The Angels have been in the market for an outfield bat for a while now and they finally landed some help tonight by acquiring Shane Victorino from the Red Sox for infielder Josh Rutledge. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes that the Red Sox will also cover $3.8 million of the roughly $4.9 million remaining on Victorino’s contract.
Hamstring and calf injuries have limited Victorino to just 33 games this season and he hasn’t been all that productive when healthy, putting up a .245/.324/.298 batting line over 106 plate appearances. Still, Angels left fielders have combined to hit just .212/.277/.312 so far this season, most of it coming from Matt Joyce, so I guess you can call this an upgrade. The 34-year-old Victorino is due to become a free agent this winter.
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports hears that the Angels view Victorino as a fourth outfielder, so this doesn’t necessarily rule them out from acquiring another outfielder. The Angels have been linked to Jay Bruce of the Reds and Ben Zobrist of the Athletics in recent days.
Rutledge was acquired from the Rockies over the winter, but he has spent the entire 2015 season in Triple-A. The 26-year-old has an 83 OPS+ over 947 plate appearances in the majors and has experience at both middle infield spots and third base.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.