Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How About Shane Victorino?

This plane may carry our new outfielder.

Jon Heyman reported last night that the Yankees are interested in Shane Victorino, and went further by saying several teams are willing to go 3 years for the center fielder. In the same article it's noted that Shane is willing to move to a corner outfield spot, as he's played center field in nearly 80% of the innings he's played in his career (Victorino has never been a DH, having played his entire career in the National League).

Before the 2012 season the idea of acquiring the Flyin' Hawaiian was a good one. Shane's batting line up to that point in his career was .278/.334/.438, and he'd averaged 15 home runs and 26 stolen bases a season between 2009 and 2011. On top of the offense he provided, Victorino was considered a good defender in center field, and a very good corner outfielder.

However, 2012 did happen, and Shane had a poor season at the plate hitting .255/.321/.383. He was able to steal a career-high 39 bases, but only hit 11 home runs, and tripled 7 times after doing it 39 times over the previous 3 seasons. So the desire to see the guy in pinstripes went down a bit.

No! That's not what I wanted for Christmas!

I'll repeat... My desire to see the guy in pinstripes went down a bit. At 31 years I believe the guy has plenty left in the tank. Taking Shane's age into account, and the fact his poor 2012 should bring down his price in free agency, I'm cool with the Yankees possibly signing him.

Shane Victorino's walk and strikeout rates in 2012 remained around his career averages of 11.6% and 8.2%, as his rates were 12% and 8%. Nor is he watching more strikes, or swinging at more strikes, than he has throughout his career. Shane also put 34% balls into play, just as he's always done. Finally, Victorino has been pretty healthy in his career, having missed 97 games in 9 years.

The only thing that truly concerns me about Victorino is the fact that his line drive percentage has gone down in each of the last 4 years. It went from 20% in 2009, to 19% in 2010, to 16% in 2011, and finally 15% this past season. Perhaps a BABIP of .278, which is 21 points lower than his career mark of .296, was the problem. Not to mention that he hit a few more balls on the ground this past season than he has in years.
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Like anything else it comes down to just how much the player will cost. Shane will likely command more per year than the $14.7 million Fangraphs figured he was worth in 2012, but as long as it's not much more than that, and only for 3 years, then I'd be happy to invite him into our world.

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