The Yankees and Phillies’ recent histories are interlinked mainly due to their matchup in the 2009 World Series. A rejuvenated and reloaded Yankees’ squad took down the reigning champion Phillies in six games, returning to the mountain top for the first time since 2000. Fifty-nine years earlier, the franchises also met in the 1950 World Series, with the Yankees also prevailing back then.
However, it’s time to look at the two team’s dealing with each other off the field. Today, we’re continuing our trade partner series by looking at the most notable swaps between the Yankees and Phillies.
July 30, 2006: The Phillies trade Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for C.J. Henry, Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Monasterios and Matt Smith.
After a a less-than-stellar start to the 2006 season, Phillies GM Pat Gillick decided to do a mini-teardown and sell off some players who didn’t quite match up timeline-wise with their ascendant young core. One person who they decided to include in that purge was Bobby Abreu.
It wasn’t an entirely easy process to trade away Abreu, as the right fielder had grown to become an All-Star in Philly and also had a no-trade clause that he was only willing to waive for a handful of teams. One of them was the Yankees, who happened to be in need of a right fielder. Right field was a big of a black hole for the Yankees in 2006 after Gary Sheffield went down with injury early in the season. Looking to round out an already strong lineup, the Yankees pulled the trigger on Abreu brought him to the Bronx, in exchange for a group of prospects, headlined by highly-rated shortstop C.J. Henry. In addition, the Yankees also added pitcher Corey Lidle, in an attempt to help stabilize a struggling rotation.
Abreu went on to spend the rest of 2006 and the next two years in pinstripes. His bat and patience at the plate was the perfect fit in the Yankees’ lineup, as he put up a 120 OPS+ in his three years in pinstripes.
While it didn’t lead to postseason success, Abreu was excellent for the Yankees before the decided to let him walk in free agency after 2008. In recent years, he’s even received some love with people making arguments in his favor for Hall of Fame induction.
None of the prospects the Yankees sent to Philadelphia ended up coming back to haunt them, and Henry even left baseball, later going back to school to play college basketball at Kansas. The Phillies’ next couple years still worked out just fine for them, but this trade was a definite miss on their part.
December 3, 2004: The Phillies trade Félix Rodríguez to the Yankees for Kenny Lofton.
To the credit of the Yankees past and present, there’s really no truly bad deal that they’ve made with the Phillies. This one is kinda bad because even though Lofton didn’t work out as a Yankee in 2004, he still had some solid play ahead of him. With the Phillies in 2005, he put up an .811 OPS in 110 games.
Seeing as how Joe Torre and the Yankees used Lofton in 2004, there’s no evidence that he would’ve been great for them, but he might’ve been able to provide something for the team going forward. The same cannot be said for Rodríguez, who put up a 5.01 ERA in 32.1 innings outs of the bullpen in ‘05 and left in free agency after the season.
Most Overlooked Trade
January 22, 1943: The Yankees trade Al Gettel, Ed Levy, and $10,000 to the Phillies for Nick Etten. Al Gettel and Ed Levy returned to original team on March 26, 1943. The Yankees sent Tom Padden (March 26, 1943) and Al Gerheauser (March 26, 1943) to the Phillies to complete the trade.
Etten put up two very nice seasons in 1941-42 as first baseman for the Phillies, but was unfortunately stuck on a team that had finished in last both year, having gone a combined 85-220. Looking to dump his salary, the Phillies sent Etten to the Yankees for a collection of assorted parts.
Etten immediately took to the Bronx and put up a 135 OPS+ from 1943-45 as the team’s regular first baseman, helping the team to a World Series title in ‘43. Meanwhile, as you may be able to tell from above, the two players initially sent to Philadelphia — Gettel and Levy — returned before the 1943 season even started. The Yankees did replace them with others, but neither Padden or Gerheauser did much of anything after the trade.
To add another layer to this...
February 24, 1940: The Phillies trade Jim Shilling and $15,000 to the Yankees for Ed Levy. Ed Levy returned to original team on April 27, 1940.
That’s right, the Etten trade wasn’t even the first time Levy was swapped between these teams and then almost immediately returned. Three years earlier, a then Yankees’ minor leaguer Levy was sent to Philadelphia, but was brought back after just one game as a Phillie. He went on to play parts of the 1942 and ‘44 seasons with the Yankee, and has one of the stranger transaction histories you’ll ever see.
Other Transactions of Note
January 8, 1992: The Yankees trade Darrin Chapin to the Phillies for a player to be named later. The Phillies sent Charlie Hayes (February 19, 1992) to the Yankees to complete the trade.
While Hayes left via the 1992 expansion draft and returned in between this trade and 1996, the Yankees first acquired the man who famously caught the last out of the 1996 World Series from the Phillies as a player to be named later.
April 8, 1939: The Phillies trade Pete Sivess and cash to the Yankees for Len Gabrielson.
May 27, 1939: The Yankees trade Pete Sivess to the Phillies for unknown compensation.
December 11, 1986: The Phillies trade Jeff Knox and Charles Hudson to the Yankees for Tommy Barrett and Mike Easler.
June 10, 1987: The Yankees trade Keith Hughes and Shane Turner to the Phillies for Mike Easler.
These two teams apparently love giving the same players back and forth to each other.
November 29, 1965: The Phillies trade Rubén Amaro to the Yankees for Phil Linz.
Not a particularly interesting one from an on-field perspective, but Amaro had a decently long career, and was the father of future MLBer and Phillies GM Rubén Amaro Jr., while Linz has a bit of fame from “The Harmonica Incident.”
October 16, 1961: The Yankees purchased Robin Roberts from the Phillies.
Not a trade, but it is interesting that the Yankees did have future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts in their organization briefly in 1961/early 1962 before releasing him.