The Boston Red Sox filled another roster spot and likely rounded out their outfield depth chart Tuesday, as the team announced the signing of Shane Victorino
. The Red Sox and Victorino agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million contact.
The 32-year-old outfielder will have the same deal as the recently signed Mike Napoli
. While splitting time in 2012 with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, he hit .255/.321/.383 with a .704 OPS and 3.3 fWAR (FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement) over 154 games.
Although 2012 was a slow year for the switch-hitting outfielder, he's still put together a good track record thus far. From 2009 to 2012, he hit .271/.340/.436 with 56 home runs, 117 stolen bases and amassed 16.6 fWAR in 589 games. The 2012 season could have marked the beginning stages of declining skills for Victorino.
As I've mentioned in previous articles, one win is worth approximately $5-to-$5.5 million. Over the past three seasons, Shane has amassed 13.0 fWAR, and while he's unlikely to see his 2011 level (5.9 fWAR) - it's reasonable that he will likely be worth around 3.0 fWAR in 2013, or slightly below. While he will primarily be the everyday right fielder in Boston, he'll loses some defensive value for shifting to RF from center field.
One thing I did notice with Victoino - his OPS splits versus right-handed and left-handed pitchers. His career splits against lefties is terrific, but he's not the idea candidate for your typical power hitting corner outfielder against RHP. While he had a career year vs. RHP in 2011, he's unlikely to repeat that in 2013 and going forward.
Here are the numbers - They'e flat out ugly against right-handed pitching. I think Boston will eventually have to platoon Victorino against RHP.
Google Visualization API Sample
For lineup purposes, the Red Sox could put together the following lineup come Opening Day 2013. The lineup could also see David Ross
versus left-handed pitching and Jonny Gomes
splitting time with another outfielder.
Overall, the Victorino deal appears to be a risky one for the Red Sox. They have locked-up an aging outfielder who struggles against right-handed pitching across all offensive categories. Although Victorino's defense in right field will likely be above average, his struggles at the plate could cost the Red Sox in the end, especially with the American League East reloading with more talent.