The Red Sox have traded Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for infielder Josh Rutledge. The Red Sox will also be sending $3.8 million of the $4.9 million still owed to Victorino along in the deal. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports had the news first.
It's about what you'd expect from such a deal. Josh Rutledge isn't much to look at. While he's got a seemingly respectable .269/.323/.405 batting line in parts of three major league seasons, he produced those numbers in hitter-friendly Colorado, resulting in just an 83 OPS+. Combined with some seriously sub-par defense at second base and shortstop. He's like Brock Holt if Brock Holt weren't good at much. Or capable of playing the outfield. Or...well, you get the point.
But this deal isn't about Josh Rutledge for the Red Sox. He's basically just a name to make the effective sale of Shane Victorino less blatant. The Red Sox got a small chunk of salary relief, and little else here.
Which, again, is what you'd expect. Shane Victorino hasn't done anything since 2013 to show he's a serious commodity worth a serious return. For the Angels, he does at least carry some small hope to bounce back unlike Rutledge, who doesn't really have any previous heights to return to. But nobody is going to pay for that small hope when it comes attached to a .658 OPS over the last two years.
Really, if you're looking for the value in this deal, it doesn't lie on the field but off. No, that's not to imply that Shane Victorino is some clubhouse problem. Quite the opposite, in fact. Victorino may have been a one-year wonder here, but it's one very big year. He was a fan favorite from the early days when Fenway first joined in with Bob Marley to the Grand Slam against Detroit. And if it's gotten increasingly frustrating and depressing to watch him play, nobody wants to see the acrimonious separation designating Victorino for assignment might cause.
And, if you really need some baseball reasons beyond that, by moving Victorino the Red Sox have room to get some of their other outfielders out of Triple-A. It'll start with Rusney Castillo, but maybe they'll even find a place for Jackie Bradley Jr. at some point. Who knows?
For now, though, it's time to say goodbye to the man we knew as Shanf. The times weren't always good, but when they were, they were truly great. Good luck in Los Angeles, you'll always have a home in Boston.