Philadelphia Philles Are the New New York Yankees: Not a Good Thing

November 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

If you have been around baseball for the past two decades, you undoubtedly remember the New York Yankees dynasty of the late 1990s, wherein they captured four World Championships in five years.  You might then remember what happened afterwards.

Every year, the Yankees went far into the playoffs—frequently to the World Series. Every year (save for 2009), they failed to win. Meanwhile, the baseball world outside of New York loathed the Yankees, and the same is happening to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now, I’m not naive. I realize that baseball is a business founded upon winning championships, not national acclaim. Philadelphia fans are not (and should not be) concerned what people outside of their city/fan base think about them. “Haters gonna hate.”

The concern, however, is that the Philadelphia Phillies could turn into a punchline should they not win championships.

2008:  The Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series, bringing joy to millions of fans who waited a generation to see their team capture a title.

2009:  The Phillies lose the World Series to the New York Yankees. In the offseason, they make a splash by signing Roy Halladay.

2010:  The Phillies lose to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, despite acquiring Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros midseason. In the wake of the loss, Philadelphia signed Cliff Lee.

2011:  The Phillies lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, despite acquiring Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros midseason. In the wake of the loss, the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon.

Do you see a pattern here? Obviously, the Phillies’ talent level is very high. But for whatever reason, they cannot seem to purchase a championship.

And even the most devout Phillies’ fan has to acknowledge that that’s exactly what Philadelphia is attempting to do.

It isn’t wrong to try to do this, mind you. Philadelphia sells out every game on their schedule. Their fans are some of the most passionate in the game. With this kind of revenue, why not try to assemble the best team possible?

Because the most expensive team is not necessarily the best team.

Think back to 2008. The Philadelphia starting rotation featured:

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA)

Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA)

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55 ERA)

Kyle Kendrick (11-9, 5.49 ERA)

Joe Blanton (4-0, 4.20 ERA)

With closer Brad Lidge (41/41 Saves, 1.95 ERA)


Look hard at those numbers. THAT team won a World Series. The team with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Vance Worley did not advance past the divisional round.

The 2008 team scored 799 runs. The 2011 team scored 713 runs. But the 2007 team, which was eliminated in the first round by the Colorado Rockies, scored 899 runs and the 2009 team scored 820.

Clearly, there’s no predetermined measure to go by when it comes to winning a World Championship. Were Philadelphia to build talent from within their organization and not trade said talent away for “big names,” they might have a better chance of accomplishing their goal of winning a World Championship.

This is a lesson that the New York Yankees learned the hard way. After reeling off three consecutive World Championships, the Yankees opted to eschew intraorganizational development in favor of big-ticket free agents. It was not until they revamped their homegrown talent that they managed to repeat.

The “best team” does not win the World Series every year. In fact, as the adage goes, the “hot” team wins, and you can’t buy “heat.” And when you spend a ton of money (second-highest payroll) and lose, the loss reflects poorly on ownership and the general manager.

If the Philadelphia Phillies as an organization are interested in winning over 100 games every season, then their current strategy is brilliant. If, however, the Phillies are interested in building a sustainable team that can compete for championships without breaking the bank and thereby maintaining their organizational integrity, they should consider restructuring and building from within.

Otherwise, it might be another 30 years until the Commissioner’s Trophy returns to Philadelphia. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies