My “sources” can confirm that we have absolutely no idea what the Phillies lineup will look like August 1, 2013. With differing reports surfacing every few minutes, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. could trade ace Cliff Lee, he would like to move Michael Young and Jonathan Papelbon, but he could just sit on his hands and do nothing. Because of that, I’m not going to speculate but instead take a look back on last year’s deadline. For the first time since 2006 the Philadelphia Phillies were sellers at the deadline after five years of buying. And it all started with
Thome was signed in the offseason by the Phillies to play first base for the injured Ryan Howard. Never having won a World Series, Thome thought that a return to the Phillies could give him a chance to finally reach the promise land, but boy was he wrong. It became clear early on that Thome couldn’t adequately fill in at first and would be better suited on an American League team as the designated hitter.
The Thome trade was the first shoe to drop. The first sign that the Phillies would not be contending this year, and would indeed be selling. The Phillies received a former 4th round draft pick in Kyle Simon, and a young, very raw catcher in Gabriel Lino.
Simon was converted to a relief pitcher and thrived in the role compiling a 1.34 ERA between High Class A Clearwater, and Double A Reading. Lino on the other hand didn’t favor too well. Scouts say that if everything goes right, Lino could be a big league player but he sure didn’t show it last season. After the trade the Phillies sent Lino to Class A Lakewood where Lino hit just .227 with 3 HR, and only 14 RBI.
This season Simon has pitched the entire season with the Double A Reading Phillies and has been unable to carry over the success that he had last season. He currently sits with a 4.79 ERA in 35.2 IP. He is however pitching well on the road, compiling a 2.40 ERA when he isn’t pitching in Reading. He turns 23 in August, and hopefully he can regain the form he had when he first came over from the Orioles.
Lino started the season out in extended spring training, and was sent to the short season Williamsport when the Crosscutters season started. Lino has played well, hitting .293 with 4 HR and 23 RBI. His 23 RBI are good for 6th in the New York Penn League in that category. Lino is still just 20 years old, and there is a chance he could still amount to something for the Phillies.
When the Phillies started its downward spiral, it became clear that Shane Victorino would be a piece that would be moved. Victorino, in the last year of his deal, and unlikely to come back, would be a wanted commodity to a potential contender. The three time Gold Glove winner was shipped to the Dodgers, the team that originally drafted Victorino.
Ethan Martin was the big piece in the trade. The former fifteenth overall pick in the 2008 draft had developed slowly in the Dodgers system but was enjoying his best year in professional baseball at the time of the trade. Josh Linblom was the Dodgers second round pick in the 2008 draft out of Purdue University. Linblom had established himself as a young major league reliever, something the Phillies desperately needed. Stefan Jarrin was the player to be named later in the deal.
Ethan Martin was sent to Double A Reading after the trade, and continued to pitch well going undefeated for the R-Phils and doing so with a 3.18 ERA. He finished out the 2012 season with a combined 13-6 record, 3.48 ERA, and 147 strikeouts in 157.2 IP. Martin was promoted to Triple A Lehigh Valley this season and struggled mightily but has really pitched well of late. In his last ten games Martin has a 2.80 ERA and could be in line for a promotion soon if any of the Phillies pitchers gets injured or traded. Some scouts see Martin as no more than a number five starter, while some see him destined to be a reliever at the next level.
Linblom was supposed to be a big part of the Phillies bullpen, and Linblom seemingly fit right into the Phillies pen by struggling to get guys out. Lindblom had a 3.02 ERA at the time of the trade, but in Phillies pinstripes his ERA was 4.63. Lindblom was shipped off to Texas in the winter for veteran infielder Michael Young. Lindblom is pitching well, but it’s for Texas’ Triple A team the Round Rock Express. Stefan Jarrin was released.
This one truly came as a surprise. The Phillies had traded a king’s ransom for Hunter Pence a year earlier and Amaro paid such a steep price because Pence was still under team control for 2 more seasons. Even though Pence had another year of arbitration the Phillies elected to move the fan favorite, and didn’t get much.
Nate Schierholtz was a former top prospect for the Giants but had fallen out of favor. In the days leading up to the deadline Schierholtz had enough, and demanded a trade. Not known as an impact bat, Schierholtz, in limited starts, had compiled a .251 batting average with 5 HR and 16 RBI. He came to Philadelphia and continued his mediocre play, batting .273 with the Phillies and hitting 1 HR with just 5 RBI. Schierholtz signed with the Cubs in the offseason and is having a season to remember. He is one of the hotter names in this year’s deadline.
Tommy Joseph was the center piece in the deal. Joseph, a former second round pick in the 2009 draft, had wowed by his raw power and hitting ability. Just 21 years old at the time of the trade, Joseph had just come out of playing in his first futures game, and was headed back to Double A Richmond Flying Squirrels, when he was traded. Joseph finished the 2012 season with the Double A Reading Phillies and hit .257 with 11 HR and 47 RBI.
For some reason the Phillies thought it was a good idea to promote Joseph, who hit just .250 in his time at Double A, to Triple A Lehigh Valley. Joseph struggled big time, failing to adjust to Triple A pitching, then went down with a concussion. The Phillies brass is treating the 2013 season as a lost one for Joseph, who is still just 22 years old.
Seth Rosin was the final piece in the deal. The former 2010 fourth round pick had a 4.31 ERA as a starter with High Class A San Jose Giants. He was assigned to High Class A Clearwater and continued working as a starter. This season he was promoted to Double A Reading where even with a 4.34 ERA, his 9-4 record was enough to earn him a nod in the Eastern League All Star Game.
Joe Blanton was a big piece of the 2008 World Series team. He came over in a deadline deal in 2008, and helped the Phillies win it all, capping off game four of the World Series with an epic homerun off then reliever Edwin Jackson. But Blanton was an impending free agent, and like Victorino he wouldn’t be returning to Philadelphia. Blanton was rumored to be traded to the Orioles at the deadline, but talks broke down. On the day he was supposed to pitch, Blanton was scratched and it was announced that he had been traded in a waiver move to the Los Angeles Dodgers
Ryan O’ Sullivan was announced as the player to be named later in the trade. A fourth round pick in the 2011 MLB draft, the Dodgers had to wait one full year after signing O’Sullivan to technically trade him. Pitching for High Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, O’Sullivan was pitching out of their bullpen and performing well with a 3.57 ERA. After being traded he was sent to High Class A Clearwater and pitched in 11 innings compiling a 2.45 ERA. For the 2013 season O’Sullivan was sent back to Clearwater. He has been a shutdown reliever the Phillies had hoped for, pitching in 58 innings with a 2.79 ERA
In a nutshell it wasn’t a very impressive deadline for Amaro. Ruben traded a three time Gold Glove award winner for MAYBE a number 5 starter. He doesn’t acquire top prospect Zach Lee, but instead gets a less heralded prospect and gets Dodgers GM Ned Colletti to include Josh Lindblom. Phillies fans have to pray that Ethan Martin can be a solid major leaguer, because if he can’t the Phillies gave away Shane Victorino for virtually nothing.
The Hunter Pence trade was a frustrating one. After giving up top prospects in Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton to acquire Pence, Amaro obtains one solid prospect from the Giants for an outfielder who is under team control. While scouts keep saying Tommy Joseph can hit, Tommy Joseph can hit with power, I’m just wondering when he plans on doing so. Never hitting better than .270 in a season, Tommy Joseph simply doesn’t do it for me. Especially when you consider this is a team who gave up top prospect Zach Wheeler for an aging veteran in Carlos Beltran who was an impending free agent. There were better prospects in the Giants system, and Amaro simply didn’t get those prospects.
The Joe Blanton trade might be the best trade of them all. Ryan O’Sullivan has continued to get guys out, proving to be a shutdown reliever out of the Threshers bullpen. It’s a little troublesome that he does so without striking out many batters (38 strikeouts in 58 innings this season) it hasn’t hurt him yet.
Ruben Amaro is once again looking at selling (I think) and I have no confidence in his ability to actually get a solid haul for any of the current players. Amaro has done a phenomenal job of buying, which isn’t hard to do as long as you have the prospects, but selling has been Amaro’s bugaboo.