Last week, the Philadelphia Phillies organization traded away left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona to the Houston Astros. And, while it may not mean much right now (Escalona struggled in 2010), the Venezuelan reliever will be missed my many in Baseballtown in another way.
The 2010 R-Phils were an interesting team. The team struggled to play over .500 baseball for most of the year, but the team did have one thing — great chemistry. There is no better way to describe the team chemistry in Reading, than to look at what the team would do after each victory.
One of my favorite things to do as part of my day-to-day duties, is interview players after each game for our website. My videos, which can be seen online here, became a place for R-Phils players to celebrate, and one player in particular to pie his fellow teammates. That one guy was Sergio!
Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2004, Escalona made his way through the Phillies organization. The young lefty made his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2009, and posted a 1-0 mark with a 4.61 ERA in 14 games. While 2009 was probably his most positive of his career, the 2010 season was certainly not.
After moving through three levels in 2009, Escalona spent the entire 2010 campaign in Baseballtown — posting a 4-8 record with 10 saves in 16 chances, and a 3.81 ERA over 50 games. While he did get off to a great start (April and May were solid months), the 26-year-old struggled through June and July. His worst month was June, where he went 0-1 with just one save and a 7.71 ERA over nine appearances.
But, while all of the inconsistencies in 2010, Escalona remained as the team’s “cheerleader”. When the club won, Sergio was there with a pie. When there was a big moment in a game, and a teammate was being interviewed after the game, Sergio was there — with a pie!
It became expected after each win. It became the norm. It became the highlight of my interviews. It will be missed.
Now, Escalona, who was on the Phillies 40-man roster a week ago, finds himself in Houston, with some familiar faces. And it’s Ed Wade, the former Phillies GM now turned Astros GM, who likes the potential of Escalona.
“Sergio adds depth to the competition for left-handers in our bullpen,” said Wade. “Our scouts have liked his stuff and believe he’s got a chance to be
very effective in left-on-left situations.”
There is a lot of potential in that arm, and if Escalona is able to turn it around, he may become a great lefty specialist at the Major League level. All Major League teams look above and beyond for that tough lefty out of the bullpen. Some stay around the game forever — just look at Arthur Rhodes, who I believe is 65 years old and still going strong!
So while the Phillies added a solid young 2B in the trade (they acquired Alex Cartwright from Houston) now, the search for the next “pie guy” in Reading begins. Who will have a pie ready to go when I interview the player of the game? Who will be there to liven things up in 2011? We’ll see in April — stay tuned!
In case you missed this — check out a compilation of pies from 2010 — “Pies Like Us”.
That’s All Folks!