Former Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino became a free agent on Monday. Two Phillies Nation writers offer their conflicting thoughts on the concept of the Phils signing the man that played a key role in helping the team win the 2008 World Series…
Mike Murphy says yes-
On Monday, the Chicago Cubs released former Phillie, Shane Victorino because they did not have a need for him on the roster. Victorino, one of the key components to the Phillies’ heyday from 2007-2011, could be a veteran leader on this young team.
At age 35, it is doubtful that the Flyin’ Hawaiian would man an outfield spot right away. Rather, he would play a role that Andres Blanco plays, a bench player that can be called on in any situation while also being able to jump in an everyday role in the event of an injury. His upbeat attitude and experience would be invaluable to young players like Tyler Goeddel and Odubel Herrera.
Another glaring issue is, excluding Herrera, the depth of the outfield. Goeddel has played a role in some wins so far this season but he has been inconsistent in his play.
So far the Phillies outfielders have hit a combined .223, and .196 if you rule out Herrera’s .335 average. Victorino is a career .275 hitter, with a .340 OBP, and a .765 OPS. When he was in Philadelphia, Victorino had an average WAR (wins above replacement) of 2.8 with the Phillies while winning three Gold Gloves and making two All-Star teams.
He has been limited to 172 games in the past two years due to injury but there will be no rush to bring Victorino to the big club. He will be able to take his time and take a minor league assignment to get his timing back.
Overall, Victorino will not make the Phillies a lock for the post season, but he will provide a better bat for a line-up that has an inconsistent outfield. Not only will he probably be happy to be back in Philadelphia but the city and its fans will rejoice to see the return of one of their favorite athletes.
Eric Floyd says no-
While it has been suggested that the Phillies could use outfield help, the idea that Shane Victorino could be the solution should be put to rest. While I understand the nostalgic appeal of the idea, ultimately, it would not be productive for the team. It is unnecessary for the Phillies to consider adding the 12-year veteran.
First and foremost, Victorino is not the type of player that would make a difference on this team. That is to say that while there might be an appropriate time for this team to add a veteran bat, say in mid-July if the Phils are still in striking distance for the division, this is not the time and this is not the player to target.
The team, as assembled, is meant to grow together, to become a cohesive, young, group that can compete for championships in a couple seasons. The team is not built to win enough games to make the playoffs. Hell, this team was built with 90+ losses in mind, and the thought of a brighter future next year or the year after. The idea of taking away playing time from a promising, growing player like Tyler Goeddel, for the prospect of Victorino who batted .234 at Triple-A in his Cubs audition at age 34, is asinine.
This is only one of many flaws within this idea. Adding an ex-Phillie is a great idea for fans but not necessarily team chemistry. As previously mentioned, this team is young and meant to grow into a contender together. Bringing in old faces could disrupt the flow of the clubhouse. This is vague and speculative statement, but it must be considered when signing a player. The attitude of the team has changed, and it begs the question of if Shane Victorino fits within the club’s current structure.
The best example of this can be seen within the team. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, both leftovers from the Phillies’ last contending team, serve polar opposite roles with the team. Howard is only here because his contract made him unmovable, while “Chooch” serves as a necessary backup catcher as well as a mentor to young Cameron Rupp as well as the pitching staff. The argument could be made that Victorino could easily slip into the role of mentor and guide some of the young guys. Simply, I think this is unnecessary. Treat this season for what it is, a developmental period for the young players, and let them experience their own growing pains without gambling on chemistry.
Last but not least, the Phillies simply do not need him. If the Phillies were looking to add a bat to their lineup, they would need to look no farther than their farm system with prospects like outfielder Nick Williams and solid hitting infielder Taylor Featherston knocking on the proverbial door.
Additionally, Cody Asche is scheduled to return very soon, as he’s been rehabbing in the minors, recovering from an oblique strain. Asche is capable of producing the same slash lines (.245/.294/.395 in the big leagues last year) as Victorino, if not better, and is already being paid by the organization. When Asche returns, the corner outfield positions become considerably more stable and the addition of an on-the-way out veteran becomes even less appealing.
Shane Victorino may very well catch on with a major league team after the glowing recommendation he received from the Cubs upon his exit. Just don’t look for him to be donning red pinstripes.
Nation, offer your thoughts on a possible Victorino return in the comments section….