This week the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu for some magic beans and Chase Utley was the talk of baseball with his assault on Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive hitting streak record, so the Phillies are having the best week ever! Oh Utley’s streak ended last night…but hey at least they got rid of Lazy Abreu. You know what rhymes with Abreu? Poo. That’s the kind of hard hitting analysis that you can also get from the TWiB thread.
So with the Phillies in the news the past week I figured might as well make them the next WTG? feature and the subject will be the Fightins’ from 1995. The Phillies that year stormed out of the gate after the delayed start to the season, winning 23 of their first 31 games. After beating the Cardinals 5-3 on June 25th they were 37-18, the best record in the National League with a 4 ½ game lead over the Braves in the East. Two weeks later at the All-Star Break they would be 4 ½ games behind the Braves. The Phillies lost 17 out of 20 games after June 25th and by August 10th they were under .500 after capping an eight game losing streak. After hitting rock bottom less than a week later the Phillies showed signs of life going through a stretch where they won 10 of 12 games and grabbed the Wild Card lead. But it turned out to be one big tease to a young Al Keiper as the Phillies would lose 21 of their last 31 games, finishing six games under .500. Several injuries to key players and a punchless line-up that had a MLB worst 94 homeruns were too much for the Phillies to overcome.
C: Darren Daulton (.249/.359/.401, 12.8 VORP, 12 Win Shares) – Daulton tore knee ligaments in a game against the Dodgers on August 25th which was just about when the Phillies started their collapse after taking the Wild Card lead. That would be the last game he would ever play at catcher. He only played five games the following season and was traded to the Marlins midseason in 1997 where he would pick up a World Series before retiring. It was also in 1997 when Daulton began to fucking nuts.
At 44, Daulton is not nearly the same guy he was at 24 or even 34. "I didn't have my first out-of-body experience until I was 35," he says. Curiously, the epiphany occurred at one of baseball's holiest shrines -- Wrigley Field. "I hit a line-drive just inside the third base line to help win a game," he recalls. "The strange thing was I didn't hit that ball. I never hit balls inside the third base line!"
He left the ballpark in tears. "I told my wife, 'It wasn't me who swung that bat! It wasn't me!'" he says.
1B: Gregg Jefferies (.306/.349/.448, 14.7 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Jefferies spent the first half of the year in left field and then the second at first after Dave Hollins was traded to Boston. After two very good years in St. Louis it had appeared that he might start living up to the hype he received as a prospect for the Mets but it never happened with the Phillies. They traded him a waiver deal to the Angels in 1998 and then spent two seasons as a part time player with the Tigers.
2B: Mickey Morandini (.283/.350/.417, 21.2 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Morandini was one of six Phillies to make the All-Star team based on their hot start that was fading by the break. After a down year in 1997 he was traded to the Cubs for Doug Glanville and would have a career year in 1998. Too bad for him it wasn’t a contract year so wasn’t in a position to cash in on it and fell off a cliff after that. He signed with the Expos before 2000 but never played a game with them as he was reacquired by the Phillies before the season started. He would be traded in a waiver deal to the Blue Jays. He’d be re-signed by the Jays after the season but did not make the club for 2001.
3B: Charlie Hayes (.276/.340/.406, 10.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – This was second go around with the Phillies for Hayes, which would be the first of three times he’d return to a team he used to play for. He signed with the Pirates after the season who would trade him at the waiver deadline to the Yankees where he lucked out and got to catch the final out of the World Series without doing anything else of note. Yankees traded him after 1997 to the Giants where he’d spend two seasons. Spent 2000 with the Brewers and then signed with the Astros who released him midseason in 2001.
SS: Kevin Stocker (.218/.304/.274, -7.4 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Stocker pretty much pissed away all good feelings about him when he was an important midseason season call up for the Phillies during their 1993 championship season. Was traded after 1997 to the expansion Devil Rays for Mr. Poo which set the tone for the future the of the D-Rays franchise. They released him during the 2000 season and was picked up by the Angels to finish his career.
LF/RF: Jim Eisenreich (.316/.375/.464, 22.3 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – As a kid I was never an autograph seeker but one of the few autographs I ever got was Jim Eisenreich in 1992 when he was with the Royals and I’m not really sure why. The Phillies had nine different players make 20 or more starts in the outfield in ’95 with Eisenreich leading the way with 90 total starts, the majority in right. Signed with Marlins after 1996 where he picked up a World Series ring. Traded to the Dodgers midseason in 1998 in the monster Mike Piazza/Gary Sheffield deal but Eisenreich was washed up and it would be his last stop.
CF: Andy Van Slyke (.243/.333/.350, 2.4 VORP, 3 Win Shares) – Phillies stats only, acquired in June due to Lenny Dykstra’s injury problems. Van Slyke had hit the career wall the year before and it wasn’t getting any better this year which would be his last.
CF: Lenny Dykstra (.264/.353/.354, 2.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Dykstra was pretty much crippled at this point by knee and back problems, he played in only 62 games. Many thought his career was finished at this point and they were almost right as he tried to gut it out the following year but only lasted 40 games although with decent numbers (.261/.387/.418). Missed all of 1997 and tried to make a comeback in ’98 but was injured again in Spring Training, then officially retiring.
RF: Mark Whiten (.269/.365/.481, 10.8 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Phillies stats only, acquired for Dave Hollins from the Red Sox in July. Whiten only played in 60 games for the Phillies yet he tied for the team lead in homeruns with 11. The well traveled Whiten would be released during the following season then picked up by Atlanta who would trade him a couple of months later to Seattle. Spent 1997 with the Yankees and then had a second stint with the Indians for one full season and a couple of cameo appearances the following two years.
Paul Quantrill (92 ERA+, 13.5 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – This was Quantrill’s only full year as a starting pitcher and it’s not hard to see why. Traded after the season to Toronto and was in their rotation at the start of the year but was removed from it by midseason. It’d be the following year he’d begin a nice run as one of the better middle relievers in the game. With the Jays thru 2001 before being traded to the Dodgers with Cesar Izturis. Signed with the Yankees after 2003 but unfortunately for them he started to suck at that point and gave up the game winning homerun to THE GREATEST CLUTCHIEST HITTER WHOEVER CLUTCHED WHO ISN’T DEREK JETER in Game 4 of the ALCS that year that sparked the Red Sox comeback. Yankees traded him midseason in 2005 to the Padres who would release him in August and was picked up by the Marlins to finish the season. Announced his retirement last March.
Tyler Green (81 ERA+, 5.2 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – The former much hyped first round pick, Green’s MLB future was already bleak at this point with major arm problems although he was, believe it or not, selected to the All-Star team. He went into the break with a 2.75 ERA but those arm problems popped up again soon after. Just a hunch Jim Fregosi having him throw three complete games in a span of five starts might not have helped his situation. Spent two more injury plagued years and then was out of the Majors.
Mike Mimbs (104 ERA+, 18.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Mimbs was a 26 year old rookie who posted a decent ERA despite walking 75 batters in 136 2/3 innings pitched. Not surprisingly a man with that kind of command didn’t last long in the Majors, last appearing in 1997.
Curt Schilling (121 ERA+, 22.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Schilling’s sock wasn’t bloody and wasn’t red yet but I’m sure he was just as annoying as he is today. Wait, wait Curt just IM’d me and he’s insisting typing his own profile as he wants to mention how great his 9/11 speech was, talk about steroids, and I’m sure throw in his opinion on the war in Lebanon because god damnit the world is waiting for Curt’s opinion on any every subject because he said so. Well not on my watch Schilling! Go verbally masturbate yourself some more on the SOSH boards.
Closer: Heathcliff Slocumb (149 ERA+, 15.2 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – This was Slocumb’s first year as a closer and hey he managed a good ERA despite a 1.51 WHIP. Traded to the Red Sox after the season and again got by on giving up tons of baserunners but not a lot of runs. In 1997 though all those baserunners finally started touching homeplate more often but he at this point he was a PVC~ so the bullpen starved Mariners traded prospects Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for him in a deadline deal. Remember kids trading prospects for mediocre relievers never ends well. Signed with the Orioles in 1998 who released him a month into the season and was picked up by the Cardinals. Traded the Padres in another deadline deal in 2000 and they released him during the offseason.