The trade deadline has officially passed, and the Philadelphia Phillies have had to “sell” for the first time since the 2006 season. It was All-Star outfielders Shane Victorino, 31, and Hunter Pence, 29, who were shipped to a pair of contending National League West teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.
In return, the Phillies received a quality 24-year old right handed relief pitcher, a solid Double-A starting pitcher, a backup major league outfielder, a top catching prospect who is currently in Double-A ball, and an average Class-A relief pitcher.
What does that mean for the team?
Well, most importantly, and obviously, it means that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr has officially given up on the season.
Barring a miracle, and yes I do mean a miracle, the Phillies will not make the postseason for the first time since the 2006 season. Their streak of five consecutive division titles, the third longest streak in MLB history, will end. Their streak of nine consecutive winning seasons is also in serious jeopardy, and more likely than not, will end.
But that’s nothing that keeping Victorino and Pence could have changed. This season is over, and has been over for several weeks, and the Phillies know that.
So how do the trades affect what is most important for the team: the future?
The most important thing is that the Phillies cleared up a significant amount of money on their payroll. Victorino was making $9 million this season and will likely draw nine figures as a free agent. Pence was scheduled to make $15 million in 2013. Neither player is worth that much.
I think both were pretty good players. I’ll always respect Shane Victorino for what he did from 2007 to 2011. He was a two-time All-Star on a consistent playoff team and he played a major role in the team’s second world championship in franchise history in 2008.
Pence only had a year here, but he put up pretty good numbers, collecting almost 30 home runs and close to 100 RBIs.
But I don’t think either player is quite as good as his numbers. Victorino can make some really dumb plays in the field and on the basepaths, and Hunter Pence, the most unathletic-looking good athlete in any sport ever, is the exact same. I would go as far as to say that neither player was as good as his numbers, and would not have been worth a long-term contract.
Trading the players will help rebuild the Phillies’ farm system, which was a necessity. It will give the Phillies two months to see if prospect Domonic Brown can or cannot play full-time in the major leagues. And it will give genius general manager Ruben Amaro Jr a lot of time to think about how he wants to address the outfield for next season.
The trades were dramatic and today was an eventful day in Philadelphia sports. But both trades needed to be done. I’d go as far as to say that the Phillies were winners in the trade deadline, especially considering that Victorino is only a two-month rental for the Dodgers and Pence has just a year (a very expensive year) left on his contract.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.