Conceding to the rigors of injury, a lost season and a spiraling payroll, the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday traded away two popular outfielders – Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence – in the span of just a few minutes.
Victorino, a cornerstone of five NL East titles, two World Series appearances and one championship, was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for relief pitcher Josh Lindblom and minor-league right-hander Ethan Martin.
Shortly thereafter, the Dodgers' key rival, the San Francisco Giants, acquired Pence in exchange for a package that includes outfielder Nate Schierholtz and Double-A catcher Tommy Joseph.
And the Phillies, who a week ago signed starting pitcher Cole Hamels to a six-year, $144 million extension, and who have spent most of the season in last place, began to plan toward 2013 and beyond.
In the meantime, the Phillies' spare parts will help fuel the race in the NL West. The Giants and Dodgers arrived at the trading deadline separated by .001 at the top of the division, with the Giants needing offensive help and the Dodgers needing a little of everything.
In a week's time, the Dodgers acquired third baseman Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins, reliever Brandon League from the Seattle Mariners and Victorino from the Phillies, and nearing the deadline were attempting to pry Ryan Dempster away from the Chicago Cubs.
The Dodgers intend to bat Victorino in the leadoff spot and play him in left field, in an outfield with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. He can be a free agent after the season.
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The pitching-rich Giants countered with Pence. Last summer the Giants added Carlos Beltran yet failed to reach the postseason. Beltran left via free agency. Pence, who at last year's deadline was traded from Houston to Philadelphia, would be under Giants' control through next season.
Pence will play right field and bat in the middle of a Giants lineup that ranks near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories.
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