Longtime Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino sat down for a lengthy Q&A with Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com and covered a great number of topics, including career highlights, his favorite teammates and places to play, his memories from the Phillies’ World Series run and also his future in the game of baseball. The whole Q&A is worth a read for Phillies fans and Victorino fans alike, but it’s worth noting that Victorino wouldn’t officially close the door on a return to baseball if there’s interest. He tells Lawrence:
“Yeah, I mean I still have a love for the game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that will ever leave you. But you know there are things you think about and decisions you have to make. Family comes into the equation. Being there for my kids, finally being away for the game this past season I saw the significance of being a dad and what that means. Understanding being a kid myself. But circumstances were different. My parents weren’t always around because they had to work to make ends meet. Where if I’m not around I’m just playing a game. So that’s the balance I’m trying to figure out. But, yes, there are things that I’ll weigh. The game of baseball, and my love for the game. It’s still there. I’d love the chance to come back and play, but that answer is not etched in stone.”
The 2016 season marked the first year since 2004 in which Victorino did not appear in the Major Leagues. The affable switch-hitter did open the season with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate after signing a minor league deal, though he appeared in just nine games, as reports early in the season indicated that the Cubs told Victorino they’d make a quick decision on him and whether he was a fit for the big league roster. The Cubs released Victorino in May, and in June it was reported by FanRag’s Jon Heyman that the 35-year-old Victorino had rejected some minor league offers.
Victorino saw quite a bit of big league time in both 2014 and 2015, though his last truly productive season in the Majors came back in 2013 when he hit .294/.351/.451 with 15 homers and 21 steals as a member of the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox — the second World Series ring he captured in his career (the other coming with the aforementioned ’08 Phillies). That blend of power and speed was typical for the “Flyin’ Hawaiian,” who from 2007-13 batted a combined .279/.344/.438 and averaged 16 homers and 35 steals per 162 games played.
It seems unlikely that Victorino would receive anything other than a minor league offer after sitting out the vast majority of the 2016 season, though perhaps he’s more amenable to attempting to break camp with a big league team than he was trying to crack a roster midway through the Major League campaign. That’s a decision for Victorino to make with his family though, and perhaps one that he may not prefer to make until surveying the offseason market and gauging the level of interest in his services.