The trade deadline has passed, and now the dust begins to settle for the Philadelphia Phillies. There were 2 casualties, but there could have been more. The Phillies were unable to complete a deal with Baltimore to trade Joe Blanton, and also along the way decided to pull Cliff Lee off of the table.
In the end the Phillies traded away outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. It is a sell off that will dramatically change the make up of the Phillies outfield and team.
In the Victorino trade, the Phillies acquired right handed reliever Josh Lindblom, who has pitched in 48 games for the Dodgers this year. They also got Ethan Martin, a former 1st round selection in 2009. Martin is in Double A at the moment, but could still project to be a solid starting pitcher. In 20 games for Double A Chattanooga, Martin was 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA. The Phillies will also get a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The Hunter Pence trade is the one that has many fans around the Delaware Valley unhappy. Pence was shipped to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for top catching prospect Tommy Joseph, (Double A) Seth Rosin (Single A) and major leaguer Nate Scheirholtz. It’s not so much what the Phillies got for Pence as it is what the Phillies gave up to get Pence one year and two days ago. The haul in return for Pence was much less substantial than what the Phillies gave up to get him from the Astros last July 29th.
In that trade to acquire Pence, the Phillies gave up Jonathan Singleton, Jared Cosart, Josh Zied and Domingo Santana. Cosart has struggled to adjust to a recent promotion to Triple A, but has pitched relatively well prior to that. Jonathan Singleton is batting .281 with 13 HRs and 56 RBI in Double A Corpus Christi. Domingo Santana is batting .295 at advanced single A. It’s not necessarily that those players are playing great, it’s that they still have upside, and only 367 days later the Phillies have given up on Pence.
It is a sobering reminder of what can happen when you mortgage your farm to win now. It is an unsustainable business model, and at the end, you wonder how much it will cost the Phillies in the future.
Still, no one was complaining last year when the Phillies dealt those players for Pence’s bat. It’s hard to say that Pence was a bust in Philadelphia, he certainly put up good numbers. The problem is that he put up what many say were hollow numbers. When it came to crunch time or the Phillies needed Pence to step up, he didn’t. He struggled mightily with runners in scoring position, and seemed to wilt under the pressure of having to be the guy in the absence of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. With all of that said, moving Pence will be more about money than anything else.
Time will tell how the Phillies will piece a team back together for 2013. Clearly some of this will hinge on the play of Domonic Brown, who will return to the big club for an extended look. It may be his last chance with the Phillies.
The Phillies wound up getting a couple of key pieces in the trades today, but nothing that screams difference maker. Tommy Joseph is a solid prospect and could someday be Carlos Ruiz’s replacement. They did get some bullpen help now, and a body in Scheirholtz that can be a stop gap for the rest of the season in right. It’s hard to say whether this was a success or not. We’ll have to see what the team does with the money they unloaded.
I’m still left with the feeling that what the Phillies did wasn’t enough.