In August of 2008, Philadelphia Phillies general manager Pat Gillick made two trades that paid dividends in the team’s World Series run that year. The most notable one came on Aug. 30, 2008, when the club acquired Matt Stairs from the Toronto Blue Jays. Stairs, of course, would launch arguably the most important home run in franchise history in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the first acquisition the team made after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline proved to be very important to the team’s ability to return to the playoffs for the second consecutive season as well.
On Aug. 7, 2008, the Phillies acquired 36-year-old reliever Scott Eyre from the Chicago Cubs. Having appeared for the Cubs 19 times in 2008, Eyre had tallied a bloated 7.15 ERA. But only a few years removed from finding noteworthy success while pitching out of the San Francisco Giants bullpen, the Phillies were willing to take a flier on Eyre after the Cubs designated him for assignment. As it turned out, Eyre benefited significantly from a change of scenery.
In 19 games for the Phillies after the trade, the veteran lefty posted a 1.88 ERA. Eyre, along with J.C. Romero, gave the Phillies two lefties pitching out of the bullpen at an elite level. Those two were part of a dominant Phillies bullpen that also included Brad Lidge, Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson. Along with one of the most prolific offenses in the sport, the bullpen helped the Phillies to edge out the New York Mets for the second consecutive season to win the National League East.
Eyre appeared in five postseason games for the Phillies in 2008, including recording holds in Game 3 and Game 4 of the World Series. This past weekend, after his induction onto the Phillies Wall of Fame, Gillick spoke on the NBC Sports Philadelphia telecast about how his style as an executive was to make smaller transactions that would add onto an already deep team. The August 2008 pickup of Eyre is one of the best examples of that.
To acquire Eyre, the Phillies parted with Single-A reliever Brian Schlitter, who they had selected in the 16th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. Schlitter, now 32, has spent much of his career at Triple-A. Between 2010 and 2015, the righty did appear in 78 games for the Cubs, posting a 5.40 ERA. He’s currently pitching (fairly successfully) for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Meanwhile, Eyre helped the Phillies to get past the Dodgers in the NLCS in both 2008 and 2009, as he re-signed with the Phillies after the 2008 season. In 2009, his final major league season, Eyre posted a 1.50 ERA in 42 games for the Phillies, who would win their third consecutive National League East crown that season.
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