Early reports form Jayson Stark of ESPN and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports indicated that the Los Angeles Dodgers were continuing their all-in approach to the 2012 season with the acquisition of Shane Victorino from the Philadelphia Phillies, and they proved to be accurate. The deal will see right-handed starter Ethan Martin and right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom going to Philadelphia, as the team also recalls outfielder Dominic Brown from Triple A Lehigh Valley, to replace the Hawaiian native in the Phillies lineup.
Victorino, who figures to be a rental for the tied-for-first-place Dodgers, will make a total of $9.5 million this season, his final before free agency. The trade likely wouldn’t have been able to happen without Los Angeles acquiring another right-handed reliever in Brandon League in the wee hours of this morning.
Lindbolm is only 25-years old and figures to be under team control for at least another five seasons. He has a low nineties fastball that he mixes with a sinker of similar velocity and an excellent slider that comes in at around 85 miles per hour. If there’s one drawback to the reliever, it’s that he tends to give up a lot of fly balls, which have been carrying over the fence at an increased rate of late. That trend would most likely continue in the bandbox they call Citizen’s Bank Park.
Martin was ranked in the top twenty of Baseball America’s list of the top prospects in the Dodgers organization ahead of the 2012 season. He was a first round pick in 2008, and has put together fairly average numbers this year in Double A.
Victorino will most likely play left field in Los Angeles, taking over for Bobby Abreu, who has been ridiculously terrible as a defender in his 320 innings in the corner outfield spot. While Victorino has hardly been lighting the world on fire at the plate for the Phillies this season, he’ll also be a dramatic upgrade in this regard over Abreu, Juan Rivera, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jerry Hairston and the other kitchen sinks with which the team has filled out its lineup.
For fans of teams other than the Dodgers, this has to be the most frustrating aspect of their deadline shopping spree. They’ve gotten to where they are this season on the backs of untalented players, and so, almost every acquisition they make is a dramatic increase in expected production. With money to spare, they can acquire other teams’ castoffs with minimal disturbance to their system by simply taking on the salary and finding immediate improvements in their team.
Los Angeles is quite smartly taking advantage of their unexpected early season success and bolstering their team in ways that wouldn’t have seemed imaginable in April. There’s a lesson to be learned here for those quick to dismiss early season success that may have more to do with luck than the true talent of a team’s roster, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are quite pleased to teach it.