The Philadelphia Phillies have dealt star center fielder Shane “Flyin’ Hawaiian” Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers today, just hours before the non-waiver trade deadline. ESPN’s Jayson Stark first reported the transaction this morning; CBS Sports’s Jon Heyman and Yahoo!’s Tim Brown have also confirmed the deal.
Victorino, Native Hawaiian, is a three-time Gold Glove winner and a two-time All-Star. It’s expected that he’ll move to left field in Los Angeles, as the Dodgers have All-Star Matt Kemp in center already. Although Victorino’s offensive numbers are down this season— batting .261 with nine homers, 40 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 101 games—he’s a highly regarded defensive player with speed and pop in his lumber and will fill a gaping hole in LA’s lineup at the leadoff position.
In return for the Flyin’ Hawaiian, 31, who will be a free agent after the season, the Phillies receive young right-handed eighth-inning reliever Josh Lindblom—3.02 ERA, 47.2 innings pitched over 48 appearances, with 43 strikeouts—and prospect starting pitcher Ethan Martin.
With switch-hitting veteran Victorino patrolling center and hitting leadoff, the Phillies have made it to the playoffs the past five seasons, winning the World Series in 2008. The Dodgers drafted the Native Hawaiian in the sixth round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, then misjudged his potential and twice lost him in the Rule 5 Draft, ESPN reports. But they’ve got their man back, just in time for what’s shaping up to be a heated playoff run with their archrivals, the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles is currently tied for first place in the National League’s West Division with San Francisco. The deal for Victorino comes on the heels of a three-game sweep of the Giants in San Fran by the Dodgers. The Phillies are in the NL East’s basement and regrouping for next season, hence the move, a salary dump.
It’s unlikely that any other player in the major leagues from Indian Country will be dealt today. Good luck to the Flyin’ Hawaiian!