The two outfielders spent the first half of the season with the Phillies, then both were sent packing to the west coast in separate pre-deadline deals. For that, we put Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence together as they were key cogs in an underachieving first half; not only personally, but for the entire team.
After a solid 2011 season, Victorino seemed primed for a big contract following the 2012 season as he hit free agency. The issue was that he let the contract talk follow him wherever he went. Victorino, as we’ve come to learn, moves and talks a mile a minute. There’s a lot going on in his head already, and the thoughts of millions of dollars were too much to overcome – he said so himself.
As for Pence, no one really knows what’s happening there. So much kinetic energy was not always a good thing with Pence. When he came here from Houston, it was his all-out hustle that was so endearing to the fans. That quickly got old as the dude struggled big time with runners in scoring position during the first half of the year and couldn’t slow himself down at the plate no matter the circumstance.
Victorino was dealt to the Dodgers on July 31 for reliever Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Ethan Martin. The 31-year-old finished his tenure with the Phillies hitting .261 with nine homers, 40 RBI, 24 steals, and a .724 OPS, which is the lowest mark of his career. He was just not the same guy as in previous seasons.
Pence was awesome in 2011, there’s no way around that. It was the complete opposite in 2012. Before being dealt to San Francisco, Pence posted a .271 average, 17 homers, 59 RBI line with a .784 OPS. That OPS number was considerably lower than the .954 OPS he put up in the second half of last season. The power numbers look nice, but digging deeper, Pence was just plain bad when it mattered most. He hit just .238 with runners in scoring position and for a while was well under .200. In a small sample size, Pence had 16 at-bats with runners at second and third, but came up with just two hits. The Phillies paid a hefty price in young talent to acquire Pence and got an amazing second half of 2011 and a below-average first half of 2012.
In the end, Ruben Amaro made the wise moves to trade both and get as much in return as possible. With Victorino bound to hit free agency, the Phillies were proactive in attempting to get some bullpen help in Lindblom. It didn’t work well, but Martin showed flashes of brilliance in the minors. Victorino struggled in LA, putting up an ugly .667 OPS in 53 games.
The Phillies acquired Tommy Joseph, a highly-rated catcher, minor league pitcher Seth Rosin, and outfielder Nate Scheirholtz. He, too, found it even harder on out west, as Pence’s OPS was a dismal .671 OPS. Somehow, Pence finished with 104 RBI on the season, by far a career high, but overall, probably not the season he, or the Phillies, were hoping for.
For both Victorino and Pence, it was a disappointing half-season with the Phillies.