December 5, 2012

Victorino is latest to join Red Sox

Shane Victorino, who just turned 32, reaches a three-year deal and is expected to be in right.

By RONALD BLUM The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino and the Red Sox agreed Tuesday to a $39 million, three-year deal, Boston's second big addition during the winter meetings.

Shane Victorino
click image to enlarge

Shane Victorino is expected to not only provide defense in right field with the Red Sox, but be a threat to steal.

The Associated Press

THE SOX SO FAR ...

Reached agreement with outfielder Shane Victorino

Reached agreement with catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli

Signed outfieder Jonny Gomes

Signed catcher David Ross

Nicknamed The Flyin' Hawaiian, Victorino tweeted that he planned to spend the day in Maui on a snorkeling trip aboard the Alii Nui catamaran.

"Just agreed to join the Boston (at)RedSox in the middle of paradise," he tweeted. "(hash)BLESSED!!! Can't wait to get to Boston!"

Victorino's deal is subject to a physical, as is the $39 million, three-year contract the Red Sox agreed to Monday with Mike Napoli.

Victorino hit a combined .255 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI last season for Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also stole a career-high 39 bases. The Dodgers obtained Victorino in a late July trade with the Phillies.

A two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, Victorino turned 32 on Friday. He also had been pursued by the Cleveland Indians.

Victorino played mostly center field for the Phillies and shifted to left with the Dodgers. He likely would play right field for the Red Sox but could shift to center if Jacoby Ellsbury is traded or leaves as a free agent after next season.

"It's probably the toughest right field in baseball to play, just in terms of the space to cover," new Boston manager John Farrell said earlier in the day.

"So that range comes into play. And yet you try to combine the best range available along with offensive production. It might not be your prototypical right fielder where it's a power bat because we do value the defense in that area. That's not to exclude anyone, but defense takes a high priority, in that position at Fenway particularly."

Boston finished last in the AL East and is trying to boost its offense. Napoli, an All-Star catcher with Texas this year, appears likely to shift his primary position.

"We see him as a first baseman primarily, but with the ability to catch," Farrell said. "We would have him catch in spring training early on, but then certainly make sure that we've got enough reps at first base for not only him to feel comfortable there, but for us as well."

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