Victorino deal looks good for the Phillies

The Phillies dealt center fielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July. The deal was supposed to help the Dodgers into the post-season and the Phillies to stock-pile some young prospects. It didn't work so well for the Dodgers, but the Phillies have reason to be happy.

Shane Victorino was a popular player in Philadelphia, but his popularity - like his stats - were waning when the Phillies decided to go in the proverbial different direction. Looking around, the best offer came from the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were willing to give the Phillies reliever Josh Lindblom, minor league starter Ethan Martin and a player to be named later for Victorino.

Done deal!

The player to be named later was named recently. He is 22-year old second baseman Stefan Jarrin, who the Dodgers drafted in the 40th round of the 2011 Draft. As you would expect with a 40th rounder, Jarrin is not looked at as a great prospect and his numbers seem to reinforce that thinking. In two minor league seasons, Jarrin has hit just .211 with the Dodgers Arizona League Rookie team. His defense at second showed marked improvement this season, but is still going to need some work. The bottom line is that he's a throw-in. A guy the Phillies hope will turn out to be at least a decent player at some point down a long and winding road.

The bigger picture were the two guys initially included in the trade; Lindblom and Martin. Lindblom has been a decent, but inconsistent reliever for the Phillies this season. Coming into the final game of the season, Lindblom has posted a 4.63 ERA with the Phillies and has a combined mark of 3-5, 3.55 between the Phillies and Dodgers. He's pitched 71 innings over 74 games and has struck out 70 hitters, so if nothing else, he can give you a good number of innings and will strike out a good number of hitters.

Again, the problem is with inconsistency. Since joining the Phillies, Lindblom's control has left him on a number of occasions and he's walked 17 hitters in 23 1/3 innings of work. The lack of control and consistency has forced the Phillies to discontinue their hopes of having Lindblom as their eighth inning guy. Instead, he's pitching in earlier innings, and could even be in a situation where he'll have to pitch his way onto the team in spring training.

The real return in the deal has turned out to be Ethan Martin. The Dodgers made Martin the 15th overall pick in the 2008 Draft and he's still just 23 years old. Martin had good numbers at Double-A Chattanooga (8-6, 3.58; 20 starts) and while it may have been tempting to push him up to Triple-A, the Phillies elected to send him to Reading and keep him at Double-A, where he made seven starts and went 5-0, 3.18 for the R-Phils.

Martin has a mid-90s fastball that he can occasionally pump up to as high as 98 when he needs to. He also throws a slider and change-up that are generally only average pitches for him and don't show much hope of getting too much better. The pitch that is coming along best for him is his curve and he's starting to show more consistency with the pitch. Some scouts believe that if he ever really gains full command of the pitch, it will make him a much better pitcher than he has already shown himself to be.

If you're the Dodgers, you can't be very happy. Victorino hit just .250 with the Dodgers, even less than the .261 he was hitting with the Phillies. He also showed less power, although they did seem to utilize his speed more than the Phillies did. To make matters worse, the Dodgers pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Red Sox after the Victorino trade, acquiring a lot of financial commitments and they failed to make the playoffs. Whether or not Victorino will be with the Dodgers next season is up for discussion in L.A. right now. Once the season is officially over, Victorino is a free agent and there are no guarantees that the Dodgers will offer him a deal, especially one that would pay him the $9.25 million he made in 2012. It's clear that the Phillies wouldn't have offered him anything near that price.

While it generally takes a while to judge a trade, this one may not take that long. The Phillies weren't going to re-sign Victorino and in exchange, they got a decent reliever, a young starter with a nice upside and a throw-in infielder. You might say that Lindblom's value to them over the second-half of the season is about what Victorino's would have been had they kept him in town. Plus, Martin helped pitch the R-Phils into the Eastern League playoffs and will likely be pitching at the Triple-A level next season and give the Phillies a nice arm to look forward to as early as 2014.

To bottom line the deal; It's a win for the Phillies.



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