If you’ve been focusing your time on watching the Bruins squander away their playoff chances, you might not be aware that second year outfielder Mookie Betts is absolutely lighting it up in Spring Training. The emergence of Betts has me hoping the Boston Red Sox will be open to hearing offers for the oft-injured Shane Victorino.
For a reason not known to the simple man such as myself, I can’t figure out why Victorino is worth so much to Ben Cherington, John Farrell and even the Red Sox fan base. He’s the epitome of a veteran player that thinks his spot should be just given to him as his arsenal gets smaller with reports of him giving up on switch-hitting due to soreness. He has proven he thinks just because he’s a veteran that he should automatically get a starting role by what he said in mid February telling the Boston Herald he “has no intention of being a bench player.”
I like what Victorino did during the 2013 World Series run as much as the next guy, but he isn’t durable and he doesn’t work hard to become more durable, period. You can say that Pedroia has injury concerns, but they aren’t the same as Victorino. Victorino has issues of an aging player where it seems like Pedroia’s injuries are suffered during the course of game action. I’m not blaming Victorino for not wanting to be on the bench, but I do blame him for not doing what it takes to make sure he isn’t on the bench.
Furthermore, Victorino makes $13 million this season. The biggest issue is that dollar amount. It will be difficult to move on from that via trade unless the Red Sox take on significant money remaining on the deal, but I’d still do it.
Victorino won’t go quietly on the bench. He’ll cause a stir and the situation could become toxic in the clubhouse and we all remember what happens when a Red Sox locker room becomes toxic – Fenway gets a brand new KFC stand put in while the water fountains in the locker room flow with a mixture of quality high country barley and Rocky Mountain ice cold water.
I’d move on from Victorino because you have young players that I perceive as better than him, making less money, with less risk of injury. The experience isn’t there with Betts and Castillo, but the experience comes with real game action in the Major Leagues. The crowded outfield is also joined by Hanley Ramirez, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Allen Craig.
The Red Sox have all the money in the world, even with the signings of Ramirez, Sandoval, Castillo and Moncada because they haven’t spent on starting pitching, which are among the highest priced free agents in the league. I’d deal Victorino for a mid-tier pitching prospect and take on some of his remaining salary to get it done and I predict that’s what will happen.