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.”
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.