Boston isn’t messing around at this week’s winter meetings in Nashville as the Red Sox made their second significant signing in as many days Tuesday by reportedly inking free agent, switch hitting outfielder Shane Victorino.
The contract is reportedly for three years and $39 million, the exact same numbers given to Mike Napoli on Monday. Victorino will likely be the team’s starting right fielder, although he’s spent much of his career in center.
Victorino, 32, has played in the big leagues for nine seasons with three teams, most notably the Phillies for eight years before being traded to the Dodgers in the middle of last season.
Best known for his defense and speed, Victorino has also been noted as a good clubhouse guy, which is an attribute Red Sox brass have said they are looking for.
In nine seasons Victorino is a career .275 hitter, while batting .279 and .255 respectively the past two seasons. As a switch-hitter he gives the Red Sox more of a left-right lineup balance, but hits better from the right side. He is a career .301 hitter against lefties, and just .267 against righties.
It’s been noted by some that he is on the decline, so a three-year deal might be a little much, but it will still be a respectable signing considering the options available.
Signing Victorino also means the Red Sox essentially have passed on free agent outfielders Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher, as well as last year’s right fielder Cody Ross. Hamilton had reportedly been seeking a long-term deal, while signing Swisher would require the Red Sox to give a draft pick to the Yankees in return.
Ross remains a bit of a question mark as the two sides both appeared interested during the season, but as time went on they differed on the number of years. Ross wanted three years, but the Red Sox wouldn’t past two.
Giving both Napoli and Victorino three year deals makes you wonder what exactly the issue was with Ross, who hit .267 with 22 home runs in Boston last year and was the only true “clubhouse guy” on the roster.
The Red Sox lineup is finally coming together after over a month of the front office being silent. The signing also sticks with the organization’s philosophy of staying disciplined, away from long-term contracts, as well as holding onto draft picks and prospects.