Why Trading Hunter Pence Was Phillies' Biggest Mistake at the Deadline
A little before 2:30pm on July 31st, the Philadelphia Phillies traded right fielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, minor league catcher Tommy Joseph and minor league right-handed pitcher Seth Rosin.
This deal went down shortly after the Phillies had already traded center fielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Josh Lindblom and pitching prospect Ethan Martin.
With Victorino and Pence gone, the Phillies' outfield now consists of Juan Pierre, John Mayberry, Domonic Brown, Nate Schierholtz and Laynce Nix; a clear sign that the Phillies have officially quit on this season.
When the Phillies acquired Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros last year, he made an immediate impact and quickly became a fan favorite. "Good Game, Let's Go Eat" shirts flew off the shelves and number three jerseys and t-shirts filled the stands at Citizens Bank Park.
Now, just over one year later, Pence is changing teams once again.
Pence is eligible for arbitration next year, which is why the Phillies felt the need to deal him; they've decided to save some money. But in doing so, they've traded away their best hitter.
2012 has been a down year for Pence. But, when a player's down year consists of a .271 average, 17 home runs and 59 RBI, then maybe he's a guy who is worth keeping.
Pence is a career .290 hitter, and he hit .324 in 54 games with the Phillies in 2011.
Carlos Ruiz has been the best hitter for Philadelphia this year, but how likely is it that the 33-year old catcher will replicate these numbers in 2013?
What was the Phillies Biggest Mistake at the Trade Deadline?
As for the other Phillies offensive players, Ryan Howard is a career .274 hitter who hasn't hit over .280 since 2006. He is the guy who drives in the runs for Philadelphia, but the team needs someone to get on base. That player is now gone.
Now that the Phillies have freed up all of this money, what are they going to do with it?
Anything less than a huge free agent signing or two would be unacceptable.
Philadelphia is a city that has grown accustomed to winning, and another year like this one will cause a rebellion.
With the team as it is, the offense isn't good enough to get them into the playoffs in 2013. Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins aren't the hitters they used to be. Ruiz will not have another season like this one, and the outfield—as mentioned before—is nowhere near playoff caliber.
The 2013 free agent class isn't deep, but it has some names that would make the Phillies contenders next year.
Obviously, Josh Hamilton is the biggest name on the market, but don't expect to see him in red pinstripes next year.
26-year old Delmon Young will be a free agent, and he can hit. But his attitude problems have been well documented.
Cody Ross and Nick Swisher will both be free agents, but Ross isn't great and Swisher would just be another low-average long-ball hitter.
Center field is where the Phillies will have the most luck in the offseason, as former Phillie Michael Bourn is a free agent. Melky Cabrera and BJ Upton, who are both solid, young players would also be great additions to the Phillies.
Right now, Philadelphia is a city in panic mode and it wouldn't be a surprise if the sellout streak at Citizens Bank Park comes to an end by the end of the year. After all, Ruben Amaro Jr. just traded away one of the last reasons for Phillies for fans to come to the ballpark for the last two months of the season.
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