Heading into the 2012 MLB season, the Phillies were considered one of the favorites to win the World Series.

Leading up to the trading deadline, Philadelphia was in last place and quickly falling out of the playoff race. Still, there was time for them to be buyers and attempt to stop their losing ways.

However, following the July 31 deadline, Philadelphia, instead, was the biggest seller in the league, shipping out long-time Phillies, Shane Victorino, and team hits leader, Hunter Pence.

Victorino, now in his seventh year, spent his entire career with the Phillies, and was a member of the 2008 World Series team. Having batted only .261 this year, Victorino was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin, and a player to be named or cash.

He registered nine home runs and 40 RBI in Philly this year.

"Wishing my Lil Hawaiian brother all the best & continued success," said Jimmy Rollins on Twitter. "Although his is no longer rockin' the P he had definitely left his mark!"

Pence's trade may have been more surprising. He is three years younger than Victorino and is eligible for arbitration next season. Victorino is a free agent at year's end.

Having led the team in nearly every major batting category this season, the two-time all-star was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Nate Schierholtz, minor league catcher Tommy Joseph and pitcher Seth Rosin. 

Pence was originally brought to the Phillies last year for their best hitting and pitching prospects, which only made the trade seem less profitable for them.

"We did it because it was the right thing to do then," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of last year's acquisition of Pence. "We did it because we felt Hunter would be a great addition to our club for that year and additional years. For this year, it didn't work out."

Pence has been one of the few players this year that has been consistently productive for the Phillies, which ultimately sparked the interest by the Giants. Besides just this year's numbers, the Giants surely have seen what Pence can do in their park, as he has hit .329 with five home runs and 10 RBI in 76 at-bats.

The Phillies have had nothing but a disappointing year this season.

The five-time reigning National League East champions are currently in fourth place with a 49-59 record, and on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They have been plagued by key injuries including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Placido Polanco and Jose Contreras.

With no signs of relief any time soon, expect manager Charlie Manuel to change things around in both the dugout, and in the rotation.

"When you're in last place, you can try any damn thing," Manuel said. "You don't have nothing to lose."

With very little hope of playing baseball this October, it will not be too surprising to see the Phillies go after big name players to cover the outfield.

Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn could all be on Philadelphia's radar in the offseason. All three are free agents in 2013.

Hamilton would cost Philadelphia a lot of money, but may be the best player in baseball. Upton and Bourn would be much cheaper alternatives.

 "We have some holes to fill and some things to improve on, obviously," Amaro said. "I think this gives us a better chance to do that."