Saturday, March 8, 2014
Shane Victorino had a combined batting average of .255 last year and an OPS of .667 (that’s combined on-base percentage and slugging average).
And the Red Sox are going to pay him $13-million a year for three seasons.
Remember when Boston paid J.D. Drew $15-million a year? His OPS averaged around the mid .800’s his first four seasons and fans considered him a flop.
Victorino gets on base less. His production may become an issue. But at least the fans will like that he plays with emotion (as opposed to the robotic Drew).
One thing that both players can do: Field (Victorino has three Gold Gloves). And at Fenway Park, playing right field is oh, so important.
“It’s probably the toughest right field in baseball to play, just in terms of the space to cover,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said in today’s AP story.
And while Victorino is a switch hitter, he is much better as a right-handed batter (.323 last year, compared to .229 as a left-hander). That continues the trend of Boston moving toward the right.
Consider the 2011 lineup that usually featured only three pure right-handed batters: Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Marco Scutaro.
The 2013 lineup might have only two pure left-handed hitters (Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz). Switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a good left-hander hitter, but he could be traded, or see his time reduced, in favor of newly-acquired catcher David Ross, a righty.
The moves continue. For now, here’s a look at the tentative 2013 lineup (as well as a glance back at the 2011 version)
2013 possible lineup
Pedroia ( R)
Napoli ( R)
Middlebrooks ( R)
Gomes ( R)
Ross ( R)
Iglesias ( R)
*Switch-hitter, better as a right-hander
Pedroia ( R)
Youkilis ( R)
Scutaro ( R)
*Switch-hitter, better as a left-hander
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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