With J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper on hand, the Phillies are expected to be playoff contenders, signalling that the long rebuilding process is finally over. It’s been a long seven years since the Phillies entered the season with legitimate expectations of making the playoffs, and to commemorate this infamous era of Phillies baseball, I came up with an All-Rebuild Team.
These weren’t the best players on the team during the rebuilding process, nor were they the absolute worst. (Apologies to all you Phillippe Aumont fans out there.) These are the guys who for one reason or another, seemed to exemplify the lengthy, and often confusing rebuilding process the Phillies undertook.
Catcher: Cameron Rupp
I was worried that Cameron Rupp was going to spend ten years as the Phillies’ primary catcher while they tried and failed to find anyone significantly better. I’m happy to say that the Phillies have definitively found someone better.
First Base: Darin Ruf
For a couple of years, the cult of Darin Ruf was strong. I’m sure I could still find some Darin Ruf truthers out there who believe that given more of an opportunity, he would have been a successful player. Perhaps he should have been given more playing time over Ryan Howard. However, Ruf was actually worse against right-handed pitching than Howard was against lefties.
Second Base: Cesar Hernandez
I’d like to congratulate Cesar for somehow supplanting Chase Utley as the team’s second baseman without the fans hating him.
Shortstop: Freddy Galvis
In the eighties, a great defensive shortstop who had a little bit of pop might have been a borderline All-Star. In the modern age, you’d better have a really good lineup around a guy who can’t even get on base at a .300 clip. (Note: The Phillies did not have good lineups around him.)
Third Base: Cody Asche
Remember when people said Cody Asche was the next Chase Utley? Apparently, if you’re a white infielder in the Phillies’ system, you’re going to get Utley comparisons, no matter how dissimilar they are otherwise. I suppose they were somewhat alike, except that Utley was an excellent hitter and fielder, while Asche was neither of those things.
Left Field: Dom Brown
Dom Brown was somehow both the best and worst player the Phillies employed during the rebuilding years.
Center Field: Ben Revere
Was Ben Revere good? He did some things (hit singles, steal bases) extremely well, and other things (hit home runs, throw) very poorly. Sometimes he was a good fielder, other times he was not, which inspired me to sing this one time:
You take the good, you take the bad, you take a bad route and there you have: Ben Revere. It’s Ben Revere!
Right Field: Jeff Francoeur
Name something Francoeur did as a member of the Phillies? You probably said that he pitched that one time. Now name something else he did.
Bench: Grady Sizemore
Daily News columnist David Murphy complained about Sizemore getting playing time. My theory is: If something makes Murphy upset, I’m in favor of it.
We know all there is to know about Sizemore, Francoeur, Howard. Darin Ruf has 450 career PAs. So why not play him? http://t.co/mpxwX37yGQ— David Murphy (@ByDavidMurphy) April 15, 2015
Bench: Reid Brignac
If I recall correctly, Brignac had a game-winning hit in extra innings once. I believe he struck out in every other plate appearance he ever made, but that one clutch hit was magic.
Starting Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson
It’s amazing that in four years time, the Phillies went from having four viable choices for Opening Day starter to throwing Jeremy Hellickson out there.
Starting Pitcher: Kyle Kendrick
Fun Fact: In every single start he made in the 2014 season, Kendrick pitched 5.2 innings and allowed three runs, at least one of which came in the first inning.
Starting Pitcher: David Buchanan
David Buchanan is one of the best starting pitchers the Phillies’ minor league system produced in the last decade, and that’s a big reason why the team didn’t make the playoffs for the past seven years.
Starting Pitcher: Aaron Harang
After every single Harang start, fans debated whether or not that outing helped or hurt his trade value, as if the league wasn’t already very familiar with what Harang brought to the table.
Setup: Justin De Fratus
I maintain that De Fratus would have been better received if he took after professional wrestler Rob Van Dam, and began pointing at himself saying “J-D-F!” (I realize that most of you have no idea what I’m talking about, but I hope the one or two wrestling fans out there enjoyed this reference.)
Setup: Jake Diekman
Jake Diekman faced 213 right-handed hitters during the 2014 season, which is approximately 213 more than he should have.
Closer: Jeanmar Gomez
The Infinite Monkey Theorem says that given infinite time, a monkey at a typewriter will reproduce any famous piece of text. Similarly, some people believe that if any major league pitcher was given enough save opportunities, he will rack up a healthy amount of saves. Jeanmar Gomez’s 37 saves in the 2016 season is strong evidence that this theory is true.
Working in Gomez’s favor is that fact that - as far as we know - he never tried to strangle our new civic treasure.