Rumors are flying that the Indians and Phillies are talking about a deal that would send Shane Victorino to the Indians for positional prospects. The Indians are looking for a CF to replace the departed Grady Sizemore and the Phillies are reportedly looking to move salary in order to make a splash in the free agent market.
Victorino (turns 31 on November 30th) would provide the Indians durability in center field, a top of the order hitter with the ability to swipe a bag, a patient hitter who doesn't strike out often, a switch hitter who performs better from the right side of the plate, and a hitter with extra base hit ability. He also was a gold glove winner in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and adds added veteran experience to a young offense.
The question becomes what are the Phillies are looking for? Are they most interested in a first baseman in exchange or would they want a number of prospects that could be used to acquire a first baseman from another organization? Or are the Phillies looking simply to move the 9.5 million to free up money to sign Michael Cuddyer who could play 1b until Ryan Howard returns?
I'd surmise that if the Indians and Phillies were to work a trade there would be a third team involved or a second deal involving a few of the prospects sent to Philadelphia would happen later this winter. Nothing is impossible in regards to acquiring Victorino and it is a breath of fresh air to hear the Indians being aggressive early in the offseason in addressing one of their most glaring needs heading into 2012.
- Victorino is coming off his best offensive season of his career as he posted a slash line of .279/.355/.491 an OPS of .846 with a league leading 16 triples, 27 doubles, and 17 home runs. .
- He stole 19 bases while only being caught 3 times.
- He earned a fWAR of 5.9 and a rWAR of 5.1.
- He had a K rate of 10.8% and a BB rate of 10.4%.
- He had a wRC+ of 135 and a wOBA of .372.
- As a left handed hitter he has posted a slash line of .274/.336/.415 an OPS of .751 versus right handed pitching.
- As a right handed bat he has posted a .297/.371/.507 an OPS of .877.
- Victorino's numbers in 2011 were not the cause of a high BABIP as his BABIP was a very modest .292.
Some may suggest that Victorino's numbers are somewhat a function of playing in a hitter friendly park in Philadelphia. But, he posted a better slash line on the road .287/.352/525 an OPS of .877 versus home where he posted a slash line of .271/.358/.457 an OPS of .816.
He has also been a durable player for the Phillies playing in 90% (865 games of possible 972 games). His defense in centerfield remains above average as he finished 3rd in UZR/150 for center fielders with a 5.7.
Victorino will most likely profile as a Type A free agent following the end of the 2012 season so the Indians could recoup two prospects if Victorino was to leave as a free agent.
The Phillies would be selling Victorino high as he did put up his best offensive year in 2011. His numbers would of looked even better in 2011 if not for a nightmare September where he posted a slash line of .186/.258/.319 and OPS of .577.
One interesting note about Victorino is that he was drafted in the Rule 5 draft twice from the Dodgers. Once by the San Diego Padres in 2003 and returned only to be drafted by the Phillies in 2004.