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The 2015 Guide to Ex-Phils in the Playoffs

Hamels pitched the Rangers to the AL West crown. Who are you rooting for in the playoffs? Photo: Star-Telegram

Hamels pitched the Rangers to the AL West crown. Who are you rooting for in the playoffs? Photo: Star-Telegram

Starting tomorrow, teams will lock horns to determine the 2015 World Series champion. The Phillies may not have finished anywhere near the 2015 MLB Playoffs but that doesn’t mean there aren’t familiar names floating around the playoffs. This is your guide to the former Phils that are in the playoffs.

AL Wild Card Game

Houston Astros

Players with Phillies connections: Jonathan Villar and Jon Singleton

The Phillies and Astros engaged in a pair of deadline deals in 2010 and 2011, sending Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence to the Phils in each year, respectively. Of all the players dealt, only Villar (Oswalt deal) and Singleton (Pence deal) are contributors to this playoff team. Villar, still just 24, put up career highs in a back-up role to AL Rookie of the Year front-runner Carlos Correa after beginning the year starting a number of games for the Astros while Singleton, who is just 23 himself, has struggled since signing a five-year, $10 million contract with the Astros prior to ever playing an MLB game. Villar may get crunched off the playoff roster while Singleton will not make it, thus making the Astros with very strong recent ties to the Phillies but with very little to show for it a few years out.

 

New York Yankees

Players with Phillies connections: None

Well, this is odd. With the amount of roster turnover, you would think the Yanks and Phils would share someone with some sort of connection, but alas, no one.

NL Wild Card Game

Chicago Cubs

Players with Phillies connections: None

The only connection that the current Cubs have with the Phillies is assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske, who made the last out of the 2008 World Series.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Former Phillies: Antonio Bastardo, Joe Blanton, A.J. Burnett, J.A. Happ, and Vance Worley

Personnel with Phillies connections: Former Phils’ manager Nick Leyva is the Pirates’ first base coach

The Pirates may be your clubhouse leader if you want to root for a team whose 40-man roster is 1/8th former Phillies. Of the grouping above, Bastardo, Burnett, and Happ are likely to see postseason action, with Happ being a real candidate for best deadline acquisition across baseball, going 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 11 starts for the Pirates after being acquired from the Mariners. Bastardo has been Bastardo, a strikeout machine that averages over a K per inning but that will get in trouble with walks, while Burnett, now 38 but health, was an All-Star for the Bucs finishing at 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA. Blanton has been very, very good for one of the NL’s best bullpens (1.57 ERA, 5-0 record in 21 appearances, 34.1 IP) and could see some action in the postseason, as well.

AL Division Winners

Toronto Blue Jays

Former Phillies: Ben Revere

Toronto, for reasons that may not need elaborating, is a team I can never root for in the playoffs.

I was six years old, it was heartbreaking. I think in my head “Why not David West?” every night before bed.

Alas, the Blue Jays acquired Ben Revere near the deadline and he’s been, well, Ben Revere for the Blue Jays in left field. Revere, notoriously streaky, hit .318/.354/.381 for the Jays, all which would have been career highs had they been over a full season for Revere.

 

Texas Rangers

Former Phillies: Jake Diekman, Cole Hamels

Players with Phillies connections: Lisalverto Bonilla

Staff with Phillies connections: Mike Maddux

Diekman and Hamels ended up in Arlington following a massive, eight-player deal. Diekman de-emphasized the strikeout since joining Texas and it has worked to his benefit, posting a 2.08 ERA in 26 appearances. Meanwhile, Hamels won the AL West clincher for the Rangers yesterday and posted a 7-1 record with a 3.66 ERA in 12 starts. Hamels will be an integral part of any run the Rangers may make. Meanwhile, Bonilla, the former international signing of the Phillies who was dealt for Michael Young, missed all of 2015 after needing Tommy John surgery but is still on the Rangers’ 40-man roster. Pitching coach Mike Maddux was a Phillie from 1986 through 1989 and an early member of the “Phillies have the wrong brother” club.

 

Kansas City Royals

Former Phillies: Ryan Madson

Staff with Phillies connections: Dale Sveum

“Mad Dog” made his triumphant return to the Major Leagues this season after two failed comeback attempts in 2013 and 2014 and what he has accomplished has been nothing short of amazing. In 68 appearances, Madson has posted career-lows in ERA (2.13) and WHIP (0.963). Madson may see some late inning action in the playoffs. Meanwhile, coach Dale Sveum was acquired by the Phillies for Bruce Ruffin prior to the 1992 season in a rare trade miss for then-GM Lee Thomas. Sveum played in 54 games before being dealt for Keith Shepherd. Sveum’s most notable accomplishment as a Phillie was somehow wearing two different numbers (8 and 9) in his short stay.

 

NL Division Winners

New York Mets

Former Phillies: None

Phew. That would have been awkward. Well, maybe not. Some of the 100 Greatest Phillies were also Mets: Wagner, McGraw, Abreu, and Ashburn.

 

St. Louis Cardinals

Former Phillies: Brandon Moss

Cardinals staff with Phillies connections:  David Bell and John Mabry

Hey! Remember that time Brandon Moss killed the International League and then the Phillies needed outfielders the very next season and they seemingly didn’t make a real strong effort to keep him and he’s averaged 24 homers a season since and became an All-Star? Sigh. Moss was acquired from Cleveland and has been used primarily at first base for the Cardinals since his acquisition.

I can root for Moss even if I loathe the Cardinals but I have to draw the line at David Bell. Bell is a bench coach and manned the hot corner for the Phillies from 2003-2006, putting up disappointing numbers relative to his large, at the time, contract. Meanwhile, the O.G. John Mabry had a 21-game cameo with the Phils in 2002 before being traded for Jeremy Giambi, a later member of the “We acquired the wrong brother” club.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Former Phillies: Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley

Dodgers staff with Phillies connections: Davey Lopes

No need to say much here. Two of the greatest Phillies, ever, paired up with one of the most underrated aspects of the Phillies becoming a World Series winner by mastering baserunning. Rollins has been his usual, durable self for the Dodgers but his numbers have declined. Utley continued to struggle as he did with the Phillies when traded to the Dodgers in 2015 but provided insurance at second base during Howie Kendrick‘s injury.

 

So there you have it, folks. A comprehensive list of the Phillies in the playoffs in 2015. If you are having a tough time deciding who to root for, I advise you check out Tim Malcolm’s guide to picking a winner in 2015 in the American and National Leagues.

 

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