Today we’re breaking down the most impactful trades made with each team in Phillies history.
According to Baseball-Reference the Phillies have made about 873 trades in their 138 years of playing baseball, averaging more than six trades a year. Some deals are multi-team blockbusters and others are swaps for cash considerations.
Whether it’s a blockbuster or a blip on the radar, any trade could be franchise-altering in a multitude of ways, for good and bad.
Today we’re breaking down the most impactful trades made with each team in Phillies history. These aren’t always deals the Phillies won or involved the biggest names. These are deals that changed a season or the course of the franchise.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Curt Schilling
"On July 26, 2000, the Philadelphia Phillies traded Curt Schilling to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla."
This was the first of six trades the Phillies have made with the Diamondbacks, and it was a blockbuster. On July 25 the Phillies lost their 54th game, dropped to 10 games below .500, and were 16 games back in the division. They had to shake things up at the trade deadline to get younger and start building their next core.
Philadelphia’s biggest trade chip was ace Curt Schilling, a future Hall of Fame pitcher who had spent his last nine season with the Phillies. Philadelphia is where Schilling molded himself into one of baseball’s greatest pitchers with three consecutive seasons winning at least 15 games. Twice he led the league with at least 300 strikeouts and in 1997 he finished fourth in the Cy Young race.
Two days before the trade Schilling threw a complete game against the Pirates allowing only one run off three hits. It was as good of a start the Phillies could hope for as the trade deadline approached.
The same day the Phillies lost their 54th game the Diamondbacks lost their third straight and were just one game up in the division. The franchise was in its infancy, just three years old and coming off a playoff appearance. Ready to make a splash, Arizona sent four players in their early and mid-20s to the Phillies to pair Schilling with Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.
While Schilling and Johnson would go on to win a World Series in Arizona, the young players Philadelphia got back didn’t come anywhere close to Schilling’s talent.
Omar Daal would start 44 games for the Phillies with a 4.52 ERA before being traded after the 2001 season. Nelson Figeroa pitched 19 games for Philadelphia in 2001 and was waived the following season. He’d return in 2010 to make 12 relief appearances and one start.
Travis Lee had some pop, but he was limited to first base and was released to make room for Jim Thome.
Vicente Padilla ended up being the best return in the deal, pitching six seasons in Philadelphia and making the All-Star game in 2002. In a stretch of bad Phillies baseball Padilla was often their best starter.
The timing was just never right with the Phillies and Schilling after the ’93 season. When he got good the team got bad, real bad. Had they kept him he could have solidified himself as one of the best pitchers in franchise history. If they’d gotten a better return for him, who knows what could have happened.