What a difference a year makes. On this date one year ago the Phillies brought in Hunter Pence in a hugely popular trade - remember the cameras following his arrival in that black SUV? It bolstered a team who was 29 games above .500 and held a 6 game lead in the NL East on their way to 102 victories.
Exactly one year later, the 12 games under .500 last place Philadelphia Phillies are 12 games under .500 and shipped out the exact same Hunter Pence as well as traded Shane Victorino. The trades signify an enormous turning point for the Phillies. Two thirds of the outfield is gone, the playoff streak is over, the division titles are finished, the sellout streak will soon be gone, and the best era in Phillies history has ended.
Ruben Amaro needed to make moves at the trading deadline, and in that regard he most definitely did not disappoint. Whether or not they are good moves, well, we have two full months of meaningless baseball in which to make that decision. At first glance, however, it appears that the Phillies made out well with the Victorino trade and got beat with Hunter Pence. Let’s give each of the trades a second look.Shane Victorino Traded to Dodgers
Shane Victorino goes to the Dodgers for 25-year-old right handed reliever Josh Lindblom, AA righty Ethan Martin, and a player to be named later or cash.
Josh Lindblom is in his second season in the majors and has appeared in 75 career games out of the bullpen. He has a 2.91 career ERA and a 3.02 ERA in 48 games this season. Lindblom has been a back of the bullpen pitcher for the Dodgers this season, with 47 of his 48 appearances in the sixth inning or later, 40 of 48 in the seventh inning or later, and 27 of 48 in the eighth inning or later.
Ethan Martin is a right-handed starter and was the Dodgers' first-round pick (15th) in 2008. He is 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 20 starts this season with AA Chattanooga.
This is a good move for the Phillies. As important as Shane was to the Phillies recent success, he was going to become a free agent after the season and a deal was almost a necessity. The trade immediately inserts a quality, young, arm to a much maligned bullpen and relieves some of Victorino's $9.5 million contract. The Phillies also go a decent AA prospect with Ethan Martin out of the deal. It's an especially good move considering the Reds turned down a deal that would have brought a weaker reliever to the Phillies earlier this week.Hunter Pence Traded to Giants
The Phillies traded Hunter Pence to the Giants for AA catching prospect Tommy Joseph, outfielder Nate Schierholtz, and single-A reliever Seth Rosin 66 250lbs and at least one other player could also be included.
Tommy Joseph, the headline player of the deal, was the Giants' second-round pick (55th overall) in the 2009 Draft. Joseph is hitting .260 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 80 games in AA this year.
Nate Schierholtz is a 28-year-old left-handed outfielder with a career .270 batting average in six big league seasons. This season, Schierholtz is hitting .257 with 5 homers and 17 RBIs in 77 games.
Seth Rosin is a 6’6” right-handed closer with a 4.31 ERA in single-A this season.
The Hunter Pence deal does not look entirely appetizing on paper, but it should prove to be a wise decision in the long run. Pence was on a pace to hit close to 30 home runs and knock in around 100 RBI's, but his defense was terrible, he was a poor situational hitter, struck out often, and hit into many double-plays. The roughly $15 million he would be due next season was not worth it for a team fighting against the luxury tax. Removing his salary alone made the deal worthwhile.
That said, the prospect in the deal don't help the Phils all that much. Joseph seems like a decent prospect, but the Phillies already have a quality catching prospect in Sebastian Valle. Schierholtz and Rosin are essentially just throw-ins.
It is also hard not to ignore what Ruben Amaro gave up to acquire Pence versus what we received in return. The Phillies traded four players to get Pence last year. One of those players is currently ranked #39, one was ranked #50 to start the season, and one is performing very well at single-A. Compare that to one decent prospect and two borderline players and it reveals a huge mis-evaluation in grabbing Pence in the first place.
Overall, this was a successful trading deadline for Ruben Amaro and the Phillies. It relieves salary, brings in a quality bullpen arm, and adds much needed flexibility for 2013. And think about it: is Dom Brown and Nate Schierholtz that much of a downgrade to Victorino and Pence?
What did Phillies get back in Victorino and Pence deals?
by Scott Butler
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