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Why the Boston Red Sox Signing of Shane Victorino Is a Mistake

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Why the Boston Red Sox Signing of Shane Victorino Is a Mistake
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WEEI's Alex Speier is reporting Victorino is a done deal.

The Boston Red Sox are making moves at the winter meetings that make sense, like signing Mike Napoli to play first base on a three-year contract.

First, there was a tweet from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo saying that the Sox are close to signing Shane Victorino to a three-year contract. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal then tweeted that the dollar amount for the potential signing would be $37.5 million.

WEEI's Alex Speier has reported that it is a done deal.

Yikes.

$37.5 million for Shane Victorino seems like a lot of money for a player who looks to be on the downside of his career. The 32-year-old Victorino isn't a bad player, but the Sox could have done better to upgrade their outfield.

The switch-hitting Victorino struggled in 2012, ending the season with a slash line of .255/.321/.383 split between time with the Phillies and Dodgers. Looking at his splits, he batted only .229 against right-handed pitchers last season while batting from the left side.

Given the heavy right-handed nature of the Sox lineup right now, this isn't really going to help them.

As a three-time Gold Glove winner, Victorino will bring much better defense to right field, both at Fenway and on the road. He also has speed, racking up 39 steals last season.

Victorino is also viewed as a good clubhouse guy and a player that does a lot of the little things, as well as bringing energy and a very good postseason track record.

Is Victorino a good signing?

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But it begs the question: Why would the Sox hold firm on Cody Ross for two years and then turn around and give Victorino three?

Offensively, Ross is the better player. Defensively, Victorino is the better player. Ross was a known quantity for the Sox, but they were unwilling to go to three years and $25 million for Ross.

But they felt fine going to three years and adding an extra $12.5 million to the contract that they wouldn't give Ross to bring in Victorino. It seems like an odd decision when the Sox could have held out to see if the market would drop for Nick Swisher, Josh Hamilton or Michael Bourn.

It just seems odd.

The only way this move makes real sense right now is that it gives the Sox flexibility to do something with Jacoby Ellsbury this winter if a good offer comes along.

It also protects the Sox when Ellsbury potentially leaves at the end of the 2013 season as a free agent, giving the team insurance in both center and right field.

At first glance it sure seems like the Sox are settling for Victorino and overpaying for him at the same time. Not a good combination.

I'm sure the Sox have their reasons, but if this is their right field answer, I'd have rather had Cody Ross back.

Statictics used from Baseball Referece.

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