Dodgers Trade Analysis: Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin, PTBNL/Cash For Shane Victorino

As I wrote yesterday, the Dodgers acquired outfielder Shane Victorino from the Phillies in return for reliever Josh Lindblom, AA starter Ethan Martin, and either a player to be named later or cash.

Shane Victorino is returning to the organization that drafted him in 1999. The Dodgers acquired Victorino from the Phillies today for starting pitching prospect Ethan Martin and reliever Josh Lindblom, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown (Twitter link). The deal has been officially announced by both teams, and the Phillies also received a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Josh Lindblom

From 2011 to 2012, in what amounts to about a full season’s worth of work (75 G/77.1 IP), Lindblom has posted a 2.91 ERA/4.02 FIP/4.19 xFIP/3.53 SIERA. He’s been worth around 0.7 WAR in that time period and figures to be around 0.5 to 1.0 WAR annually, depending on whether you believe his defense independent profile or batted ball profile.

After this season, he has five years of team control left, so taking the middle ground of things, he figures to be worth around 4 WAR during that time.

Ethan Martin

I ranked Martin as the 21st best prospect in the system coming into 2012, based primarily on his upside. In 2011, he seemed destined for a bullpen role, as he could never get it together as a starter, but the lack of ceiling in the Dodgers system led me to rank him anyway.

The Dodgers decided to give him another shot in 2012 as a starter and it has paid dividends. In 118 innings at AA, he has a 3.58 ERA and a 3.48 FIP due to continuing to miss bats (22.9 K%) but dropping his walk rate four percent (12.5%).

He’s not that old for the level at 23 and would have ranked somewhere in the top 10 in the system going into 2013. I probably would have put his upside as a #3 starter or late inning reliever with a high risk grade, an improvement from #3/#4 starter and late inning reliever with a very high risk grade.

Player To Be Named Later Or Cash

PTBNL rarely amount to much so I wouldn’t be concerned about it. Cash obviously doesn’t affect the Dodgers much either. Both figure to be moot unless there’s a shocking twist.

Shane Victorino

2012 marks Victorino’s worst offensive season of his career, posting a .261/.324/.401/.724 line. He’s a good baserunner and an average defender in center (Last Four Years: 0 DRS, -7 FRAA), but a lot of his offensive value comes from the fact that he’s a center fielder, which may not be the case with the Dodgers. Still, there’s no doubt that he marks an upgrade over the previous occupants, who have posted a pathetic line of .238/.294/.329/.623.

Victorino projects at .271/.338/.439/.777 the rest of the way, while the three headed monster of Bobby Abreu (.253/.343/.373/.716), Juan Rivera (.261/.312/.394/.706), and Tony Gwynn Jr. (.252/.306/.341/.647) all clock in well below that.

Comparing Victorino with the three-headed monster that was sharing time in left shows a ~4.5 run upgrade offensively, ~0.5 run upgrade on the bases, and a ~3 run upgrade defensively. That’s assuming the regressed offensive performance and that Victorino adjusts from average/fringe center fielder to above average/good left fielder defensively. So he’s about a 0.8 marginal win upgrade or so.

For the record, PECOTA has him at only a half win upgrade.

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While I liked both Lindblom and Martin, they weren’t elite assets, so I’m not going to throw a fit like I was on Twitter when I thought they dealt Allen Webster. However, they were assets that obviously had value, and as a rule of thumb, I don’t like trading valuable assets for rentals except under certain circumstances (history generally shows why), such as an elite team looking to shore up roles.

My cause for concern with trades like these has less to do with Victorino specifically though, as he does indeed represent a significant upgrade in left. Over a full season, he would be about a 2.0 to 2.5 win upgrade over what the Dodgers were trotting out there. However, all they get is two months, and while I assumed he will regress to norms, he may not, and even if he does, his marginal value is minimal because of the time frame involved.

Overall, I understand why people are thrilled with this move, and I hope for the best along with everybody else, but I don’t think there’s much to get excited about either way.

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