by retooling the minor league system. Wade's roster decisions at the big league level were often criticized but the work he did in stocking the revamping the farm system should not go unrecognized.

Wade was in charge when the Phillies drafted a number of the players that would become a key part of the 2008 World Series championship team and he is the one who hired current manager Charlie Manuel.

It was Gillick's job to get the team over the hump and in to the playoffs. Trading fan favorite Jim Thome was a tough but necessary decision as it brought in Aaron Rowand, who is often said to be responsible for changing the attitude in the clubhouse, and allowed Howard to emerge as an everyday first baseman. Gillick initiated the move to acquire Lidge, although Amaro was said to be the one pushing the negotiations.

Now Amaro has taken the next steps needed to put a tormenting past behind the Phillies. 

Not even 10 years ago I walked up to Veterans Stadium minutes before a doubleheader against the Florida Marlins. As my friend and I walked up to the ticket sales booth to buy some tickets for the day, a fan offered us his tickets. For free. As we reached for our money to offer him the face value, he started running off so he could do whatever else he had planned for that day. He didn't want to waste his time at a doubleheader.

Today fans would pay high prices for any game in Citizens Bank Park. If that doesn't tell you how far this organization has come, what does?

Let's enjoy the ride.

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2011 MLB Trade Deadline: 10 Things to Know About the Hunter Pence Trade

July 30, 2011 by Asher Chancey  
Filed under Fan News

Ed Wade continues to build a winner in Philadelphia.  

The Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies completed a trade late Friday night that sends All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence to the Phils in exchange for a collection of minor-leaguers.  For the Phillies, Pence represents the right-handed bat that many think is the final piece of the championship puzzle.

Ed Wade, of course, is the General Manager of the Houston Astros but also happens to be the former General Manager of the Phillies, and this marks the third time in five years that Wade has sent one of his stars to the Phils for prospects.

This deal promises to make the Phillies significantly better while ensuring that the Astros will be rebuilding for another year. 

And the Phillies are grateful.  If they win the World Series in 2011, Wade will need to be fitted for a ring.

Let's have a look at the deal and at the Phillies' new outfielder.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Get Hunter Pence: 5 Reasons Pence Is the Final Piece

July 29, 2011 by Susan Cohen-Dickler  
Filed under Fan News

Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and former Phillies GM and current Houston Astros GM Ed Wade have been making beautiful music together at the trade deadline for several years now—well, beautiful for the Phillies anyway.

A year ago at this time, the Fightins’ got pitching ace Roy Oswalt and now All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence is coming to the Phillies via the Amaro-Wade hotline.  And don’t forget the 2007 trade that brought Brad Lidge to the Phils. You know, the one that led to Lidge's perfect season and the Phillies' 2008 World Series Championship. 

While some might question whether Ed Wade is still working for his old team, no one can question that the Phillies acquisition of Hunter Pence makes them better.

But how much better?  Will Pence be the answer to the Phillies' on-again, off-again offense? Will he provide the right-handed bat they've needed since Jayson Werth went to Washington?  And will Ed Wade hand over anyone else before the Sunday deadline?

Don't know about that last one, but here are five reasons why Pence is the Phils' Final Piece.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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