SATURDAY, 3:05pm: Victorino seemingly softened his stance when addressing reporters today, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 31-year-old would still like a five-year deal, but says that staying in Philadelphia is his top priority.
"I'm not saying this will be my last one. It might be. Who knows? What I'm saying is, why not finish it here? I made it seem like I want a five-year deal, but I'd love to stay," the centerfielder said.
Victorino added that his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, have yet to formally engage in contract negotiations with the club.
THURSDAY, 4:51pm: While Cole Hamels garners most of the attention as the Phillies' top free agent after the season, the team is also faced with the impending free agency of center fielder Shane Victorino. Victorino told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that he's looking for a five-year contract, but is willing to take a reasonable hometown discount to remain in Philadelphia.
"I look at it this way," Victorino said. "If it's a significant difference, I have to weigh my options more than anything. I obviously love to play in Philly. They gave me my opportunity. ... But I also understand there's a window in this game ... When I say I don't want to go anywhere, yeah, I call this home. I want to finish my career here. I won't say I won't take a hometown discount, but I also will say I want to maximize my opportunity with not only what I've accomplished as an individual, but as part of a team."
Victorino said he expects the two sides to discuss an extension during Spring Training, and he would allow talks to carry into the regular season even though that's not his preference. He's represented by Sam and Seth Levinson.
A .279/.355/.491 hitter in 2011, the 31-year-old Victorino is currently in the final season of the three-year, $22MM deal he signed in January 2010. Outfielders Torii Hunter ($90MM), J.D. Drew ($70MM), and Aaron Rowand ($60MM) all signed five-year contracts as free agents in recent years, and chances are The Flyin' Hawaiian's camp will use those deals as reference points during negotiations.