This is new territory for these Phillies, who are accustomed to adding big-time talent just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. On Tuesday, with their postseason chances next to nil, they traded Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants.
"You understand the business aspect of the game and the team has needs over the season," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "The relationships that you forge are what's tough. We were teammates, but we were really good friends."
Victorino, a fan favorite, was a big part of the Phillies' success. His first full season was 2006, and the club won five consecutive National League East titles and the 2008 World Series with him in the outfield. He was set to become a free agent at season's end, so his name had been a popular one when it came to trade rumors.
Chase Utley said it was weird not seeing Victorino's face in the clubhouse.
"Shane was a little brother," said Jimmy Rollins, the longest-tenured Phillie. "He really was. He came over, he always wanted to let me know I was his favorite player. I don't know why. He always wanted to let me know that. I brought him in, let him stay with me when he first came up, and got to watch him flourish. His career isn't over and our run isn't over. We just got a little break in it."
With 60 games left in this disappointing season, the Phillies hope to finish strong and set themselves up well for 2013.
They will also welcome in new faces in outfielder Nate Schierholtz and reliever Josh Lindblom. Outfielder Domonic Brown, who spent parts of the last two seasons with Philadelphia, was also promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.
But can the Phillies bounce back next season?
"Oh, most definitely," said left-hander Cole Hamels, who signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension last week. "We have a good group of core guys. We've got some of the best starting pitching. It's just a matter of keeping guys healthy and taking this as a lesson to go out and play better and stay healthy and give it everything we possibly have, because it's not fun losing. This is kind of the realistic expectations when you're not winning -- things will get taken apart. Hopefully that'll definitely wake guys up."