Phillies “Flyin’ Hawaiian” Jets to the Dodgers – The End of an Era? [POLL]
As Major League Baseball is in the midst of the final hours of the "official" trading deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies have made two moves that could signal a change of direction for the team, the acceptance that their great 5-season run as the top team in the NL East is over, and that one of its most popular players will no longer be in their outfield.
Shane Victorino, one of the big keys to the Phillies 5 straight NL East Division titles and their 2008 World Series win, was traded earlier today to the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2 promising young pitchers. From a business standpoint this looks like a good deal for the team since Shane was bound for free agency on the off season and the team did not feel he was worth keeping (current salary at $9.5 Million), but from the fans standout it's saying goodbye to one of the good people of Philadelphia.
"The Flyin' Hawaiian" was without question one of the most popular Phillies in recent history (just ask Heather DeLuca who sported the #8 jersey with pride, like may fans). Victorino received the Tug McGraw Good Guy Award from the Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 2010, and was very active in various charities in the area.
A starting outfielder for Philly since 2006, Victorino lead the lead in Triples twice and won 3 Gold Gloves for defensive excellence during the team's 5-year run to the playoffs. A career .277 hitter for the Phillies, Shane was having a decent 2012 campaign - hitting .261 with 9 Home Runs and 40 Runs Batted In, along with 24 Stolen Bases (180 total for his career in Philly).
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins recently tweeted "I wish my Lil Hawaiian brother all the best .... He is no longer rockin' the P, but he has definitely left his mark".
The 2012 season for the Philadelphia has been a horror show full of significant injuries to key players, a bullpen that has provided little relief (ranking as one of the worst in baseball this season), questions over decision that manager Charlie Manuel has made this year, and the recent 3 loses over the weekend to the Atlanta Braves have the team that won 102 games last year at 45-57 and 11 games out of a wild-card playoff berth.
The Phillies also said goodbye to Hunter Pence today by trading him to the San Francisco Giants. Making $10 Million this year, and expected to make around $15 Million next season, the business decision will give the team financial flexibility - needed after having signed their popular pitcher Cole Hamels recently to a 6-year, $144 Million deal.
A career .290 hitter, Pence was on pace to beak his career high for Home Runs in a season - he has 17 so far (career best is 25) - but was hitting 20 points below his career average, on pace for a career high striking out in a season, and has made 5 errors in the outfield (the most he ever made in a season is 6).