Year in Review: Mike Sweeney – Phillies Nation
2010 Player Reviews

Year in Review: Mike Sweeney

Arizona LeagueMike Sweeney has been (was?) a Philadelphia Phillie for all of 90 days. In those 90 days, Sweeney reached cult hero status, becoming more beloved than Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, and Mike Schmidt combined.

OK, jokes aside, Sweeney became a fan favorite nearly instantly. Understanding his career was clearly the downside, Sweeney took the term “role player” to a new level. He rallied around his teammates at every turn, was routinely the first person taking hacks at early batting practice, and always, ALWAYS had a smile on his face. The ultimate team player indeed.

Even a new term was born out of his love of baseball and his teammates: Hugs for Sweeney. In an interview I conducted with him during NLCS media day, I brought up the Hugs for Sweeney title that had become an internet sensation of sorts. Sweeney sheepishly attempted to turn the attention away from it all – he’d rather talk about how much he enjoys playing here and how much he enjoys his teammates.

The hugs thing, however, was awesome. If the team did something hug-worthy, Sweeney was the first one at the top step, ready to unleash his gorilla grip around the back of whomever deserved it. What a sight.

Statistically, Sweeney did little on the field to make him more valuable than the next guy, but that’s not why he was here. In his two months with the Phillies, he hit .231 in 26 games with two home runs and eight RBI. Pedestrian numbers, to say the least. However, everyone on the Phillies from the bat boy to the ownership will tell you it’s not about the numbers with Sweeney.

When Ryan Howard went down, the guy stepped in and attempted to take the place of a former MVP. Tough to do, but Sweeney gave it his all as he usually does. His effort was not lacking, although his bat has clearly slowed with age. Defensively, Sweeney looked spry, perhaps energized by his inclusion on a possible World Series champion.

In the end, it didn’t work out. The Phillies were unable to get by the Giants in the NLCS and Sweeney was unable to capture his first ring, which was the very reason he accepted a trade to Philadelphia from Seattle in early August. Still, it was a hell of a ride for Sweeney and for the new followers of Sweeney and his Hugs.

You can look at his numbers that say he had a down year – one that is – for a player moving nearer to 40.  It was the intangibles that made Mike Sweeney an asset to the team for a short period of time. And although its likely Sweeney won’t be back in 2011, the few memories he gave us will last quite a while.

Thanks to Todd Zolecki for the .gif

PAT’S GRADE: 6.7/10

NICK’S GRADE: 7.0/10 – I can’t remember the last time I wanted a guy to win more than Mike Sweeney. He is a professional hitter and a professional teammate who doesn’t take it for granted that he has the best job in the world.



  1. jeff

    November 3, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Phillies need to sign Werth. They can move around money to make this happen. I hate the word budget with this team. They sell that building out everynight. The reason we did not win is we did not score. He is the right handed bat we need. Fran, Brown, please. Brown is lefty and Fran is not an everyday player. Werth does make bone headed plays but he is proven he can play everyday. Do not let this guy go.

  2. bsizzle

    November 3, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Would love to see Sweens back… even if it’s like a player/coach type of role.

  3. Bart Shart

    November 3, 2010 at 9:58 am

    I really liked Mike Sweeney. He was an outstanding hitter for years at Kansas City and has a lifetime batting average near .300. He was always positive and I wish he could play some outfield because he can still hit. I wish him luck in finding another team, in the American League where he can DH.

  4. Chuck

    November 3, 2010 at 10:15 am

    This article is about Sweeney….and the very first comment is from jeff, and it’s about re-signing Jayson Werth. Is jeff even on this planet??


    As for Sweeney….how can you not feel bad for the guy. Ultimate team player, support guy…..brought in here to do whatever the Phillies asked of him.

    Best of luck to the dude…

  5. Ryan

    November 3, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Sweeney was a good player even if he came it for just a short time. He didn’t have much of an impact on the feild, but when he was on the bench, he made a difference. I’m sure he gave them alot of support. If the Phillies could hit when they needed to, Sweeney could of had his first ring. Now he has to go to a different club and try his luck.

    “Ruin Tomorrow Junior” is really tearing the Phillies apart. I know that eventually, you have to get new players but the Phillies had a good club. Next season should be interesting seeing how Lopes won’t be coaching first base. He did alot for the club and its a shame to have him leave. The fact that he is also getting rid of Werth is just stupid. But we should have expected it. During the 09 off-season, when we heard that he got rid of Cliff Lee, the ONLY pitcher to win the only 2 games for the Phillies in the world series was traded. We all knew that we were in a bad spot. Luckily, we got Roy Halladay. But its evident that Jr. will do anything to get another ring although he trades all the talent. If we want to get back into this, we need to get rid of Jr. and get a new GM.

  6. Bob

    November 3, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I really liked Sweeney for the very reasons mentioned in the article. He was the ultimate team player who I believe played “for the love of the game.” What more can be said of a guy who really loved what he was doing. I wish him all of the best…

  7. Bacardipr05

    November 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I believe he should of been giving at least 1 but really 2 AB during the Giants series. At least at bare min 1 AB…i thought that was a shame..guess we will never know…

  8. Kate

    November 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I love Mike Sweeney. I still beam when I think of that story Ryan Howard told about him after clinching in Washington.

    If he stays healthy through the off-season, I wish they would consider extending an invitation to spring training.

  9. Keegan

    November 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

    It didn’t hit me that we lost the NLCS until that interview. That man is a good man, period, end of story and it literally broke his heart to lose that series.

  10. bfo_33

    November 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Ryan, WTF? Exactly what talent did the Phils give up over the past 3 years? Donald – maybe he’ll be an average 2nd baseman some day. Marson – probably a career back-up catcher. Michael Taylor – I thought he’d transition to the majors well, but he can’t even crack the unAthletic’s line-up. Happ is a fine back of the order pitcher, but that’s about it. Drabek is the only guy with potential to be good, but can he stay healthy? If the Phils kept Lee (the guy who just lost 2 games to the Giants), they’d be right where they are now, except they wouldn’t have an ace signed for next year.

    In regards to Werth – a fine player, and his RISP will pick up next year, but Brown is ready for the big leagues, and Werth is an aging, expensive player. Ben Fran and Brown will put up something close to what Werth put up this year. Pick up a rh bat for late inning pinch hitting and we’ll be good.

    My biggest fear is that the Phils panic and sign more guys on the downside of their careers (Werth, extend Rollins, resign Rowand,…). The Giants showed that as long as you have pitching (and Ted Bell showed our pitching was just as good), you can get by with a few offensive studs and a motley crew of supporting cast mates. The NL East is going to be terrible next year – Mets are rebuilding, Washington is years away, Fla is Fla, and the Braves won’t be breaking the bank for Bobby. Win the division, get into the playoffs, and hope for the best. Phils have the pitching to do that a few more years, and appear to have an abundance of arms in the minors, ready to step up.

  11. betasigmadeltashag

    November 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Really Ryan, you want a new GM I hear Minaya is available from the Mets. You throw out trading Lee, who would have done nothing to get us past the Giants, and replacing Lee with 4 years of Doc, and two years maybe more, of Oswalt. RAJ picked up Gload who did ok during the year with out playing much, Valdez, who was a great defensive guy fill in during the injuries to key guys. So where did he destroy the future of this team. There seems to be many arms in the minors, along with a good prospect trading prospect in Riz that is stuck behind Howard, and Singleton who if he can play the outfield, could move back to first base in a few years when Ryan is done, a light hitting shortstop that has major league ready defensive skills. :You need to pass me some of what you are smoking because I am out and you are just way out there about the front office. I apologize for the length of this but it is just typical of the minority fan that wants to place blame for running into a hot team, and really RAJ who may be GM of the year. Get a Life.

  12. brooks

    November 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Although Sweeney’s contribution to the team was not tangible (runs, hrs, rbi’s) his contribution went much further I think to both the team and the fans. He plays the game like a true gamer (from what little we saw) and we love that.

    Very dissappointed that we did not see him in the NLCS, not once. And, I cannot think of a reason why the Phils would not sign this guy for 1 more season to be a bench player.

  13. Chuck

    November 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Invite him to Spring Training. Maybe sign him to a minor league deal or a minimum deal with options. What’s it gonna hurt? This guy is probably just happy to keep everyone’s jock straps lined up and in good shape.

  14. Lefty

    November 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Sweeney’s a good guy to have around for sure, but he might be better suited to the AL as a DH. Gload can play outfield and first base. We need an extra utility infielder that can hit to play 2nd,3rd, or SS to replace Dobbs.

    Edgar Rentaria anyone?

  15. Lefty

    November 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Excuse me “Renteria” -that one looks especially bad when not spelled correctly.

  16. MikeB.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Sweeney is a good guy’s good guy. Played AAA ball with Omaha out here at Rosenblatt Stadium and was always pleasant and cheerful to the fans, always willing to sign autographs. Should have had a bigger role in the playoffs in view of Howard’s performance.

  17. Chuck

    November 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    You’re talking about the Ryan Howard that hit .318 in the NLCS, right? Yeah, I would say that statistically and percentage-wise you would pinch hit for someone that’s hitting .318…

  18. jeff

    November 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    who cares chuck about sweeny. he hit one homer for us. big deal. he did nothing. its just wasted writing on this page like when your write. its about werth now. you moron

  19. Andrew from waldorf

    November 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    one homer = 6.7
    why even have a scale?

    is 2 homers a 13,4 on a scale of 1 to 10?

    Jeff lets focus on running off some of the old cripples on the current roster. And lets dream about running off the 25 million dollar 0 rbi guy.

  20. psujoe

    November 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Werth turned down 4 years $66 million mid year according to a report on mlbtraderumors. He wants ridiculous money and I don’t see the Phils paying it. Werth wants to start talking with Holliday money and years. There has to be better options.

  21. Chuck

    November 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    jeff, I normally don’t resort to name-calling. But since you called me a moron….I will call you a jerk@ff.

    There….I said it.

    Now go away.

  22. Phan in the outfield

    November 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    psujoe: Werth didn’t and still has not turned down anything. They never spoke to his ex-agent Jeff Borris. There’s been more than one article written about this now. Stop hating or keep up on the info.

    bfo: “Werth is an aging, expensive player. Ben Fran and Brown will put up something close to what Werth put up this year.” Two people to replace a player you think so little of? Wow. Must be really aging & lousy, huh? And now you want to replace Rowand too? Hahaha – unreal.

    Beyond that — I thought this post was about SWEENEY. I totally enjoyed Mike Sweeney’s time on the Phillies. He has to be one of the more truly genuine people in this world. He just IS who he IS. It was an experience just to watch the obvious joy he took in what little time he had on the field and in the dugout. The hugging was hilarious & ingenuous. One of the best sights was watching him after a HR meet the hitter (actually I think it was Werth) at the top of the steps with a high-5. Then he ran down the steps in front of Werth, turned and gave Werth another high-5! Just remembering it makes me laugh. The guy was having so much fun. I honestly wish they’d pay him just to keep his presence in the dugout, and in the clubhouse. There is no way that would be wasted money. No way. What a great guy.

  23. psujoe

    November 3, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    “hating”? wtf are you talking about? Not hating at all. I was just posting what John Heyman said. Boras is looking in the 7 year $120 million range which is nuts.

    The reason people talk about moves in unrealted threads is because there is no pinned thread on off season moves.

  24. Kate

    November 3, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    We could have used Mike Sweeney in June and July just for the morale-boosting alone, for the other players and the fans.

    I hate the idea of Sweeney getting so close after what could have been a Hall of Fame career if he’d stayed healthy and retiring without seeing an AB in the NLCS.


    November 3, 2010 at 7:56 pm



    November 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm



    November 3, 2010 at 7:58 pm


  28. Ryan H.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    why are you even rating this guy? what’s next, a Paul Hoover season breakdown. gimme a break. or what about that other dude that caught like 3 games back in the spring. what was his name?

    I simply don’t understand the obsession with Mike Sweeney. It baffles me

  29. Pat Gallen

    November 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Fans enjoy players who love the game and play it like they’re kids. And Ryan H. hates that obviously. We’re rating this guy because he’s part of the team. If you dislike us rating it, why do you post comments on it?

  30. Andrew from waldorf

    November 4, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Pat have some thick skin!

    Jay you know Jeff amuses me. Hes like the drunk at the end of the bar who hates everything. Sometimes he goes to far.

    I wish the phils woulda won the series for Sweeney and Doc.
    Maybe next year for Doc

  31. MikeB.

    November 4, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Chuck, if I remember correctly, you gave me some crap about something else I posted recently.

    Yeh, I know Howard hit .318 in the NLCS but how productive was it? Did not have any RBIs. Now part of this could be due to nobody getting on before him before he came up with his 7 hits out of 22 plate appearances, 4 of which were doubles. He struck out 12 times out of the 22 plate appearances, 12 times! Comes out to 55% of his plate appearances. A guy who makes mega-bucks with a multi-year contract and who is the team clean-up hitter. Zero home runs in the NLCS. To top things off, we all know what he did as the final Phillies batter with runners on base in the 9th inning of that 6th and final game when he had the chance to tie the game or win it with his bat for his team.

    We all are entitled to our opinions and yeh, I would have given Sweeney a couple of pinch hitting shots or three and maybe even start him a game against a lefty like Sanchez or the rookie Baumgartner.

  32. Chuck

    November 4, 2010 at 8:42 am

    MikeB., You just don’t pinch hit for Ryan Howard. I realize that he struck out 12 times. But the law of averages suggests that he’s one of the guys that you want up there in a big situation. Remember….a really good hitter is gonna fail 70% of the time.

    Someone on one of these threads even went to far as to dub him “Donovan McHoward”…


    Ryan Howard has a WFC. He’s contributed mightily to the success of this club…..despite his inability to hit in the clutch this postseason.

    I don’t dislike McNabb….but last I checked…. he has no ring.


    As for Sweeney, I would have used him instead of Francisco in that last game to at least get the sac fly and give the Phillies the lead. That one I sort of don’t understand.

  33. bfo_33

    November 4, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Phan, I think you misread my comment. I like Werth, and would love to have him for a reasonable contract. Unfortunately (and I don’t blame him), he wants a contract that is going to exceed his actual value (equivalent to Bay or Holiday). Ben Fran and Brown will cost a fraction of Werth, and give something close to the same productivity. The team is getting old, needs to turn over a few positions, and can’t field a team of $20M/yr players (yeah, the ballpark is filled every night, but the teams that make big money – Yanks, BoSox, Cubs, get it from their tv contracts, not the gates). Keeping costs in line will help with mid season acquisitions if needed.

    My concern in regards to Rowand is that Phils could panic and get him. He is no longer a starter. I don’t want him here, unless it is for the league minimum.

  34. Phan in the outfield

    November 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    bfo – I didn’t misread you. I understood you to mean exactly what you said. The same as I’ve understood most of the people who are saying ‘let Werth walk’ and following it with “I like him, but …”

    Re: Player = value, who has the nerve to make a call like that and how do they make it? (that’s rhetorical). It’s subjective and entirely relative.

    We’re letting the wrong overpaid player walk. We have a LONG LIST of players whose contracts exceed their values now (and they still didn’t get us a WS did they). We CAN and DO field a team of $20 mil players. Why, quite suddenly, is Werth the one who broke the camel’s back – because he had the bad luck to have his FA yr happen when his teammates all hit the DL or didn’t feel like playing hard & winning? He showed up. He played hard. Not only that – he’s taken a heckuva lot of guff for not doing Ryan Howard’s work because Howard wasn’t doing the job he’s paid to do this season, which is hit big.

    If it was at all close to the truth that Brown and Francisco can give us the same productivity as Werth, then why didn’t RAJ trade Werth long ago? The solid truth is they are NOT as good as Werth and nobody RAJ can get is as good as Werth either, and RAJ didn’t want to do it unless or until he HAD TO. Werth’s good and may even have more in him, which is why the rest of MLB wants Werth too. We’ll be sorry. This big contract – we should sign. The other one should never have been signed.


    November 4, 2010 at 12:24 pm


  36. Phan in the outfield

    November 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    psujoe: I saw the Heyman piece in SI. I assumed you’d gotten the info there. That makes a difference? You obviously believe it.

    Heyman’s info can be iffy at best. It seems somewhere along the line his job has gotten to be the equivlent of typing word manure. He’s a conduit through which FO’s and agents get out their hype — not the truth.

    And the thing about this particular info … there’s no way to prove it right or wrong, no reason to even report it EXCEPT to make Werth sound bad. Having worked sports & entertainment PR for yrs, that sounds suspiciously like FO drivel to me.

    Rosenthal and Gammon in a way do the same thing as Heyman, though they seem to have been right more often lately. As near as I can guess, the theory is if they write enough, talk enough, somewhere along the line they’ll be right. Then they can always point to ‘that time’ when they were right.

  37. Phan in the outfield

    November 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    JAY: I don’t “hate” Ryan Howard. I’ve said often that I like and appreciate Ryan.

    I don’t, and never will, like or appreciate his new contract. (In fact I think $19mil is a helluva lot & that’s what he’s paid now.) His new contract should never have been signed in its present state. It also shouldn’t have been signed nearly 18 mos in advance of necessity.

    And if you’re going to be paid as though you are divine, then PLAY LIKE YOU’RE DIVINE. And don’t let the guy behind you take all the crap because you either aren’t hitting big or you aren’t hitting at all, especially when the FO refuses to sign that guy because HE’S “too expensive”.

    Now … let’s see what the divine Ryan’s numbers look like next season with one of the below cheaper players in the line-up behind him:
    a) Domonic Brown
    b) Ben Francisco
    c) Jeff Francoeur
    d) a player to be named later

  38. psujoe

    November 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I agree there was no reason to resign Howard so early. No need at all.

    Yankees are saying they’re not interested in Crawford or Werth, but that could just be smoke. If the Yankees aren’t involved it would come down to the Phillies, Sox and Angels. Angels really want Crawford. Could get interesting.

    When is the Phillies TV contract up?

  39. Phan in the outfield

    November 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    psujoe: Get out! Where did you see that Cashman said he wasn’t interested in either Crawford or Werth? True, it could be smoke. But eh, the whole Werth thing was never going to happen. Talk about ‘not meant for each other’. I don’t believe they ever wanted Werth & I’m darn positive Werth would never want to be there. He likes his hair more than money. Come on. As for Crawford, I think they might’ve really wanted him. But Gardner & Swisher (except the fact that nobody hit anything in the playoffs) weren’t bad this season & they cost a lot less. I don’t see any reason for them to pay huge bucks to Crawford.

    As for Werth, hey the Sox are sadly a distinct possibility. I’d hate it. I’d hate that one. Wow. But I’ve heard they might not want to spend either. For Werth’s part, he might really prefer to go to the Angels because his uncle played for them when he was a kid. He said once (forget where I saw it) the Angels were his favorite team when he was little because of his uncle. And the Angels really want Crawford?? Hahaha, very funny. Have you read anything about what Crawford might really want?

    The Yankees are really reigning in the bucks. Heh heh, I didn’t believe Cashman when he said that some time ago. They’ve already told Jeter to forget a big payday. I kind of thought that was rotten considering all the yrs he’s spent w/them, & the fact that he’s kind of the Yankees’ Utley in a way. I mean I get it, he’s older & the entire team didn’t perform the way they wanted this past season. But I think they want him to take – like – $7 or $8 mil for a couple yrs, or something like that. Guess we’ll see.

    They must be saving every dime to throw at Cliffy. Oooo, this is gonna be fun to watch. Heh heh.

  40. psujoe

    November 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    These things always have to be taken with a grain of salt, but here’s the article on Yankees and OF. Yanks are going to break the bank for Lee.

  41. MikeB.

    November 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Phan in the outfield; I agree with you in regards to Howard. Regardless what we post about this vastly overpaid first baseman, there will be those who plug him because of his production in the past, the law of averages, really good hitters fail 70% of the time anyway and the fact that Howard has won a world championship. My feeling is that guys like Howard, who are overly compensated with a multi-year contract, should be coming through in the clutch in National League Championship Series and especially in situations like he was in as the last batter in the ninth inning of the 6th game of the NLCS against the Giants with the game and the series on the line. Sometimes when you are the manager, you have to “think outside the box” to possibly give your team a chance to win a highly important elimination game in a championship series. The team should come first and highly paid players with their egos who are not producing and striking out with men on base should come second. It is just a shame that that final inning could not have been extended to Werth being able to bat.

  42. Kate

    November 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    I don’t think Sweeney was as upset over not getting into the World Series as he was that he wasn’t going to be playing the next day. Sure, he was gut-punched with the ending of the 2010 season, but I don’t think it was about the NLCS or the World Series. He wanted to play some more.

    I felt bad for Madson, who had to take a loss after being lights out since early August.

    I felt bad for Howard, because that last strike will be the first question he’s asked when heading in for spring training.

    My heart was torn out for Mike Sweeney.

  43. bacardipr05

    November 5, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Three years for $45 Mill for Werth. If Dom Brown lives up to expectations we then can trade Werth in the 2nd year. I wish we could some how move Ibanez. Nothing against Raul he may have a great year next year but he seems like the possible weakest link in Gload, Vict, Werth, Brown and Francisco group. I just dont like Victorino, and Unproven Brown and aging Ibanez as our core. Victorino had a down year this year and Shane is my fav Phillie but i think its a possibility to assume he might be a slight ? mark. Yes the Giants showed you can win with Great Pitching 2 Studs and supporting cast. However hitting is what actually killed us in the NLCS

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