In the years before Citizens Bank Park officially opened its doors, the Phillies’ front office, despite playing in a large media market, would continuously cry poor when it came to free agent acquisitions. Sure, there were some ill-fated splurges, like Lance Parrish and Danny Tartabull, but for the most part they shied away from the shiny big ticket items at the top of the line. Once the team knew it would suddenly be flush with cash thanks to a brand new stadium, they looked at their roster and decided it was now time to go for it. The year was 2002 and the Phillies were hungry.
2001 wasn’t the greatest year for the Phillies, but it was still a solid one. They finished the year at 86-76. They had two young stars in Scott Rolen (.286/.376/.498, 25 HR, 107 RBI in ‘01) and Bobby Abreu (.289/.393/.543, 31 HR, 110 RBI) to anchor the lineup, a young emerging shortstop in Jimmy Rollins (.274/.323/.419) that finished 3rd that year in Rookie of the Year voting, their young left fielder Pat Burrell (.258/.346/.469) building off of his own solid rookie season from the year before and some decent role players that made the offense one of the better ones in the National League….