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Question of the Day
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The fast-moving Boston Red Sox made their second splashy move of the winter meetings, agreeing Tuesday to a $39 million, three-year contract with free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino.
A day after giving Mike Napoli a $39 million, three-year deal, the Red Sox made Victorino their fourth free-agent addition of the offseason following agreements with outfielder Jonny Gomes and catcher David Ross.
Nicknamed The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Victorino tweeted earlier Tuesday 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 later on. “(hash)BLESSED!!! Can’t wait to get to Boston!”
“Added another great addition to our team!” Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester tweeted.
Victorino hit a combined .255 with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs last season for Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who acquired him in late July. He also stole a career-high 39 bases.
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, who offered a $44 million, four-year contract.
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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