2015 Philadelphia Phillies
2015 Philadelphia Phillies / Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies / BR Team Page
The 2015 Philadelphia Phillies were a team in trouble from the start of the season. Having traded long-time shortstop Jimmy Rollins in the off-season, they headed into spring training with speculation swirling about when the team's last few starts from the 2008 championship squad - 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley and P Cole Hamels would be traded. Closer Jonathan Papelbon stirred the pot some more by stating that it had been a mistake for him to join the team and hinting that he wanted out.
When play started, the Phils quickly sank to the bottom of the NL East standings and began to be distanced. The only bright light was rookie 3B Maikel Franco, who was among the top sluggers in the National League in June. Little good it did manager Ryne Sandberg. On June 26th, he announced his resignation before a game against the Washington Nationals, explaining: "I do not like to lose, I hate to lose. I think that's the biggest thing that weighed on me. I felt it was better now than later, for myself, my family, the organization.". The team had a record of 26-48 at the time. He was replaced on an interim basis by coach Pete Mackanin. They ended the first half with a record of 29-62, setting a team record for most losses before the All-Star break. Another change took place a couple of days after Sandberg's departure, when veteran executive Andy MacPhail was brought on board as successor to team President [[Pat GGillick], who was set to retire at the end of the season.
After a dreadful first half, the Phillies came out of the gate re-born in the second half, as they won nine of their first ten games, with OF Jeff Francoeur twice contributing game-winning homers in that span. One of the games was a no-hitter thrown by Cole Hamels against the Chicago Cubs on July 25th, while rumors of his imminent trade to a contender were all over the newspapers. The expected roster shake-up began on July 28th with the trade of Papelbon to the Washington Nationals in return for a pitching prospect, Nick Pivetta. The following day, Hamels and reliever Jake Diekman were traded to the Texas Rangers while the Phillies received veteran P Matt Harrison and a bevy of prospects: Ps Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff and Jake Thompson, C Jorge Alfaro and OF Nick Williams. Finally, OF Ben Revere was sent packing, going to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for two other young players, Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado. Because of the post All-Star Game surge, the Phillies finished the month of July with a record of 13-12 and were one of only two teams in the NL East to have a winning record for the month, the other being the New York Mets, who had the same record.
The winning was short lived, however, and the Phils began to struggle anew in August. They weren't done with the moves, either, as on August 19th, the next long-time mainstay to go was 2B Chase Utley, who was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for two minor leaguers, OF Darnell Sweeney and P John Richy. Utley had started the year stone cold and was still only hitting .217 in 73 games. On September 10th, in a move bearing Andy MacPhail's stamp, General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was fired, then on the 22nd, Mackanin got the "interim" tag removed from his managerial job, as all observers agreed that he had done a very good job of steadying things in very difficult circumstances, getting the team to play once again with enthusiasm is spite of the season being lost.
No pitcher on the Phillies won more than 6 games, an absurdly low total, the fewest by any team to play a full major league season since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders were led by two four-game winners. Four pitchers shared the winning total: Hamels, Aaron Harang, Ken Giles and Aaron Nola.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Jonathan Papelbon
- Joe Lemire: "Phillies endure shake-up, youth movement", USA Today Sports, July 15, 2015.