The Red Sox have landed their first move of the Trade Deadline season, sending Shane Victorino to Los Angeles in a swap designed to clear space more than anything else.
The Red Sox have been stuffed to the gills with outfielders all season long, which has prevented promising players like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo from receiving their deserved share of playing time. Victorino is in the midst of a shaky season for the Red Sox, slashing just .245/.324/.298 thus far, but he still could have plenty of value to a team like the Angels.
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Victorino has proven that he’s still a more than adequate platoon player, hitting a dynamic .343/.439/.457 against left-handers this season, and his defense alone makes him a valuable bench player. Add in the fact that the Red Sox will likely be paying the majority of the $4.5M remaining on his contract and it’s easy to see why he could be an attractive addition to the Angels.
On the Red Sox’ side of this deal, this move makes sense as well. Sure, they didn’t get much (or really anything) in return, with Josh Rutledge heading to Boston. Rutledge has shown flashes in his major league career, spent entirely with the Rockies, but he’s currently hitting only .274/.323/.403 in Triple-A Salt Lake and appears to be no more than a Quad-A infielder going forward.
However, Boston’s focus in this trade was likely not on acquiring Rutledge, but rather on clearing space on the 25-man roster and, specifically, in the outfield. Rutledge will head to Pawtucket and taking Victorino’s spot on the roster will be Rusney Castillo, the $72.5M Cuban import who is yet to receive consistent playing time with the Red Sox. This move should allow Castillo to receive regular playing time for the remainder of the season, which will be important towards determining his future role with the team.
Victorino hasn’t done much for the past two years but he’ll always receive fond memories for his role on the 2013 championship team. This move represents the Red Sox (wisely) looking to the future and, though we’ll miss Shane, Castillo is more deserving of playing time right now.