Shane Victorino probably won't be wearing a Dodgers uniform next… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Is that the end of Shane Victorino, Los Angeles Dodger?
Logic says it is.
Victorino will become a free agent at the end of the postseason. He expects to sign with a team to be an everyday outfielder. And the Dodgers’ 2013 outfield appears set, with rehabbing Carl Crawford expected to join Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier next season in what could be one of baseball’s best units, if not its most expensive ($387 million).
Victorino, however, said he would like to come back to the Dodgers. And Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said he’s open to his return.
“Anything can happen,” Victorino said.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Colletti said. “Use your imagination.”
Now there’s a dangerous thing to tell a group of sports writers. Let’s see, Kemp is abducted by little green men, Ethier retires to open up cooking school, Crawford decides to finally take UCLA up on that scholarship to play point guard.
Crawford remains at home in Houston, recovering from Tommy John surgery performed the day after he was traded with Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers on Aug. 23.
The recovery time for a pitcher from Tommy John is approximately a year. The Dodgers expect Crawford to be hitting this spring and able to start the season, if taking it careful with that elbow. He missed the first half of last season recovering from wrist surgery.
The Dodgers won’t be more certain about his status until the spring, so unless Kemp or Ethier are traded – don’t be betting on that one – there appears no way Victorino returns.
And make no mistake, he plans to sign only where he can be an everyday player.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m not taking a back seat to nobody. Not in a negative way am I saying that. I still feel like I can play every day and that’s my goal. I don’t know who came up with the mindset that all of a sudden that I’m not an everyday player.
“When that trade happened, people obviously put it that way. But anything can happen anyway.”
Victorino came to the Dodgers from Philadelphia at the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline for Josh Lindblom. As a Dodger, he hit .245 with 26 runs and 12 steals in 53 games.
Victorino, who turns 32 next month, is coming off a three-year, $22-million contract. This is his first shot at free agency. He’ll look at all 30 clubs, since his desire to return to the Dodgers appears a non-starter since the arrival of Crawford.
“I don’t know what and where things stand,” he said. “In this game I’ve seen crazier things happen.
“Crawford’s a great player and I hope he gets back healthy, to being the player he can be. … Of course, injuries have hampered him. People are going to say, 'Is he still the same player?' I think, yeah, if he just stays healthy, he’s a great player. Obviously that’s in the way of him being an everyday player. We’ll see what happens.”
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