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Shane Victorino Reportedly Signs 3-Year Deal with Boston Red Sox

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2012

Free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino has inked a deal with the Boston Red Sox.

The news comes to us via Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

Sox have agreed with Victorino on 3yr deal

— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) December 4, 2012

UPDATE: Dec. 13 at 11:55 a.m. EST

The Red Sox have officially announced the signing and will introduce Victorino at a press conference this afternoon.

OFFICIAL: @redsox sign OF @shanevictorino to 3-year deal.

MLB (@MLB) December 13, 2012

--- End of Update ---

The 32-year-old veteran was one of the top free-agent outfielders available this offseason, and despite his advancing age, the two-time All-Star still has plenty of value.

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Victorino's three-year deal is worth $39 million.

Victorino and #RedSox: Three years, $39M.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2012

Victorino is a three-time Gold Glove winner, and his defense remains above average. He can play any position in the outfield with competence, but he is at his best when roaming in center.

He also swiped a career-high 39 steals last season, and he was caught stealing just six times. He remains one of the elite base-stealers in the game. If age is going to rob him of a step, it has not happened yet.

However, there are some concerns with diminishing production at the plate. 

While playing in 154 games last season for the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, Victorino hit 11 home runs with 55 RBI, which is his lowest HR total since 2009 and fewest RBI since 2007. 

Victorino also hit just .255, which set a new career low, not counting his 73 at-bat stint as a rookie for the Padres in 2003, for the career .275 hitter. That average came with a OPS of just .704, which is also his lowest since 2003. 

Now, before reading too much into those numbers, it is important to consider this fact pointed out by The Dallas Morning News: "Last season, Victorino hit more line drives and ground balls than he did in 2011."

That is a great indication that Victorino's drop-off last season is not a sign of a player battling the rapid decline of skills that comes along with age; rather, it reveals a player that suffered more from bad breaks.  

This is a solid signing that will bring not only a well-rounded skill set to the lineup, but also veteran leadership to the clubhouse. 

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