5.) The Rebuild is in Full Effect
Prior to this past season, the Phillies farm system was one of, if not, the most depleted in all of baseball. The only prospects of note were shortstop J.P. Crawford and starting pitcher Aaron Nola. Both were making strides in their progress, but it was Nola that found his road to the majors accelerated. Nola was projected to reach the big leagues once rosters expanded to 40 men in September. However, a grossly underperforming rotation, and the eventual trade of staff ace Cole Hamels, saw Nola’s path to the Phillies suddenly become a straight shot ahead.
Speaking of the Hamels trade, that greatly accelerated any rebuilding process. The Phillies walked away with a “king’s ransom” from that trade, including three top-fifty prospects in catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams, and starting pitcher Jake Thompson. In addition, the team also received starting pitcher Alec Asher, and veteran starter Matt Harrison.
After the trade of Hamels, Amaro continued to push forward into crystal clear “rebuild mode”, by dealing the “face” of the Phillies franchise, Chase Utley. The longtime second baseman for the Phillies, was able to fetch a pair of prospects highlighted by Darnell Sweeney. Utley finished his career in Philly, ranked in the top 10 of multiple offensive categories (6th in home runs, 9th in hits, and 7th in RBIs).
Before the movement of Utley and Hamels, long-time shortstop Jimmy Rollins was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers back in the winter of 2014. In exchange for the 15-year veteran, the Phils acquired pitching prospects Tom Windle, and Zach Eflin. Rollins was considered to be one of the driving forces behind the 2008 World Series team, and is well-known for his comments declaring the Phillies as “the team to beat” in the NL East back before the 2007 season.
Following the trades of three Philadelphia sports “icons”, and the emergence of a number of prospects (Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco) the Phillies future suddenly looks a lot brighter than it once did.