Shane Victorino is coming off his worst season in the majors, but that hasn’t stopped teams from expressing interest in the free agent outfielder.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Victorino is “on the radar” for the Red Sox, Rangers, Indians and Reds, among other teams in the market for outfield help.
Victorino, who turns 32 later this month, batted .255/.321/.383 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI, 39 stolen bases and a career-low .704 OPS in 154 games this season between the Phillies and Dodgers. While he had a steep and sudden decline from his career-high .847 OPS from last year, Crasnick speculates that he’ll draw interest due to his track record, his experience in big markets and his ability to play all three outfield positions. He also has a penchant for making wonderful GIFs for the whole world to enjoy.
Victorino is in the second tier of free agent center fielders along with Angel Pagan. Both players could function as fallback options for teams who are unable to sign or are uncomfortable with the asking price for the likes of Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton and Torii Hunter.
Austin Romine is starting at catcher and batting ninth for the Yankees in today’s ALCS Game 4 versus the Astros.
Gary Sanchez is still in the lineup, but he’s the DH. That means Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Matt Holliday are all on the bench.
Sanchez was lambasted for not holding on to the relay throw in Game 2, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite getting beat to the plate by the ball by several feet. That, combined with earlier passed balls, led some in the press to lobby for Romine to get the call behind the plate. Those calls tended to ignore the fact that Romine can’t hit a lick and that he is inferior to Sanchez when it comes to gunning down runners. Maybe a ball doesn’t skip by Romine that would have eluded Sanchez, but if I’m Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman or one of the speedier Astros, I’m running wild on Romine any time I get on base today.
The offensive knock is not quite as big a deal at the moment as it normally would be. Sanchez is in an 0-for-16 slump, but Romine isn’t replacing his bat he’s replacing either Ellsbury, Headley or Holliday. None of those guys are hitting at all, so I don’t suppose this is that big of a deal. Discuss amongst yourselves if you’d rather have a guy who is as cold as ice in the lineup who might hit versus a guy you can be pretty sure isn’t gonna hit regardless.
Either way, it’s a different look for the Yankees in Game 4.