Shane Victorino contributed the most to the Phillies' cause in 2011, according to aggregate metrics, and his contract ends this season. Yet there has been little to no mention of locking up the All-Star center fielder.
Beerleaguer: One could apply much of the rationale used to justify Jimmy Rollins' new deal to keeping Victorino around. In terms of franchise importance, he's one of the Phillies' all-time best center fielders and perhaps the club's best ever defensive outfielder (his laser beam arm is better than that of Richie Ashburn and Garry Maddox). Off the field, he's become the face of the franchise through his work with the Shane Victorino Foundation. Most importantly, Victorino moves the needle offensively whereas Rollins contributes significantly less. Vic's 5.9 WAR led the team and was a full 1.2 points ahead of Hunter Pence's combined value between Houston and Philly.
By the end of 2012, Vic could be too rich for the Phillies' blood, particularly if they lock up Cole Hamels or add another major piece at the trade deadline, the way they always do.
Here's another spin: Vic will be shopped just as Jayson Werth was put on the block in the summer of '10. By keeping Vic on a one-year commitment, he's a good bargaining chip. Who knows what the world will look like in late July, particularly on the right side of the infield. They're also thin behind the plate. The Phils have also sought ways to get younger this winter and have reportedly reached out to the Blue Jays on ways to reacquire catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud. The Jays are a rising presence and could become July buyers. The Phils are also thin at third base, and you can bet David Wright's name will become a hot topic this summer, not necessarily in a straight-up deal for Victorino, but in a deal nonetheless.
Lots can happen. The time to decide Victorino's fate could be in July ...