I was trading emails with my brother and a few friends yesterday, and one of my friends who listens to alot of Philadelphia talk radio said he heard that the Phillies may be quietly shopping Shane Victorino. I was shocked to hear that one, and none of the big rumors guys have yet to throw that one out there. It will be interesting to see if the Phillies would actually mess with a lineup that went to the World Series two years in a row.
So, why would the Phillies want to deal Victorino? I think there are several reasons. One is they have Michael Taylor and Domonic Brown in AAA and AA respectively, who are probably amongst the top 20-25 prospects in the game right now. Secondly, if the Phillies are serious about signing Cliff Lee long-term, then they need to move some salary to afford Lee. Victorino is up for arbitration again this year, after making $3+ million last year. That number could double in 2010 and beyond.
Factor in that the Phillies have two more years of Raul Ibanez and the $20 million left on his contract, and Jayson Werth is a free agent at the end of the 2010 season, and the Phillies have some decisions to make with their outfielders. The contracts that Ryan Howard ($19 million in 2010), Chase Utley ($15 million in 2010), Jimmy Rollins ($7.5 million in 2010) and recently signed Placido Polanco (~$6 million in 2010), the Phillies infield is making almost $48 million in 2010. Add in what Cole Hamel, Brad Lidge, Cliff Lee, Jamey Moyer and others are making, and the Phillies may want to consider dealing some salary where they have depth in the minors.
Who could have interest in Victorino? Well, the Toronto Blue Jays would certainly be interested in him if the Phillies are serious about dealing for ace starter Roy Halladay. Other teams would include the Braves, Marlins and Mets who all need an outfielder, but I am sure the Phillies wouldn't deal Victorino within their own division. The Cardinals would jump at the chance to trade for Victorino and make him their leadoff hitter. He could play right field with Ryan Ludwick moving over to left field. A package of pitching prospects could entice the Phillies. The Cubs are also looking for a centerfielder. Victorino could also lead off for the Cubs.