The Philadelphia Phillies had a busy week getting rid of important players. Phillies fans like myself have already said goodbye to Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and have had to face the possibility of seeing Cliff Lee leave yet again. Philadelphia's loss is the gain of other contending teams, however - and the Los Angeles Dodgers are having particular fun picking off the Phillies' corpse.
The Dodgers lost the 2008 and 2009 NLCS to the Phils, then became a walking joke in the next two years. Now that Los Angeles is relevant again, it will ironically try to return to the NLCS and beyond on the strength of old Philadelphia stars. It already added Joe Blanton in addition to Victorino on Aug. 3 - and could soon add Lee as well if things work out.
Acquiring Blanton was the easy part, as they took him off waivers and the Phillies let him go without a thought. Nevertheless, Blanton is the second player from the 2008 world champions that Philadelphia has sent to Los Angeles - the 2008 NL runners-up. This really does drive the point home that the golden era of Phillies baseball is nearing an end, and in ironic fashion.
But Lee's departure could be the real exclamation point, assuming the Dodgers and Phillies can agree on a trade. Los Angeles appears confident that it can, as it took Lee off trade waivers late on Aug. 3 and has until Aug. 5 to work out a deal. Most teams have been scared to take on Lee's extravagant contract, yet the Dodgers and their new owners may have the flexibility to do it.
Their only problem is finding a trade package that would let the Phillies get away with trading Lee again. They already took it on the chin in Philadelphia for dealing him in fall 2009, even though it helped them get Roy Halladay. Lee's absence was felt in 2010 when the Phillies lost the NLCS to the San Francisco Giants, and perhaps it would be felt in 2013 once everyone is presumably healthy again.
If the Phillies are going to let Lee go again, it can't just be to get his gigantic contract off the books - at least not if they want to sell it to fans. Therefore, Philadelphia and Los Angeles might still have a long way to go to get a deal done by the deadline. But if they can, then the Dodgers will officially become Phillies West.
This kind of formula has worked well in Los Angeles before, as the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup a few months ago by becoming "Flyers West." Old discarded Flyers helped a long suffering franchise win its first world title - so now could a trio of old, discarded Phillies give the formerly pathetic Dodgers their first championship in almost 25 years?
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Phillies since he was eight years old.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Los Angeles
- Cliff Lee