The July 31st trade deadline has come and gone with contenders buying what rebuilders are selling.
Yu Darvish is now a Los Angeles Dodger. Jose Quintana went from south side to north side in Chicago. New York is Sonny with a chance of Gray skies following the deadline.
The Phillies made all the expected moves. Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Joaquin Benoit, and Jeremy Hellickson were moved for young prospects in low-A ball. Had Daniel Nava not been on the DL, he probably would have brought back a similar return, too.
Reporters and writers love teams like the Phillies. Whether it be to cash in on well-performing veterans, or flipping positions of strength for positions of need, they’ve been a franchise routinely in the rumor mill. Since Ruben Amaro Jr. left the helm, trades have been less sporadic, splashy, and more systematic for Matt Klentak’s team.
Trades shake up the team, for better or for worse, so let’s revisit the rebuilt (or depleted) farm that has happened from various trades through the past few years and see how they have shaken out.
July 29, 2011- Traded to Houston: Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid, Jon Singleton, Domingo Santana
Received: Hunter Pence
It’s not what was gained from Houston, but the players that were traded away. The Phillies went all in, once again, as buyers at the deadline in an effort to solidify the team for a fifth consecutive postseason run. On paper, it seemed like an okay deal: a much needed star outfielder who provided an instant boost in the lineup for a slew of top, but unproven prospects.
Singleton and Cosart were the second and third ranked prospects for the Phillies at the time with endless potential. Singleton was touted as the next best thing with unlimited power potential. Fortunately, he hasn’t turned out that way for the Astros, still meddling in the minor leagues after becoming an afterthought.
Cosart has shown flashes of success in his injury-riddled career thus far. In his major league debut, he tossed a brilliant 6.1 no-hit innings, making Phillies fans oozy. Regardless of his injury history, he’s maybe one fans would like to see in red pinstripes as a back end starter.
Zeid is one to forget also, having two unsuccessful stints with the Astros. He’s thrown 48.1 innings with a 5.21 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, and .293 batting average against.
Domingo Santana is ironically the one who’s been the most successful return. He was the eventual “player to be named later” in the trade; later it came out he wasn’t supposed to be listed as an option for trade and was selected by “mistake” from the Phillies. Santana, still only 24, looks to have found a home as a regular in Milwaukee whom acquired him in the Carlos Gomez to Houston trade.
If it were something for the long haul and not as a one year rental, it would be a much better trade as the prospects, though highly touted, have stifled in their major league careers. The following deadline, Pence was on the move after Ruben Amaro Jr. realized his mistake in mortgaging the farm for the postseason.
July 31, 2012- Traded to San Francisco: Hunter Pence
Received: Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin, Nate Schierholtz
Amaro had a penchant for one year deals and trades for big names at the deadline. Pence was just like the others before him, being shipped to San Francisco, his current team, to “restock” the minor league system. The return wasn’t much of a stockpile, rather one injury-prone, top prospect and two middling role players.
Schierholtz sparingly played the outfield the rest of the year, not providing too much for the future; rather, he was more of a holdover for the next guy the following year. Schierholtz moved on to the Cubs at season’s end.
I’ll admit, I had to look him up because I couldn’t remember his name. Seth Rosin is very rarely remembered, that’s because he pitched a mere two innings in a Phillies uniform. Those innings were poor, too. He bounced around from team to team, eventually winding back up in the San Francisco farm system just last month.
The big name in this deal was Tommy Joseph. The catcher turned first baseman was oft-injured with concussions. Once a top ranked prospect for the Giants, he was moved because of injuries and a roadblock in Buster Posey at catcher. He came as a risk to the Phils, but Amaro brought him in and made him a productive bat. At 26, he likely is done catching, however, potential is there at first. This year, he’s been one of the more reliable bats, swinging .256/.315/.455 with 16 home runs, 54 RBI’s, and 30 walks in 100 games. Joseph’s name was thrown around as a trade chip due to Rhys Hoskins waiting in the wings as both can only play one position. He could still be dealt at some point in August if he passes through waivers.
July 31, 2012- Traded to Los Angeles: Shane Victorino
Received: Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin, Stefan Jarrin
Victorino was a part of the key core in the 2008 season. He was in his last year of a new three-year deal. He was a .277 career hitter with a .776 OPS, three-time gold glover in center field, and two all star selections. The trade marked the beginning of a rebuild after failing to reach the postseason for the first time since 2006 and slowly declining each year despite the record improving. Ethan Martin, the 15th overall selection in the 2008 MLB Draft, came as the 17th ranked prospect in the Dodgers organization who had the potential to be a mid-rotation starter. Josh Lindblom, just 25, was supposed to be a stable bullpen arm with potential as a set-up man.
Martin struggled through 17 games, eight starts, in one year since his acquisition. He finished 2-5 with a 5.93 ERA, 51 K, 29 BB, and 29 earned runs in just 44 innings.
Lindblom did not perform either, going 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 23.1 innings through 26 games. Both were off the Phillies within a year and now out of major league baseball.
As for Jarrin? He’s been out of baseball since 2013, now working as a scout for the Dodgers organization.
Victorino would go on to hit .245 with two home runs and 15 stolen bases the rest of the season. He’d go on to Boston as a free agent, winning another championship.
July 31, 2015- Traded to Texas: Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman
Received: Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, Matt Harrison
Hamels left Philadelphia with a bang. The ace and MVP of the 2008 World Series team hurled a 13 strikeout, two walk no-hitter against the now-defending champion Cubs in his final hurrah before the 2015 deadline. He was a coveted trade chip of the 2015 deadline as the Phillies went all in as sellers, declaring a full on rebuild. The return was about what you could ask for in the trade of the left handed ace.
Alfaro, Thompson and Williams were the “premium” prospects, as Amaro put it, all being in the top 10 Rangers prospects in 2015. They were the key pieces in hopes of expediting the rebuild process. Alfaro, 24, had a solid 2016 after injuries limited him immediately following the deal. He’s become more like the catcher of the future. Currently, he sits fifth ranked on the Phillies prospect list and though he went 2/16 in his September call-up, is scheduled to crack the opening day roster next year due to no options remaining.
Thompson and Williams are already seeing playing time in Philadelphia, good news for the future. Both 23, they have nothing left to prove in Tripe-A and have quickly solidified roles on the big league club for the foreseeable future. Williams has become a mainstay in the outfield since earning his promotion in June hitting .276/.318/.500 with four homers and 19 RBI’s through 98 at-bats.
Thompson just recently got a spot in the starting rotation after the trade of Jeremy Hellickson after pitching out of the bullpen in May. He owns a 5.37 career ERA thus far, but much of that is due to early struggles. In two recent starts, Thompson has a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings, showing strong command and consistent velocity improvements from last season.
Harrison was sent to the Phillies as a contract dump, and was since released. He was coming off a spinal fusion and herniated disk surgery, but never recovered to the point where he could be effective. Harrison retired after being released last year.
Asher was not helping the club as a Phillies, nor was there room available for him with the addition of veteran starters. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Losing Diekman was surprising as he was an effective lefty out of the bullpen, but he’s been out all year on the 60-day DL. If he were on the Phils, he would just be another piece in a battered, roughed up bullpen. Amaro had this trade to leave a lasting mark, and so far, the return is proving to be a plus.
The Phillies rebuild is coming along nicely compared to where the team was at a few years ago. The core of the World Series team has come and gone, so now it’s about finding the new leaders. Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, J.P. Crawford are all options for the future, but incomes down to who produces and who doesn’t. As the trades of the past show, prospects are just prospects and will be nothing more until they play in the majors.
Sometimes it’s about risk, other times, the moves come natural. For fans, it’s just a matter of time and patience. After all, when the Sixers started rebuild years ago, we alluded say “Trust the Process.” Let’s trust once more.
Photo by Matthew Straubmuller via Flickr