Phillies, Dodgers Agree on Deal Involving Shane Victorino
The Phillies and Dodgers have agreed to a trade involving Shane Victorino, according to Todd Zolecki. The Blue Crew, of course, would get the mercurial center fielder while the Phillies are receiving young right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom and Double-A right-hander Ethan Martin. That Victorino is headed elsewhere is no surprise as he is a free agent after the season and will not be signed to a contract cheaply. Getting value for him now makes a lot of sense for the Phillies.
Lindblom is a 25-year-old right-hander who has worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Dodgers. His Minor League resume is less than impressive (4.30 ERA), but has shown his ability to strike out hitters persists even at the Major League level. In terms of raw swings and misses, Lindblom ranks 16th among all National League relievers with 96, right ahead of Jonathan Papelbon with 95. For the Phillies, the most attractive feature is Lindblom’s relative cheapness and his lack of service time. With under a full year of service time, they’ll have one pre-arbitration year left with him before his four years of arbitration-eligibility.
Like his new Phillies colleagues, Lindblom has had a lot of trouble keeping the ball in the yard, even at pitcher-friendly Chavez Ravine. In 47.2 innings, the fly ball-prone right-hander allowed nine home runs, accounting for more than 16 percent of his fly balls allowed. But, thanks to a low BABIP (.266) and very unsustainable base runners stranded rate (93 percent) his 3.02 ERA is well under the retrodictors such as FIP (5.05) and xFIP (4.33). SIERA, however, likes him, putting him at 3.66.
Per FanGraphs, Lindblom is almost all fastball-slider, as they account for 91 percent of his pitches thrown this season. Here’s where he typically throws his fastballs towards right- and left-handed hitters:
And the sliders:
As you can tell, Lindblom lives on the outside edge of the plate. Opposing hitters have posted a .281 wOBA against him on pitchers on the outer-third of the plate, .254 on pitches in the middle (surprisingly!), and .370 on pitches on the inside-third of the plate. Four of the nine home runs he has allowed this year have been on the inside corner.
Lindblom is already a serviceable reliever good enough to handle the seventh or eighth inning for the Phillies, but he has plenty of room — and, most importantly, time — to grow. The Phillies will have him for potentially five more years after 2012, so there is a distinct possibility he blossoms into a valuable late-innings reliever like Ryan Madson did.
The second player coming over to Philadelphia, 23-year-old Ethan Martin, has spent this season with Double-A Chattanooga. The Dodgers’ first round pick in 2008, he has battled control issues in his professional career as his 14 percent walk rate signifies, but still has some potential if he can ever battle those demons. His fastball-slider combo profiles best as a relief pitcher, but assigning him to a specific role is putting the cart before the horse.
The Dodgers get a fast, switch-hitting outfielder in Victorino. Lately, he has had problems hitting from the left side (.282 wOBA vs. RHP), but is about average in a typical year. He can hit anywhere in a lineup, which is a feature that some managers still value, and he’s still a very efficient base-stealer (24-for-28, 86% this year). Reunited with Davey Lopes, the Dodgers are hoping for even more production on the bases.
To keep their outfield fresh, the Phillies have recalled on-again, off-again outfielder Domonic Brown. Once the top prospect in the system, Brown has battled injuries and sky-high expectations amid his inability to hold down a MLB roster spot. However, he had been tearing up Triple-A pitching since returning from his latest disabled list stint as Twitter friend Michael Stubel pointed out:
Domonic Brown in two weeks since returning to AAA: .395 AVG (17/43), .447 OBP, .535 SLG, 4 BB, 3 2B, 1 HR
— Michael Stubel (@MichaelStubel) July 30, 2012
Overall, the Phillies came out okay with this trade. It’s likely they could have gotten something more valuable than a relief pitcher and a Minor League throw-in, but it’s better than nothing and Lindblom should eat up high-leverage innings for years to come. The added bonus is regular MLB playing time for Brown, who has yet to have a fair shake at the opportunity. And Victorino’s departure, obviously, signifies a new chapter in the Phillies’ history as they move further and further away from the 2007-11 “golden era”.
UPDATE: The Phillies will get a player to be named later or cash along with Lindblom and Martin.