Even with the current logjam in the Red Sox’ outfield, Shane Victorino firmly believes that he should slot in as Boston’s starting right fielder. However, after the additions of Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, and Yoenis Cespedes (though he’ll likely be traded before the season) and the emergence of former top prospect Mookie Betts in recent months, it remains to be seen how feasible Victorino’s belief is.
In a recent interview with WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Victorino spoke on his status in the packed Red Sox outfield.
"But if I’m healthy if there’s a better outfielder in right field then show me and go out there and do it. I’m not saying that in a cocky or arrogant way. It’s just how confident I am to know I should be the starting right fielder."
Victorino appears to feel strongly that he belongs in the spacious right field of Fenway Park and, in all honesty, it’s hard to argue with him. While Victorino’s 2014 season was derailed by injuries, he was one of the most valuable players on the World Series-winning 2013 squad, slashing .294/.351/.451 and compiling 5.6 WAR with the help of his Gold Glove defense in right field.
It’s hard to deny those numbers, but with Victorino’s injury troubles in recent seasons and now at almost 34 years old age, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be able to repeat those numbers. And then there’s the issue of Victorino’s place on the depth chart, where he likely ranks behind both Castillo and Betts on the 2015 depth chart.
In a reasonable situation, Victorino would be the starting right fielder for the Red Sox. However, with Mookie Betts, the 22-year old speedster who raced through the minor leagues to slash .291/.368/.444 in 52 games last season; Rusney Castillo, the athletic Cuban defector whom the Red Sox signed for 7 years and $72.5M last August; and Hanley Ramirez, the former star shortstop who slashed .283/.369/.448 last season whom the Red Sox plan to move to left field, slated to start over Victorino, it’s just hard to find a job for the Flyin’ Hawaiian in the 2015 outfield.