Sox turn to Victorino

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Sox turn to Victorino

There's some uneasiness in Red Sox Nation after the report that the Sox have signed Shane Victorino to a free agent contract worth 39M over three years.

But you know who doesn't mind? The headline writers and copy editors.

Victorino Lap!

Anyone used that one yet?

Sox Get Low Down and Dirty with Shane.

Actually, that one sucks.

Victorino Was His Name-O

Eh, that one too.

The Thrill of Victorino.

OK, that's better.

But either way, over the next three years, we'll see and hear them all. Over and over and over. Or we can only hope, because if Victorino's in the headlines that means the Sox money is well spent. Something we haven't been able to say very often when 'Ol John Henry pries open his wallet.

So, what is there to like about Victorino?

First of all, he's a good dude. Great in the clubhouse and in the community, and seems to already have a strong relationship with at least one of his new teammates.

Despite turning 32 last week, Victorino still has some speed. (He stole 39 bases last season.)

He has the ability to play centerfield, which should come in handy after Ellsbury's annual injury.

Lastly, after seven and a half years in Philly, he's obviously well-accustomed to playing in an insane mediafan atmosphere.

But and of course there's a but when the first positive thing you say about a guy is that he's a "good dude," then clearly there are a few things missing. In Victorino's case (as if the outcry from Red Sox Nation wasn't enough indication), more than a few things. For instance:

Three years and 39M is a lot to pay for a guy who, in a perfect world, is your fourth outfielder.

Thirty-two isn't older but it's getting for a speed guy, and it doesn't help that Victorino's coming off what was easily the worst season of his life, with career-lows in batting average (.255), OBP (.321) and OPS (.704).

So, OK. It's far from perfect. Maybe this is more than you want to pay for Shane Victorino, especially when it's exactly what you just paid for Mike Napoli.

But let's forget, 39M is nothing for the Red Sox. And when it's only spaced over three years, it's not going hurt their flexibility in the long term. It will be give their young prospects just enough time to prepare themselves for a takeover.

And if it doesn't work out with Victorino (or Napoli), or the prospects are ready earlier than anticipated? Trade time. By the deadline in 2014, Victorino and Napoli will have a year and half and less than 20M left on the deal. Someone will take them off the Sox hands.

And that's the worst-case scenario.

Best case?

To the Victorino goes the spoils.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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