The Philadelphia Phillies haven't really had to think over what life would be like if Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth stayed around. Phillies fans like myself know that there was no more room for Ibanez after 2011, but we still had fond memories of him - which is more than we could say about Werth after he left in 2010.
Yet although Ibanez and Werth couldn't have fit with the current rebuilding Phillies, we all have to ponder what could have been after these last two days. First Ibanez rocketed into postseason legend on Oct. 9, with two winning home runs off the bench for the New York Yankees against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 3. Then if that wasn't enough, Werth saved the Washington Nationals' season on Oct. 10 with a ninth-inning home run in Game 4 over the St. Louis Cardinals.
With those two blasts, it is easy to wonder what the Phillies could have done if Ibanez and Werth stayed in Philadelphia. However, the Phillies really had no choice but to let them go, and it was for the best - although it is harder to see it when they carry out October miracles.
The Phillies couldn't keep Ibanez after 2011 because they needed to groom Dominic Brown and/or John Mayberry Jr. to take over in left field. A year earlier, the Phillies couldn't keep Werth in right field because they couldn't overpay for him like the Nationals could. And in both cases, they didn't give the Phillies any reason to regret it until these last two days.
Granted, the outfield was still a mess for Philadelphia in 2012 and may be for the foreseeable future. But Ibanez was a 40-year-old part time player for the Yankees, while Werth kept getting hurt and underperforming for the otherwise red-hot Nationals. In truth, having both Ibanez and Werth with the Phillies wouldn't have improved them that much this regular season.
Unfortunately, both players are in the postseason and are starting over, while the Phillies are stuck at home for the first time since 2006. Right now, Philadelphia does have far better things to do than watch these playoffs - like preparing to try and get back to next year's playoffs. Yet those of us in Philadelphia - Phillies and otherwise - have to watch what Ibanez and Werth have just done and have a tinge of regret.
Of course, it is easier to feel good about Ibanez's success than it is about Werth's, given how he is on far worse terms with Philadelphia at the moment. And the fact that Werth bailed out the hated Nationals isn't much help either - though we can lay off Ibanez for saving the slightly less hated Yankees.
In any case, one can't deny how the Phillies have influenced this postseason, despite having finally missed it. Between Ibanez and Werth's stunning heroics, and Hunter Pence helping the San Francisco Giants erase a 2-0 hole to the Cincinnati Reds, it is a Red October all over again. It is just a shame that the current Phillies can't share in their former teammates' sudden, shocking glory.
Yet to their credit, Ibanez and Werth have made up for ugly regular seasons with incredible postseason heroics - which is more than the current Phillies got a chance to do.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Phillies since he was eight years old.
Other stories from this contributor
- Sports & Recreation
- Jayson Werth
- Raul Ibanez
- Washington Nationals