Not bad for a Rule 5 Pick that the Dodgers turned down paying us $25,000 for taking him back, when we sent him to the minors after he didn't make our club.
All of this is worth remembering if you're a Phillies fan, like myself, who has clamored for him to be traded. It's also something worth noting when he is inevitably boo'ed if he's on the next trip back to Citizens Bank Park. This guy deserved a better send-off from Philadelphia. He at least deserved one equal to that of the ridiculous Jayson Werth.
Now, with all that gushing said, the Phillies do need to trade him, and had Ruben been proactive last winter, they already would have. The Phillies were absolutely never going to re-sign him at the price he wants, and that's even less likely with the events of the last weekend. Fortunately, even with all the weirdness, Victorino is still a really valuable asset for a team that thinks they can win the World Series this year. He can probably play all three outfield positions, has a track record with post-season success, and if motivated in the right situation (aka- a winner), might just catch fire and really help. For the Phillies it's important to trade him and get something back now, as that makes sense. For another team, he may just be the piece they need.
My guess is that Victorino is going to have some positive worth. I think he will fetch at least one very good prospect, a guy who will either be a starting pitcher or position player in the big leagues. My sense is, he'll get at least one other big league capable prospect. He could fetch a third too, but that would depend on the Phillies not asking his new club to eat a lot of his deal. My guess is that the Phillies take two bodies of the caliber stated above, and try to move the rest of his money out. They do need to avoid the luxury tax now.
Who's his market? I've read of the Dodgers and Yankees being interested, while the Pirates and Reds would also make a good deal of sense. I'd put the Tigers as an outside dark-horse here as well, and the Indians, who had an interest in him according to reports in the off-season. Let's call the Dodgers the favorite, as they seem to be the most mentioned. Here's a look at what might be available:
- The Dodgers top ten prospects are littered with pitchers, though I'd really be stunned if the Phillies could even sniff the top three. OF prospects Alfredo Silverio (#4 in BA team rankings) and Joc Pederson (#9) would likely be on the Phillies' list, as could LHP Chris Reed, or RHP's Garrett Gould, Chris Withrow, and Josh Lindblom.
- I'd be shocked to see any big leaguers come up in the discussion.
- The Yankees has a balanced top ten- you see pitching, catching, infielders, and outfielders. My guess is that the Phillies would really target in on Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances, but I doubt the Yankees would part with either AAA fireballer, despite their growing pains.
- The name to watch here is Dante Bichette- a third baseman who the Yankees picked first in 2011. I don't know that I see this as happening, but don't discount it. Yes, he is the son of the Bichette you remember.
- Most likely, watch Mason Williams and Ravel Santana here.
- Nine of the top ten prospects in Pittsburgh's system are pitchers or outfielders. Forget about getting Cole or Taillon. I'd guess you're looking more outfield here.
- Josh Bell and Starling Marte will be hard to get, but Robbie Grossman might be available from the outfielders.
- While I know you'll hear talk about Billy Hamilton, forget it. The good news- there's lots of shortstops in their top ten. Zack Cozart or DiDi Gregorius could fit here.
- Todd Frazier could end up on either corner, or in the outfield. He may work here.
- The good news- they have a highly rated third baseman. The bad news- Nick Castellanos isn't available for Victorino.
- Avisail Garcia makes some sense. He's an OF.
- Seven of the top ten prospects for this team are pitchers, a good sign for teams who want to deal with them. The Indians could easily part with one for Shane, if that's what they want.
- They have two shortstops, though Lindor won't be available here. Tony Wolters could be.
If I had to guess, the Dodgers are the most interested team, so I predict they get him. They certainly have enough to get him, however they don't have the best stuff here. That's the Yankees. The Yankees could dangle Bichette or either of their bullpen arms, just one of these three, and have Victorino over night. If they decide to make an offer of that category, pick up his remaining money, and throw any warm body on, they'd probably be in the drivers seat. With that said, we don't know if they are very interested or just kind of.