UPDATE: Alex Speier of WEEI.com says it’s a done deal. Boston has agreed to a three-year contract with Victorino.
Just a few hours after Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com called the Indians “a prime suitor” for Shane Victorino, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are “frontrunners” for Victorino by making him a three-year, $38 million offer.
I suppose one team being the frontrunner doesn’t preclude another team from being “a” prime suitor, but whatever the case it now seems clear that Victorino is going to get a big multi-year contract at age 31 and coming off a season in which he hit just .255 with a .704 OPS.
Of course, Angel Pagan is 31 years old and just got a four-year, $40 million deal to re-sign with the Giants. Pagan was much better than Victorino in 2012, but combined during the past three seasons Pagan has a .749 OPS and Victorino has a .766 OPS.
One big difference is that the Red Sox presumably would play Victorino is a corner spot, assuming they don’t trade Jacoby Ellsbury, but as early-30s center fielders with .750-OPS bats they’re potentially pretty similar. Unless you’re convinced Victorino showed signs of simply being washed up down the stretch, in which case $38 million is pretty scary.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.