According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Cleveland Indians are a “prime suitor” for the services of top free agent outfielder Shane Victorino. Crasnick added that Terry Francona personally reached out to the Los Angeles Dodgers free agent OF earlier this offseason. Victorino is reportedly looking for a three year contract worth $30 million, and it’s a contract he will definitely be getting based on the sheer amount of interest he has received.
The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and San Francisco Giants are six other teams involved in the sweepstakes to add one of the top free agents in the 2012 offseason.
Despite a down year, Victorino was still worth 3.3 WAR due to his continued excellence on defense and on the basepaths. He was one steal away from 40 and played good defense in center field (never easy to do), and that trumps a .321 OBP. He’ll bounce back at the plate, because his BABIP was down from his usual totals. His numbers were actually not bad for a center fielder, but they were still a bit below-average (94 wRC+).
Victorino could even sign before the end of the Winter Meetings given all the interest surrounding him, and it is interesting to hear that the Indians have serious interest in Victorino. We’ll see how things move during the next few days for both sides, and the star outfielder certainly has plenty of options and plenty of money to be gained this offseason.
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