One of the more questionable free agent pickups in the 2012 off season was the Boston Red Sox‘ surprising signing of outfielder Shane Victorino to a three-year, $39 million deal .
When healthy, Victorino is in the top of the lineup batting behind star OF Jacoby Ellsbury. Fans were not convinced that he would make a great fit, considering up-and-coming prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. would’ve possibly started if Victorino was not signed.
So why bring in an outfielder who has never played a single game in the American League?
Victorino had been a prized outfielder in the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies. In his first full season in 2006, he was able to produce decent numbers. One of his best seasons as a Phillie came in 2011, where he came in 13th in the MVP voting. He produced a .279 BA, with 17 HRs, and 61 RBIs. He also led the league in triples with 16.
Victorino is not just known for his bat. With 210 career stolen bases, he averages 30 SB a season. He is also known for his stellar defense, winning a Gold Glove in three consecutive seasons (2008, 2009, and 2010). In his 8.5 years in Philadelphia, Victorino showed that he could do it all.
Making the transition from the NL to the AL can sometimes be tough. It usually hurts pitchers more than position players, but it is still tough to adapt. Victorino hasn’t really had a chance to prove himself in the AL. With a .287 BA, along with three HRs and 21 RBIs, Victorino has been bombarded with injuries.
With only 59 games played, you wouldn’t say that he was a main contributor to the Red Sox’ success. Whether he can be a factor in the second half of the season remains to be seen.