Phillies Finish Worst Season Since 1972

The Phillies avoided ignominy in Sunday’s season finale, beating the Miami Marlins 7-2 to finish with only 99 losses. It’s their worst record since the 1972 Phillies went 59-97.  They would have been the first Phillies team to lose 100 games in a season since the 1961 squad, which finished 47-107. The Phillies’ .389 winning percentage is 25th worst in team history, which dates back to 1883.

It seemed impossible during the season, but the Phillies finished with a run differential better than -200, at -183. It’s still the 19th-worst mark in team history and their worst since ’61 (-212).

Last night, the Phillies dropped both ends of a doubleheader to the Marlins while the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, clinching for them the first overall pick in the 2016 draft as well as roughly $3.5 million in extra slot money. The Phillies will be adding an elite college or high school player to a minor league system already brimming in talent.

2015 was the fourth tough season in a row for the Phillies, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Next season, we can look forward to the progression of Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Ken Giles, among many others. J.P. Crawford may also make his major league debut along with Nick Williams and Jake Thompson.

On behalf of all of us here at Crashburn Alley, thank you for stopping by throughout the year. Don’t delete us from your bookmarks yet, though, as we’re ready to cover what should be a busy off-season for the Phillies, and we’ll be doing our usual report card series starting on Tuesday and continuing into November.

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  1. Nick

    October 04, 2015 08:57 PM

    glad the Phillies avoided 100 losses. even gladder that they got the #1 pick. but I’m gladdest that I got to watch Ichiro pitch an inning in the majors.

  2. Brad.

    October 04, 2015 09:10 PM

    Crashburn Alley has helped keep me sane in a world of Ben Davises for years. Thank you!

  3. norcalvol

    October 04, 2015 09:21 PM

    99 losses is the most in my Phillies Fandom history (which began in earnest in 1972, one of the most fascinating of the bad teams thanks to Lefty’s god-like season)… but it was by far not the most miserable season during all these years…. one reason is that the club finally shifted the direction of the ship in so many important ways… but another reason is this site. I sincerely mean it when I say that this is the best Phillies site out there — it gets to what is really interesting about the game for me, and also fosters a healthy conversation. Bill, thank you and all the rest of your comrades who do this for the love of the sport and the team. It should be an interesting offseason and I look forward to stepping into The Alley for what I need in my Phillies news, views, and most importantly, ideas.

  4. Carmine

    October 05, 2015 09:10 AM

    I will add my voice to those praising this site. I have watched baseball in earnest since 1957 but still learn something regularly here.
    It’s a moral victory to get the top pick and the extra slot money while avoiding 100 losses. It is also sweet that Cole Hamels was a beast down the stretch and pitched a division-clinching complete game, and that Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins will be playing meaningful baseball in October. And they can help eliminate the Mets yet again.
    Best of all, we have a change of direction in the franchise and cause for optimism. Count me among those who think contention in 2017 is unlikely, but the trajectory is definitely upward.
    Thanks, Bill, Corinne and all for your great work during the season, but these next few months will keep you busy.

  5. Rich

    October 05, 2015 10:32 AM

    Kudos as well to Crashburn Alley, and the rest of the Phillies blogs who have hung in there after the great years of only a couple years ago.

    The 1972 season wasn’t 162 games, so I think you can throw that out of the mix comparing it to a full season as it was only 156 games.

    The war years of 1941 and 1942, the Phils lost 111, and 109 games respectively with 155 games and 151 games played.

    Yes, though this team ranks up with some of the worst in franchise history. How did this team get so bad?

  6. GB

    October 05, 2015 01:28 PM

    Kudos to Bill and everyone else here at Crashburn Alley for great articles and analysis of the Phillies. It has made things better.

    Hopefully, the Phillies (and I mean Middleton and the Buck brothers in particular) learned their lessons and will be much more engaged as owners and demand excellence and accountabilty throughout the organization.

    The cronyism and unlimited loyalty regardless of performance must be stopped and the remnants of those decisions cleaned out. Monty, Amaro, Gillick and Sandberg are or will be gone which is a very good start, but Green, Wade et al. need to be sent packing as well.

    Results matter and the total collapse that has happened over the last 4 years, but had its roots in the 10 years prior to 2012 must not be allowed to ever happen again.

    Investment in the farm system and international talent must never be ignored or under-resourced again. Talent evaluation, acquisition, development and retention need major investment and alignment with organizational strategies. What is taught in single A should be the same as what is taught at AA, AAA and on the ML level. Too much talent has been wasted due to inconsistent or simply bad development approaches at all levels.

    Free agency needs to be utilized, but in a much smarter and more effective way. Money helps, but is NOT the be all, end all. We cannot simply throw gobs of money at mediocre talent any longer. It kills teams and blocks prospects. The FA we bring in should complement the talent we already have and fit into the way we want our team to play. There needs to be a real Phillies way rather than a cynical marketing & PR campaign. The focus should be on sustainable excellence like the Cardinals – we want to compete every year and win multiple rings, not just one. That is not done by buying a dream team – that is done by excellent scouting, analytics, development, trades, FA, international signings, coaching, patience and discipline.

    I hope MacPhail is the guy to lead us down this path, hire a great GM, give him the authority to put his management team together and go forward with a defined and detailed plan that the organization will fully support and stick with. If not, it is up to Middleton and the Bucks to make that decision and being in someone else who can. It is time to deliver.

  7. Mike

    October 05, 2015 06:38 PM

    Great site – you have kept my Phillies pulse going over the year. I am looking forward to an interesting offseason and light at the end of the tunnel in 16.

  8. Boo-urns

    October 05, 2015 09:29 PM

    We knew this season was going to be bad; 99 losses is the worst I’ve personally seen but I’m also not at all surprised. There’s really nowhere to go from here but up!

    I’m looking very forward to next season; we may not be in the mix for the post-season (one can always hope for a fluke!) but I see a lot of reasons to be hopeful moving forward. We’ve got some good, “nurturable” talent that I’m excited to see how they develop, we’ve un-burdened ourselves from Amaro (I’m not an Amaro-hater like many around these parts, I give credit where credit is due, but he’s not the guy the lead the core rebuilding process), and we’ve dumped a huge amount of salary which gives us a lot of flexibility in the coming years. (Of course I miss Rollins, Hamels and Utley, but moving them was not only best for the Phillies but best for them as well.) And I’m optimistic about Mackanin’s ability to lead these young players in a positive direction, something I don’t think Sandberg was well-suited for.

    I’d like to think we’ll float around a .500 record for 2016, and MacPhail and the new GM will be working hard to put us back on track for postseason / WS appearances in 2017 and beyond.

  9. Bob

    October 05, 2015 11:44 PM

    I can’t wait to see how they fill out the starting rotation. As far as I’m concerned, we have Nola and Eickoff. That’s it. I’m not high on Morgan or Asher. We’ll see what MacPhail can do. Here’s a list from MLB trade rumors.

    Brett Anderson (28)
    Brandon Beachy (29)
    Chad Billingsley (31)
    Joe Blanton (35)
    Clay Buchholz (31) – $13MM club option with a $245K buyout
    Mark Buehrle (37)
    A.J. Burnett (39)
    Trevor Cahill (28)
    Chris Capuano (37)
    Wei-Yin Chen (30)
    Bartolo Colon (43)
    Johnny Cueto (30)
    R.A. Dickey (41) – $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout
    Marco Estrada (32)
    Doug Fister (32)
    Gavin Floyd (33)
    Yovani Gallardo (30)
    Jaime Garcia (29) – $11.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
    Zack Greinke (32) – can opt out of remaining three years/$71MM
    Jeremy Guthrie (37) – $10MM mutual option with a $3.2MM buyout
    J.A. Happ (33)
    Aaron Harang (38)
    Dan Haren (35)
    Rich Hill (36)
    Tim Hudson (40)
    Hisashi Iwakuma (35)
    Scott Kazmir (32)
    Kyle Kendrick (31)
    Ian Kennedy (31)
    John Lackey (37)
    Mat Latos (28)
    Mike Leake (28)
    Cliff Lee (37) – $27.5MM club option with a $12.5MM buyout
    Tim Lincecum (32)
    Kyle Lohse (37)
    Corey Luebke (31) – $7.5MM club option with a $1.75MM buyout
    Justin Masterson (31)
    Brandon Morrow (31)
    Bud Norris (31)
    Mike Pelfrey (32)
    David Price (30)
    Jeff Samardzija (31)
    Alfredo Simon (35)
    Ryan Vogelsong (38)
    Jerome Williams (34)
    Chris Young (37)
    Jordan Zimmermann (30)

    That’s some slim pickings. I guess Wei Yin Chen might be interesting.

    • Steve

      October 06, 2015 08:22 PM

      Slim? I think compared to most years its very deep, with high end pitchers, mid rotation arms and buy low candidates.
      J Zim, Price, Grienke are elite arms at reasonable ages for FA, but i doubt we persue any of them, and we probably are ready to make that splash as an org.
      Cueto, Fister, Smardjiza, Iwakuma, Leake are all a notch below, but capable of being the best SP on many teams in the league. Again for various reasons, i dont think the Phillies target any of these guys.
      Now, the group where we can potentially find impact players without committing too mich money/ years:
      Anderson, Beachy, Colon, Bucholz, Chen, Cahill, Happ, Kazmir, Masterson, Garcia, Latos, Pelfrey, Leubke are all guys id have at least moderate interest in if the price was right.

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