Shane Victorino, Munenori Kawasaki and Manny Parra were released and re-signed to minor league contracts by the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, per Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com.
Per Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com, Victorino was one of three players released by the Cubs on Tuesday. Rogers later reported all three players have been re-signed. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reported the contracts are minor league deals.
Victorino signed a minor league deal with the Cubs on February 26, telling Muskat he was hoping to be part of bringing a championship to the long-suffering franchise:
I'm just ready for an opportunity and hope to be part of something special. I've been blessed in my career to be part of a couple special championships in special cities. I tell myself, being a fan of the game, when there's a 100-plus-year drought in championships, you always want to be the first. That's the goal.
Unfortunately for Victorino, being an outfielder for the Cubs is not an easy way to make the big leagues. Even by releasing the Flyin' Hawaiian, they still have Jorge Soler, Jason Heyward, Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber fighting over three spots.
The Cubs also have the ability to use Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez in the outfield mix this season. There were financial implications behind the team's decision regarding Victorino, as Muskat noted he was due to receive a $100,000 roster bonus.
Victorino still has the option to re-sign with the Cubs, though his agent, John Boggs, told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports they were exploring various options upon learning Victorino wouldn't make the 25-man roster: "We're in the beginning stages of trying to recreate a scenario to focus on getting Shane healthy."
Therein lies another dilemma for Victorino. He remained on the market for so long this winter because of his inability to stay healthy. The 12-year veteran has played a combined 101 games over the last two seasons and hasn't hit the 140-game mark since 2012.
Injuries and age have combined to hinder Victorino's performance at the plate, as his .601 OPS last season was a career low (min. 50 games).
Victorino's career is in its final stages. He deserves credit for fighting his way back, but it's going to be a long uphill climb to get more than the minor league deal because of injuries and declining performance.