Shane Victorino wants to win, but he would prefer the chance to win in a Boston Red Sox uniform rather than being shipped to a contender at the trade deadline.
The 34-year old outfielder is in the last year of his contract, which makes him a viable option to be traded if Boston decides to sell at the trade deadline. The Red Sox are currently last in their division, 11 games out of first place and 11.5 games out of the Wild Card race. Despite the staggering odds against them making the postseason, Victorino isn’t ready to waive the white flag yet.
"“What can we do in this however many days before the deadline? I don’t want to go anywhere,” Victorino told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “I don’t think any of the guys in here want to go anywhere. Let’s make it hard on the [front office].”"
Boston won their first game since the break Friday night to snap an 8-game losing streak. They’ll need to put together a similar sized winning streak in order to convince the front office to add pieces instead of subtract, but with the trade deadline looming a mere six days away there isn’t sufficient time to get back in the race before then.
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You have to admire Victorino’s valiant attitude toward turning things around, but it may be too late for the 2015 season. If the Red Sox choose to look ahead they would be better served focusing on giving playing time to those expected to factor into their future. Shipping out Victorino could free up a roster spot to bring Rusney Castillo back to the majors. The 28-year old is being paid a hefty price to toil away in Pawtucket and the Red Sox need to figure out if that investment is ever going to pay off.
There is also the matter of finding a team that would want to trade for Victorino, who has struggled to the tune of a .247/.327/.301 slash line in 32 games during another injury-plagued season and is still owed about $5 million of the $13.5 million salary he will earn this year. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Boston has received some interest in Victorino, but they can’t expect to get much in return. Moving him at the deadline would be more about giving his playing time to others.
While focusing on the future may be what’s best for the Red Sox, Victorino doesn’t want to see the team dismantled over the next week.
"“I don’t want to see that,” said Victorino. “I don’t want to be part of that kind of team. When I leave that’s the part I sit there and think I didn’t get to see it to the end. I want to be here at the end of my contract.”"
Victorino came to the Red Sox on a 3-year, $39 million deal prior to the 2013 season. His last two seasons have been nearly wiped out by injury, but Victorino will always be remembered in Boston for what he did in his first season here, when he was one of the game’s best right fielders and helped the Red Sox win a World Series.
Regardless of his fate this week as we approach the deadline, Victorino’s time in Boston will have been worth it. With their season slipping away, now is the time to explore what Victorino can be worth to another team.