The Philadelphia Phillies want Brad Lincoln as a middle reliever from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs think that two months of Shane Victorino is too little in return. The Phillies think that eight months of Hunter Pence is too much.

My previous piece put forth the opinion that an offer of Lincoln plus something else for Pence might work. This piece is about how to work a deal with Lincoln assuming that the Phillies are willing to give up Victorino, but not Pence, for him.

The Phillies aren’t contending this year, so two months of Victorino are just a liability for them (but not for the Pirates who ARE in contention). On the other hand, with Chase Utely and Jimmy Rollins healthy, they might want to keep Pence for a 2013 run.

To state my position, I’m unwilling to trade Lincoln for two months of Victorino or Pence, but would be glad to trade Lincoln for eight months of Pence (who becomes a free agent at the end of 2013). Therefore, I would accept a deal for FOUR months of Victorino/Pence.

So how can one construct “four” months of Victorino (or Pence)? Indirectly, by using prospects. Specifically, I propose that the Pirates “sell” Lincoln to the Phillies for a mid-level pitching prospect, say Julio Rodriguez or Lisalberto Bonilla, using two months of Victorino to make up the difference.

In so doing, I’m assuming that Lincoln will be a low-to-mid rotation pitcher at best, and more likely, a long reliever/spot starter. I’m not in the camp of those who think that Lincoln will blossom into a top of the line pitcher. Those people wouldn’t be willing to trade him even for Pence.

Basically, I’m saying that I want, not a top of the line prospect, but a potential replacement for Lincoln; someone who has perhaps a 50-50 chance of developing into “Brad Lincoln” in two to three years. Two months of Victorino would then represent the other 50 percent. Or put another way, the two pieces together would then represent “four” months of Victorino, which is my starting point.

If the prospect works out, the Pirates would have gotten two months of Victorino for “free.” If not, they would have traded Lincoln for the two month rental in Victorino. The average of the two is worth several months of Victorino.

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