After Shane Victorino was benched Sunday, there are numerous rumors that he'll soon be off the team, with the Dodgers reportedly interested in reacquiring a player who started his career in their organization.
This is part of the crisis mood ensuing because of the Phillies' returning to "use Lifebouy soap...and they still stink" status in the standings. Below average in both hitting and pitching, the Phillies appear to be cleaning house.
Despite his .245 batting average this season, .680 OPS, 23 extra-base hits and 0.7 WAR, I think the Phillies should hold on to Victorino. Here's why.
Batting ills not the problem
Honestly, batting isn't the Phillies' problem. They're only slightly below average despite Ryan Howard and Chase Utley being injured for long stretches, and Jimmy Rollins having a horrendous start to the season.
What they should be worrying about is their bullpen, which has ceded a 4.76 ERA, .757 OPS and 16 defeats in relief. Each of those stats is in the bottom six in the majors.
Bad idea to sell low
If the Phillies dump Victorino now, they won't get much for him—or at least not as much as they could if they wait. There's no way they'll get something for Victorino that can turn this season around, so you might as well hold on to him.
What should the Phillies do with Shane Victorino?
Not that much of a drop-off
Victorino is only batting .031 below his career average and .034 below his average last season. His numbers for doubles and homers haven't fallen off that much either.
It's certainly possible that Victorino will bounce back, either this season or, if re-signed, next season. After all, he's a two-time All-Star and is only 32, meaning he could still have a couple halfway decent seasons ahead of him.
If he does have a bad season in 2012, the Phillies can sign him at a discount and spend the discount on another good bullpen arm.
What about baserunning and fielding?
Batting is not the only stat to consider in a center fielder. You have to look at baserunning and fielding now.
Victorino is great at both baserunning and fielding this season, perhaps the best in his career.
He already has more stolen bases this season alone than he had in all of 2011. In addition, the three-time Gold Glove winner is perfect in fielding this season, making almost 500 putouts without an error.
In short, the Phillies should hold on to Victorino, then ink him in the offseason at the level he's been playing now, which will be a bargain.