The Globe's Nick Cafardo is reporting (on Twitter) that the Red Sox have offered free agent outfielder Shane Victorino a three-year, $38 million deal. Ken Rosenthal has since tweeted that the deal is for $37.5 million. Cafardo further says that Boston is the 'frontrunner' and that there is 'optimism' a deal will get done.
Victorino would take over right field for the Sox and provide a good deal of flexibility, which appears to be important to the team based on other moves. He's a switch-hitter, a natural center fielder, and somebody who has had a mix of speed and power throughout his career.
While his talents have dropped off a bit (he turned 32 last week) he still had that balance, hitting 47 extra-base hits and stealing 39 bases last year in time split between Philadelphia and Los Angeles. He's been lauded as a great teammate by various people on Twitter, and has playoff and big-market experience in Philadelphia.
On the downside, he's definitely past his prime. His switch-hitting is tempered by the fact that he's a far better right-handed hitter (against lefties) than he is left-handed hitter (against righties), and obviously there is far more right-handed pitching over the course of a season.
If this deal turns out to be finalized, I'd say it's an acceptable deal. I'd probably prefer Cody Ross on a cheaper/shorter deal, but the Sox clearly are keeping center field in mind with this move. With Jacoby Ellsbury leaving next year, what happens if Jackie Bradley, Jr. isn't ready in 2014? What happens if he struggles? Gets hurt? Victorino should provide a solution in CF where the organization won't feel pressure to promote Bradley if he's not ready, or extend Ellsbury to a nine-figure megadeal. Victorino isn't likely to return all the value of the deal, but he does provide the organization some peace of mind for the next trade deadline and offseason that perhaps should be factored in when judging the contract.