The Philadelphia Phillies, in a fit of true largess, have dispatched their top two outfielders to NL West teams, for a parcel of young talent, most of which is years away from the major leagues.
The Dodgers sent outstanding pitching prospect Ethan Martin and solid bullpen righty Josh Lindblom, with an additional element (cash or player to be named) , for former All-Star, Dodger Stadium villain, and free agent to be Shane Victorino. Victorino is in the throws of a poor season, but he has outstanding credentials as a solid hitter, outstanding outfielder, and savvy baserunner.The three-time gold glove winning Victorino would be the likely new, full-time, left fielder, as he certainly will not cause Matt Kemp to move over. What Victorino brings to the team thus is greatly improved overall outfield defense, the potential of another solid bat, with occasional power, and yet another speedy, base-stealing runner. When Dee Gordon returns with his unlimited base-stealing potential, the Dodgers in Gordon, Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, and now Victorino, will have four regulars with the potential of 30 to 60 steals, not to mention taking the extra base and generally unnerving pitchers.
The downside is that free agent Victorino can, and may well, walk after the season, leaving the team without him, and without the solid Lindblom, and the talented pitching prospect Martin.
In a more surprising move on the Phillies’ part, they also sent Hunter Pence to the GIants, for veteran Nick Schierholtz and youngsters Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin. Pence is a solid hitter and outfielder who should become the Giants first everyday right fielder in a long time. At 29, he should have his prime years ahead of him, and he is signed through 2013.
Schierholtz was a major disappointment to the Giants, who at one time thought he had star potential, but he’s never developed into more than just a part time player in five years with the team. Joseph, however, was at the top of the current Giants’ prospect list, but as a catcher by trade he had little future at that spot behind Buster Posey. Rosin, at 6′ 5″ and 250 lbs, has a big strikeout pitch, decent control, and has both started and relieved in the Giants farm system.
Both the Giants and Dodgers filled needs with these deals, though the Dodgers are likely not done dealing yet, as they are still, according to virtually all media reports, in the market for a starting pitcher. The Phillies on the other hand, have clearly given up on this season, and might even yet deal a top starter. But what are they thinking about for the future, dealing Pence? Down on the free agent to be Victorino is one thing. but also dealing Pence is questionable. Unless last season’s flavor of the month, Domonic Brown, can play center field and actually hit major league pitching, the Phillies may soon be searching the waiver list for outfielders. Unfortunately, the Dodgers have no games left with Philadelphia this season, but neither do the Giants. Arizona, however, is in Philly this coming weekend, and may well be a residual beneficiary of the two trades, playing thee games against a now considerably weakened Phillies’ team.