Who were those 2005 Phillies and how did they become the 2008 Phillies? Part 2 of a series.
Rheal Cormier/Aaron Fultz - Topps Total #667Cormier appeared in 363 games for the Phillies, all in relief, from 2001 into 2006. He was 28-21 with 2 saves. In 2006, he was traded to the Reds for Justin Germano. Germano didn't pitch for the Phillies at all and was picked off waivers by the Padres in 2007. Fultz was 7-1 in 128 relief appearances with the Phillies in 2005-2006. He was a free agent at the end of 2006. No impact by either of these two guys on the 2008 Phillies,
Geoff Geary - 2006 Upper Deck #739
Another relief specailist, Geary was 13-4 with 1 save for the Phillies in 216 appearances. Geary was traded to the Astros after the 2007 season with Michael Bourn for Eric Brunlett and Brad Lidge. Its hard to underestimate Lidge's value to the 2008 team so, while Geary had no direct impact on the 2008 Phillies, the Phillies got a good deal for him which really helped the club.
Ryan Howard - Ultra Gold Medalion #213
Ryan who? Howard was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2005. In 2006 he won the NL Hank Aaron Award, was the Major League Player of the Year and the NL MVP. But what have you done for me lately? In 2008, he hit 48 home runs, a .251 average, and 146 RBIs in 700 plate appearances. He was runner up for the NL MVP. In the playoffs he was pretty quite until the World Series. He hit 3 homers in the World Series. Clearly, one of the reasons for the Phillies 2008 success.
Jon Lieber - Topps Total Silver #179
Lieber was 29-30 as a starter for the Phillies from 2005-2007. He was a free agent after the 2007 season.
Cory Lidle - Topps Total Silver #429
Lidle was 26-20 with the Phillies from 2004-2006. In July of 2006, he was traded with Bobby Abreu to the Yankees for 4 players who have yet to play for the Phillies. The sad part of this story is that Lidle was killed in October 2006 when the small plane he was piloting crashed into a New York City apartment building.
Mike Lieberthal - Leather & Lumber #99
Lieberthal was the Phillies #1 draft pick in 1990. He made it to the Phillies in 1994, the year after their 1993 World Series bid. He played for a lot of bad Phillies teams until the team started to get good, right about 2005. He was not signed after the 2006 season and became a free agent, signing with the Dodgers, appearing in only 38 games for the Dodgers in 2007. In a nice gesture, the Phillies signed him to a one-day contract on June 1, 2008. He threw out the first pitch and retired. Other than perhaps an emotional impact he had no impact on the 2008 Phillies.
Tim Worrell/Pedro Liriano - Topps Total #592
Worrell was pretty much at the end of his career when the Phillies signed him in 2004 and in 2005 they traded him to the Diamondbacks for Matt Kata, who in turned was picked off waivers by the Reds. Liriano was also at the end of his career (all 2 years of it) in 2005, appearing in 5 games in relief.
Kenny Lofton - Donruss Team Heroes #343
Between 2002 and 2007 (his final year), Lofton played for 9 different teams. He was with the Phillies for 110 games in 2005. He hit .335 for the Phillies and stole 22 bases. He was a free agent at the end of the season and signed with the Dodgers for 2006. By 2008, it was hard to remember that Lofton had been with the team.
Ryan Madson - Fleer Tradition #142
Madson was the Phillies 9th round draft pick in 1998 and made the club in 2003. Since 2003 he has mainly been used as a middle reliever. He was a starter in 2006 with an 11-9 record. In 2008, he appeared in 76 games with an ERA of 3.05, a 4-2 record and 1 save. He appeared in 11 games in the playoffs, winning a game against the Dodgers in the NLCS. It's hard for me to judge how important Madson was to the 2008 Phillies, since I don't ofter get to see them play. But, considering he appeared in a lot of games, Manuel must have had confidence in him.
Charlie Manuel - Topps Traded #87
How important is a manager to the success of a club? I'm not going to try and answer that ages old baseball question. Under Terry Francona from 1997 to 2000, the Phillies were a sub-.500 club. Of course, Francona went on to be a genuis in Boston. Larry Bowa took over the team from 2001 through 2004. The Phillies were 86-76 for three of those years. Close enough to almost make a wild-card spot. Under Manual they've been better. 88-74 in 2005, 89-73 and the NL East in 2007, and 92-70 and the World Series in 2008. My opinion is that the Phillies as a team were getting better with guys like Howard and Hamels maturing. I think a manager can have an important role in that sort of development. Larry Bowa was probably the wrong man for the job.