Tag: Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino Released: Latest Comments and Reaction

Shane Victorino‘s MLB career looks to be in serious jeopardy, as the Chicago Cubs released the 35-year-old outfielder Monday.

Victorino never made it to the majors this season. He was in Triple-A Iowa at the time of his release, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Victorino signed with the club on February 26 in hopes of winning one more championship before the sun set on his career, which he told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat at the time of the signing.

“It’s not about playing time, it’s not about where things are, it’s about winning,” Victorino said. “Obviously, for me, I have to win my job on the team, and from there be the best player I can be to help the Cubs win a championship.”

After a spring training calf injury and poor play, Victorino was released on March 29 and re-signed on the same day to a minor league deal. He never seemed to rediscover his game, as he batted .233 with Iowa.

ESPNChicago.com’s Jesse Rogers reported that Victorino did not want to spend a lot of time in the minors, so the split could have been mutual after nearly two months of playing Triple-A ball.

The Cubs have a loaded roster and sit atop the National League Central at 29-13, so it was always a long shot that Victorino could become a consistent role player. Even after Kyle Schwarber went down for the season with a torn ACL and MCL in early April, Victorino still could not find a spot in Chicago’s outfield rotation. 

He was instrumental in the Philadelphia Phillies‘ 2008 World Series title run, as he hit .293 in the regular season and batted .269 in that postseason. He also won a championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2013 and was twice named an American League All-Star.

After 12 seasons, Victorino is a lifetime .275 hitter with 108 home runs, 489 RBI and 231 stolen bases.

There is no shame in walking away after giving the best effort possible. Victorino has done that, and his comeback attempt was admirable. But it does not seem like he’ll have a place on a major league roster for the time being.

Victorino may get one more shot, though. Injuries to other players always change things, and the Cubs have brought him back before. Yet Victorino would be justified if he chooses to hang up his cleats in the near future after a tremendous career.  


All statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Shane Victorino to Cubs: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran outfielder Shane Victorino signed with the Chicago Cubs on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training on Friday, according to Bruce Levine of WSCR. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com confirmed the report. 

Victorino, 35, struggled in 2015, playing in just 71 games between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels. He hit .230 with one home run, seven RBI and 19 runs scored, his worst numbers since very early in his career. 

Injuries have plagued Victorino in his later years, as he’s missed 263 games in the past three years.

But the two-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion is an experienced presence in the clubhouse and can play all three outfield positions in a pinch, making him a nice fourth or fifth outfielder for the Cubs.

Among a slew of talented young players on the roster, Victorino can be a real asset off the field, serving as a mentor for young outfielders Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber. 

Victorino’s prime years are well behind him, but if he can stay healthy, he should still be a nice player coming off the bench for Chicago.


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Shane Victorino: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free Agent OF

After two injury-plagued years, free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino could be a solid buy-low candidate for teams seeking depth in the outfield this offseason. 

Continue for updates. 

Cleveland Reportedly Contacted Victorino

Saturday, Nov. 28

According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Victorino is “one of the many outfielders the Indians have contacted” so far this offseason. 

Cleveland is desperately seeking depth in the outfield, especially with star left fielder Michael Brantley undergoing shoulder surgery in early November that could keep him out of action up to six months.

The Indians are always limited in what they can spend on the market, so Victorino could be a nice stop-gap player for them to focus on while waiting for Brantley to return. The soon-to-be 35-year-old was on Cleveland’s radar three years ago before he eventually signed a three-year deal with Boston. 

Victorino helped the Red Sox win a World Series in 2013, hitting a memorable grand slam against Detroit in Game 6 of the ALCS, but injuries have limited him to 101 games the past two years and he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in July. 

The Flyin’ Hawaiian posted a .230/.308/.292 line with one home run in 178 at-bats between the Red Sox and Angels last season. 

Even though Victorino is a limited player at this stage of his career, he does boast value as a platoon player with an .859 career OPS against left-handed pitching. 

As long as Victorino can stay healthy, which is a huge question mark at this stage of his career, there’s the potential for him to be a quality outfielder for another season or two. 


Stats per Baseball-Reference.com

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Shane Victorino Injury: Updates on Red Sox OF’s Hamstring and Return

After a strong debut season with the Boston Red Sox, Shane Victorino had a 2014 to forget and has struggled out of the gate to begin 2015. His year suffered another setback Saturday as the veteran outfielder headed to the disabled list with a hamstring injury.    

Continue for updates.

Victorino Goes on DL

Saturday, April 25

Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reported that the Boston Red Sox placed Victorino on the DL.

In 43 plate appearances, the 34-year-old is batting .143 with two runs batted in and two stolen bases. He suffered a hamstring injury during a stolen base attempt last Wednesday, April 22, in the 5-7 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Last year, he had back surgery in August that wiped out most of his season.

“No player wants to be hurt and watch the game they love from the bench,” Victorino said, per Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. “I think the situation was getting better. I thought we were heading in the right direction with my back. It was feeling good. The frustrating part for me is things coming out of the blue, like [getting hurt] stealing a base.”

Daniel Nava has started in right field for the Red Sox over the last two games, and it seems likely that he and Allen Craig are the best bets to replace him for the time being.

Should Victorino’s injury prove to be more serious, or if his struggles continue into the summer, Boston will almost certainly call up Rusney Castillo from Triple-A.

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3 Things We Learned About the Red Sox in Spring Training

Spring training declarations are a difficult beast to tackle. Putting too much weight in March statistics would be misguided, as Jake Fox and his 10 Grapefruit League home runs in 2011 remind us. “Jake Who?” you ask? Precisely. 

At the same time, this is the first extended look at the 30 MLB clubs, and in some cases managers are determining roster spots based on performance. So these games aren’t entirely meaningless; they just have to be viewed through the proper lens. 

Are Xander Bogaerts‘ struggles (.222 average) really cause for concern, or is he merely a slow starter the way David Ortiz has been throughout his career (.227 career spring training average)? For a player of Bogaerts‘ pedigree I’d advise stepping away from the ledge and waiting for real games before inciting panic. His on-base percentage is more encouraging (.333), and he’s slugged a pair of home runs. A better start would have been welcomed after his roller-coaster 2014, but it’s too early to say anything definitive about the 22-year-old at this point. 

That said, there are some takeaways we can glean from what we’ve seen in Fort Myers so far. 

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Boston Red Sox: With Mookie Betts in Center, Sox Have Terrific Outfield

Coming into spring training, Mookie Betts, the Red Sox’s seventh-ranked prospect by Baseball America in 2014, was supposed to compete with Cuban signee Rusney Castillo for the starting center field job.

However, it hasn’t been much of a competition. Castillo injured his oblique early on, and Betts has put on a show. In 11 games so far this spring, he leads the Grapefruit League in hitting with a .471 average to go along with nine extra-base hits and nine runs scored.

He is also playing a tremendous center field. He had been a second baseman his entire career and only moved to center last year when he was called up to The Show last June. He has made several diving catches and is getting more and more comfortable as the preseason goes along.

Yes, he has had a bit of trouble with balls hit over his head, but manager John Farrell told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that there is a reason for that:

The work he needed defensively coming into spring training was going back on the ball. Purposely we’ve had him play shallow to track balls that would otherwise be routine or deep fly balls but end up over his head. When we start the season, his alignment will be a little bit deeper. We’ve just taken the opportunity to work on breaks getting back to balls.

There hasn’t been any formal announcement yet, but Betts will likely be Boston’s starting center fielder once Opening Day comes around.

And it’s not like he is the only promising outfielder that the Red Sox have.

Hanley Ramirez, whom the Red Sox signed to a four-year, $88 million contract in the offseason, has been tearing it up and projects to be a force at the plate. While he is moving to a foreign position, left field, he should be able to hit well enough to overcome any possible fielding deficiencies.

If Han-Ram produces at the level he has at times in the past, he could potentially be a dark-horse candidate for the American League MVP.

He will definitely have a good chance to be the starting left fielder in the All-Star Game, especially with the drastic decrease of production from that position, as outlined by David Schoenfield of ESPN.com.

Farrell has made it clear that veteran Shane Victorino will patrol right field for the Sox in 2015, even though Victorino played in only 30 games last year, hitting .268 with 12 RBI in the process.

“If Shane Victorino’s healthy, he’s our right fielder. You don’t lose your job to injury,” Farrell told reporters before the start of spring training in Fort Myers, Florida.

Sure, he is not the player he once was—he averaged 33 stolen bases per year from 2007-2010—but he proved in the 2013 playoffs that he can still contribute in a big way, when he hit a pivotal home run against the Tigers in the deciding game of the ALCS.

He was very effective at the plate that year, hitting .294 with 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases.

And now he should be able to hit even better, since he recently decided that he will hit exclusively right-handed in 2015. He has been a switch-hitter in the past, but he felt that he was not able to get enough reps going both ways, so he is choosing to focus on perfecting his right-handed cut.

And don’t forget Castillo, who homered in his first spring training game. He should compete for a roster spot and could be productive if called upon.

Also, Allen Craig, Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley, Jr. are competent outfielders and have been solid big league players at some point in their respective careers.

All in all, the trio of Ramirez, Betts and Victorino playing in the outfield from left to right is a stellar combination. All three are very athletic, and Betts and Victorino have the ability to be above-average defenders.

Ramirez has the talent to be a solid defender, but if he chooses to focus on his hitting, I don’t think the Red Sox are going to be too concerned. 

The Red Sox made a lot of changes this offseason, and they have a chance to make the postseason. If they do, their impressive outfield trio will be a big reason why.

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Biggest Issues the Boston Red Sox Need to Address During Spring Training

The Boston Red Sox have had an eventful offseason, but without a true ace, they can’t expect to seriously contend for a World Series.

After losing out on the Jon Lester sweepstakes, the Red Sox currently plan to start the year with Clay Buchholz atop the rotation. Buchholz has had flashes of dominance, but he’s lacked consistency. In his eight-year career, Buchholz has never started over 30 games.

Along with Buchholz, the Red Sox enter 2015 with Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly filling out the rest of the rotation.

General manager Ben Cherington seems content with this solid rotation. In an interview with The Boston Globe‘s Peter Abraham, Cherington said, “We think we have enough pitching talent to put together a good pitching staff, one that can help us contend in the division.”

James Shields still remains on the market, and according to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale (h/t CSNWashington‘s Chase Hughes), Cole Hamels could be available. If the Red Sox aspire for more than just a division title, they must add one of those two players.

In all three of their championships, the Red Sox have relied on at least one ace. In 2004, they had Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. Josh Beckett led the 2007 staff, winning 20 games and posting a 3.27 ERA. And in 2013, Jon Lester had a 3.75 ERA, including a 1.56 ERA in the postseason.

While Boston’s pitching is lacking, they have an embarrassment of riches on offense.

With the additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have a potent lineup. But they still have some important decisions to make, especially in the outfield.

MLB.com’s Ian Browne predicts that Cherington will have to make a trade or two by the end of spring training to clear up the outfield.

Hanley Ramirez will start in left, and Rusney Castillo looks to be the everyday center fielder. Right field will be much more competitive, with Mookie Betts and Shane Victorino vying for the job. Victorino battled through a back injury most of last year, while Mookie Betts proved he belongs in the big leagues, hitting .291 through 52 games.

Regardless of who earns the spot, the Red Sox will end up with a great fourth outfielder. Boston also has Daniel Nava and Allen Craig, who can both play the outfield and first base. Craig struggled in his time in Boston, and after a slow start, Nava had a strong second half of the season.

There’s no need for the Red Sox to have both Nava and Craig, and Craig seems like the probable trade candidate since the Marlins are reportedly interested in him, according to The Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo (h/t NBC Sports’ Drew Silva).

The Red Sox are built to bounce back from their disappointing season last year, but to return to championship form, they still have a few more moves to make. Whether that’s before Opening Day or around the trade deadline, don’t expect the Red Sox to be playing deep into October if they refuse to address the rotation. 

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Cameras Catch Red Sox Fan Proposing Right Behind Shane Victorino at-Bat

Getting down on one knee to ask the most important question in your life while your favorite team gets massacred on the field and Shane Victorino flails at a pitch seems like a beautifully romantic gesture. 

In the ninth inning of an eventual 14-5 Yankees win over rival Boston, a man decided to propose to his girlfriend, according to Holdout Sports, which is a good thing for us because nothing else interesting was taking place. 

Victorino grounded out to third while a woman behind him said yes, giving a small group of fans some actual exercise, because this may have been the first time they needed to get up and applaud all game. 

Now you might think something like spontaneous applause might hinder Victorino or Yankees pitcher David Robertson from doing their jobs. Yahoo Sports’ David Brown has thoughts: 

Pro players have trained themselves to ignore, or at least minimize, the crowd and crowd noise. It’s possible Yankees right-hander David Robertson (who was making his first appearance since being taken off the disabled list) didn’t notice or care about the marriage proposal in his line of vision. And Victorino probably was thinking about trying to start a rally in Boston’s last ups. 

That’s all well and good, but I need clarification from the anonymous fellow who proposed, because there are so many questions. 

Was the man waiting for the perfect time, hoping the Red Sox could mount a comeback that never came? Did he consider waiting for another game, coinciding with the Red Sox also showing up? 

Does it matter that their engagement started on the same night Boston was mollywhopped all over Fenway Park? Seeing as how we couldn’t track down quotes from any party, we may never know. 

Marriage proposals continue to be a “Better you than me” scenario. Perhaps it’s us, but we never thought getting down on one knee mere feet away from another fan working off a gnarly buzz, one polishing off their third hot dog of the game or others heckling the opposition was a romantic idea. 

If you wouldn’t do it at a sports bar, chances are you shouldn’t do it at a live sporting event. Unless, of course, you don’t mind the very real possibility that your proposal coincides with a live drubbing. 

No matter, because it seems like she said yes, so Red Sox nation can hold its head high about something from Thursday night. 


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How Will Shane Victorino’s Return Transform the Boston Red Sox’s Lineup?

The Boston Red Sox are in need of a spark to ignite their once-powerful offense. They’re hoping Shane Victorino can be the catalyst they need, as the team looks to regain the offensive magic that made them baseball’s best a season ago.

Victorino appeared in the majors for the first time this season on Thursday night, batting second and playing right field as he did for much of 2013. Victorino’s debut came after he opened the year on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain he suffered during the final game of spring training, depriving Boston of one of its best all-around players to open the season.

The immediate results were less than inspiring, as Victorino went just 1-for-5 and scored one run in what was a lopsided 14-5 Red Sox loss on Thursday. It will take some time for Victorino to get up to speed, as he’s had very few at-bats between spring training and his short rehab stint to get into playing shape. It’s unlikely that Victorino will be able to play the role of savior right away.

That being said, given the lackluster performance of Victorino’s replacements, how his presence lengthens the lineup and his sorely missed defensive prowess, it’s little wonder that the Red Sox, now 10-13 on the season, felt they needed Victorino back in the lineup as soon as possible.

For starters, let’s compare Victorino’s output to that of the four players who have seen time in right field in his absence. While “Shanf” has been on the DL, the Red Sox have relied on Daniel Nava (121 innings), Jackie Bradley Jr. (29), Grady Sizemore (27) and Jonny Gomes (23.2) to patrol right field. The results have not been very good.

Here’s a look at Victorino’s 2013 production compared to what Boston has received from its right fielders so far in 2014:

As you can see, there’s really no comparison. Victorino was one of the most productive right fielders in the majors last season from an offensive perspective, while his replacements have struggled mightily through 22 games in 2014. This is likely part of Boston’s incentive for getting Victorino back in the lineup immediately: No matter how bad he is, he’s unlikely to be worse than the current production they’re receiving.

Victorino’s presence also allows the Red Sox to reconfigure their lineup, adding depth to the lower-middle portion of the order while adding another player with a respectable OBP near the top. John Farrell also wants to bring more lineup stability to his club, as Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe has reported, as Boston’s batting order has changed many times throughout the season thanks to a combination of injury and ineffectiveness.

Here’s how the Red Sox are poised to stack up against right-handed pitchers with Victorino back in the daily lineup:

1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Grady Sizemore, LF
6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Against left-handers, I’d expect the top-four names to remain the same, with Gomes slotting in for Sizemore in left field and hitting fifth. Will Middlebrooks, who will rejoin the team before Friday’s game in Toronto, should move up to seventh in the order against southpaws, and David Ross will replace Pierzynski behind the plate and bat eighth.

What you’re left with is a lineup that can more realistically accomplish Farrell’s stated goal of finishing as a top-five offensive club, as well as a lineup that has a better blend of power and speed. This configuration also takes some pressure off Sizemore, who’s slowed down after a hot start, and Bogaerts, who appears to be in an adjustment period and looks a bit lost at the plate.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, the Red Sox are welcoming Victorino back because of his outstanding defense, especially at home in Fenway Park’s cavernous right field.

Last season, Victorino earned a Gold Glove for a defensive effort that metrics, scouts and fans alike universally rated as outstanding. According to FanGraphs, Victorino finished 2013 with a whopping 24 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of 25.0, making him among the most valuable defenders in all of baseball. While J.D. Drew was a strong defender in right field and Trot Nixon could hold his own as well, some fans and reporters argued that Victorino was the best right field defender in Fenway they’d seen since Dwight Evans.

It’s never been easier to appreciate the impact of that defense than after watching Nava, Sizemore and Gomes stumble around ineffectively in right field this season, with limited range and weak arms (save for Gomes) actively hurting the Red Sox on several occasions. On nights when the Red Sox started Gomes in left field, Sizemore in center and Nava in right, you can make the case that Boston was deploying one of the worst defensive outfields in the game.

Now, the Red Sox can immediately turn that glaring deficiency into a strength by starting Sizemore in left, Bradley Jr. in center and Victorino in right a majority of the time. This gives Boston two plus-plus defenders, plus another outfielder with defensive potential in Sizemore. Defense has been one of the most obvious areas of regression for the Red Sox this year, and Victorino’s return should make an immediate positive impact in that regard.

When you combine Victorino’s offensive output, baserunning ability and defensive prowess, he was good for 5.6 fWAR last season, according to FanGraphs. That made him the 14th-most valuable offensive player in the game, and one of the true surprises of the 2013 season.  Victorino’s replacements this year were on track to finish as sub-replacement level performers, and the improvement the Red Sox should see by playing “the Flyin‘ Hawaiian” every day is quite significant.

Victorino may need a couple dozen plate appearances to get up to speed, and even once he does, he may not repeat his career year of 2013. But there’s little doubt that this Red Sox team needs a spark plug on both sides of the ball, and Farrell’s desire to place Victorino back in Boston’s lineup this quickly is understandable.

Through his superiority over his competition, ability to lengthen Boston’s lineup, baserunning acumen and outstanding defense, Victorino makes the Red Sox a much better, much more complete team. If he can reacclimate to major league life quickly, his walk-up music may speak the truth: Every little thing may indeed be alright for the Red Sox this year.

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Boston Red Sox: Projections for the Starting Lineup in 2014

With a brand new World Series championship banner hanging on Yawkey Way, the Boston Red Sox have some pretty big shoes to fill as we move towards the 2014 MLB season.

This year, fans will be treated to an injection of youth with Xander Bogaerts likely taking over as the everyday shortstop and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia took his talents to South Beach and veteran backstop A.J. Pierzynski has been brought in to fill the void.

To get the closest and most accurate projections possible, the following statistics were compiled and compared, ultimately creating an equation to help determine how each player will perform in 2014.

The stats consist of basic offensive numbers: games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, stolen bases and batting lines.

Generally, to reach a conclusion on each stat, players were evaluated on their performances against every team the Red Sox will face in 2014. Those figures were compared to players’ career numbers, as well as other variables, such as home-versus-away numbers.

These are the results. 

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