Red Sox Sign Shane Victorino To Play Right Field
The Red Sox made another move on Tuesday at the winter meetings, signing former Phillies and Dodgers center fielder Shane Victorino to play right field for the Sox next year. Victorino signed a 3-year, $39 million deal, identical to the one that first baseman Mike Napoli agreed to yesterday. “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” will make for a formidable defensive duo alongside Jacoby Ellsbury in the Sox outfield.
After having a brief cup of tea with the Padres in 2003 Victorino broke into the majors for good with the Phillies in 2005 and spent the next 7 1/2 seasons there before being traded to the Dodgers last year during their wild spending spree. He was made expendable in LA when the Sox sent injured left fielder Carl Crawford over in the big August trade. Victorino is a career .275 hitter with a .341 OBP and a .770 OPS. He is coming off of a sub-par .245/.316/.667 year with 2 home runs and 15 RBI but he spent most of the year in a Phillies lineup without it’s usual protection due to injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. He does have 195 doubles and 201 steals in his career so speed will be a factor for him. He also is a plus defender, something the Red Sox needed to improve on the right side of the diamond.
The deal seems a bit heavy at 13/per but apparently there was a strong market for Victorino and reports out of Cleveland say that they had a 4-year, $44 million offer on the table. The Victorino deal once again gives the Red Sox flexibility not to be tied down with a player with a high annual average value while he’s into his late 30’s. Victorino will only be 34 by the end of this deal, hardly an old man by baseball standards.
The thing I like about this off-season so far is that it seems like a high-priced repeat of the 2003 off-season. The Sox collected great intangible, team guys on deals both short on money and length. These deals might not be short on money but hey, spent it if you got it right? This deal brings the Sox payroll to roughly 123 million dollars, 50 million less than last season’s payroll. None of the new acquisitions are signed beyond 2015. And Victorino is a guy who fits well in the clubhouse just like Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli. The Red Sox weren’t up for any sportsmen of the year awards these past few years and getting high character guys will surely help. Hell, even Joe Maddon has set the bar high regarding Jonny Gomes’ role in the clubhouse.
The Red Sox are still looking for another left-handed bat and perhaps another shortstop (rumor is that they are interested in trading for former Blue Jay Yunel Escobar who played for John Farrell in Toronto). They’ll soon look to the pitching market. Right now they are content with picking up some pieces in the busy offensive markets and wait for the pitching market to settle before wadding in. Hopefully they are not too shy when the time comes because they can use plenty of starting pitching.
UPDATE: Seems like Victorino might be a failsafe in letting Ellsbury go as well since he has the ability to play center, per Peter Abraham
#RedSox are open to idea of trading Ellsbury, playing Victorino in CF and signing C. Ross or another RF. Keeping doors open.