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Red Sox complete Victorino's $39M, 3-year deal

By Jimmy Golen

AP Sports Writer

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:00 p.m. HST, Dec 13, 2012


BOSTON >> Hawaiian Shane Victorino was so excited to arrive in Boston in the chill of December he ordered some New England clam chowder at dinner and sent a picture to his Twitter followers.

That's when he got his first lesson.

"It's CHOWDA, Shane!" Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury corrected him.

"That was the first real message from Jacoby for Boston," Victorino said today at a news conference to announce the $39 million, three-year deal he agreed to at the winter meetings. "I've got to learn the lingo."

Victorino joins Ellsbury in the Red Sox outfield, with the opportunity to replace the 2011 AL MVP runner-up when Ellsbury's contract expires at the end of next season. In the meantime, Victorino is slotted for right field, where he has not played regularly since 2007.

"I always look at it as, 'I'm going to help this team win,'" Victorino said. "I came in as a right fielder. ... Don't get me wrong, I love center field, I want to be a center fielder, but I play right. I'm excited for the opportunity. I might wrap myself around that pole, but if I've got to go get the ball I've got to go get it."

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said adding a "center field-quality right fielder" was one of his goals for the offseason. It's also been important to add players who can improve the chemistry of a team that collapsed in September 2011 and never got in position to collapse in 2012.

"He fits perfectly into our short- and long-term plan," Cherington said. "He's been an outstanding performer for a lot of years in a tough place to play. He's been a big part of great teams. We're thrilled to add him to our team and to our clubhouse."

Victorino said he followed the problems in Boston from afar, and he thinks the chemistry problems can be solved by winning.

"The last two years have definitely been tough for the Red Sox, the organization. But I look forward to 2013 and being the team we could be," he said, noting that he experienced his own disappointment this fall after making the playoffs five years in a row. "I fell short last year. It wasn't fun to be home at the beginning of October."

Nicknamed the Flyin' Hawaiian, Victorino is a .275 hitter with 90 homers in seven full seasons. He came up to the major leagues with San Diego but played most of his career with Philadelphia before he was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline.

"I always said Fenway was one of my favorites— there and Wrigley, because of the tradition," he said from an event room in the ballpark, where the scoreboard welcomed him to Boston. "To call this home for the next three years, I'm ecstatic.

"There is no convincing. It's Boston; that, in itself, says it all. It's the Red Sox. It's a historic franchise."

Victorino said his experience with the demanding Phillies fans should also help prepare him for Boston.

"I'm hoping it's not worse than Philly," he said. "I hope it's not that tough because that was a very tough market. I played in Philly all those years. That was a trying experience."

Also today, Cherington said he had nothing to announce on Mike Napoli, the catcher-first baseman who also agreed to a $39 million, three-year deal during the winter meetings, pending a physical. That contract has yet to be announced.

"Our hope is that we'll be able to resolve the issues," Cherington said. "We're working on it."

Cherington did not comment on negotiations with Ryan Dempster, who finished last season with the Texas Rangers. Later today, the team reached an agreement with him on a two-year, $26.5 million deal, according to two people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal was pending a physical. 

"We're engaged with a pitcher," Cherington said, without mentioning Dempster by name. "That's all I can say at this point."





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Jimguy wrote:
With all due respect to Shane Victorino and his brilliant baseball career,the name of "The Flying Hawaiian" belongs to the one and only former Honolulu city councilman John Desoto Jr. who raced motorcycles locally and on the mainland.A champion he was and a great mentor to all who knew him.Imua!!!
on December 13,2012 | 12:50PM
Anonymous wrote:
Victorino is a good player, but this is a bad sign by Boston and for too much. (then again most MLB players are overpaid...) Unless they plan on trading or letting Ellisbury go, he doesn't really fit into the line up. Rather they had signed Ross back as he did a great job in right for Boston.
on December 13,2012 | 05:12PM
wm808hi wrote:
I cannot believe Boston paid 13M for a lifetime .270 hitter who averaged only 12 HR a year for the past 7 years.
on December 13,2012 | 05:58PM
t_faman wrote:
Go Shane, you will represent Maui well.
on December 13,2012 | 09:24PM
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