Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino used to play in Philly, so when the biggest offseason trade rumors involve a Phillies player being traded from Philly to Boston, he’s a logical guy to go to for a comment. Which is what the Philadelphia Daily News did a few days ago.
Victorino’s comments didn’t seem controversial. He merely talked about established veteran stars — like, say Cole Hamels — vs. prospects and how, if you’re going to go for it, that bird in the hand of a star is probably worth the two in the bush that are still just prospects. He added some very standard comments ballplayers make in the vein of “hey, if you can go out and get a guy like Cole Hamels, you do it.” It was really nothing of note.
Except a couple of radio guys in Boston decided it was something of note. Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti of the Sports Hub in Boston decided that Victorino was throwing Mookie Betts — a name which has come up in Hamels rumors — under the bus, advocating for him to be sent out of town because Victorino may lose playing time to him. Really, they went off:
“There are two parts of the comment that really bug the crap out of me . . .In this particular case, you have a 34-year-old, breaking-down outfielder whose job is potentially going to be taken by whom? Mookie Betts, or by default, Rusney Castillo. And so who are we talking about, potentially, in this trade? Mookie Betts. So is that the deal?”
“Mookie Betts is going to take his job, [and Victorino says] ‘Hey, get the kid out of here, because we can win now if we get Hamels,’” Mazz added.
“Really … what a comment,” said Felger. “Throwing your young players under the bus, who are competing against you for your job.”
“Wow,” Mazz said. “What a loser. ‘Get rid of the kid before he takes my job.’ That’s how it comes off.”
This is crazy, of course, as Victorino never once mentioned Betts’ name nor that of any other prospect. Never talked about himself or his playing time or what a Hamels trade would mean to the Red Sox in any other way apart from how it would add Cole Hamels to the Red Sox. It’s an instance of two radio guys looking to create controversy and ascribing malicious intent to Victorino in a case where his comments are about as innocuous as they come.
Victorino lashed out at the radio hosts, accusing them of putting words in his mouth from behind the safety of a microphone and never actually asking him about it. About creating a controversy from whole cloth. Which, yes, seems to be what happened here. Go read all of Victorino’s comments about it over at the Boston Herald.
Which, yeah, I’m glad Victorino lashed out here. Unfortunately, all this will do is give those hosts another day of content to churn in this non-controversy. But that’s just another day in dumb sports radio, I guess.