Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Since Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn are ranked ahead of him on the free-agent depth chart in center field, one could assume that Shane Victorino hasn't gotten a whole lot of love from teams this offseason.
You would be wrong in that assumption.
On Monday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that at least seven teams are interested in acquiring Victorino, including the Philadelphia Phillies, Victorino's home for eight-plus years.
The Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have also expressed some level of interest in Victorino's services.
He'll be much cheaper than the above three options and can easily shift into a corner outfield slot as well.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. identified Victorino as a possibility in center field for the Phillies in an interview with Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
It’s just a matter of which guy stands out for us and which one helps us put all the pieces together. We can’t put all our resources in one area and not address others. We don’t have unlimited resources. I would say it’s more likely that we go out and acquire an outfielder or two in the free-agent market, but it’s also possible to do trades. There’s been some things, some dialogue that we had, not just for centerfielders but also for corner outfielders. We’re trying to improve as much as we can.
Prediction: Victorino signs with Tampa Bay Rays for two years and $15 million with option for 2015.
Victorino gives Tampa Bay speed at the top of the lineup, and his versatility in the outfield would allow Desmond Jennings to take over in center.