Last year at the trade deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies were 68-39, six games up in the NL East. This season, the Phils are just 45-57, 16.5 games out in the NL East and 13 games out in the wild-card race.
They have not come close to meeting those expectations.
There were several rumors going around, including the potential trade of veteran starters Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay, but Ruben Amaro, Jr. held his cards, hoping to rebuild with his powerful rotation for the 2013 season.
With the deadline came a couple of major trades for Philadelphia. The club was able to acquire some talented young players to build around, while opening up the outfield for young players like Domonic Brown and John Mayberry, Jr.
Let's take a look at how the Phillies fared on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, he was shipped away to San Francisco, where he will get another raise through arbitration prior to hitting free agency in 2014. The move allows the Phillies to take the contract off of their books, freeing money to acquire another outfielder through free agency or a trade during the upcoming offseason.
The Phillies received:
Nate Schierholtz, 28 years old, OF: Schierholtz is not a cornerstone talent but he does have some value. He is a very good defensive outfielder, he is arbitration-eligible for 2013 (and he makes just $1.3 million in 2012, so he is affordable), and he is a decent left-handed bat off of the bench, having ripped 57 doubles, 12 triples and 20 home runs in 955 at-bats against right-handed pitchers in his career.
Seth Rosin, 23 years old, RHP: Rosin was dominant as a relief pitcher before being moved to San Jose's rotation on June 28. At 6'6", 250 pounds, he has an impressive frame to become an innings-eating machine. He is not a top-tier prospect, but a 68:18 K:BB in 56.1 innings is worth a look.
Tommy Joseph, 21 years old, C: Joseph is the prize. The young, slugging catcher was named as a representative in the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City, and he has impressed with the bat since becoming a professional. He has already reached Double-A, having hit eight home runs along with 16 doubles for Richmond in the Eastern League. He has some issues with the strike zone, having posted a career 282:80 K:BB in 1,254 at-bats, but he has popped 46 long-balls and 71 doubles in that time, as well. He could be ready in late 2013, which lines up perfectly for when Carlos Ruiz can walk via free agency.
While the Phillies did a nice job of shedding payroll here, they didn't really get a fantastic haul for an above-average corner outfielder who was under team control for 2013.
Joseph is a very good prospect, ranked No. 2 in the Giants' system prior to 2012 by Baseball America, but he has his flaws and they received a bench bat and a solid arm that looks bullpen bound in return for Pence.
If Amaro takes the money and lands another solid bat for the 2013 season, this deal could be worth it, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Without an immediately ready prospect in return, you have to wonder if this is going to lead to some tossed batteries in Philly.
The "Flyin' Hawaiian" was acquired in December of 2004 in the Rule Five Draft from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now he returns to the club that originally drafted him in the sixth round of the 1999 MLB draft.
Victorino will be a free agent after the 2012 season and he had turned down an extension from Philadelphia prior to the start of the season. He has gone on to post a pedestrian .261/.324/.401 slash, all career worsts.
Victorino will provide some stability to the top of the Dodger lineup, as a change of scenery could lead to more production, allowing Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier to thrive behind him in the suddenly dangerous Dodger lineup.
Josh Lindblom, 25 years old, RHP: Lindblom has been solid in the major league bullpen for the Dodgers since last season, having posted a career 2.91 ERA over 77.1 innings, with a 71:28 K:BB. The young right-hander is big, 6'4" and 240 pounds, but he is no Jonathan Broxton...or Todd Coffey. His 4.58 ERA away from Los Angeles is cause for concern, especially with fly ball tendencies in Philadelphia, but he should be a nice middle reliever.
Ethan Martin, 23 years old, RHP: Martin has started 20 games in 2012 in Double-A, needing to repeat the level after a horrendous 2011, when he split time between High-A and Double-A while posting a 5.95 ERA over 95.1 innings. Martin struggles to throw strikes, having posted a 112:61 K:BB in 118 innings in 2012, so he is not a finished product. With that being said, he was a first-round pick in the 2008 MLB draft and he still has a nice fastball.
Lindblom provides some immediate help for the Phillies bullpen, which ranks 27th in MLB in ERA. While his issues away from Los Angeles are a cause of concern, he has had success overall.
Martin is not really a prize at this point, as his stock has fallen tremendously due to his inability to throw strikes. With that being said, Martin still has some stuff, even if he has to come out of the bullpen long-term.
Victorino was as good as gone due to ownership concerns with the luxury tax and the Phillies are out of it in 2012, whether you want to throw mathematics at it or not. The deal will not blow anyone away, but it was not a terrible deal by any means.
Domonic Brown, above, finally gets a full-time look. The Phillies have kept their core, specifically within their starting rotation. By shedding payroll, the Phillies are positioned to make a run at Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Melky Cabrera or B.J. Upton to fill an outfield spot this winter. By dealing both Pence and Victorino, Brown and Mayberry can get a real look, as the Phillies have nothing to lose by playing them over Nate Schierholtz and Juan Pierre.
If Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard stay healthy and productive, Philadelphia will certainly be contending in 2013.
Overall, I give Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the Phillies management a B-. The club was able to get some long-term bullpen depth, as well as acquire a potential offensive force behind the plate in Tommy Joseph. It was not perfect, as I feel that they should have received more for Pence, but they did well for themselves by moving the contracts that they did.