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.”
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.