Think back to 2002, a young up and coming Phillies team headlined by top prospects Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell and middling journeymen, Jeremy Giambi and Travis Lee. The days when the Phillies, struggled to finish above .500 and still played at Veterans Stadium. A team so close to playoff contention but missing that one key ingredient, power. In November, they found that power, by signing a former Cleveland Indians first baseman named Jim Thome and their fortunes turned around. They had their power, their face, and their leader for the young rookies.
Now here we are in 2018, a young team filled with promising prospects such as Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Aaron Nola. A team full of promise but lacking the veteran experience needed for a grueling season, or a leader so to say. Scanning the free agent and trade market there were not many options available, the Phillies were potentially saving money to spend on players next offseason such as Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, still found a potential diamond in the rough, a former Cleveland Indians first baseman by the name of Carlos Santana. Now Santana does not have the pedigree of future Hall of Famer Jim Thome, but he does bring what the Phillies lack; experience.
We could sit here and compare all the similarities these teams have from a promising second baseman sitting in AAA (Chase Utley-Scott Kingery) to a rotation full of question marks (Brett Myers/Vicente Padilla/Randy Wolf- Eickhoff/Velazquez/Eflin) but these new Phillies do not want to live in the shadow of their early 2000’s counterparts. They are hungry to make a name for themselves this season and into the future, they are young, talented and ready to bring the red pinstripes back to October baseball.
They say History tends to repeat itself, so I will leave that up to you. Pitchers and Catchers report in less than a month (Feb 14th) for the start of what could be an unexpected Phillies season.
Image courtesy MLB.com