Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino
appears to be on his way out of Philadelphia, according to a report by Jon Heyman
this afternoon. Dylan Hernandez is disagreeing, according to his latest tweet
. Hernandez says the Dodgers are still looking for a corner infielder, starting pitching, and a left-handed reliever. Heyman adds that people familiar with the situation have suggested that the Phillies interest in keeping Victorino appear to be fading at a rapid rate. He mentions the Dodgers, Pirates, Tigers, and Indians as possible future homes for the two-time All-Star this summer. Of course, Victorino will be a free agent at the conclusion of the 2012 season, so the "Flyin' Hawaiian" is likely considered a second-half rental by most teams. I could see the Dodgers being moderately interested, only because Abreu and Rivera carry the flexibility to play first base, though this certainly doesn't help the Dodgers glaring offensive black hole at third.
Victorino, 31, was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 1999 amateur draft. Victorino was later selected as a Rule 5 draft pick in 2002 by the San Diego Padres, playing in 36 games for the Friars, but he was eventually returned to the Dodgers. Victorino was again selected in the 2005 Rule 5 Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. He again failed to stay with the major league club, and was offered back to the Dodgers. The Dodgers declined, so the Phillies retained his contract and assigned him to the minors. Two years later, at the age of 26, Victorino broke out for a monster season. Since then he's been one of the most consistent players in the league atop a very potent offensive lineup. He's a two-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and was a huge factor in the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series.
2008, oh what a NLCS that was, remember? Victorino became one of the most hated players by Dodger fans during that playoff series. Flashback to game 3 of the NLCS, Victorino was brushed back by Hiroki Kuroda
, Victorino began to gesture towards Kuroda, that it was alright that he throw inside, just as long as he did not do so at his head. Blood pressure is rising, things were immediately heated, and hatred began pouring out by Dodger fans.
Victorino grounds out to second, then proceeded to gesture at Kuroda and just like that, both benches cleared. Victorino's arrogance instantly became intolerable for Dodger fans and he was booed each time he stepped up to the plate. His cocky attitude certainly didn't help things and to this day I absolutely can't stand the guy. Then as if the tension and hatred wasn't high enough, Victorino took the momentum away from the Dodgers in game 4 when he hit a game-tying two run home run, a home run that swung the momentum into the Phillies favor, and the Phillies went on to beat the Dodgers in five games. Had the Dodgers won game 4, the outcome of the NLCS could've been much different.
The Dodgers interested in Victorino? Really? I don't see why the Dodgers need a .245 hitter that has 8 home runs on the season. Call me crazy, but I don't see the upgrade over Juan Rivera
and Bobby Abreu
here. Sure Victorino is a great bat at the top of any lineup, but that's not the Dodgers problem. The Dodgers need a bat behind Kemp and Ethier, period. This would be a good move, as long as another bat was also acquired, but otherwise this is pointless.
I will say that Victorino is still a very valuable
player, especially at his 2012 salary of $9.5MM. Victorino, despite appearing to be headed into an offensive decline, is still one of the best outfielders in the game. Victorino is arguably a top-five defender among MLB outfielders, so that alone would definitely give the Dodgers an upgrade over Rivera and Abreu defensively. With Dee Gordon
out for six weeks, maybe the Dodgers are looking for some speed and consistency at the top of the lineup.
Victorino a career .276/.341/ .432 hitter, also average 14 homers, 63 RBI, and 29 stolen bases per season. Victorino, despite his average, appears to be on target to surpass all other offensive categories. Victorino's slash line is currently .245/.311/.369, with 8 homers, 37 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. A mid-season trade to the Dodgers could help boost his numbers, as his career numbers inside Dodger Stadium are better than almost any other stadium. Inside Dodger Stadium, Victorino has hit .328/.400/.603 with 3 home runs in 58 at bats in Dodger Stadium.
It's a worthy consideration, no doubt. Of course, that is all dependent upon the price. The Phillies are clearly sellers, so it will be interesting to see what the Phillies are looking for as they look to unload some salary this summer. If the Dodgers can eat a big chunk of salary and throw the Phillies some low-level prospects, this trade could go well for the Dodgers. Then there is the obvious problem of what this acquisition would mean for Rivera, Abreu, and James Loney
. However, if the Dodgers start talking Garrett Gould
again, I would say the Dodgers are focusing on the wrong player.