Victorino would fill Bombers’ outfield needs
Last Updated: 6:56 AM, July 21, 2012
Posted: 2:08 AM, July 21, 2012
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The easy route would be to do nothing and hope the old guys, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones, continue to produce loud hits for the Yankees.
The Yankees, though, need to make a deal for an outfielder. Send a limo down the New Jersey Turnpike to pick up speedy Shane Victorino from the Phillies.
Victorino would put the Yankees that much closer to victory. The Athletics beat them for the second straight night, 3-2 at O.co Coliseum.
Rent Victorino for the rest of the season. The Yankees have done a fantastic job overcoming all their injuries to forge the best record in baseball, but sooner or later, all those injuries will catch up to them. Speed is a most valuable component the Yankees lost when they lost Brett Gardner to an elbow injury.
REUTERS; N.Y. POST: CHARLES WENZELBERG (INSET)NEED FOR SPEED: With Curtis Granderson (Out on a play by Jemile Weeks during last night’s 3-2 loss to the Athletics) the only healthy contributor of speed and power in the Yankees’ outfield, the Bombers should consider dealing with the Phillies for the Flyin’ Hawaiian,.
Shane Victorino, who would give them better speed and defense than they’re getting from Raul Ibanez or Andruw Jones.
To make matters worse, Nick Swisher had to leave Friday night’s game with a strained left hip flexor in the seventh inning. That injury meant Ibanez had to enter the game in left field and Jones had to swing over to right field. Jones, who started in left, struck out four times.
The Yankees need Victorino’s speed. A change of scenery is needed by Victorino, who is a free agent after the season. The Phillies need bullpen help, so surely Yankees general manager Brian Cashman can come up with a deal that is reasonable for both sides. The Phillies are dead in the water, the Yankees are riding the wave, but they need more to get where they need to be to try to win World Series No. 28.
Victorino is brash enough to be a short-term success. A move north would re-energize the Flyin’ Hawaiian, who would be a perfect fit in manager Joe Girardi’s offense. Girardi loves to put pressure on opposing defenses, but he does not have that speed component with Gardner out and undergoing elbow surgery next week.
This has not been the greatest season for Victorino, 31. He is batting .253, has 21 stolen bases, eight home runs and five triples. Last season he laced 16 triples and was an All-Star. He is hitting 22 points under his lifetime average and his on-base percentage is .317, but a change could change all that and bring life back to Victorino.
Gardner will be missed, especially in the postseason. Gardner had a huge series in the first-round loss to the Tigers last October, batting .412 with a .444 on-base percentage. Only Jorge Posada did better, batting .429 with a .579 on-base percentage.
So often in the postseason, it comes down to one run and Victorino is the type of player who can create that run. Victorino has a ton of postseason experience and batted .316 in the Phillies’ first-round loss to the Cardinals last October. He is a .269 hitter in the postseason over 46 games with 25 runs scored.
The Yankees have the need, and the Phillies are going nowhere and could use bullpen help. The Yankees bullpen figures to get that much stronger soon, when Joba Chamberlain returns. Where there is a need, there is a way.
Ibanez and Jones had done a solid job this season but this is about getting better for October. The Yankees could use such an upgrade.
Victorino is making $9.5 million this season.
His addition would put Ibanez and Jones back in their original roles, making the Yankees a stronger team. Isn’t that the bottom line?
The Yankees believe in their team, but adding talent never hurts. After the season there will be plenty of time to figure out the Yankees outfield for the future as the market sorts itself out.
The price for a Victorino rental would be much less than trying to acquire the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton. It would be difficult for the Yankees to put together such a package for Upton. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers knows the Yankees system well because he worked for them in 2010.
The answer to the Yankees’ lack of speed and outfield shortfall is close at hand, just a short drive down the Turnpike, in Shane Victorino.
Right now, that is the best and speediest route to travel.
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