Throughout team history, the Philadelphia Phillies franchise has gifted its fanbase a number of major acquisitions during the holiday season. Several key players from multiple playoff teams were brought in by the team in the days leading up to Christmas over the years.
While J.T. Realmuto might not be under the Phillies’ tree by Christmas this year, the team has made similar moves during the holidays in years past. In the holiday spirit, let’s take a look at the five biggest trades and signings made by the Phillies from Dec. 15 to Christmas Day.
5. Tony Taylor – Dec. 19, 1973
The late Tony Taylor played in parts of 12 seasons for the Phillies from 1960-1971, establishing himself as one of the best second basemen in team history before being traded to the Detroit Tigers. The Phillies brought back the 1960 National League All-Star ahead of the 1974 season. Taylor played a part-time role for the team for the next three years, finishing his career with the 1976 team that won the NL East division. Taylor was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2002.
4. Raúl Ibañez – Dec. 16, 2008
With starter Pat Burrell becoming a free agent, the Phillies were in the market for a new left fielder after the 2008 World Series. They pivoted to the left-handed-hitting Raúl Ibañez, and signed him to a three-year deal for $31.5 million. In his first year as a Phillie, Ibañez hit a career-high 34 home runs and made his only All-Star team as the team won the NL pennant for the second season in a row.
3. Jayson Werth – Dec. 19, 2006
It may not have seemed like a blockbuster at the time, but the signing of Jayson Werth ahead of the 2007 season would go down as one of the best under-the-radar acquisitions in team history. The outfielder found success in the playing time he received in that first season in Philadelphia, and became one of the most valuable pieces of the team that won the 2008 World Series. Werth was an All-Star in 2009, and finished eighth in NL MVP voting in 2010 before leaving the team in free agency.
2. Roy Halladay – Dec. 15, 2009
The Phillies made a splash when they traded for the late Roy Halladay in December of 2009. Fresh off two World Series appearances, the team went out and got one of the most dominant pitchers of the 2000s decade. He continued that domination with his new team.
Halladay’s 2010 season was one of the most memorable in Phillies history. He delivered a Cy Young-winning season in which he tossed 20th perfect game in major-league history and the second postseason no-hitter in his first ever playoff appearance. Halladay followed up that legendary season by leading the NL in complete games and ERA+ in 2011. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.
1. Cliff Lee – Dec. 15, 2010
If there was one downside to the Halladay acquisition in 2009, it was that the Phillies traded their ace Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners in a corresponding move. However, the team would right its wrong just a year later.
The Phillies shocked the baseball world by signing Lee to a five-year, $120 million contract on what came to be known as “Cliffmas” by fans. By acquiring Lee a second time, the team assembled one of the best pitching rotations in baseball with Lee, Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. The Phillies went on to win 102 games and their fifth straight NL East title in 2011.
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