The Phillies are closing towards a deal to send center fielder Shane Victorino to the Dodgers. The proposed deal will send reliever Josh Lindblom along with another player to the Dodgers in exchange for the 31-year old Victorino.
Victorino won't be a center fielder for the Dodgers, due to the presence of the all-world Matt Kemp in center field. In left field, Victorino becomes a different player. The league average OPS for a center fielder is .752, while for a left fielder, it's .764. Of course, Kemp in center hits like a right fielder, so the dropoff of having a left fielder that hits like a center fielder won't be a huge deal due to his presence.
The Dodgers have mainly been running with Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera in left field, and neither has been good at all, with Abreu holding a .704 OPS since coming over from the Angels and Rivera, another former Angel, sitting at .670.
You'd also have to imagine that this trade kills the possibility of Alfonso Soriano going over to LA in a possible Ryan Dempster trade, which the Dodgers are still working on. The Dodgers could still use a first baseman (because Rivera and James Loney absolutely stink), but haven't been linked to any out there. The acquisition of Victorino, along with the trade for Brandon League last night, the Hanley Ramirez deal last week, and a possible Dempster swap would really bolster this Dodgers team for a playoff run, but you have to still wonder about that offense, which still just isn't very good overall.
Meanwhile on the other coast, the rebuilding efforts have begun. By dealing the pending free agent Victorino, the Phillies are preparing for the next stage of their franchise. Lindblom isn't an exceptional piece to get in return, because quite frankly, he's a reliever who doesn't throw overly hard and is a little homer-prone. This year, despite a 3.02 ERA in 47 2/3 innings for the Dodgers, Lindblom's FIP is 5.05, thanks to a sky-high homer rate, strikeout and walk rates trending in the wrong direction, an unsustainable 93.3% strand rate, and a .266 BABIP. But for a Phillies bullpen that has ranged from acceptable to awful this year, he'll be a godsend. No word yet on the second player heading to Philly in the deal.
UPDATE: The deal is done. Victorino to the Dodgers for Lindblom and pitching prospect Ethan Martin. Martin was LA's 17th ranked prospect coming into the year, and the 23-year old has a 3.58 ERA in 118 innings for AA Chattanooga, striking out 112 and walking 61. The first round pick from the 2008 draft throws in the mid-90s, but his other pitches are still inconsistent, and a work in progress. Baseball America says that Martin's ceiling is of a #2, but "he still has a long way to go". The Phillies have called Domonic Brown up from AAA, and he'll be starting tonight…but who he is starting *with* in the outfield is still a mystery, as the Phillies continue to have talks surrounding Hunter Pence and Juan Pierre.
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