The Pirates Trading For Shane Victorino Makes Sense
Thursday July 19th, 2012
Sam Evans: Over the last five years, Shane Victorino has been a consistent force in the Philadelphia Phillies lineup. Now, playing in his contract year on a Phillies squad out of contention, he has to start to wonder what the future looks like for him. Numerous teams have been seen scouting Victorino, but nobody needs Victorino as bad the Pirates do. Do the Pirates have what it takes to acquire Victorino? Keep reading to see what I think…
From 2006 to 2012, Shane Victorino has been worth 25.6 WAR. His speed and defense have made him a fan favorite in Philly. In January of 2010, Victorino signed a three-year, $22 million contract keeping him with the Phillies. In 2012, Victorino is set to make $9.5 million. The Phillies are currently last in the N.L. East with a 41-52 record. They sit fourteen games behind Washington in the strongest division in the National League. Whether the Philadelphia management has made it clear or not, the Phillies aren’t going to be in contention this year.
Victorino and Cole Hamels very well could be on their way out of Philadelphia. Victorino is thirty-one years old, and nearing the end of his prime. The Phillies could offer Victorino a long-term contract to keep the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” after the 2012 season and for years to come. Victorino told the media before the season started that he wanted to remain in Philadelphia and that he would give them a hometown discount on his next contract. However, the reason I believe the Phillies don’t want to give him that contract is that they haven’t already come to a deal and there haven’t been rumors about a potential deal.
Plenty of teams have recently sent major-league scouts to go and watch Shane Victorino in person. The Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, Tigers, Pirates, Marlins, and Giants have all reportedly had scouts watch Victorino. One executive who spoke with Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports said that he predicts Victorino will be the first big name player to be traded at the deadline this year. Personally, I think the Pirates make the move for Victorino, only if they don’t have to include Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon in the trade.
The Pirates payroll currently sits at $51 million dollars. In 2011, their payroll was only at $42 million. However, with the highly improved attendance numbers at PNC Park, Pittsburgh can afford to spend more than they have in recent memory. The Pirates are currently 51-40, which ties them with the Reds at the top of the N.L. Central. Pittsburgh of course has the All-Star Andrew McCutchen in center field, so if Victorino were to be acquired he would move to a corner outfield position.
In ninety-one games this year, Victorino has a 94 wRC+, which is below his career-norm but he’s been dragged down by a miniscule .262 BABIP. In sixty-two games, current Pirates left fielder Alex Presley has a 77 wRC+. If we can expect Victorino to finish the season with a wRC+ over 100, then he would provide a huge upgrade over Presley. Not to mention, from all accounts Victorino sounds like a great teammate, and he would provide a veteran presence for a young Pittsburgh team.
The Pirates definitely have the prospects to make this trade. Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are probably unavailable, especially after Mark Appel didn’t sign, but they still have enough other highly-touted prospects to make this trade. Luis Heredia is an enormous pitcher with serious upside who has yet to figure things out in the low minors. Also, the Pirates could consider trading Alen Hanson, a young shortstop who has posted great numbers in the Sally League thanks to his excellent hit tool. If Pittsburgh wants to acquire Victorino, they’re going to have to give up some amazing talent. Hopefully, if they make the trade they keep one eye on the future as well as the present.
Overall, Victorino and the Pirates are a great fit. The Phillies aren’t going anywhere this year, and they haven’t shown any interest in bringing Victorino back after it. Pittsburgh needs to acquire an outfielder if they want to stay at the top of the N.L. Central. Predicting trades is not very smart nor is it easy, but I could definitely see these two teams working a deal out.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter. (@RJA206)***
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Posted on July 19, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged alex hanson, alex presley, Andrew McCutchen, baseball, cole hamels, gerrit cole, jameson taillon, luis heredia, mlb, NL Central, NL east, phillies, pirates, pittsburgh, shane, shane victorino, trade, trade deadline, victorino. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.