Another outfield bat is off the market, as Shane Victorino has signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. Victorino will apparently serve as the team's every day right fielder with newly signed Jonny Gomes taking a lion's share of the plate appearances in left.
The 32-year old was primed for a big payday this offseason, but offensive struggles took a hatchet to his value. Victorino homered just 11 times with a .704 OPS in 2012, a season that was split between the Phillies and Dodgers. Victorino's year cratered after the trade, and he posted just a .667 OPS with two homers in his two months as a Dodger. However, despite his offensive struggles, Victorino still managed to steal 39 bases at an 80% clip (par for the course for him), and thrived defensively in left field after the trade to Los Angeles.
By shifting to a corner in Boston, Victorino will preserve the defensive value that had been deteriorating in center field over the past couple of seasons with the Phillies. At the same time, the Red Sox are paying for three decline years for a player whose main strengths are his speed and defense. If Victorino is able to essentially be a three win player in each of his three seasons in Boston, this deal isn't that bad.
However, Victorino does possess a drastic set of lefty/righty splits. He OPSed just .629 against righties in 2012, a trend that has been prevalent over the last couple of seasons. He might even just be a platoon guy at this point in time. Past the splits, if his secondary skills start declining along with his bat, this contract could be a burden on the team as soon as 2014. I do think that overall, the contract is riskier than both the Angel Pagan and BJ Upton contracts that were agreed to this winter.
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