The 2012 trade deadline has come to pass. For the Philadelphia Phillies, though, it could have gone better.
At roughly noon Eastern time today, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Shane Victorino in exchange for reliever Josh Lindblom and pitching prospect Ethan Martin. Then, about two hours later, the San Francisco Giants made a trade that nabbed Hunter Pence from the Phillies for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, catching prospect Tommy Joseph and minor league starting pitcher Seth Rosin.
It was thought that Joe Blanton could be traded today as well, but a deal with the Baltimore Orioles fell through. Blanton remains on the team for now, as he could be a trade candidate in August through the waiver trade system.
In the meantime, the Phillies have called up Domonic Brown and have activated Brian Schneider off the DL to take the roster spots of Victorino and Pence. But with the returns the Phillies received in exchange for their All-Star outfielders, did the Phillies strike gold or did they find fool's gold instead?
Let's take a look at the two deals:
Los Angeles Dodgers Receive Victorino, Phillies Get Lindblom and Martin in Return
The Phillies traded away their defensive star center fielder Shane Victorino for Lindblom and Martin. Victorino's time in Philadelphia was overall spectacular, as he was named to two All-Star teams and won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 2008-2010. He hit .277 as a Phillies with 88 home runs and posted a .776 OPS.
In Lindblom, the Phillies get a somewhat-steady reliever. He's got a 3.02 ERA this year and 1.26 WHIP, but away from Dodger Stadium his ERA this year is 5.32 and his WHIP is 1.46. At least he's under team control through 2017.
As for Martin, the Phillies surprisingly acquired a pitching prospect in addition to Lindblom for Victorino, so that in itself is a bonus. Martin was ranked as the 17th best prospect in the Dodgers' system heading into 2011, and while he could project as a number two starter, relief work may be the best opportunity for him in the bigs.
Victorino was traded for what I think was a low price given his track record, but also given his apparent market of only being available for relievers, the Phillies did pretty well. They don't have to eat any of his remaining salary and they get both a reliever under control for years to come and a prospect who could work his way through the system. Not bad.
Victorino Trade Grade: B
Now let's take a look at the Pence deal.
San Francisco Giants Acquire Pence, Trade Joseph, Schierholtz and Rosin to Phillies
Of Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton, I least expected Pence to be dealt. Despite Pence being the most expensive of the three, he is under team control through next year and even though his salary will go up once more, he's one of the Phillies' younger pieces and hits better than Victorino. Sure enough, it was Blanton who gets to stick around...for now.
Anyway, the Phillies saw the Pence deal headlined by catching prospect Tommy Joseph, the Giants' second-best prospect. Joseph has tons of power and his game calling skills were considered second only to Giants catcher Buster Posey in their system. He's also significantly improved his defense and has a very strong arm. Because of this, he's expected to stick as a catcher. He'll be starting in Double-A now that Phillies catching prospect Sebastian Valle has been promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
In adddition, the Phillies got Nate Schierholtz, a utility outfielder who can hit for solid average and isn't bad defensively. Schierholtz asked to be dealt, so his inclusion in the trade is more like a favor for him and a move the Phillies needed to make for the interim now that Pence's right field spot is vacant. He'll be a free agent after the 2014 season.
Then there's Rosin. Not considered a top prospect, he ranks as the Giants' fourth-best right-handed minor league starting pitcher. At High-A San Jose this year, Rosin has pitched to a 2-1 record with a 4.31 ERA, 68 Ks and a 1.19 WHIP. Although Baseball America has him listed as a starter, Rosin's spent more time working out of the bullpen this year.
While Pence's trade didn't come as a surprise nor did his destination, the return that the Phillies received for him is appalling. Pence was worth more to the Phillies and has more overall value than a top prospect and two throw-ins. I get that Ruben Amaro, Jr. wanted to shed Pence's salary, but now that he's also chipping in some money to San Francisco, it defeats the purpose. Trading Pence is fine. But for this package? It very well may have been worth keeping him.
Pence Trade Grade: D
What do you think of the two trades? Who should have been dealt? Should Victorino and/or Pence have been retained? Leave your opinions in the comments section below.