A lot had changed in the last three years. And this off season saw four more members of the 2008 squad bite the dust.
Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson, the unbreakable 8th and 9th inning tandem that closed the door on 48 games in 2008, found new homes this off season with the Nationals and Reds respectively.
Pat Burrell and Matt Stairs, who both had huge hits in the post season, both hung up the cleats. With the final chapters of their baseball careers completed, they will look forward to the memories of a parade down Broad Street.
Joe Blanton – Blanton is in the final year of his contract and looking to make the rotation as the fifth starter.
Cole Hamels – Hamels is coming off his best season in which he finished in the top five for the Cy Young voting. He signed a one-year, $15 million deal to avoid arbitration as the Phils hope to lock him up for a long time.
Ryan Howard – Howard was the final out in the 2010 and 2011 post seasons. He ruptured his Achilles to end the season and will miss about a month of the 2012 season.
Kyle Kendrick – Kendrick was brought back to pitch as a long reliever and battle for the fifth starter’s spot.
Jimmy Rollins – Rollins was brought back on a three-year deal that will keep the lifetime Phillie here until 2014.
Carlos Ruiz – Chooch has become one of the top defensive catchers in baseball as well as a fan favorite.
Chase Utley – Utley’s illustrious career seems to be on a down-hill spiral. He’s hoping to have a healthy and successful 2012 season to prove there is a lot left in his tank.
Shane Victorino – Victorino is in the final year of his contract and hoping to play for that big payday Werth got two years ago.
Around the League
Clay Condrey (F/A) – Condrey hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009 with the Phillies but he hasn’t officially retired yet.
Greg Dobbs (MIA) – Dobbs was the top pinch-hitter in 2008 and played one of the most important roles in the Phillies late-inning success that year. But he struggled in 2009 and 2010 as a pinch-hitter before signing with the Florida (now Miami) Marlins before last season where he revived his career as a starting third baseman and pinch hitter.
Chad Durbin (WAS) – The Phillies decided to not sign Durbin after the 2010 season. He started to decline after his career season in 2008 when we posted a 2.87 ERA in 71 games. After a poor season with the Indians, he signed a contract with the Nationals earlier this week.
Pedro Felz (SDP) – Feliz’s tenure in Philadelphia never really amounted to much offensively but his stellar defense was one of the reasons the Phillies were a top fielding team in 2008. After bouncing around in the minors, including the Camden Riversharks, he’s in the Padres system.
J.A. Happ (HOU) – Happ didn’t play a huge role on the championship team, pitching in only eight games during the regular season. But he established himself as a good young left-handed starter the next year and a half before being the centerpiece in the traded that sent Roy Oswalt to the Phillies. Happ is currently struggling in Houston.
Brad Lidge (WAS) – Lidge was arguably the most important piece to the 2008 Phillies, closing out all 41 games in the regular season and another seven more in the playoffs. After countless injuries the following three years, Lidge signed a $1 million deal with the Nationals this off season.
Ryan Madson (CIN) – Madson was a big part of Lidge’s success, becoming the bridge to the ninth inning in 2008. Though he struggled to be a closer while Lidge was injured in 2009 and 2010, Madson finally became the Phillies closer last season, closing out 32 games. He signed with the Reds to a one-year deal when the Phillies signed Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Jamie Moyer (COL) – Moyer won his first World Series with the Phillies in 2008, winning a team-high 16 games. He got Tommy John surgery during the 2010 season and missed all of 2011. At 49, Moyer signed a minor league deal with the Rockies as he looks to pitch in his 25th season in the majors.
Brett Myers (HOU) – Myers had one of the more interesting tenures as a Phillie. Though his 2008 campaign wasn’t anything special, he made his mark at the plate, including his two infamous at-bats against C.C. Sabbathia in the NLDS. The Phillies didn’t sign him after the 2009 season and he went to Houston where he is their staff ace.
J.C. Romero (STL) – Romero was another player who caught lightning in a bottle during 2008. He has reverted back to his old wild ways and was cut by the Phillies during the 2011 season. He was signed by the Cardinals.
Jayson Werth (WAS) – Werth’s story is all too familiar. He started out in 2008 as a bench player and became one of the biggest reasons the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. He blew up in 2009 before struggling in his contract year during 2010. That off season, Werth was signed to a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals and he had by far the worst season of his career.
Eric Bruntlett – Bruntlett pretty much disappeared after scoring the winning run in Game 4 of the World Series.
Pat Burrell – Burrell’s post-Philly career was bittersweet. He didn’t amount to anything in 2009 and the first half of 2010 with the Rays. He was picked up by the Giants and helped propel them to a World Championship in 2010, winning his second ring. He retired after the 2011 season.
Chris Coste – Coste hasn’t really officially retired but at 38, it’s unlikely he’ll find a Major League job as a catcher. Coste is now an author, writing two books. Both books came out while he was playing: “Hey… I’m Just the Catcher” and “The 33-Year-Old Rookie.”
Adam Eaton – I really don’t know. He came back to Philadelphia to receive the ring he didn’t really earn and was greeted with a chorus of boos from the Philly faithful. He was last seen being granted free agency from the Rockies in 2009.
Scott Eyre – Eyre was the dependable LOOGY for the 2008 squad. He was released after the 2009 season, took a year off in 2010 and decided to call it quits. He mulled the opportunity of coming out of retirement if the Phillies wanted him in 2011.
Tom Gordon– Gordon started the 2008 season as the closer while Lidge got ready. After Lidge returned, Gordon struggled in the middle of the pen before getting hurt in June. He
wound up missing the rest of the 2008 season. He signed with the Diamondbacks in 2009 but missed much of that season. He decided to call it quites in 2010. His son, Dee, is a short stop for the Dodgers.
Geoff Jenkins – Jenkins was loved in Milwaukee. When he was cut from the Phillies before the 2009 season, he signed back with the Brewers in 2010 and retired with the franchise.
Matt Stairs – Stairs played his career for 12 different teams, lastly with the Nationals last season. He is famous for his go-ahead homer off Jonathon Broxton in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS that “ruined” the Dodgers star closer. He was a one-hit wonder but his one-hit was one of the most important moments in the Phillies championship run.
So Taguchi – He is currently playing for the Orix Buffaloes in the the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan. He was the first Japanese player to win the World Series (2006 with the Cardinals) and the only Japanese player to win the World Series twice (2006 and 2008).