Is Victorino Worth Five Years?

According to Todd Zolecki of ESPN.com, outfielder Shane Victorino is looking for a contract extension with Philadelphia, preferably for five years.

At age 31, Shane-O would no doubt start to decline by the end of that deal while scoring the mega-cash associated with signing a deal while in his prime. As a point of reference, Torii Hunter signed a 5-year, $90 million deal after the 2007 season, when he was 32 and had stats very similar to Shane Victorino’s.
But is Shane Victorino worth $90 million and five years? More importantly, would the Phillies be willing to give him five years?

Personally, I think that if Shane says “five years or I’m gone”, he’ll be looking for work elsewhere.

It’s not that Victorino isn’t worth $90 million or five years, it’s the fact that the Phillies have too much talent waiting in the wings. Between Tyson Gillies, who was called the fastest player in the Phillies’ camp, and “five tool” Jiwan James, there is a good amount of talent ready to play center in a few years. Add in Domonic Brown, who could push John Mayberry Jr or Hunter Pence into center, and the mass of capable players becomes apparent.

Gillies, 23, hasn’t had a full season since coming over to the Phillies with Phillippe Aumont in the second Cliff Lee trade after the 2009 season. Multiple injuries to his hip and legs limited him to about 50 total games in the last two seasons, but coming into camp this year he looks healthy and extremely impressive. His speed is, as mentioned previously, a plus-plus tool, and Steve Carter of projectprospect.com described his speed as a “game changer”. He hit in the leadoff position today against the Yankees, looking pretty solid; the Phillies may need a lead off man considering Jimmy Rollins’ age and declining speed.

Jiwan James, 22, could also make the MLB roster by 2014 with the way he’s progressing. Baseball America ranked James as the number nine prospect in the Phillies Organization, also recognizing him for his arm and defensive ability. The word thrown around the most when talking about James is “raw”, which concerns me a little because it roughly translates to “he should be good, but he’s not preforming” . Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein is very high on Jiwan, saying,

“James’ tools border on ridiculous. Similar to Domonic Brown in terms of build and athleticism, he’s a switch-hitter with at least average raw power, with many scouts putting a future plus on him. His speed rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, just a tick below Gillies and Gose. He showed intriguing natural hitting ability last summer despite the rustiness, with a good idea at the plate, and he has the ability to use all fields. He’s a good outfielder, and his arm is outstanding.”

This I like. Another Domonic Brown type player would be great to have years from now.

At the beginning of this offseason, Jimmy Rollins said he wanted five years. He settled for three to stay in Philly, and I think Victorino will, too. That being said, five years is too large of a commitment for an organization that has multiple young outfielders waiting for a chance to contribute.

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