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2000 Philadelphia Phillies

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[edit] 2000 Philadelphia Phillies / Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies / BR Team Page

Record: 65-97, Finished 5th in NL Eastern Division (2000 NL)

Managed by Terry Francona

Coaches: Galen Cisco, Chuck Cottier, Ramon Henderson, Hal McRae, Brad Mills and John Vukovich

Ballpark: Veterans Stadium

[edit] History, Comments, Contributions

"Bring It On!"

That was the marketing slogan for the 2000 Philadelphia Phillies. After six consecutive losing seasons, the team seemed prepared to take a giant leap forward. The first step in the process was bringing back two former pitchers who had gone on to greater success elsewhere. All-Star starting pitcher Andy Ashby, who had broken in with the Phils in 1991, came in a major deal with the San Diego Padres that saw Adam Eaton, Carlton Loewer, and Steve Montgomery head west. With Curt Schilling expected to miss the season's first month after off-season shoulder surgery, it was hoped that Ashby would hold down the fort in the meantime. Mike Jackson, who made his debut with the club in 1986, signed on to be the closer. Yet another familiar face, second baseman Mickey Morandini, was acquired from the Montreal Expos at the end of Spring Training when it was determined that Marlon Anderson needed some more seasoning in the minors. As the season began, the Phillies had hopes of challenging for a playoff spot, or at the very least, finishing above .500 for the first time since 1993.

What was supposed to be a renaissance season quickly dissolved into the Dark Ages as the Phillies played horribly from the get-go. They were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in their opening series, and by the time the calendar turned to May, the team was 7-17, 11 games out of first. Aside from a 14-5 stretch from June 16-July 5, the remainder of the season was no better. The end result was a 65-97 record, the franchise's worst since 1972. Only the aforementioned three-week hot streak saved the Phils from what would have been their first 100-loss campaign since 1961.

Not helping matters was the fact that all three of the team's major acquisitions ended up being non-factors. From Day One, Ashby was either unwilling or unable to fit in, and he went 4-7 with a 5.68 ERA. Ashby would be traded to the Atlanta Braves in July, three weeks after a poor outing against the Milwaukee Brewers at Veterans Stadium led to a verbal confrontation with some fans. Jackson never even had a Day One. He injured his shoulder warming up in the bullpen during the third game of the season and spent the entire year on the disabled list without appearing in a single game. Morandini hit just .252 and had lost considerable range at second base in the two years he'd been away from Philadelphia. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in August and retired the following spring.

As for the rest of the team, Schilling went 6-6 upon his return. On July 26, with the team going nowhere fast, the Phillies traded their ace to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee, and Vicente Padilla, a deal met with harsh criticism. Paul Byrd, a 15-game winner in 1999, went 2-9 with a 6.51 ERA, and ended up spending most of the season on the disabled list. Bright spots in the rotation included Robert Person, who picked up right where he left off after a strong finish in 1999, going 9-7 with a 3.63 ERA. Randy Wolf was the staff's only double-digit winner, going 11-9 in his first full season. In fact, of all Phillies pitchers to appear in more than five games, only Person, Wolf, and Cliff Politte (4-3) finished with winning records. Bruce Chen, acquired in the Ashby deal, pitched well despite a 3-4 record. Daal went 2-9 as a Phillie after going 2-10 in Arizona. Bryan Ward fashioned a 2.33 ERA in 20 relief appearances, but was inexplicably sent to the minors after the Schilling trade, then given his outright release when he complained about it. Jeff Brantley saved 23 games, but was a horrific 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA doing so. Wayne Gomes filled in when Brantley was unavailable and struggled in the role, but was passable as a setup man. In all, the Phillies used 27 pitchers over the course of the season, with the vast majority being of little use.

The position players also had a high turnover. In addition to Morandini, three other regular starters were sent packing between July 29 and August 5. Ron Gant, who hit 20 home runs (but incredibly had just 38 RBI) was shipped to the Anaheim Angels for Kent Bottenfield; Desi Relaford, who hit just .221 while struggling greatly in the field, went to San Diego for David Newhan; and Rico Brogna, limited to just 38 games after breaking his wrist in May, was claimed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox.

As can be expected, several players had subpar seasons. Doug Glanville stole 31 bases, but hit .275, 50 points lower than his 1999 average. Anderson hit just .221 after his recall in August. Lee hit .239 with one home run after coming over from Arizona. The bench, which had performed more than respectably in 1999, was an abomination in 2000. Alex Arias saw his average drop from .303 to .187. Kevin Jordan hit .220, down 65 points from the previous season. Rob Ducey, who was traded to Toronto in July then reacquired for Morandini less than two weeks later, hit .197 after hitting .261 in 1999. Amazingly, backup catcher Tom Prince, who hit .238, had the highest batting average of any reserve with more than 100 at-bats.

There were some bright spots, however. Mike Lieberthal made his second straight All-Star Game appearance, but missed the final two months of the season with an ankle injury sustained in a home plate collision with Bernie Williams at Yankee Stadium. In 108 games, Lieberthal hit .278 with 15 home runs and 71 RBI. Scott Rolen, though limited to 128 games with recurring back problems and a sprained ankle, hit .298 with a team-high 26 homers and 89 RBI while winning his second Gold Glove. Bobby Abreu hit .316 with 25 homers and 79 RBI. Top prospect Pat Burrell arrived on the scene after Brogna's injury and hit .260 with 18 homers and 79 RBI in 111 games. After filling in at first base, Burrell moved to left field when Gant was traded, with Lee taking over at first. Another highly-touted prospect, Jimmy Rollins, hit .321 while immediately being penciled in as the starting shortstop in a September callup.

When the 2000 season began, the Philadelphia Phillies puffed out their chests and challenged the rest of the league to "Bring It On!" When it ended, they retreated with their tails between their legs. The bulk of the home schedule was played in front of sparse and often apathetic crowds. On the last day of the season, it was announced that manager Terry Francona would be given his walking papers. He was joined by bench coach Chuck Cottier, pitching coach Galen Cisco, hitting instructor Hal McRae, and first base coach Brad Mills.

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