A retrospective look at the Phillies Trades

It is certainly time appropriate to review the Phillies trades over the last several years, looking at how players progressed (or didn’t) since they were traded.


Mike Costanzo, Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary for Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett. As a Phillies fan, they is simply no way that you can complain about this trade even with Lidge’s injury woes. Lidge’s 2008 was right up there with the top closer performances in history and the Phillies, very possibly, may not have won the Series without him.  Bourn has grown up to be an All Star caliber CF and a game changer on the bases. Mike Costanzo, now 27, and a former 2nd round pick of the Phillies in 2005 is playing AAA ball in the Reds organization, and is suffering through many of the same problems he did with the Phillies organization.  He does not project as a major league player and actually spent time in the Independent Atlantic League last season.


Adrian Cardenas, Matt Spencer, and Josh Outman for Joe Blanton: Cardenas, 23, is playing with AAA Scaramento and is hitting .293/.368/.402 in 353 AB’s. He has 4 HR and 33 RBI’s to go along with 5 SB’s this season. Spencer, 25, an OF with playing for the AA Tennessee Smokies is at .260/.326/.462 with 13 HR and 60 RBI and was named a Southern League All Star this season.  Outman, 26, has seen time during three seasons for the A’s and this season, Outman was 7-1 with a 3.49 ERA with AAA Sacramento, to go along with 3-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 8 starts for Oakland.  Gotta give a slight edge to Oakland on this one, although Blanton did get the job done in 2008 when needed.

Brian Schlitter for Scott Eyre–Just a minor deal but the two plus solid years that Eyre gave the Phils, give them the advantage on this deal, as Schlitter while getting a cup of coffee in the majors, has been injury plagued.


Greg Golson for John Mayberry–Golson has seen a bit of time with the Yankees in 2009, 2010 and this year but has seen far less major league time then Mayberry. Golson, 25, is currently at AAA Scranton hitting .280/.341/.411 with 6HR and 27 RBI to go along with 10 SB’s in 277 AB’s. As we know, Mayberry is playing semi regularly for the Phils and has stepped forward this season, cutting down his strikeouts to an extent where Mayberry will probably be an extra OF with the Phils for the forseeable future.

Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, and Lou Marson for Cliff Lee–Donald, 26, spent most of last season with the Indians, hitting .253/.312/.378 in 250 plus AB’s. THis season he has been stuck at AAA Columbus .310/.397/.448 with 4 HR and 15 RBI’s, after coming back from early season injuries.  DOnald still projects as a major league super utility guy.  Carrasco, still only 24, has become a mainstay in the Indians rotation, going 8-9 with a 4.67 ERA in 20 starts this season. Lou Marson, 25, has spent considerable time in the majors since the trade and is hitting .237/.287/.336 in 131 AB’s as the Indians back up catcher this year. Jason Knapp, 20, has thrown just 13 games over his 3 years in the Indians organization due to injury and has been out all season this season.


Michael Taylor, Travis D’Arnaud, and Kyle Drabek for Roy Halladay–Taylor, 25, was flipped to the A’s organization by the BlueJays and has been stuck at AAA over the last two years, hitting .284/.367/.483 with 12 HR and 47 RBI’s this year for AAA Sacrament0. D’Arnaud, 22, a catcher, is playing for New Hampshire, Toronto’s AA affiliate this season and is raking it at .319/.389/.543 with 14 HR and 49 RBI’s in 304 AB’s. Drabek,23, was the centerpeice of the deal and made 3 starts for Toronto last year. He started this season in the BlueJays rotation and had a rough go of it, at 4-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 12 starts. Drabek has continued to struggle in 8 starts for AAA Las vegas going 2-2 with a 6.93 ERA. Clear win for the Phils.  You can’t put a price tag on Halladay, even with the upside of this group.

Cliff Lee for Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and JC Ramirez–This is tough to gauge as Lee is back with the Phils, but Gillies has been a total disappointment.  Aumont has shown some promise as a reliever and Ramirez some promise in the AA rotation.

Anthony Gose, Jonathan Villar and JA Happ for Roy OswaltGose, 20, was the Phils 2nd rd pick in 2008 and continues to show incredible speed while struggling at times at the plate.  For AA New Hamshire, Gose is hitting .253/.349/.399 with 10 HR 46 RBI and 48 SB’s.  His prospect status continues to grow. Gose was flipped to the Toronto organization. Villar, a 20 year old SS, is playing AA ball at Corpus Christi and is hitting .234/.299/.422 with 7 HR 19 RBI and 7 SB’s in 192 AB’s after getting called up from High A ball. Happ, 28, was the player fans were most concerned about losing after pitching well for the Phillies.  Happ is 4-13 with a 6.01 ERA in 21 starts for Houston this year.


Sergio Escalona for Albert Cartwright–Cartwright, a AA 2B has not played an inning in the Phils organization. Escalona, 26, has been a LOOGY in the Astros bullpen all year and pitched well going 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 37 games.  With the problems the Phils have had finding a dependable 2nd lefty in the ‘pen, this is a loss, although a minor one for the Phils.

Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid, and PTBNL for Hunter Pence– Two named rumored to be on “the list” are Lisaberto Bonilla and Lendy Castillo for PTBNL.

62 thoughts on “A retrospective look at the Phillies Trades

  1. Good article, Gregg. Although I must point out that Cardenas is 23 until October, not 25.

      1. He already made the correction I believe. That’s staying on top of things.

        Cardenas is finally hitting at AAA, and he’s still young enough, but he’s listed on milb as a DH. If he can’t even play 2B anymore he probably won’t have much of a major league career.

  2. The A’s won the Blanton trade. On what merit do you draw that conclusion? File that one under ‘not even close’.
    Not a Blanton guy but 3 prospects, one who’s even sniffing the majors vs a starter who won a game in the World Series? Not even close.

    1. No they didn’t.

      Blanton helped the Phillies win a World Series, and he won a game IN the World Series. His ensuing 3 year contract looks like a mistake.

      Cardenas hasn’t made it to the majors and is a utility player in the future. Outman is barely a 5th starter. Spencer is long gone from the As org.

      1. I think you guys are mainly in agreement. I think he is disagreeing with your point of “gotta give the A’s the edge on this one”.

        1. Yeah we were mainly in agreement – sorry if my response was missing a few verbs here and there.

          Main point – the A’s didn’t win that trade, no matter how you look at it.

      2. Blanton has become an anchor. Lots of pitchers could of helped the phils . We was sorta useful as an innings eater but even that is done along with a lot of money. I would love to see Cardenas back as util but don’t think so.

        1. You can’t judge the trade by including the ridiculous contract RAJ offered Blanton 2 years down the road, b/c one has nothing to do with the other. Gilllick brough Blanton in to sure up the rotation for 2008, something he did quite well.

          The ensuing contract may have proven to be a mistake, however the deal was clearly a win from the Phillies point of view.

      3. Outmam before his surgery was better then a five. We still win know matter what but I think if not the injury he becomes a solid three and may still

    2. I don’t see a loser on that trade. I disagree that Outman is “barely a 5th starter”, he’s performed more like a 3-4 who’s dealt with injuries. Cardenas still looks like a major leaguer, even if just as utility/2nd division starter.

      They gave up Joe Blanton, so I don’t think they could expect much more than that. Blanton nas since ate innings for the Phillies, and made one good start in the WS. He’s also made a couple bad a starts in the post season, so, uh, there’s that too.

      No winner, just two teams that can’t really complain.

    1. I agree. When they said marginal I thought it would be someone with seemingly less promise.

    2. Just newspaper speculation from the looks of it; nobody has a copy of the list outside of the two front offices. I’d be surprised but not shocked if Bonilla was on it–he’s clearly the second best pitching prospect on the team from what we’ve seen and heard from scouts, and you’d think the Astros would simply have named him and been done with it.

  3. Blanton was really good down the stretch in 08 and won games in the playoffs, hard to call that trade a loss for the Phils. Trade was good, decision to give him the 3 year deal afterwards, not so much.

  4. I had no idea that Escalona was in the big leagues, let alone pitching effectively. That trade was kind of a “huh?” move at the time, and is even more so now, considering as you point out the dearth of lefthanded relievers in the Phillies’ system (and every system). Case in point: as I write these words Franzke just said that Juan Perez is up and warming up in the late innings of a close game. I’m trying to remember now–was Escalona offloaded because of a 40-man thing? Regardless, a small loss, but hard to figure nonetheless.

  5. Good article. Blanton IMO is a loss when you consider that he’s been available to pitch only sporadically probably due to his failure to take conditioning seriously. Further, he is eating at least $7 million salary per year while proving his incompetence when he does pitch.

    He is on the DL for virtually all of this season and a lot of last season.

    Can’t wait ’til he is gone…taking home million$ of undeserved money that could be spent elsewhere…like signing draft picks and Hispanic finds.

    IMO, that is a loss with some possibilities of help for those we traded on their new team.

    1. like that….’failure to take conditioning seriously. Further, he is eating at least $7 million salary per year ‘….evidently the dough is weighing him down.

  6. Blanton has been a good pitcher for us when healthy. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been healthy enough the last two years. Throw that innings eater tag right out the window.

  7. It is very hard for me to understand how a logical mind can consider the Blanton trade a loss for the Phillies. If you think that was a loss, you do not understand concept of trading. Of ALL of the trades the Phillies have made since 2008, the Blanton trade is THE one that is a clear win for the Phillies.

    Lidge trade: Push. (both teams got more than what they wanted)
    Blanton trade: Phillies win, and it’s not even close (forget the ring, look are the WAR)
    C Lee trade #1: Push. Lee got the NL Pennant, Carrasco is a cost controlled #2-3.
    C Lee trade #2: Loss. May have cost another title, for 6 years of Aumont in relief.
    Halladay trade: Undetermined, but looks like a win.
    RoyOswalt trade: Push. If Gose becomes a good regular, loss.

    1. I think I understand the concept of trading. And I think the author of this article does too. It was not a “clear win”, even if, you know, you really really really think so.

      1. Joe Blanton: Win in game 4 of 08 Division series. Win in game 4 of 08 WS. 4.1 WAR during his cost controlled 08 an 09 seasons.

        Outman, Cardenas and Spenser: Career WAR 2.1 combined.

        Worth more wins than those guys, based on advanced metrics and a WS flag that would not be flying if they kept those guys instead of trading for Blanton.


        1. You’re dealing with prospects who are still beginning potential major league careers. What good is counting WAR since Outman hasn’t been able to pitch much and Cardenas is still in AAA? Both guys have a chance to make the majors and would drastically alter their WAR.

          1. “… Outman hasn’t been able to pitch much and Cardenas is still in AAA”

            You said it.

            Those are 2 of the reasons that the trade was a win for the Phillies.

            1. Well using WAR doesn’t help you make that point. Both guys are still prospects and could make the A’s happy with the trade eventually. Although from a Phillies standpoint, I think we have to be happy with the trade already.

        2. Yep, not a convincing argument A-VOR. Outman and Cardenas still project to be productive Major League contributors even if they haven’t yet fully established themselves. Using WAR is almost totally irrelevant. For some perspective, I doubt you’ll find many people taking bets the Astros see more WAR in the next year or 2 out of their haul for Pence than the Philies do. can we agree that also isn’t very relevant?

          Furthermore, I am extremely curious what a reference to the Phillies winning the trade because they hoisted a WS flag is about. I suppose you must be referencing that the As didn’t. I mean, this is a “who won” between 2 teams, isn’t it? Why do the As lose any more because they haven’t won a series? Do you think that was their goal with this trade?

          Whatever the case, I think at this point it is safe to question your logic, and further, your understanding of the “concept of trading.”

          1. WAR is relevant because it has been 3 years since those guys were traded. Outman was in AAA and Cardenas was on his way to AA. Outman should have at least 2 full seasons and Cardenas should have at least 1 season worth of data. Neither one has done a thing (injured or not). How is it possible to say 3 players who have done nothing for 3 years (and do not project to be impact players) have provided more value than a guy who started and won multiple playoff/WS games. Ludicrous.

            1. You’re still hung up on value already provided. I guess that’s the beef here. Given your very definitive statements I’m not sure this will get through, but the As received 3 prospects, 2 of whom are still very relevant pieces of their plans (btw, that’s a good ratio). That they haven’t provided more WAR yet is not at all relevant. One might even call it LUDICROUS to measure it that way. They are still prospects and the last 3 years have only shown that they aren’t total wastes of time, and may still hold some good value (in my esteemed opinion, Outman more than Cardenas, but whatev)

              Whatever the case, the phillies have gotten reasonable if eminently replaceable production from their end. Yes Joe Blanton had a pair of decent 08 postseason starts, and has given us 350+ “competent” (barely) regular season innings. But before you build a shrine to the round one, I would point out, he has also made 4 quite bad postseason starts (and 2 bad relief appearances to boot!). And he spiked RAJ’s drinks for long enough to get a 24 million dollar contract out of him. Which has been just a dandy investment.

              We won a WS. Joe Blanton was on the team, and may have even made a difference (to win one, and lose another, right?). the As got prospects, 1 of whom is still prospect-ish, 1 of whom has shown to be a competent big league pitcher with the potential for more, and the potential to break.

              Clear win? nah. Clear loss? still nope. Do I and “gregg” possess logic? Do we, and other like-minds, possess an understanding of the “concept of trading? yep. still feeling ok about that.

            2. Sorry, but to say the trade wasn’t a win for the Phillies is ludicrous. The Phillies didn’t coast to the 2008 division title. They won by three games, clinched on game 161. Take away Blanton and plug Kendrick or Eaton back in and they may not even reach the playoffs. Ditto the playoffs and World Series. And what does that World Championship matter? As a long time fan the difference in fan interest and attendance is ASTRONOMICAL. Night and day.

              You can nitpick, study the numbers and break down Blanton all you want. But they don’t win the World Series without him. If Outman and become stars, that makes it a win-win trade.

            3. Totally forgot about the disaster that was Adam Eaton. The Phillies wouldn’t have made the playoffs in ’08 without Blanton, let alone the World Series.

    2. I don’t see what Gose becoming a good regular does to make the Oswalt trade look like a loss… that guy out pitched Halladay down the stretch and pitched us into the post season.

        1. Last time I checked, the Braves were ahead of us in the standings and Oswalt was un hittable down the stretch. Unlikely they would have gotten 7-1 with a sub 2 era from JA Happ.

      1. I agree. It may turn out to be a win/ win for both teams – but it’s clearly a win for the Phils right now b/c of the value they received last year.

    3. “C Lee trade #1: Push. Lee got the NL Pennant, Carrasco is a cost controlled #2-3.”

      Even if they only had him for a half-season that year, Cliff Lee for an injured arm, two subs and a No. 2 starter is not a push. It’s highway robbery.

      1. I totally understand anyone that sees the Cliff Lee trade with Cleveland as a win, because I thought it was highway robbery at the time too. I don’t think it is now.
        Phillies: Half year of a dominant #1, B Francisco, (+ flipped for Aumont and JCRamirez)
        Indians: 6 years of a #2-3 pitcher, plus 6 years of reserves’ Marson and Donald.

        I don’t see that as close return.

      2. Carrasco is nowhere close to a #2-3 pitcher. If his numbers qualify as a #2 than Kyle Kendrick is a staff ace.

        The Lee deal was a win for the Phillies because without that 1/2 season experience in Philly in 09, Cliff Lee would probably be a Yankee today rather than wanting to return.

  8. I realize you need a cut-off point, but if you go back to December, 2006, there is that wonderful Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez trade to the White Sox. Has to be one of the top ten worst Phillies trades in the modern era. Floyd has been solid, if not spectacular. Gio, although flipped to the A’s, has been terrific. As to Garcia…..

    1. This is, by far, the worst trade in recent history hands down. Utterly needless, amazingly bad, and totally without planning. On top of all of it, Garcia would not have passed a physical if the Phillies had him undertake one. But they skipped that step.

      People are quick to forget Floyd because, being paired with Cole Hamels, he got eclipsed around twenty times. But the Thome trade brought his prospects, the last trade to do so. And the man who just entered the baseball hall of fame traded him away for a one year rental who didn’t last months. Horrid. And ignored in talk about the Phillies.

      1. I wouldn’t call it needless- the Phillies could have really used a front of the rotation starter that year. That’s what Garcia was advertised as. But not making him take a physical: just dumb. Dumb.

      2. The Garcia trade was so truly bad it defies belief. If he was intent on flipping Floyd for someone with more experience, so be it. But Freddy Garcia? With no physical? Someone had pictures of Gillick in the White Sox organization to make him agree to that head scratcher.

  9. The Blanton contract extension is on the Phils. It was not a part of the trade with the A’s, so you can’t include that in your opinion of the actual deal.

  10. There ia no good place for this comment… So here goes. How does Atlanta get Bourn from the Astros and not give up more that what they did? How did they hold on to their top pitching prospects and we couldn’t? Is Pence worth that much more than Bourn? I know we had little interest in Bourn, but with the available OF diminishing couldn’t the Astros turn that into a Trehan As it does look like Bourn fits nicely into their lineup.

    1. ed wade loves and hates the phil’s, seeing as how we were given a mil to take on pence. bottom line so far, is its a win fo da phils. while singleton is very very, young the man is not hitting for power right now. cosart is a gamble like every pitching prospect and he is still at high-a so only time will tell. love the fact that they kept worely dispite the rough outing, the kid has been outstanding since the recall.

  11. I also don’t like the Abreu trade. Gillick always talks about how it allowed other guys like Utley and Rollins to take over, but to get nothing for Abreu and Lidle is bad. We should have had a couple nice pieces on our team right now as a result of that trade. Abreu was a star and Lidle was a decent starting pitcher.

  12. was replying to political statement by anonymous but the comment disappeared. must have been erased.

  13. Having seen Pence up close(TV) he exhibits a lot of the strange awkwardness but athletic moves that we had seen in Jason Werth. It is almost like they were looking for a cheaper copy.

    I could see Mitchell on the Phils next year as a fifth or injury replacement.
    Good job by Dugan. I am sure a little success will stoke the winter fires.

    1. You might want to look at Mitchell over the last 10 – 15 games. The wheels have fallen off. .094 in last 10. He needs a couple of days off to clear his head or possible he’s injured. This time of year the little nicks take their toll. He won’t be in Philly next year. He still has one more level to conquer. By the way, I’m a big Mitchell supporter on this site so I’m not down on him. I’m just being realistic.

      1. D. Mitch will be in another org next year—-rule 5 minor guy. Can’t see a small marjkret team passing on him—–his physical make-up and possible potential attract scouts.

  14. Mitchells contract is up after this year, Im willing to beat the phillies re-sign him he had a good season up till now, he’s just not seeing it right now they all go through it . Mitchell has to much up side to let him go remember he can play infield to he’s a great fielder he just lost confidence in his throwing. Mitchell stays 4 or 5 outfielder.

    1. I believe the Phillies will need to put him on the 40-man roster to avoid losing him nrxy year—maybe I am wrong.

  15. im not sure how people can say this is not a win for the phillies…….Gillick made a trade to help us win a world series..we did…..its plan and simple folks….thats why we be love this team and all sports, to win the big one and Blanton helped us that yr to win it…….those 3 prospects are nothing but prospects still 3 yrs later……total win for us…

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