Change is not always wanted, but sometimes is needed. The much-speculated fire sale of the Philadelphia Phillies indeed happened today. As a follow up to the Shane Victorino trade, the Phillies decided to part ways with another one of their starting outfielders and sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco in exchange for catching prospect Tommy Joseph, Nate Schierholtz, and pitching prospect Seth Rosin.
Pence came over to Philadelphia last summer and instantly became a fan-favorite, but his lackadaisical defense has made many in the Phillies organization recently think he may not be the best fit for this team. Pence was asked to carry much of the load for the offense at the beginning of the season, and although he is having a decent statistical season, his batting with runners in scoring position, along with his sloppy defense, all but sealed his fate.
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Now, with the Phillies having traded away 2/3 of their starting outfield, it appears they are finally “going all in” with top prospect Domonic Brown. Brown was called up to be in lineup for the series against the division leading Nationals, and it is very likely he will be starting for the remainder of the season. By making the two trades, the Phillies were able to start rebuilding their minor league system, which has been completely depleted by trades in recent years. Even though they did receive some talent back, they most likely still have a ways to go to get back what gave up to bring Pence, Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay to Philadelphia.
The Phillies now have 17 players under contract for next year with around $145 million already tied up. That means that they may be able to make a run at a free-agent outfielder such as former Phillies prospect, Michael Bourn, and still stay under the luxury tax. In order to rebuild, deals needed to be done. It is sad to see major talent leave, but over time, hopefully, the prospects who were brought in will make the moves bearable. The changes today were more about the Phillies’ future than they were about the Phillies’ present. Philadelphia hasn’t been sellers at the deadline in years. It was necessary to take this approach today, though, to avoid having to do this when the Utleys and the Howards of the team can no longer contribute.