Is Shane Victorino a fit for the Yankees?
The New York Yankees’ pitching staff is all but set with the pending re-signings of Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera to join a returning Hiroki Kuorda. As Jack Curry wrote on Tuesday, the Yankees’ best interests for 2013 are not the “sexy” names but the right ones. That includes Russell Martin, a must-sign who has a collection of teams courting his services, and perhaps that veteran fifth starter to stash away as insurance.
The newest name to join the Yankee rumor mill is outfielder Shane Victorino, in whom the Yankees had some reported interest at the non-waiver trade deadline before pulling the trigger for Ichiro Suzuki. Jon Heyman reports seven teams -- the Reds, Indians, Yankees, Rangers, Giants, Rays and Red Sox -- are believed to be interested in Victorino, part of a deep center field market with Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan.
Like with most players of which the Yankees are kicking the tires, Victorino is a nice fit if the price is right – and that’s not the five years he wished for publically months ago. He’s coming off a down season when he batted .245 – 30 points below his career mark – with a .667 OPS more than 100 points below his lifetime mark. Victorino wasn’t bad after the Philadelphia Phillies traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he didn’t exactly provide a spark (.245). Then there are his troubles against right-handed pitching. He hit .229 off righties last year and .244 since 2010.
Still, there are positives. Victorino turns just 32, on Friday, has game defensively and plays with a lot of energy, something the Yankees lineup could have used in October. He can move over to right field and share time with Ichiro (if he re-signs) while often spelling Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson depending on matchups. There’s also the chance Granderson could be shopped and dealt, but Granderson has his own share of baggage despite a career-high 43 home runs in 2012 and a combined 84 the last two seasons.
Victorino is certainly appealing – again for the right price – and like Ichiro could enjoy a career revival playing in the Bronx. The question is, though, is Victorino the right player for the Yankees at this point in time?
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC
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