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Friday, March 02, 2012

Shane Victorino

I tried to write a witty headline, I really did, but his statement today that he wants a 5-year contract prompted many reactions.

Among them:

1. Jimmy Rollins, a former MVP, "only" got a 3-year deal, and constructively, is better at his position than Victorino is at his, so why should the 32 year-old centerfielder get a five-year deal?

2. Doesn't he remember that Aaron Rowand wanted a 5-year deal many years ago, and left because he got a 5-year, $60 million deal, only to stink the joint out in SF. (The deal was very good for Rowand, who has been a huge bust, and it got him a World Series ring even though he had very little to do with the Giants' success)? Based upon that scenario, why would the Phillies opt to make that type of mistake when they avoided it in 2007? In fairness to Victorino, the Phillies had him waiting in the wings to take over, thus making Rowand expendable. It's hard to see who they have waiting in the wings to take over for Victorino, unless they were to move John Mayberry to CF, which could be a possibility.

3. Victorino is injury-prone, and, as he ages, he's likely to break down more. So, an investment in an aging CF for five years might not be wise.

4. Are you kidding me?

Look, the Phillies want to avoid the luxury tax and they need to get younger. The bet here is that a) they'll spend all their energy to re-ink Cole Hamels, b) they'll find a younger replacement at third and (finally) a 3B who can hit with power, and c) they're probably (anxiously) awaiting what to do with Chase Utley, whose contract expires at the end of 2013. Two years ago, I worried about how much the Phillies might have to pay to re-up Utley in 2013. Now I'm worried that he'll be a liability for two full seasons (as his line-drive rate in 2011 was the second-lower in the Majors -- behind Vernon Wells).

It's hard to see the core group from 2008 age, but the age has been showing. The OF is now younger, but the IF and C are aging, and Hamels at 28 makes sense for a long-term deal. But resigning Victorino would mean that the team would hope that somehow each and every over-32 player could defy the aging process, and they just will not be able to.

I like Shane Victorino a great deal and have appreciated his contributions very much. He's positive, he has great energy, he has a solid track record of achievement, and he's a key part of the team's success. But it could well be that he'll get big bucks from a team on the verge of contending before he gets it from a team that, above all else, cannot get any older.

A five-year deal just would not make any sense for the Phillies, great, past contributions or not.


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