Before an injury cut short his spring, I had thought Shane Victorino had a really good shot at breaking camp as a member of the Cubs’ 25-man roster. After overcoming back and leg issues that had hampered him in the previous couple seasons, The Flyin’ Hawaiian was back to switch-hitting and is the kind of player and personality the front office covets. My belief in his ability to add value was kept alive even after he was shut down in Mesa and had agreed to a new minor-league deal.
Victorino spent a few weeks in extended spring training after the Cubs headed north and was eventually assigned to AAA Iowa. Hope was alive. But even after the outfield depth was eroded by injuries to Kyle Schwarber and Matt Szczur, the veteran’s name never surfaced as an option. Jason Heyward’s situation ended up being far less dire than first anticipated, but the fact that Tim Federowicz continued to lay claim to a roster spot was pretty telling when it came to Victorino’s status.
Oh, slashing .233/.324/.367 in the minors didn’t help. It was only in 30 at-bats, but still. Then you consider that two of the Cubs’ regular infielders are perfectly capable of handling corner outfield spots and you quickly realize that there was neither need nor room for a guy who looks to be heading down the other side of the hill at this point. And I haven’t even mentioned Albert Almora yet.
“Given the competence of our roster, it wasn’t gonna work,” GM Jed Hoyer said Monday of the decision to release Victorino. “Once Matt came off the DL and we realized there wasn’t gonna be a spot for the foreseeable future, it made sense. Having [Victorino] sit down there and bide his time didn’t make a lot of sense. He’ll find a job, he should find a job. We really enjoyed having him.”
A hui hou, brudda, all the best to you in your next adventure.