Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The three-year, $39 million deal that the Sox gave to Shane Victorino in December was subject to considerable scrutiny. No other club was willing to come close to the $13 million a year that the Sox gave the 32-year-old. As such, the contract was viewed widely as the biggest free agent overpay of the offseason.
On Tuesday, Victorino continued to offer what has now been a season-long rebuttal to such critics. He turned in the single greatest performance of his career in the Sox' 13-2 eruption against the Orioles, sending two homers screaming over the Green Monster (his second career multi-homer day, the first having come five years earlier against Randy Johnson and the Diamondbacks) as part of a 3-for-3 game that also included a double, a walk, a hit by pitch, four runs scored and seven driven in. For the year, Victorino is hitting .292 with a .346 OBP, a .446 slugging mark and 11 homers -- all marks above his career norms of .277/.341/.431.
WEEI: From overpay to bargain
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy now. Guy has a 7 RBI game and people want to call a $13 million a year deal a bargain? Settle down.
I mean we could've just re-signed Cody Ross to a cheaper deal for the same length and get slightly less production from him. Or we could've signed the older Torii Hunter who is producing slightly better offensively but isn't the defensive stalworth that he used to be. The best bet could've been either Michael Bourn or BJ Upton to not only play in right this season but be able to replace Jacoby at center next year. They're doing... *looks at their stats* god they're doing awful. And let's not even talk about Josh Hamilton. (By the way, where's the anger from baseball fans from the Angels and their spending? How they're trying to buy a title? The Dodgers too. Suddenly Sox & Yankees look thrifty compared to them.)
While it's a bit surprising that he's made that contract look good, it's even more shocking is that he's been the best outfielder out of all the free agents. Even though he's banged up, he's being every bit of the player he was in Philadelphia when he was a key cog for a Phillies team that won one title and should have won another. No one thought he had that in him anymore, even though he is only 32.
Last night, he carried the team to a victory and now the Sox are up 2 1/2 games over the Rays with 29 games left. He's worth every penny of that $13 million he's making this year and if he continues to produce the way he is, the remaining $26 million will be nothing to complain about.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Sox handle O's | Victorino's 7 RBIs ignites Sox offense | Buchholz makes rehab start next Friday | Herald: Sox rout Orioles in return to Fenway | Victorino delivers despite pain | Bogearts goes about business in new home | Pedroia on power trip | CSNNE: Doubront escapes trouble, cruises to 10th win | Top of the order comes through for Sox | Victorino's career night leads Sox to W | WEEI: Offense erupts in 13-2 win |