Although he won’t make the Opening Day roster – and, indeed, never really had the opportunity to win a job on that Opening Day roster thanks to a calf injury – Shane Victorino is staying in the Chicago Cubs’ organization. For now.
The 35-year-old veteran outfielder is coming off of two injury-filled down years, but was feeling like his old self when he signed a minor league deal with the Cubs earlier this spring. Unfortunately, a calf injury early in the Cactus League slate has kept him out of action since, which put the Cubs and Victorino in a tough contractual spot. A healthy and effective Victorino may well have made the roster, but without much to go on at this point, the Cubs didn’t really have a choice. Further, because of Victorino’s service time status, the Cubs would soon have to pay a $100,000 retention bonus to keep Victorino around on his minor league deal, while also giving him the right to opt out of that deal on June 1.
From there, the Cubs have offered (per CSN) that he can go to AAA Iowa for a month to see if he can still play at a high enough level with which he’s comfortable, and then things can be re-assessed (for example, it’s entirely possible that he’d be feeling good, and at that point (or even sooner), the big league team has developed a clear need).
Nothing has been decided, though, beyond Victorino staying in Arizona and getting into his own version of Spring Training now – showing that he’s healthy, showing that he can still play. Then, additional decisions will be made.
On the balance, it seems like the right move both for Victorino and the Cubs, as each side gets a little more time to evaluate things without making any longer-term commitments.