LA Dodgers Acquire Victorino in Trade From Phillies
By Rodney S. Yap
Maui’s Shane Victorino was traded today to the team that drafted him out of high school in 1999 — the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A fixture in the Philadelphia Phillies outfield the last eight years, the two-time Major League All-Star was dealt to the Dodgers on Tuesday for reliever Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Ethan Martin, according to the Associated Press.
Philadelphia also gets a player to be named or cash for the 31-year-old Victorino, who can become a free agent after this season. The AP story also indicated the last-place Phillies sent two-time All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for three players.
Victorino is batting .261 with nine homers, 40 RBIs and 24 steals. He helped the Phillies win five straight NL East titles and the 2008 World Series championship during his eight-year stint.
“We’re excited to add an All-Star caliber player with postseason experience,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told AP. “He plays the game with passion, gives us a top of the order bat from both sides of the plate, can steal bases and is solid defensively in the outfield.”
Victorino has been booed at Dodger Stadium since Game 3 of the 2008 NL championship series. Victorino took exception to a fastball thrown over his head by Hiroki Kuroda. He shouted at Kuroda while pointing at his own head and upper body as if to say: “It’s OK to throw at my body, but not my head.” Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.
Since that day, Victorino has been a villain to Dodgers fans.
Victorino joins a team that’s tied for first place in the NL West with the Giants. Though he’s a three-time Gold Glove winner, he could move to left field because reigning Gold Glove winner Matt Kemp plays center. Kemp, however, told team officials that he’d be willing to move to left before the trade.
Victorino primarily batted second in Philadelphia’s lineup, though he hit everywhere from first to sixth this season. He’s expected to lead off for Los Angeles, which hasn’t had much production in that slot. Dodgers lead off hitters have a .221 average and .279 on-base percentage this season. Victorino’s on-base percentage is .324, down from .355 last year.
Victorino is the second major addition for the Dodgers in the past week. They acquired three-time All-Star and former NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez from Miami last Thursday. Los Angeles strengthened its bullpen late Monday night, acquiring former All-Star reliever Brandon League of Hawaii from the Seattle Mariners for two prospects.
That made Lindblom expendable. Lindblom is 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 48 relief appearances for Los Angeles. The 25-year-old righty has a 2.91 ERA in 75 career games. He’ll bolster a bullpen that’s struggled mightily this season.
Martin, a 23-year-old righty, was the Dodgers’ first round selection with the 15th pick in the 2008 amateur draft. He’s 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 20 starts this season with Double-A Chattanooga.
Victorino returns to the team that selected in the sixth round of the 1999 draft. He was a winter league draft selection by the Phillies in 2004 from the San Diego Padres.
The switch-hitting Victorino batted .279 with 181 doubles, 63 triples, 88 home runs, 390 RBIs and 179 stolen bases in eight years with the Phillies. In 46 postseason games, Victorino hit .269 with six homers and 30 RBIs.
Victorino is making $9.5 million this season, and the Phillies weren’t going to give him the long-term deal he’ll seek in free agency. Under baseball’s new labor contract, the Dodgers will not receive a draft selection as compensation if Victorino signs elsewhere during the off-season.
Victorino, nicknamed the Flyin’ Hawaiian, was one of the most popular players on the Phillies in recent history. He was beloved by fans and was very active in various charities.
“Wishing my Lil Hawaiian brother all the best & continued success. Although he is no longer rockin’ the P he has definitely left his mark!” shortstop Jimmy Rollins wrote on Twitter today.
ESPN.com and Associated Press contributed to this report.