The Chicago Cubs agreed to terms with veteran outfielder Shane Victorino to a minor league contract. Victorino will earn $1 million if he makes the big league roster and could rack up an additional $1 million based on incentives.
The 35-year-old will reunite with Jon Lester, John Lackey and David Ross, who were members of the 2013 World Series Boston Red Sox team. Victorino has plenty of experience in the postseason as he boasts a .257/.337/.416 line with seven home runs and 42 RBI in 60 playoff games.
Unfortunately for Victorino, the injury bug has made it difficult for him to stay on the field as of late. He was limited to 30 games in 2014 and eventually had season-ending back surgery in August of that year after making several trips to the disabled list.
2015 played to the same tune early, as the veteran was placed on the DL at the end of April. Victorino would eventually be traded to the Angels and finished the year hitting .230 in 71 games.
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Entering 2016, it appears he feels healthier than he has in recent years and will compete for the fifth outfield spot with the Cubs.
One may recall Victorino as a switch-hitter, but that changed after 2013 when he exclusively started batting from the right side. Despite his struggles over the past two seasons, Victorino is a nice addition to this team.
It is unrealistic to expect him to revert to his former consistent self, but the four-time gold glove award winner is just two years removed from a very strong 2013. Throughout Victorino’s 12 year career he has never produced a negative WAR season, meaning he contributes to wins even in a limited role.
Shane Victorino looked to be the Cubs’ backup plan if Dexter Fowler would indeed sign elsewhere. However, after he shocked the baseball world by returning to the Northside, the Cubs still honored their commitment to Victorino and added him to a very team friendly contract.
Victorino will likely have to get passed Matt Szczur for the final outfield spot. Szczur is 26 and is great defensively who can handle the bat fairly well. He has no more options so if the Cubs decide to choose Victorino, Szczur would have to go through waivers in order to be sent to Triple-A Iowa.
If that’s the case, the Cubs will probably be forced to say goodbye to their home-grown prospect.
Overall, the deal is low risk and any kind of production from the two-time World Series Champion would make this signing a victory. He just has to stay on the field.