Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

The proverbial cup of coffee is a common strategy that will never disappear from professional sports. It’s practical for a player to leave a team after a successful stint for a more suitable fit if his best years are behind him. The Philadelphia Phillies are no exception to cup of coffee veterans.

Eras of Phillies Baseball

The Phillies own the longest continuous stretch in any of the four major professional sports leagues using a single name in the same city. Their lengthy history includes stints from legends like Pete Rose and fan favorites like Tug McGraw.

Both went on to win the World Series in 1980. Their respective legacies in Philadelphia aren’t forgettable despite successful careers elsewhere.

Jim Thome similarly had more successful stints with other MLB teams, but he was the best player on the Phillies for a significant stretch in the early 2000s. Jonathan Papelbon is (surprisingly) the franchise’s all-time leader in saves. 

During the 21st century, the Phillies sustained dominance from 2007-2011 and reentered World Series contention in 2022. The successful eras included cups of coffee varying from Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez to a patchwork move to acquire Noah Syndergaard.

The seasons in between included countless forgettable acquisitions that appropriately characterized forgettable seasons.

A “Cup of Coffee” with the Phillies

See how many of the proverbial cups of coffee you remember. Which ones were blips on the radar for players you remember from careers with other MLB teams?

The other three major sports franchises in Philadelphia also have their fair share of memorable and/or forgettable cups of coffee. 

  • Juan Pierre

    Pierre built a reputation as one of the best leadoff hitters in the majors in the early 2000s. He was a key sparkplug for the Florida Marlins when they won the World Series in 2003, but he didn’t make it to Philadelphia until age 34.

    He spent one season in a platoon with the 2012 Phillies. It certainly wasn’t the prime of his career, but he still had a little left. Pierre hit .307 in 130 games in his Phillies career.

    Juan Pierre, Florida Marlins

  • Jose Bautista

    Bautista broke out with 54 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010. He made six All-Star appearances and entered the MVP conversation on a yearly basis in the prime of his career.

    That track record didn’t mean much by 2018. He only made 57 plate appearances with the Phillies, the third stop of his 15th and final MLB season.

    Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

  • Charlie Morton

    The Phillies signed Charlie Morton in 2016, but he missed most of his only season in red pinstripes with a hamstring injury he suffered in April. It was a bizarre hiccup in an otherwise good career. Morton has won two World Series rings, and he even finished third in American League Cy Young voting in 2019.

    Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves

  • Kenny Lofton

    His career highlights came with the Cleveland Indians during the 1990s, but Philadelphia remembers Kenny Lofton more for a questionable press conference in 2005.

    The four-time Gold Glover shied away from an aggressive play at the center field wall at Citizens Bank Park and later told reporters he wasn’t foolish enough to run into a wall. Phillies fans gravitated toward Aaron Rowand for doing exactly the opposite in a similar situation the following season.

    Kenny Lofton, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Freddy Garcia

    Jimmy Rollins talked about the Phillies as the “team to beat” entering the 2007 season. The addition of Freddy Garcia made his statement sound valid, although bold. Rollins probably didn’t think the expected ace of the staff would post a 5.90 ERA in 11 starts in his only season with the Phillies, but the team still got the NL East pennant out of it.

    It’s an element of the story that doesn’t always come up when Philadelphia fans glorify the famous comments from Rollins.

    Freddy Garcia, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Pedro Martinez

    The world (annoyingly) focused heavily on Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox in the heated rivalry with the Yankees in the early 2000s. Martinez was well past his prime when the Phillies signed him in July 2009. However, he showed he still had some heat in seven scoreless innings in Game 2 of the NLCS.

    It’s not the most memorable stint of Pedro’s career, but the Phillies made the right decision to bring in the Hall of Famer for a run to the World Series.

    Pedro Martinez, Boston Red Sox

  • A.J. Burnett

    The 2014 Phillies tried too hard to hold onto the past. Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted on adding around his aging superstars, and A.J. Burnett was the big splash to fill a rotation that had lost Roy Halladay.

    Burnett had a tough season for a bad team at age 37. He’ll look back on World Series championships with the Marlins and the Yankees a lot more favorably than his cup of coffee with the Phillies.

    A.J. Burnett, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Delmon Young

    Dave Dombrowski built the Detroit Tigers into a World Series caliber team by 2012. Delmon Young provided some unlikely heroics and earned the ALCS MVP when Detroit defeated the Yankees.

    He made a quick stop in Philadelphia in 2013 that only lasted 80 games. The Phillies released him by August, and he ended up getting postseason at-bats in 2013 and 2014.

    Delmon Young, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Jeff Francoeur

    Francoeur touched nearly every corner of the NL East during his 12-year career in the majors. His stint with the Phillies in 2015 during a forgettable era wasn’t particularly impactful.

    However, he developed a great reputation off the diamond in Philadelphia that isn’t usually characteristic of a journeyman who clearly never had a long-term future with the Phillies.

    Jeff Francoeur, Atlanta Braves

  • Clay Buchholz

    Buchholz pitched his first 10 MLB seasons for the Boston Red Sox, earning two All-Star appearances and a World Series ring. He was never a fit in Philadelphia, and his career with the Phillies ended abruptly when an injury limited him to two games in 2017. He went on to make 28 career starts after leaving the Phillies.

    Clay Buckholz, Boston Red Sox

  • Michael Young

    The Phillies reloaded after a down season in 2012. Ruben Amaro Jr. hoped his aging core would get healthy and regain their spot at the top of the NL East with the help of a few key additions.

    Michael Young had been an excellent average hitter for 13 seasons with the Texas Rangers. However, he wasn’t a fit for a team that made it obvious their run of dominance from 2007-2011 was over. The Phillies traded him after just 126 games.

    Michael Young, Texas Rangers

  • Jake Arrieta

    The rebuilding years were fading when Gabe Kapler took over as manager in 2018. The Phillies signaled a change in team-building strategy by signing Jake Arrieta. He had his ups and down for an improved but still not impressive team in 2018.

    Philadelphia will remember him more as an outspoken, underperforming, and overpaid pitcher through the rest of his tenure. It was a bad combination for a player whose accomplishments came in another city.

    Jake Arrietta, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Jay Bruce

    Jay Bruce reached the 30 home run plateau five times in 14 MLB seasons. The Phillies brought him in toward the end of his career in 2019, and he provided immediate pop with an early hot streak.

    He finished the season with 26 longballs between the Phillies and Mariners. He also hung around for 32 more games in 2020 to finish a stint in Philadelphia that should satisfy any Phillies fan.

    Jay Bruce, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Jeurys Familia

    Familia finished with a 6.09 ERA in 38 games with the Phillies in 2022. The Mets had gotten rid of him partly because of his checkered past, and the Phillies made a mistake ever getting involved.

    Dave Dombrowski shook off the misstep, and the Phillies released Familia and fellow questionable character Odubel Herrera in August 2022. They went on an unforgettable World Series run two months later. Coincidence?

    Jeurys Familia, World Baseball Classic

  • Noah Syndergaard

    The move to acquire Syndergaard was involved with the roster shuffle that led the Phillies to release Familia and Herrera. The former Mets starter did a serviceable job at the back of the rotation in 10 regular-season starts and four postseason appearances.

    He was more of a secondary piece in a bigger series of moves than a long-term solution. The Phillies certainly don’t regret the overall roster tweaks that helped them to a World Series appearance.

    Noah Syndergaard, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Aaron Harang

    The Phillies went through their fair share of journeyman right-handers between the downfall after 2011 and the rise back to contention in 2022. Aaron Harang had an underwhelming performance for the 2015 Phillies in the last of his 14 seasons with his eighth MLB team.

    Aaron Harang, Philadelphia Phillies

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