MLB Trade Deadline: West Coast Moves Could Separate Contenders from Pretenders
The MLB trade deadline is always an exciting one. General managers scramble to make one last move to bolster their team and increase their chances of a playoff berth. I found that two teams out in the West Coast did just that, and what do you know, the teams are tied for first place in their division—I'm talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), the Dodgers acquired outfielder Shane Victorino from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for relief pitcher Josh Lindblom, minor league pitcher Ethan Martin and either a player later to be named or cash.
This move is a significant one for the Dodgers, as it strengthens an already talented outfield, while providing more depth to a potent lineup.
Victorino will likely have to make the move to left field—with Matt Kemp in center and Andre Ethier locked in right. He is also likely to claim the leadoff spot for the Dodgers; the outfielder is hitting .261 with an on-base percentage of .325.
With Victorino, the Dodgers have a pair of legs capable of stealing bags and turning singles into doubles. Batting in front of both Kemp and Ethier, Victorino will likely score a few extra runs for the Dodgers offense for added run support for their starting pitcher.
This acquisition will more than likely increase LA's chances of maintaining a playoff berth.
On the other side of California, San Francisco acquired Hunter Pence from the Phillies, as per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The deal will send outfielder Nate Schierholtz and minor league players Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin.
With the deal being completed, Pence provides the Giants with a middle-of-the-lineup bat. The right fielder is batting .271 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI this season. This kind of production is not to be overlooked, especially with the Giants ball club.
Who will claim the NL West?
Batting in the middle, Pence can provide some extra insurance runs needed to pull out a close victory—something San Francisco hasn't been able to do this season. It is the club's hope that in acquiring Pence, the Giants will be able to become consistent night-in and night-out putting runs on the scoreboard.
It is more than likely when the deal jumps the necessary hurdles to become official—Pence passing the physical—that the right field duties will be shifted from Giants current right fielder Gregor Blanco to Pence.
Hunter Pence certainly increases the Giants' chances of claiming a spot for October baseball. There's a reason teams were interested in him—he's a talented ball player and he's under contract for another year.
With the moves both teams from California have in motion, I can say with certainty that both the Dodgers and Giants are looking to find a way to the World Series.
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