Shane Victorino Rumors

Quick Hits: Mauer, Boras, Upton, Park

MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes will interview Peter Gammons of MLB Network tomorrow, and if you have any particular questions you’d like Tim to ask the Hall of Famer we’d like to hear them. To get in touch you can leave a comment below, reach us on Twitter (@mlbtraderumors) or use MLBTR’s contact form. Here are today’s links…

  • An executive who asked the Twins about Joe Mauer heard the catcher isn't available, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Not only does Mauer have a no-trade clause, he's the face of the Twins and Minnesota isn't looking to dump salary.
  • Yahoo's Tim Brown tells the story of a recent meeting between Scott Boras and Marvin Miller. Check out Brown’s entire piece, which includes some thoughtful quotes from Boras and is definitely worth your time. Miller, the first executive director of the MLBPA, died this week at the age of 95.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com previews the outfield market in the aftermath of B.J. Upton’s five-year, $75.25MM contract with the Braves. The Phillies’ best offer to Upton was worth $55MM over five years, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Red Sox weren't in on Upton, but have been in on Shane Victorino, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter).
  • Chan Ho Park is set to announce his retirement tomorrow, reports Korea's Yonhap News Agency (passed on by C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Sports).  The 39-year-old right-hander was the first Korean-born player to reach the Major Leagues, posting a 4.36 ERA in 476 games over his 17 seasons in MLB from 1994-2010.  Park earned $85.46MM (hat tip to Baseball Reference) during his Major League career and pitched for seven teams.  Park spent the last two seasons pitching in Japan and South Korea, respectively. 

Seven Teams Interested In Victorino

B.J. Upton's name has dominated the conversation regarding free agent center fielders lately, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Indians, Rangers, Yankees, Giants, Rays, Red Sox and Reds all have interest in another free agent center fielder — Shane Victorino.

Several teams, according to Heyman, are willing to offer three years to Victorino in spite of his slow finish to the 2012 season. Victorino is willing to move to a corner outfield spot, though he has a track record of solid defense in center field.

Victorino stole a career-high 39 bases in 2012 (with a brilliant 87-percent success rate), but his 11 homers were his lowest total since 2009. He slumped at the plate following a trade to the Dodgers and finished the season with a .255/.321/.383 batting line, which will likely prevent him from securing the five-year contract he sought prior to the 2012 season.

In a recent Free Agent Faceoff, Victorino came up just short to fellow center fielder Angel Pagan when roughly 56 percent of readers voted that they preferred Pagan to Victorino.


Amaro On Phillies, Upton, Bourn, Marlins

The Phillies haven’t made any major additions to their team to this point in the offseason, but they continue working to address their biggest needs, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “We’ve had some good discussions, some fruitful discussions, with agents as well as other clubs,” Amaro said. “There are some situations where we’re waiting right now on someone to say ‘yes,’ and other situations where other teams are waiting for us to say ‘yes.’ It’s an interesting dynamic right now.” Here’s the latest on the Phillies, who are looking to contend again following an 81-81 season in 2012:

  • Amaro still wants to add at least one outfielder and a veteran reliever for the eighth inning. The club could also pursue help at third base, though that could depend on the team’s search for outfielders.
  • Reading between the lines, Salisbury suggests the Phillies have reached out to the Marlins to see if they’d trade Giancarlo Stanton in a follow up to Miami’s recent blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays. “We’ve made some inquiries about a lot of players that went in that trade, both to Toronto and to Miami,” the GM acknowledged. “But nothing imminent so far.”
  • Amaro said he has not received any indication that former Phillies closer Ryan Madson is opposed to pitching in a setup role. Madson underwent Tommy John surgery before the 2012 season and is now a free agent.
  • While B.J. Upton appears to be the Phillies’ top target, Amaro also mentioned free agents Angel Pagan, Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino as other potential center field options. “We can’t put all our resources in one area and not address others,” Amaro said. He added that the Phillies are more likely to add an outfielder or two in free agency than via trades.
  • Earlier this month I previewed the Phillies’ offseason.


Free Agent Faceoff: Angel Pagan vs. Shane Victorino

The free agent market for center fielders is strong this year, with regulars Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton, Angel Pagan, and Shane Victorino currently unsigned.  MLBTR readers narrowly prefer Bourn to Upton, but both figure to receive five-year contracts in excess of $65MM.  Hamilton is in a class by himself, leaving Pagan and Victorino as more reasonably-priced options.

Pagan, 31, went from a non-tender candidate a year ago to whipping up Doritos Locos at Taco Bell for adoring fans last month (the latter is generally seen as a good thing).  Rival agents may attempt to take Pagan down a peg for a relatively short resume, but only one of his last four seasons was subpar (2011).  Pagan is above-average in all aspects of the game, from offense to defense to baserunning.  Prior to the World Series exposure he was good in kind of a sneaky way, but the sum total is a player potentially worth five wins above replacement.  There's a vibe that his superb timing may result in a contract worth $10-12MM annually over three or four years.  It's plausible that someone stretches and adds a fifth year.

Victorino, 32 later this month, is another late-blooming switch-hitter.  His success as a big league regular dates back to 2006, however.  Compared to Pagan, Victorino had the opposite walk-year effect.  His stock took a hit due to struggles against right-handed pitching and an unimpressive final two months after a trade to the Dodgers.  The term of his next contract seems likely to be shorter than Pagan's despite their similarity in age.  Pagan bounced back after an ugly 2011; there's no reason Victorino can't do the same next year.  And keep in mind that even with the down offensive year, Victorino's ability to play a credible center field still made him worth three wins above replacement in 2012.

Pagan and Victorino are overachievers, in that both were discarded by multiple teams and took a while to establish themselves as regulars.  Now both are on the free agent market, and their career trajectories might not be as different as you think.


Shane Victorino Drawing Interest

Free agent outfielder Shane Victorino is drawing heavy interest, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports (Twitter links). Eight teams have “realistic” interest in Victorino and 11 teams have expressed some interest. Victorino, who recently agreed to be represented by agent John Boggs, seeks a contract of more than two years and will consider playing any of the three outfield positions. 

The Reds and Indians appear to have Victorino on their radar. He wasn’t eligible to obtain a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, since he was traded midseason. This means MLBTR’s number 12 free agent won’t be linked to draft pick compensation.

The Tigers had some interest in Victorino before agreeing to sign Torii Hunter, Lauber writes.


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Central Notes: Matsui, Astros, Reds, Indians, Victorino

News and notes out of the Central divisions..

  • The Astros, who will join the AL West in 2013, have had internal discussions about Hideki Matsui, General Manager Jeff Luhnow told Daily Sports (Japanese link, passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker on Twitter).  Matsui signed a minor league deal with the Rays in April and was later DFA'd and released over the summer.
  • Free agent Shane Victorino is on the radar for the Reds and Indians, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.  The Rangers and Red Sox are also among the clubs looking into Victorino as they look to improve their outfield situation.
  • Not surprisingly, the Indians have been targeted young starters as they begin the process of taking offers for Asdrubal Cabrera and others, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  It has been speculated that Cleveland could also dangle Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Perez, Justin Masterson, and possibly Carlos Santana.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) notes that the Reds are looking into two relievers coming off of Tommy John surgery in Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson.  Soria will be out until May while Madson should be set to open the season.

John Boggs To Represent Shane Victorino

MLB agent John Boggs will represent Shane Victorino, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). The free agent outfielder recently left ACES and had been talking with agents about his representation options.

Victorino posted a .255/.321/.383 batting line with 29 doubles and 11 home runs in 666 plate appearances for the Phillies and Dodgers in 2012. The 31-year-old won't receive a qualifying offer and isn't expected to return to the Dodgers as a free agent. Teams such as the Reds and Braves could be interested, however.

MLBTR's Agency Database offers a complete look at Boggs' client list. Check out the database for up to date information about which agents represent which MLB players.


Quick Hits: League, Tracy, Upton, Blue Jays

Brandon League told reporters that he has informed the Dodgers that he would like to re-sign this winter, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.  After a rough handful of games to kick off his Dodger career, League settled down to finish with a 2.30 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in Los Angeles.  Here’s more from around baseball as Miguel Cabrera celebrates his Triple Crown season..

  • With his status uncertain for 2013, Rockies skipper Jim Tracy is set to meet with front office management on Friday, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post.  Tracy was said to have a handshake agreement for next season but there has been heavy speculation that the club could let him go this offseason.
  • From talking to people around the Rays, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) can’t find anyone who thinks that Tampa Bay will come up with the money to retain B.J. Upton.  Recently, more than 61% of MLBTR readers polled said that the Rays should extend Upton a qualifying offer this winter.
  • Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos says that he is comfortable with John Farrell returning to manage the club with just one year left on his contract, tweets Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.  The GM went on to say that the club’s payroll will go up for next season, though there will not be a “bottomless pit” to work from (Twitter link).
  • Dodgers outfielder Shane Victorino will be parting ways with his representation at ACES and is interviewing other agents, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  The veteran is set to hit the open market this winter.  Earlier tonight, we learned that Nyjer Morgan has also dropped ACES.
  • If the Rangers are bounced early from the postseason, Josh Hamilton‘s dropped pop-up against the A’s earlier today will have an impact on Texas’ willingness to bid on him, opines Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter).

Agency Notes: Victorino, Wright, Sanchez, ACES

It's been an unusually active day for agent-related news. Here's the latest from around the league:

  • Shane Victorino, who left ACES earlier today, informed his agents of his impending departure long before fellow client Melky Cabrera was suspended for PED use, according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (Twitter link).
  • ACES client David Wright won't be following Victorino out the door, tweets ESPN's Adam Rubin.
  • Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez left the Boras Corporation months ago and will now be represented by Jim McNamara of the McNamara Baseball Group, the agency informed MLBTR via email. Sanchez will hit free agency this offseason, though his struggles in 2012 will present McNamara with a challenge. McNamara, a former MLB player, worked with the Boras Corporation for approximately 15 years before leaving to open his own agency this past spring.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that several people around baseball are wondering if Victorino's departure from ACES will be the first of many. The agency is under investigation by MLB following Cabrera's PED suspension and the ensuing web site coverup scandal.

Shane Victorino Leaves ACES

Weeks before his first career appearance on the free agent market, Shane Victorino has left his former agency, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports (on Twitter). Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES had represented Victorino, who is now looking for an agent, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).

Victorino, 31, will hit free agency after the World Series. He has a .253/.320/.377 batting line with 27 doubles and 11 home runs in 654 plate appearances for the Phillies and Dodgers this year. It doesn't appear that the Dodgers have room for him in their 2013 outfield, assuming Carl Crawford is healthy next spring.

Check out MLBTR's Agency Database for information on player representatives from around the game. MLB is investigating ACES, the agency which represents Melky Cabrera, according to USA Today.