Tuesday morning, the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to exchange Shane Victorino for Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin. Free-agent-to-be Victorino gives the Dodgers an actual everyday left fielder, while Lindblom and Martin give the Phillies some highly-rated prospects. Or, some guys who were once highly-rated prospects. Now? Over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron likes what the Dodgers have done.
Victorino replaces a black hole of a job share in left field, pushing Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn back to the bench where they belong. Given that he’s also replacing guys who were offering no production, this trade has the potential to offer the same kind of upgrade as last week’s Hanley Ramirez acquisition. The Dodgers have to be thrilled that they could solve their left field issues at this kind of low price, and they continue to put pressure on the Giants to make a counter if they want to keep pace in the NL West. This new Dodgers roster is a lot better than the one they were running out there two weeks ago.
For the Phillies, you can understand why they made this deal, assuming they weren’t going to give Victorino a qualifying offer in order to get draft pick compensation, but getting a bad command fly ball reliever and a bad command fly ball pitching prospect is not exactly a huge return. The Dodgers have to be pleased with how the last few weeks have gone, and if they add Ryan Dempster this afternoon, they might just be the big trade deadline winners.
Victorino owns just a 94 OPS+, but it was 130 a year ago and it's 103 for his career. He's also a capable defender, and the Dodgers have given most of their left-field time to Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera, and Tony Gwynn. Victorino's a good get. Lindblom? Not a guy the Dodgers will miss, now that they've added Brandon League. And Martin? Martin was a high draft pick in 2008, but still he struggles with command and could easily have a future in the bullpen. One can't know how much the Phillies could have gotten for a pending free agent, but the Dodgers added value without really losing it.