Shane Victorino: Impact He Would Have on 2013 San Francisco Giants
Whether or not the San Francisco Giants are able to re-sign center fielder Angel Pagan, the team is lacking in outfield depth. With a free-agent market full of big-name outfielders (Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn), the Giants have several options.
The Giants were successful in 2012 for a variety of reasons, two of which included their ability to manufacture runs and their unique team chemistry. Victorino would not only contribute to, but would also ultimately strengthen, this style of play.
These are only a few of the reasons the Giants should take a good look at the Flyin' Hawaiian.
San Francisco hitters may not be the most patient at the plate, but they do make a lot of contact. Second baseman Marco Scutaro led all of MLB with a 92.5 percent contact rate, and fellow G-men in the lineup followed closely.
Shane Victorino possesses an impressive contact rate of his own. He put the bat on the ball 86.8 percent of the time in 2012. He is not afraid to swing and put the ball in play, which is an attribute complemented by the rest of the Giants' lineup.
In addition, Victorino only struck out 12 percent of the time and maintained a nine percent walk rate. While he doesn't leave the bat on his shoulders often, he is no free swinger.
If the Phillies successfully sign Angel Pagan to a four-year deal, an offer reported by Ken Rosenthal via Fox Sports, Victorino would make a fine replacement in the leadoff spot. After all, the Flyin' Hawaiian didn't get his nickname for nothing.
Which free agent outfielder would have the biggest impact for the Giants in 2013?
Last season, Victorino swiped 39 bases for Philadelphia and Los Angeles while only getting caught six times. He makes things happen on the base paths. The Giants need a guy who can not only get on base, but who can put himself into scoring position and give Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey more RBI opportunities. This is a lineup that doesn't hit a lot of long balls, but that can hit safely consistently. More baserunners means more value to every line-drive single.
Put Pagan back into the equation, and Victorino would be equally effective batting fifth or sixth in the order. He muscled 29 doubles last season, equal to his career average.
Along with their strategy of manufacturing runs, the Giants thrive on their ability and willingness to play as a team. Victorino has an excellent clubhouse reputation and has already played with right fielder Hunter Pence while the pair covered the outfield grass in Philadelphia together. He is a team guy with the right intangibles to fit right in in San Francisco.
Not to mention, Victorino's defense has been exceptional enough to earn three Gold Gloves.
As an added bonus, Victorino played for the Dodgers last season with the knowledge of his role as a "rent-a-player." His time with Los Angeles was basically his opportunity to showcase his talents to other teams as his free agency approached. While he ultimately underperformed, batting only .245, imagine the poetic justice of Victorino punishing the Dodgers for providing him with a clearly temporary home?
Looking at Victorino as a serious option for the Giants in 2013 is not to give up on Angel Pagan. But Victorino could potentially pick up the slack. Ideally, Victorino would be a welcome reinforcement in a Pence-Pagan San Francisco outfield. Either way, the switch-hitting center fielder should be under strong consideration among the powers-that-be in the Giants' front office.
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