In honor of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the 1993 Phillies and their National League championship season, we review the free agent signings made by the Phillies leading up to the 1993 season. Here is a look back at the 1992 hot stove and the players signed in free agency by Philadelphia.
Lee Thomas joined the Phillies in 1988 to take on the role of general manager. His success as a director of player development with the St. Louis Cardinals had made Thomas a name to watch when it came to front offices in baseball. The Phillies managed to convince him to join their staff in hopes of one day turning the Phillies around in similar fashion. The Phillies were regressing at the time, and the first four seasons with Thomas at the helm of the team in the front office were not much more promising. But Thomas knew the kind of character his team had and he just needed to find a couple more ingredients to help it all mix together.
These are the players he signed during the free agent season between the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
Signed as a free agent December 8, 1992
The Phillies were still in need of a bat with some pop, and Pete Incaviglia was signed just for that reason. Incaviglia struggles a little in his first year in the National League with the Houston Astros in 1992, hitting just 11 home runs in 113 games. His production in Philadelphia was much improved with 24 home runs and his first and only 100-hit season in the National League. Inky had a career high slugging percentage in 1993 (.530).
The Phillies were confident with the signing, offering Incaviglia his first contract worth over $1 million in his career. The Phillies signed Incaviglia for $1.05 million in the 1993 and 1994 seasons
Signed as a free agent December 9, 1992
Thompson, who had been acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Steve Bedrosian in 1985, spent a couple of seasons in the organization before being traded in 1988 to the St. Louis Cardinals. He was granted free agency following the 1992 season, when his batting average dropped 14 points, from .307 to .293. The Cardinals already had a starter in left fielder Bernard Gilkey, a .300 hitter in 1992 and .305 hitter in 1993.
Thompson hit just .262 in 129 games for the Phillies but he came up with some key plays with his glove, including saving a game-winning home run in San Diego .
The Phillies signed Thompson for $1,475,000 after the Cardinals bought out his previous option for $300,000.
Adding Thompson to the roster allowed the Phillies to move Mariano Duncan to the infield, where he would split playing time at second base and shortstop with Mickey Morandini, Kim Batiste and Kevin Stocker.
Signed as a free agent December 18, 1992
The bullpen was in need of a veteran presence, and Larry Andersen had the kind of character to blend in well with what the Phillies were putting together. He had a winning mindset but could be loose with anyone in the clubhouse.
Andersen finished the year appearing in 64 games, his highest total since pitching in 65 games in 1990 between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros (he was traded in exchange for Jeff Bagwell). Andersen deserved the playing time, throwing a 2.92 ERA, a 3-2 record. Andersen would be gassed by the time the playoffs came around though, where he appeared in seven games between the NLCS and World Series and allowed nine runs in six innings of work. But without Andersen, who knows if the bullpen would have been as reliable as they were throughout the regular season.
The Phillies signed Andersen for just $700,000 for the 1993 season and would later bring him back for the 1994 season for half that salary amount.
Signed as a free agent January 20, 1993
With the aging Dale Murphy granted free agency to finish his career with the expansion Colorado Rockies, and with the Phillies in need to upgrade the right field position after Ruben Amaro hit just .219 in 1992, the Phillies brought in Eisenreich to upgrade in right field. It was not considered a major upgrade but it brought a surprising payoff. Eisenreich improved his batting average after switching from the American League to the National League by 49 points, from .269 in 1992 with Kansas City to .318 in 1993.
The 1993 season would see Eisenreich play in 153 games and a career high, at the time, in OPS , jumping over .800 for the first time in his career (.808 OPS).
Eisenreich was thought to be a declining player after six seasons in the American League. The Phillies, still a team left to die in the eyes of many around baseball in the early 1990s, were able to get Eisenreich at a bargain. Eisenreich signed a contract that would pay him roughly one million less than his last season under contract in Kansas City ($675,000 for the 1993 season, which jumped to $1.225 million in 1994).
The name you surely have forgotten
Signed as a free agent December 16, 1992
Manto was signed by the Atlanta Braves for the 1992 season but did not play a single game for the 1992 National League champions. Manto was signed to be nothing more than a bench player for the Phillies, with John Kruk manning first base and Dave Hollins covering third base already. Manto played in just eight games for Philadelphia, going just 1-for-18 in 19 plate appearances.
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