Trade deadline: Phils firesale has Victorino, Pence headed west
Staring at a last place team with a first-place payroll, Ruben Amaro Jr. knew it was time for a change. So he sold off his two most durable players before Tuesday's 4 p.m. trading deadline.
The Phils traded Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants.
Amaro might not be finished, either. With about an hour to go until the deadline Joe Blanton was still a Phillie, but was rumored to be headed to Baltimore.
In return for Victorino and Pence, the Phils got one major league reliever, a major league outfielder and three prospects.
Nate Schierholtz, a 28-year-old outfielder who has played parts of six seasons with the Giants, was hitting .257 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 77 games. He'll likely be plugged into a suddenly-thin Phillies outfield.
Josh Linblom, a 25-year-old reliever who has been in the Dodgers pen for the past two seasons, will likely be plugged into the Phillies bullpen in the coming days.
Also coming to Philadelphia: former Giants top catching prospect Tommy Joseph, right-hander Seth Rosin (Giants), right-hander Ethan Martin (Dodgers) and a player to be named later or cash (Dodgers).
Victorino is a pending free agent who don't fit into the Phils plans for 2013, when they could have as much as $150 million tied up to 11 players. Lindblom, the Dodgers' second round pick in 2008, is an arm the Phils can immediately put into a bullpen in need of capable arms.
Lindblom is 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 48 games with the Dodgers this season.
A fixture on Los Angeles' bullpen since June of 2011, Lindblom has held opponents to a .241 batting average and .754 OPS this season. He has 43 strikeouts and 18 walks in 47 2/3 innings.
Lindblom has pitched primarily in the eighth inning for the Dodgers (he's made 24 appearances in the eighth), where he has a 2.74 ERA and a 6.33 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
The 23-year-old Martin, the Dodgers first-round pick in 2008, was 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 20 starts at Double-A Chattanooga this season.
The Pence deal helps the payroll puzzle. If Pence returned, the Phillies were going to have over $150 million committed to 11 players in 2013; with 14 other roster spots to fill, they would have a very difficult time staying under the $178 million luxury tax threshold.
With both Victorino and Pence gone, the Phils will avoid the luxury tax this season.
Other than salary relief, most attractive piece the Phils got back for Pence is Joseph. Joseph was the second highest ranked Giants prospect according to Baseball America before the 2012 season.
San Francisco's second round pick in the 2009 draft, Joseph was hitting .260 with a .705 OPS, eight home runs and 38 RBIs in 80 games at Double-A Richmond.
The Phils have filled the two vacant spots on the 25-man roster by activating Brian Schneider off the disabled list and promoting Domonic Brown to the big leagues for the first time this season.
Domonic Brown was scratched from Triple-A Lehigh Valley's lineup this afternoon, the first signal that a Phillies trade was imminent. He'll be in Washington tonight and will likely begin two-month audition to win a full-time job in the new-look Phillies outfield.