The Philadelphia Phillies signed Roberto Hernandez last winter to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. When they signed that deal, the value of his contract was miniscule compared to the return value they could possibly receive.
Since the Phillies have no chance to make the playoffs this season and with Hernandez pitching at his best since the 2010 season, maximizing his value was the goal for the Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. The Los Angeles Dodgers needed a fifth starter due to Josh Beckett being out indefinitely, and with the L.A. needing Hernandez more than the Phillies and an abundance of prospects in the Dodgers’ organization, a deal was imminent.
When deals are confirmed with a “PTBNL”, sometimes those players turn out to be much better than the unnamed moniker would suggest. Coco Crisp, Gio Gonzalez, and potential Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz were all part of this group, and more recently, Patrick Corbin, a 2013 All-Star pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, joined them.
The Phillies named one of these players involved in the Hernandez deal: 20-year-old second baseman Jesmuel Valentin. A 2012 first-round draft selection from Puerto Rico, Valentin was selected by the Phillies out of a pool determined by the Dodgers. He was batting .280 in Class-A over 108 games played this season.
With another player to be selected from the Dodgers’ pool, the Phillies have already acquired more than they anticipated for Hernandez when the original deal was signed. Even if Valentin doesn’t become a major league player, the Phillies won’t gain anything with Hernandez for the rest of the season. Amaro realized that and saw an opportunity to close a deal.