“Any time you can get a No. 1, as I told these guys — not the front office, but the players — any time you can go get a guy in my opinion who is established, who has done it [you do it],” Victorino said. “And I understand you don’t want to give up this prospect or that prospect. You’re hoping this guy becomes a Cole Hamels. Hoping. Oh wait, that guy is there now.
“And even as a hitter. Why would you hope that guy becomes this hitter, when you have it right now? And I understand there’s a financial side. And there’s a bigger picture. But like I said, at the end of the day, it’s right here in front of you. Why are you hoping?”
The way it currently stands, the Red Sox have a very crowded outfield. Newly-acquired Hanley Ramirez is expected to move to left field and 22-year-old Mookie Betts, who had a very impressive spring, will likely start in center field. That leaves Victorino to compete with veterans Allen Craig and Daniel Nava as well as Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo for the third and fourth outfield spots.
Despite Victorino telling the Daily News that he is “happy with the guys we’ve got,” 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti accused the 34-year-old of endorsing a Hamels trade for his own personal gain.
“You have a 34-year-old, breaking-down outfielder whose job is potentially going to be taken by whom? Mookie Betts, or by default, Rusney Castillo,” Massarotti said on Wednesday’s show, as transcribed by Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald. “And so who are we talking about, potentially, in this trade? Mookie Betts. So is that the deal? Mookie Betts is going to take his job, (and Victorino says), ‘Hey, get the kid out of here, because we can win now if we get Hamels.”
As you might expect, Mazz’s take — which Felger agreed with — infuriated Victorino.
“If there’s one person that’s an advocate of that individual who was named in the article, Mookie Betts, it’s me,” he fired back on Thursday. “I don’t have any fear or feel like there’s competition that I’ve got to get him shipped out of here. That’s the part for me, where individuals put words in your mouth, that sit behind a mic and say something, you know where I’ll be. I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about it. But don’t get behind a mic and be a coward and try to put words in my mouth, because not once in that article did I mention anybody’s name. I said two or three prospects — whoever. It could be anybody.”
Victorino had much more to say about the topic, all of which you can read here.
As someone who listens to the “Felger and Mazz Show” quite regularly, I know they love to spit out hot takes and stir the pot. While they could be right about Victorino wanting Betts out of town, they were wrong to take the liberty of reading his mind. Not only is Hamels a top-of-the-rotation pitcher (which the Red Sox currently lack), but he is also a former teammate of Victorino’s. There was nothing unreasonable about what The Flyin’ Hawaiian said.