The first major Indians rumor of the Winter Meetings has arrived! The Boston Herald‘s Scott Lauber reported Monday afternoon that Cleveland has “serious interest” in free agent outfielder Shane Victorino.
Victorino, who celebrated his 32nd birthday last week, owns a .275/.341/.430 career triple-slash (105 wRC+) with 90 home runs, 201 stolen bases, and 27.2 wins above replacement (FanGraphs model) in nine MLB seasons, including seven as a full-time player. He hit .255/.321/.383 (94 wRC+) with 11 homers, 39 steals, and 3.3 fWAR in 154 games with the Phillies and Dodgers in 2012.
In addition to his solid bat and impressive speed, Victorino is known for his good defense. A three-time Gold Glove winner, he has experience playing all three outfield positions and is well regarded both by scouts and sabermetric fielding stats. Plus he’s a switch hitter with a career .881 OPS against left-handed pitching, so he would help to balance out the lefty-heaviness of the Tribe’s lineup.
Despite their serious interest, the Indians are far from a lock to sign Victorino. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the market for Victorino is “not fully defined,” with the Red Sox and Giants also interested; MLB Trade Rumors’ Luke Adams also relayed that the Rangers, Yankees, Reds, and Rays all have interest as well. Meanwhile, Lauber said Victorino is seeking a deal in the range of three years and $30 million. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that Victorino already has several three-year offers on the table, plus at least one offer of four years.
The Indians were expected to be major dealers at the Winter Meetings, and so far it looks like they’re living up to expectations. We’ll see how this story develops over the course of the week.