The most forgettable and least impactful Phillies of the decade
Some dark nights
There were some dark nights for the Phillies this decade. Everybody is picking their All-Decade teams, and we will too for the Phillies on Monday. But today, let's remember the least impactful Phillies of the last 10 years. The most forgettable Phils. Guys who disappointed you, disappeared quickly, were here for just a brief stay or who you don't even remember being here.
Going alphabetically, we begin with Mike Adams, who was symbolic of a decade-long trend for the Phils.
Sadly, Mike Adams was damaged goods by the time he arrived in Philadelphia in 2013. The Phils hoped they were getting the elite reliever from the San Diego Padres but Adams had undergone surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and was just never the same. He needed shoulder surgery by July 2013.
He made 50 appearances total over two seasons with the Phillies, posting a 3.50 ERA. In his four prior seasons in San Diego, he had a 1.66 ERA.
It was part of a decade-long trend for the Phillies, spanning two front offices: big contracts for aging relievers who couldn't recapture their past performance. David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, David Hernandez, Pat Neshek to an extent because of health-related reasons.
The Phillies have had no luck with free-agent relievers in recent years. In the rotation, it happened with Charlie Morton and Clay Buchholz.
Who will even remember Joey Bats was a Phillie? I'd wager that a lot of Phillies fans don't even remember he was a Phillie. He was here for 27 games and hit two homers with a .404 on-base percentage. His Phils tenure is remembered as much as Russell Branyan's.
I regret not asking Bautista why he follows a billion people on Twitter.
Think about how different this decade could have been for the Phillies if Brown panned out? If he became the yearly 30- to 35-home run hitter it looked at one point like he could become?
Brown did not turn into a star. It turned out that he wasn't even a major-league regular. Years from now, it will be a weird experience for a young baseball fan unfamiliar with Brown who stumbles upon his Baseball-Reference page. Wait, this guy hit 27 homers and made an All-Star team in 2013 and then was totally out of the league within two years?
Yes. And this guy was ranked ahead of Mike Trout by Baseball America at the beginning of the decade.
I always loved me some A.J. Burnett. The big fastball, the knuckle-curve, the strikeouts, the tats. For some reason, his one year in Philadelphia was totally unlike the surrounding three years of his career.
After Burnett's days were over with the Yankees, he went to Pittsburgh for two years (2012-13) and he was really good. He had a 3.41 ERA over 61 starts and led the NL in strikeouts per nine innings in 2013.
The Phillies, on the eve of spring training 2014, signed Burnett in a last-ditch effort to contend with their aging core. Burnett delivered one of the most forgettable seasons ever from a Phillies starting pitcher, going 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA and leading the majors in losses, earned runs and walks.
And then, of course, Burnett went back to Pittsburgh and was awesome in 2015, his final season, pitching to a 3.18 ERA and making the only All-Star team of his 17-year career.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
Tragically, Gonzalez died in a car accident in Cuba in November 2017, two weeks after Roy Halladay. Gonzalez was just 34 years old.
His big-league career had already ended.
During a period when players from Cuba were defecting and making a major impact (Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig), the Phillies struck out with Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was highly coveted in the international market, and the Phillies initially won his services with a six-year, $48 million contract.
The Phillies grew concerned with the condition of Gonzalez' arm during his physical and ultimately signed him to a revised, three-year, $12 million deal.
He made no impact, as a starter or as a reliever, failing to make the team out of spring training in 2014 and 2015, and was removed from the 40-man roster within 18 months.
Hernandez was the only player the Phillies signed to a major-league contract in 2015, Matt Klentak's first offseason as GM. Hernandez entered the season with a good chance to either close or play a pivotal high-leverage role, and that plan went awry from Day 1.
On opening day, Hernandez walked two, allowed a double, and all three runs scored in an ugly five-run eighth in a loss to the Reds.
He did then pitch well for two months before going south in mid-June. He had a 3.84 ERA here, then a 2.80 ERA for the Diamondbacks, Angels and Reds the next two seasons.
Maybe the least impactful Phillie of the decade? Sandberg managed this team for parts of three seasons and left zero memories beyond the White Towel game.
Like, what was the identity of the Sandberg teams? What was the personality?
And then he bailed.
That period from 2013 through 2015, man, was that an abyss.
Here's a good look at why things went so poorly during Sandberg's run.
Lest we forget "The Condor." Saunders was signed after 2016 to be a starting corner outfielder and middle-of-the-order bat for the Phillies. He had just made an All-Star team with the Blue Jays, hitting .298/.372/.551 with 16 homers in the first half of 2016.
Saunders was terrible after the All-Star break with the Jays in '16 and it turned out that was closer to what the Phillies got the next year. He hit .205 in 214 plate appearances and was released before the end of June. He made $8 million for that one season.
A former MVP-caliber player ruined by injuries who came here in a comeback attempt. He had a few impressive nights, showing off the sweet swing or outfield defense that made him a three-time All-Star in Cleveland a decade earlier, but Sizemore was nothing more than an extra man at that point. He was with the Phillies for part of 2014 and 2015 but injuries robbed him of effectiveness six years earlier.
In 99 games with the Phils, Sizemore hit .250/.304/.354 with three dingers.
Strictly as the pitching coach, Young had no tangible positive impact in 2019 and that experiment ended nearly as quickly as Juan Castillo's run as Eagles defensive coordinator.