Shane Victorino wants a five-year deal from the Phillies

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Shane Victorino will make $9.5 million this season in the final year of a three-year deal and the center fielder told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he’d like to re-sign with the Phillies on a five-year contract because “my agents say I can get a five-year deal on the market … why not trust them?”

And the sooner the better, as Victorino asked “why not make it happen now?” and made it very clear that he wants to play in Philadelphia for the rest of his career:

I love this place. This is the place that gave me my chance. I’m a World Series champion in this city. That’s stuff that forever will be remembered. I want to be here.

As for giving the Phillies a hometown discount to get a deal done, Victorino said:

If it’s a significant difference, I have to weigh my options. I obviously love playing in Philly. They made me who I am. That sits in the back of my mind. But I also understand there’s a window in this game. Age and time comes into play. When I say I don’t want to go anywhere, yeah, I call this home and I want to finish my career here, but we’ll see how it goes. 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.

In other words, he wants to stay in Philadelphia as long as they’re willing to pay market value or something very close. Which is perfectly reasonable, of course.

David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, citing recent deals for other over-30 center fielders, speculates that a five-year deal would be worth at least $65 million–Jimmy Rollins re-signed with the Phillies for $38 million over three years–but for now Victorino told Salisbury that the two sides “are not close.”

Evan Longoria: “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.