|Is the market for Shane Victorino a bit overheated?(US Presswire)|
Shane Victorino is your newest member of the Boston Red Sox, but is the three years and $39 million too much for the two-time All-Star?
Victorino is coming off a poor season at the plate -- .255/.321/.383 with the Phillies and Dodgers. While those numbers are far below his career norms, it's also possible that, at age 32, he's entering his decline phase. Look at things like his BABIP and HR/fly-ball rate, and there's but limited reason to expect substantial improvement. It's his stellar 2011 campaign that looks like the outlier -- it was driven, in part, by an uncharacteristically high fly-ball rate (41.9 percent vs. career 36.1 percent), which helped his power numbers. The gains that he made in that season have proved to be unsustainable.
On another level, Victorino has always lugged around a pretty substantial platoon split for his career (.881 OPS vs. LHPs, .732 vs. RHPs), and his days as an adequate hitter against right-handed pitching might be over. Still, he's going to be paid -- and deployed -- like an every-day player when, in reality, he's a part-timer.