As the sun begins to set on yet another Philadelphia Phillies season that started out with promise and ends with a series of blown saves, it’s time to recall the team’s litany of bonehead trades. Save for one season in the last 20, the Phillies have failed to bring the World Series to the city, with most of the team’s failures linked to several horrific trades.
Cole Hamels to Texas
After leading the Phillies to their first World Series in more than 25 years, the team shipped the hard-throwing left-handed hurler to the Texas Rangers at the 2015 trade deadline. And while the trade took place seven years after beating Tampa Bay for all the marbles, if you consider what Cole Hamels has done since the trade, and what the Phils got in return, you can see it was a bust.
Hamels was 38-21 with a 3.90 ERA with Texas, and after being traded to the Cubs, the former Phillie has returned to form with a 10-6 record and an ERA 2.71. Hamels is throwing as hard as he has in recent years, and his imminent return from the IL will help propel the Cubs to another NL Central title.
The Phillies got back Jorge Alfaro (since traded to Miami), Nick Williams (now at AAA Lehigh Valley), Alec Asher (traded to Baltimore for cash), the oft-injured Jared Eickhoff, Jake Thompson (an unsigned free agent) and Matt Harrison (out of baseball).
Lopsided? You bet.
Curt Schilling to Arizona
Putting aside anything you feel about Curt Schilling as a person, the right-hander has been key to two teams that went on to win the World Series. After winning 101 games over nine years with the Phillies, the team traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee, and Vicente Padilla in 2000.
In 2001 and 2002, Schilling won more than 20 games each season, finishing second to teammate Randy Johnson in Cy Young voting each year. Schilling was instrumental in Arizona’s winning the World Series against the New York Yankees in 2001.
After joining the Red Sox in 2004, Schilling again led his team to the World Series, breaking an 86-year old curse. And who could forget the famous bloody sock?
The Phillies’ haul for Schilling never did much—at least not as much as Schilling did for Arizona and Boston.
Gio Gonzalez to Chicago White Sox
It’s been a crazy ride for Gio Gonzalez, a former 2004 first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox. One year after being drafted, the Chisox sent Gonzalez to the Phillies as part of a trade for Jim Thome (who was replaced on the Phillies by Ryan Howard). Unhappy with the treasure it picked up, the Phillies sent Gonzalez back to the White Sox almost one year later to the day. Along with Gavin Floyd, who went on to win 17 games in 2008, the trade netted Freddy Garcia in return for the Fightin’ Phils.
Garcia was 11-11 with a 6.05 ERA in his one year with the Phillies while Gonzalez went on to win 129 games (so far) in his tenure with the White Sox, Athletics, Nationals, and Brewers.
Fergie Jenkins to Chicago Cubs
Long-suffering Phillies fans will never—and I mean never—forget 1966 as the year the team traded Ferguson Jenkins to the Cubs (along with John Herrnstein and Adolfo Phillips) for Bob Buehl and Larry Jackson.
One-sided trade? Jenkins, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991, won 284 games in his career with the Cubs, Rangers, and Red Sox. Along with those 284 wins, there’s a matter of 3,192 strikeouts, a 1971 Cy Young Award, and three All-Star appearances.
For the record, Bob Buehl went 6-8 with a 4.93 ERA in his brief Phillies career while Larry Jackson had a decent run with his new team going 41-45 with a 2.95 ERA.