Another Outfield Option – Cubs Have Been Connected to Shane Victorino

So far this offseason, in large part, Shane Victorino’s name has been absent from the various discussions we see on the Cubs’ outfield plans. Whether they look to add a right fielder and slide David DeJesus into center field, or whether they look to pick up a center fielder and leave DeJesus where his defense is better, you’d think the Cubs would at least be considering Victorino, who can play all over the outfield.

And, if Jerry Crasnick is right, the Cubs are indeed considering Victorino. The ESPN writer says the Cubs, together with Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies (“tepid” interest), and Indians (“prime suitor“) are the teams checking in on the free agent outfielder, who is looking for a three or four-year deal.

Victorino, 32, is coming off a strongly down 2012 season, which he split between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and hit just .255/.321/.383. In the six seasons before that, combined, he hit .282/.348/.443. So, was 2012 an aberration, or the start of the inevitable decline associated with aging? His BABIP last year was an unusually low .278, but, when it comes to “speed” guys entering their mid-30s, you can’t always assume a BABIP drop was just bad luck. Interestingly, Victorino, for all his speed, has tended to be a sub-.300 BABIP guy to begin with. That makes me nervous about his ability to get that 2012 line back up next year (to say nothing of the two or three years after that).

Thanks to his defense, which has long been above average, Victorino still amassed a 3.3 WAR last year, despite the weak offense. If that defense holds up over the next three years, he’s a good bet to still have a fair bit of value, but he might quickly become an offensive black hole.

Given that Victorino’s skills might erode quickly as he hits 33, 34, and 35, it’s hard to see the Cubs doing more than just “checking in” on Victorino to see if they could steal a bargain. If he somehow matches the deal Angel Pagan got from the Giants – four years, $40 million – that isn’t something I’d want to see the Cubs involved in, unless they’re going to pull a huge rabbit or two out of the hat to put a winner on the field in 2013. A three-year deal? There might be a higher likelihood of surplus value there, but it also is less likely to overlap with the Cubs’ competitive window.

(If you’re wondering, yes, I’d rather see the Cubs give Michael Bourn five years and $80 million than Victorino four and $40 million. Bourn is the superior defender, and likely better with the bat. But, most importantly for the Cubs’ purposes, he’s a little more than two years younger. To be clear, however, I don’t really see the Cubs going full bore after either player.)

We might not have to wait long to see what happens with Victorino – Crasnick reports that things are heating up with him, and he could sign his deal before the Winter Meetings end on Thursday.


Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

91 responses to “Another Outfield Option – Cubs Have Been Connected to Shane Victorino”

  1. Walter Sobchak

    I would love Victorino on a 2year deal with an option but if it approaches 10 million per year Id pass……if you are gonna do a deal like that offer it to Ludwick and move Dejesus over…..Id rather have .250 and 20-25hr from Ludwick than .250 10-12hr from Victorino at that amount

    1. Noah

      There’s a big difference between Ludwick and Victorino defensively, though. Victorino is still a solid defensive center fielder. Ludwick is a below average defensive LF. In other words, the Cubs have no where they could play Ludwick where he wouldn’t be awful defensively.

      1. Spriggs

        Obviously this doesn’t prove anything, but I do remember Brenley saying that he hasn’t seen a visiting playing come into Wrigley Field and play RF as well as Ludwick does.

        Now, was he just taking out frustration because of some lucky plays Ludwick made or was it a serious compliment?

        1. Noah

          But it’s also been a few years since Ludwick played RF at Wrigley. In 2007 he was a pretty good defender in RF, but he was 28/29 then, not 34.

          1. Spriggs

            But he was playing full time RF for SD in 2010 and 2011 (which is when Brenley said those things). The only reason he didn’t play more in RF last year was because Bruce had that spot covered. It’s not like he can’t play RF anymore.

    2. Kubphan82

      We only get Ludwick if Soriano is traded…
      We only get Victorino if others don’t overbid…
      And for future debate:
      We won’t get Swisher because of pay/loss of draft pick.

      1. Boogens

        Not that I want the Cubs to sign Swisher but we wouldn’t lose the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 draft. We’d lose the 2nd rounder.

        1. Kubphan82

          This I know, but still wouldn’t think Swisher is the contract or guy for whom they give that pick up…

  2. Kubphan82

    I think what we’re seeing with the FA is that the Cubs are entering at the last minute, to see where a player is signing and how much, as opposed to being part of the bidding process too early…

    We’re chiming in to see if they fit where we want them or are willing to go to see if there’s a last minute “steal” for us.

  3. Noah

    I’ve long believed that someone in the fairly crowded CF group available in free agency and via trade will fall through the cracks this offseason and be a bargain. If Victorino is that guy, I want the Cubs in on him. If he’s not, pass, for all the reasons you stated.

  4. Richard Freedlund

    Cubs already have speed in the outfield that they neglected to use with Tony Campana. Granted, the kid is not a powerful bat, but when he gets on base, taking second with a steal is almost assumed. You don’t have to hit home runs to be a successful base runner. The team needs to use him more effectively and get more runs batted in.

    1. David

      Totally agree. But if they dont use tony, bourn seems like a great option instead. Same type player, better bat.

      1. TWC

        Tony Campana and Michael Bourn are the “same type player”? At what game, foosball?

        1. willis

          LOL…Campana sucks.

          1. TWC

            … but he’s scrappy.

            1. Cubbie Blues

              No son of mine is gonna play any foos-ball.

              1. David

                That reeks of awesomeness.

    2. Cubbie Blues

      the kid is not a powerful bat, but when he gets on base

      That right there is one of his problems. His career OBP is .306. Also, his speed only helps him in the outfield to aid him in with the bad lines and jumps that he gets on the ball. He is good at the end of a bench, but as a starter he would get even more exposed.

      1. MightyBear

        Thanks. You beat me to that post. I was going to say the same thing.

      2. Frank

        Not a powerful bat? He’s hardly a bat at all. And his defense is not that good; he doesn’t take good routes, and his speed makes him look better than he is.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Thanks for agreeing with me.

        2. Nate

          Campana’s plus-plus speed and the fact that he isn’t a liability on defense makes him the perfect bench player for a team like the Cubs, were he can come in late in the game as part of a double switch. Come in, steal a base, make a play, that kind of thing. But I can’t imagine him as a starter.

          1. TWC

            Campana’s plus-plus speed and the fact that he isn’t a liability on defense makes him the perfect bench player …

            Is that a fact? I mean, I would think “below average” would indicate a liability, but that’s just me.

          2. Marcel91

            Campana IS a liability on defense. He gets terrible jumps, takes bad routes, and has a weak arm. His speed makes up for it a bit but he’s still bad.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              He gets terrible jumps, takes bad routes

              This is actually the same trait: flyball judgment. Players run to where they “think” that the ball is going to land. A slow jump means that it takes a guy longer to work out where it is going. A bad route means that the guy starts off running to the wrong place, and that he’s adjusting his “estimate” of where to be to catch the ball.

              (Words in quotes are actually inappropriate, as this is not a cognitive process, but a reflexive one.)

              1. Leo L

                not sure reflexive correct because the “estimate” does require cerebral input. it becomes more of a recognition rather than a reflex. some can recognize the route sooner than others. and it is an estimate because many factors determine teh final location of the ball for example wind that can change during flight of the ball

                1. Marcel91

                  exactly what I was going to say, but I do see where he’s coming from.

            2. MichiganGoat

              Why are people still believing that Campana’s speed makes up for being bad at every other aspect of the game. This is not advanced Sabermetrics it’s simple observation- he’s bad at defense, he is bad at getting on base. People quit falling in love with his speed.

              1. King Jeff

                This reminds me of an article I once read about a certain scrappy ballplayer.

  5. Njriv

    Jason Kubel?

    1. willis

      Love that idea. He’s reportedly beng shopped as we type. Wonder what it would take?

      1. Noah

        Kubel is a bad defensive LF. Where would he play for the Cubs?

        1. King Jeff

          He’s bad defensively, and he’s about as fragile as they come. He’s a future DH in waiting.

  6. Norm

    No for 3+ years.
    Yes for 2 years.

    His BABIP in 2011 was about as low as it will get…if he bounces back to his career average, we’ve got a .340/.350 OBP, good defensive outfielder that can hit 10 homers and steal 35 and be a piece to flip.

    1. Noah

      I might do 2 and a mutual option for a 3rd year where the team part could vest dependent on games played or something like that. But agreed, ideally for Victorino it would be 2 years.

  7. Freshness21

    Terrible. I don’t see Theo adding a contract like this, for a non-impact player on the decline. There will be no contracts over 2 years. The way our prospects are set up, the outfield should be full of home-grown talent in 2-3 years. Any signing, if any, will be similar to the DeJesus signing (decent player for a couple years).

  8. Kubphan82

    Kubel is a bigger guy, especially for the OF. He had a career year for power and kudos to him. But he started to see groin injuries etc, he fits the bill for an AL team… I was surprised the DBacks signed him anyway…

    I’d expect the rumors to circle around the M’s (who seem to be in on everyone), the O’s (who are looking for OF thru trade), Yanks (looking for “on the cheap power”) and the RSox.

  9. Dustin

    One option the Cubs are considering for third base is free agent Yuniesky Betancourt

    1. Noah

      That would make me throw up.

    2. Fakko

      I agree with Noah!

    3. Kubphan82

      Other bad ideas I’d prefer:

      Valbuena FT
      Stewart/Valbuena platoon
      Junior Lake to 3B
      Barney to 3B and promote LoWat to 2B
      Castro 3B; Barney SS; LoWat 2B

  10. Kyle Levier

    The Flyin’ Hawaiian is not as fly to me as Bourn would be. But he’d be a good 2 year 15 million dollar plus a Team option pick up. But I mean we’ve got TheJesus, Campana, B Jax, and others. But if we are looking for a right field option. I’d like to have Ryan Ludwick for a year or two, just my opinion though.

    1. Noah

      Here’s the thing you have to remember, though: Bourn is only two years younger than Victorino. So if Bourn is going to cost a minimum of BJ Upton (5 years/$75 million), but Victorino could be had for, say, 2 years/$20 million, I’d much rather have Victorino.

  11. Rizzofanclub

    I dont know which player I would want Victorino (3 yr 30 million) or Bourn (5yr 80million). I would probably go with Victorino only b/c I still think B. Jackson will be an everyday major leaguer. If Jackson is knocking down the door to be called up at mid-season we can trade Dejesus or Soriano at the deadline.

  12. The Dude Abides

    I can’t wait until Theo finds the perfect free agent that fits all of our needs as far as age, price, length of contract, “no trade clause” not allowed & talent arc going up.

    We can’t afford to take any risk we are in a position to be very picky. We have a stacked deck of talent in the low level minors, a house full of flippable starting pitchers on the MLB roster, no 3B and two OF’s one of which we would love to trade for more prospects. Rizzo seems to be the only true untouchable on our team but teams aren’t lining up for the rest of our offensive players.

    Good times are coming, I hear it everywhere I go, But they sure coming slow.

    1. bbmoney

      We’ll probably all need a few white russians to make it through the next year or two. So keep that vodka, kaklua and cream handy Dude.

      1. David

        You mix a helluva Caucasian, Jackie.

  13. Walter Sobchak

    Nowhere to play Ludwick???? I think Sori in left and Dejesus in center and Ludwick in right is an average defensive outfield with serious offense potential. Huh don’t get the love of Victorino when the money spent quite possibly wont be backed by offensive production…….This team needs an infusion of offense

    1. Cubbie Blues

      That would make Soriano our best defensive outfielder.

    2. MightyBear

      That outfield isn’t average defensively. It’s well below average defensively.

  14. Walter Sobchak

    On the average year that outfield (Sori, Ludwick, Dejesus) can produce combined 60 hrs and 200 rbis…….And the cubs at this time just do not have the luxury of throwing Campana in there…..he is a pinch runner with horrible on base skills

  15. Rizzo 44

    Go all out Theo… Get Hamilton for 5-6 years at 125-150M in LF, get Bourn for 5 years and 80M in CF, get Greinkie for 7 years ans 185 ACE SP, then trade Javier Baez and BJax for Justin Upton extend him for 5 years and 100M to play RF, then trade Soriano and Barney 10M cash to the Braves for Uggla and Delgado, trade (Marmaol and 7.5M), Dan Vogelbach, Wood, and (Garza and 5M) to the Pads for Chase Headley extend him for 5 years and 85M, then sign some BP arms (1 righty and 1 lefty). Also trade Trey McNutt, Vitters, Shark and Jorge Soler for David Price. Then your lineup looks like this

    CF Bourn L 5 years 80M 16m per year
    SS Castro R 7 years 60M 8.5 per year
    LF Hamilton L 5 years 130M 26M per year
    1B Rizzo L Pre Arb.
    RF Upton R 8 years 140M 17.5M per year
    3B Headley S 5 years 85M 17 per year
    2B Uggla R 3 years 39.6M 13.2M per year
    C Castillo R Pre Arb.
    Thats right at 100M for 8 players. Then the bench would be another 6-7M avg.

    SP 1) Greinkie R 7 years 180M 25.7M per year
    SP 2) Price L 7 years 175M 25M per year
    SP 3) Delgado R Pre Arb
    SP 4) Baker R 1 year and 5.5M per year
    SP 5) Feldman/Vizcaino R 1 year and 6M per year/Pre Arb.

    RP Russell L 750,00
    RP Camp R 1 year1 1.35M
    RP Bowden R 450,00
    RP Manny Parra L 1 years 1M
    RP Jason Grilli R 2 Years 6M with club option
    CP Fujikawa 3 years and 9.5M

    Total Payroll around 170-180M. Crazy I’m sure most of you will say.

    1. TWC

      Crazy I’m sure most of you will say.

      I’d go with “cute”.

    2. MichiganGoat

      I hope this is satire but … Sigh

    3. Marcel91

      Maybe not crazy but i’d ask if you we’re Jim Hendry’s son?

      1. Rizzo 44

        Haha I would spend and spend and spend and spend. We haven’t won in 104 years its time to do it big. Grow a pair and do it Theo.

        1. DarthHater

          Grow a pair of brain cells.

          1. Brian Peters

            @Darth….Lol!!! Don’t waste the energy to converse with nonsensical, DELUSIONAL morons like Rizzo. What he clearly doesn’t remember, because he walks around in a Cogentin and Lithium created haze, is that the Cubs HAVE spent money….and it’s not led to a World Series championship. It’s best that folks like Rizzo flock to the Yankees and Dodgers, where their dreams of supporting a team that is spend happy and see what happens.

            1. Kyle

              The Cubs have gone cheap and promised to build from the farm system for much longer than they’ve spent.

              1. MightyBear

                True but not recently.

    4. @cubsfantroy

      I will go with “what fantasy world are you living in?”

      1. Rizzo 44

        One where the Cubs win the WS in 2013 with that group.

    5. Dan

      That’s CRAZY – No, No, No – Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

      1. Rizzo 44

        Yes, Yes, Yes ASAP Smart, Smart, Smart.

  16. XavierGunz

    Shane always hit really good at Wrigley. I used to hate when he came to the plate. And also descent defensive numbers. He would be a solid pickup as long as he doesnt ask ridiculous dollars. 2 years 8mil per.

    1. Spriggs

      For his career at Wrigley, he is a .206 lifetime hitter with only 5 extra base hits in 103 plate appearances… a case of the grass always being greener. He’s actually blown pretty bad at Wrigley. I don’t want him.

  17. Ed Wiese

    I dont know how u all feel, but here is my opinion. Either Swisher or Victorino would be nice and I dont care about age. Both are switch hitters and versatile. Victorino can play all 3 OF spots and while we have Anthony Rizzo manning 1B, he cant play every inning, thats where a guy like Swisher would come in handy. Swisher can play RF on the days when RIZZO plays and he can move to 1B to give RIZZO a day off!

    1. Stinky Pete

      Man. You are excited about giving Rizzo a day OFF.

      1. Stinky Pete

        ^I had the above statement in Mitch Hedberg quotes but they disappeared. piss. the whole effect is ruined now. EDIT!!

  18. Rizzofanclub

    wow Rizzo44 you put a lot of work into something that could never work

    1. Rizzo 44

      Why not?

      1. MichiganGoat

        Because all of those trades are assuming the other teams are willing to bend over and well you know… You do see how lopsided those trades are right?

        1. Rizzo 44

          Not really… I think they may be a little but I would just add more pieces. Two of them could be done easy. But Theo has to give up some players.

          1. bbmoney

            interested to know which two you think are close.

            1. Rizzo 44

              The Upton trade and Cubs Braves Trade would be the two that would be the easiestto mak work.

              1. Rizzo 44

                easiest to make work

                1. bbmoney

                  I mean Baez is a great prospect. But I think the Diamondbacks are looking to compete in 2013….and this trade just makes them much…much worse in 2013.

                  I do think the Braves trade is the closest. But I still don’t think it’s that close.

                  That’s all i’ve got.

              2. MichiganGoat

                Sure they are sure in this delusion world you have created. Sure those make sense

  19. J

    3 way trade idea:

    Diamondbacks get Castro
    Rangers get Upton
    Cubs get Olt, Holland and AZ prospect Eaton or Owings and a couple mid-high level arms

    Diamondbacks want a SS, well there you go because Rangers arn’t going to part with Andrus or Profar. No one bite my head off, but what do you think?

    1. Marcel91

      Cubs get fleeced on that trade proposal. Cubs won’t give up Castro for the same reasons Texas won’t even trade Andrus/Profar for Upton. You have the cubs giving up Castro and NOT getting at least Upton back? sorry but no. 3rd and CF are areas of depth in our system so getting Olt and Eaton isn’t a good return for Castro.

    2. @cubsfantroy

      Castro is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

    3. bbmoney

      Why would the Cubs have any interest in that?

      Maybe I’m undervaluing what the Cubs are getting. But in my mind Castro > Otl + another back of the rotation arm + another OF prospect.

      Maybe I’ve got the wrong Holland or dont’ realize how good Eaton or Owings are.

    4. Richard Nose

      Personally, I wouldnt want to turn Castro for that package at all. It’s logical for all 3 to get involved, but I’d want more for Castro.

      1. bbmoney

        I frankly don’t want to turn Castro in for anything. Or at least not anything that doesn’t involve someone named Ginacarlo coming back to the Cubs….which I don’t see happening.

        You just don’t get 22 Y/O above average offensive and (recently) defensive SS in your system every day. Especially not ones you’ve just signed to a reasonable extension and already have 500+ hits in 2.5 years of MLB experience.

        1. Marcel91

          This exactly. Players of Castro’s ilk are among the most coveted assets in baseball. Teams are trying to hold on to their young shortstops not trade them. If Atlanta or Texas refuse to trade Simmons, Profar, or Andrus for a player like Justin Upton that should tell people something.

  20. Leo

    Anyone heard from Assman today or is he still in meetings with Theo & co

    1. TWC

      Assman is a pizza chef here in the Bay Area, FWIW.

      1. DarthHater

        Do not take the assman’s name in vain…

        1. TWC

          In vain? Heck no. I’m completely serious.

  21. Fastball

    I like that lineup. Let’s do it. I don’t care if Ricketts has any money left to pay his mortgage each month. Not my problem. All I want is to win 1 WS. If they keep drafting every year they can still build a strong farm system over 3 more years. I don’t care if we suck in 5 years when all those guys get to be too old. Maybe by then we have some prospects ready. In the meantime we win a WS and that’s all I care about to be honest. There isn’t one gaurantee that any of these prospects we have today are going to amount to crap. Too much credence is given to the prospects of tomorrow. With Armageddon approaching we may not have the opportunity to wait and see. If I see another damned Prepper show I will be without a TV and Internet holed up in my cabin down in Tennessee shooting dear and bear and living off the land. There won’t be any baseball then. LOL

    1. Frank

      Does your dear know you’ll be shooting at her? (Just messin’)