Sox acquire Shane Victorino
Just one day after picking up free agent Mike Napoli, the Boston Red Sox agreed to a deal with free agent and former Los Angeles Dodger Shane Victorino on Tuesday, according to ESPN.com. The deal, just like Napoli’s, is worth $39 million over three years, pending a physical according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
Victorino confirmed that the Red Sox acquired him via Twitter Tuesday evening while he was enjoying a snorkeling trip in Maui.
The 32-year-old outfielder, who spent half of last season with the Philadelphia Phillies before the team traded him to the Dodgers, had a down year as he hit just .255 with 11 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .704 OPS. With the finalization of the deal, Victorino will become the fourth free agent acquisition for Boston this offseason, as the team has also acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes and catcher David Ross.
The acquisition could lead to an interesting situation in the Red Sox outfield, as Victorino — a three-time Gold Glove winner — is a natural center fielder, who has only played 148 games in right field. It would appear, however, that Jacoby Ellsbury would remain in center and Victorino will move to right.
According to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, the team would prefer someone with more experience in center field handling the defense in right field because of the setup of Fenway Park.
“In our ballpark, we’d like to have someone who’s played a lot of center in right field,” Cherington said. “There are guys out there who have done both. If you’ve played a lot of center field and have played in different parks, then it may be a little bit of an adjustment. But you can figure out right field at Fenway.”
Meanwhile, Cherington said the team still had a dialogue going with Sox right fielder Cody Ross.
“Obviously I don’t want to say too much about the specific nature of the conversations [with Ross], because they go back a ways,” Cherington said. “As of now, we haven’t been able to find something that makes sense, but the door is still open. We’ll see what else happens. Again, he’s got other options, too.
“We’ve kept the dialogue going, kept the door open, but it just hasn’t culminated into anything yet.”
If Ross, who played right field for the Sox last season, stays with the team, it would seem that Boston would need to make a decision on trading Ellsbury, who becomes a free agent after next season. Having Victorino on the roster gives Boston more wiggle room while deciding what they will do with Ellsbury in the future.
Nonetheless, Cherington stated that the acquisition of Victorino was unrelated to any other changes the new-look Red Sox might make.
“[Signing Victorino is] not related; it wouldn’t be related specifically to any other potential move,” Cherington said. “But generally, everything we’re trying to do this offseason has sort of a short-end, long-term reason and hopefully fits into the — I don’t want to say our five-year plan because that’s too far out — but medium-term plan.”