Why Do I Not Like Shane Victorino?

Double ear flaps. So stupid. GAH!!! Courtesy of the AP

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

In addition to muddying the waters of the Russell Martin contract situation, Jon Heyman also listed the Yankees as one of several teams interested in free agent outfielder Shane Victorino. Victorino, 32, is coming off a down year that saw him traded from his longtime team in Philadelphia out to Cali to finish the season with the payroll-bloated Dodgers. I’m just going to get right to the point and say that I want absolutely no part of Shane Victorino on the 2013 Yankees. And here’s the kicker, I have absolutely no reason why. I’m not sure what it is about him, because it’s not like he’s a bad baseball player, but I’ve just never been much of a Shane Victorino guy. It’s completely irrational and I’m the first one to admit it, because Victorino could actually be a good fit for the Yankees.

Despite only posting a .310 wOBA and 94 wRC+ last season, Victorino is still a .275/.341/.430 career hitter (.338 wOBA) with good speed on the basepaths and in the defensive outfield.  He’s never hit more than 18 HR in a season, but he has hit at least 10 in every season since 2007.  The Yankees could use more contact guys in their lineup, Victorino has an 11.6% career K rate.  The Yankees could use some more speed in the lineup, Victorino stole a career best 39 bases in 2012.  The Yankees need a right fielder and could definitely use some more roster flexibility, and Victorino could play all 3 outfield positions.  And he’s a switch hitter, and he’s been worth at least 3.2 fWAR every season since ’07.

Looking at all of that, Victorino seems like, and probably is, a better RF option for 2013 than Ichiro.  He’s like a younger, more versatile version of Ichiro and yet, I just can’t even think of him wearing a Yankee uniform.  Maybe it’s the goofy smile, maybe it’s the idiotic double-ear flap batting helmet, maybe it’s the fact that some SportsCenter anchor dubbed him “The Flyin’ Hawaiian,” which is neither clever nor funny.  None of those are good reasons to not be interested in Victorino, at least not as good as pointing out that he is 32 and the drop-off in his production, especially the power, was pretty serious this past season.  But I just know this- if the Yankees end up with Shane Victorino as their starting right fielder next year, I’m going to be a sad panda.

Chances are that’s not going to happen.  At 32, Victorino isn’t quite in “just sign a 1-year deal with a contender to chase a ring” territory quite yet, and it’s still perfectly reasonable for him to seek a multi-year deal.  He reportedly wants 3 years, and some team out there will probably give it to him, but I can’t see that being the Yankees.  They would only break their 1-year approach for a game changer, and a game changer Victorino is not.  He’s still got some skills, skills that would blend nicely into the weaker areas of the Yankee roster.  And yet I want nothing to do him.

8 thoughts on “Why Do I Not Like Shane Victorino?

  1. G Man

    It says you are dedicated to thoughtful analysis at the top of the site. Then I read this…

    “I’m just going to get right to the point and say that I want absolutely no part of Shane Victorino on the 2013 Yankees. And here’s the kicker, I have absolutely no reason why.”

    Sounds very thoughtful.

  2. Duh, Innings!

    Since when is Brett Gardner a lock to be an everyday LF or CF for 2013? He barely played in 2012. His 2011 was not as good as his 2010 (.259 BA down from .277 and .345 OBP down from .383.) Take away his OBP and SB and he’s a fifth outfielder/pinch-runner (thus an NL bench player as most AL teams including the Yanks don’t have strong enough bullpens to carry just six relievers thus have a five-man bench) since he can’t hit for power or average. Also Gardner is signed through only 2014 so it’s not like the Yankees have him under control for much longer.

    Since when is Ichiro a lock to continue to produce like he did for the Yankees? He’s old. He was awful in 2011 and 2012 before the Yanks acquired him. He’d take just a year but who’s the RF after him? Replace him with Victorino through 2014 and the Yanks are guaranteed a veteran platoon RF or super fourth outfielder at worst for 2014.

    Victorino isn’t a kid anymore at 32 but he is too young and good to get just a one-year deal. I doubt anyone but a really stupid team would give him three years. He’s a two-year guy, like Jeff Keppinger.

    Here’s something NO ONE has written about:

    Teixiera posted only 24 HR and 84 RBI in 2012 down from 39 HR and 111 RBI in 2011, a loss of 15 HR and 27 RBI.

    ‘Say the Yanks sign Victorino and he posts 13 HR and 60 RBI. That’s crap compared to 2009-12 Swisher but if he produces his career slashline and swipes 30-45 SB, Teixiera has a bounceback 2013 with say 30 HR and 100 RBI (a 6 HR 16 RBI improvement), and A-Rod has a bounceback 2013 with say 25 HR and 80 RBI (a 7 HR 23 RBI improvement), I think those bounceback years and Victorino’s overall production would more than make up for the loss of Swisher. Sign Keppinger to be the 3B and move A-Rod to DH and that’s an upgrade at 3B BA, OBP, and defense-wise and an upgrade at DH.

    Bottom line is Victorino is better than Ichiro, more of a sure thing than Gardner, and insurance against Gardner sucking or getting injured again (the Yanks still have a glove and basestealer in the outfield), Keppinger moves A-Rod to DH where he belongs as (A-Rod) was given $275M to hit not field.

  3. Chris

    Neither Ichiro nor Victorino are likely to be very good next year, I don’t believe in Ichiro repeating his run at the end of last year or bounce back for Shane. But options are getting thin at this point, pretty much anyone who is willing to take a 1 year deal should be considered.

    I was hoping Boesch would be non tendered, but that isn’t happening and I don’t like the idea of trading for him. The best option may end up being Ichiro cheap and a platoon bat like Hairston afterall.

    • Chris

      On the subject Ryan Sweeney and Nate Schierholtz were non tendered today, either one would be worth a look on non guaranteed contracts. However Sweeney especially would be worth a look even on a very low base salary guaranteed deal. He brings solid defense and a solid career triple slash line against RHP, plus he’s still relatively young as he’ll be 28 next season. He doesn’t bring a lot of power but he’d be an interesting option as a left handed platoon player.

      Ryan Sweeney career
      Vs RHP .293/.347/.402
      To Right Field .279/.277/.438

      Nate Schierholtz career
      Vs RHP .266/.319/.413
      To Right Field .342/.338/.610

  4. hawaii dave

    The fact that you don’t like Victorino and cannot explain why is fine…cause ur in the dork,anal retentive, dweeb category and and disliking a guy without good cause is a step in the right direction toward being a guy someone might actually wanna have a beer with…congratulations on the progress.

    But as a citizen of Hawaii, you are mistaken about the nickname…Flyin Hawaiian is GREAT….and Vietrogoski, do I need to remind you that you have never been accused of being the judge of either clever or funny. Just sayin.

  5. Les

    Perhaps Victorino, being a switchhitter, doesn’t want two batting helmets — right and left ear-flapped, and just prefers one with double flaps. Don’t see what the problem is with that.

  6. Here’s part of why you don’t like him: for two of the last three years, he’s been at or under replacement level against right handed pitching.

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