The Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers have been regular trade partners the last five years.  All in all, the Phillies acquired upwards of a dozen prospects from the Dodgers.  The Phillies saw a number of big names head out to Los Angeles in this time period.  However, the one that may work out best may have been what seemed like the smallest trade of all.

Let's recap the trades the Phillies have made with the Dodgers since 2002 that got the most attention:

  • July 31, 2012:
    The Phillies send Shane Victorino to the Dodgers in exchange for infielder Stefan Jarrin, reliever Josh Lindbloom, and starter Ethan Martin 
  • August 3, 2012:
    The Phillies send starting pitcher Joe Blanton to the Dodgers for a player to be named and/or cash considerations.  The Phillies ended up taking back Ryan O'Sullivan, younger brother of later-Phillies pitcher Sean O'Sullivan. 
  • December 19, 2014:
    The Phillies trade shortstop Jimmy Rollins and $1 million to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a three-team trade.  The Phillies ended up with Zach Eflin from the San Diego Padres and Tom Windle from the Dodgers.
  • August 19, 2015:
    The Phillies trade second baseman Chase Utley to the Dodgers for infielder Darnell Sweeney and pitcher John Richy.
  • August 25, 2016:
    The Phillies send catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash to the Dodgers for catcher A.J. Ellisand pitcher Tommy Bergjans.

However, there was one more move that may have gotten lost in the shuffle:

  • August 7, 2014:
    The Phillies send pitcher Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for to players to be named, who ended up becoming pitcher Victor Arano and infielder Jesmuel Valentin

This one may end up being the best move of all for the Phillies.

Valentin is the son of former Boston Red Sox player Jose Valentin.  At the time of the trade, MLB.com listed him as the Dodgers number 13 prospect.  Valentin was a 2012 first round selection of the Dodgers.   Valentin was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2016, and has has a real shot at the Major Leagues.

The second baseman Valentin is not currently listed among the top 30 prospects on MLB.com's pipeline.  But, Valentin can play some shortstop and third base, too.  A switch-hitter, Valentin could find himself to be a useful bench piece down the line for the Phillies.

The bigger acquisition in this deal is pitcher Arano. Arano is just 21 years old, and not currently on the MLB pipeline either.  But, Arano has gotten a great deal of attention.   Baseball Ross took note of Arano this offseason, and after being out with an injury for much of 2016, Arano came on strong to go 5-2 with a 5-2 record and 2.26 earned run average.

A Matt Gelb Philadelphia Inquirer piece earlier this month spoke about Arano's strong arm:

Victor Arano could be the best relief prospect in the system. He came to the Phillies from Los Angeles in the Roberto Hernandez trade and moved to the bullpen in 2016. He struck out 95 and walked 19 in 792/3 innings and thrived after a promotion to Reading. One scout slapped a setup man grade on Arano while another said he has "closer's stuff." Along with Kingery, Arano will go to the Arizona Fall League.

The offseason prospect list may change after Arano heads to the Arizona Fall League.

One thing that made the Chicago Cubs so successful in their rebuild was that they cashed out almost every asset they had, often taking chances on lower-level players.   The more prospects a team acquires, the more the likelihood that one may work out.  A low-level trade of a number five starter signed to a one-year deal may end up netting the Phillies two good pieces: a utility player and a top bullpen arm.

So once the Phillies are rebuilt, this may be the Dodgers trade that Phillies fans remember most.