NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino and the Red Sox agreed Tuesday to a $39 million, three-year contract, Boston’s second big addition during the winter meetings.
Nicknamed The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Victorino tweeted that he planned to spend the day in Maui on a snorkeling trip aboard the Alii Nui catamaran.
“Just agreed to join the Boston (at)RedSox in the middle of paradise,” he tweeted. “(hash)BLESSED!!! Can’t wait to get to Boston!”
Victorino’s deal is subject to a physical, as is the $39 million, three-year contract the Red Sox agreed to Monday with Mike Napoli.
Victorino hit a combined .255 with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs last season for Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also stole a career-high 39 bases. The Dodgers obtained Victorino in a late July trade with the Phillies.
A two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, Victorino turned 32 on Friday. He also had been pursued by the Cleveland Indians.
Victorino played mostly center field for the Phillies and shifted to left with the Dodgers. He likely would play right field for the Red Sox but could shift to center if Jacoby Ellsbury is traded or leaves as a free agent after next season.
“It’s probably the toughest right field in baseball to play, just in terms of the space to cover,” new Boston manager John Farrell said earlier in the day. “So that range comes into play. And yet you try to combine the best range available along with offensive production. It might not be your prototypical right fielder where it’s a power bat because we do value the defense in that area. That’s not to exclude anyone, but defense takes a high priority, in that position at Fenway particularly.”
Boston finished last in the AL East and is trying to boost its offense. Napoli, an All-Star catcher with Texas this year, appears likely to shift his primary position.
“We see him as a first baseman primarily, but with the ability to catch,” Farrell said. “We would have him catch in spring training early on, but then certainly make sure that we’ve got enough reps at first base for not only him to feel comfortable there, but for us as well.”
MLB NOTEBOOK: While waiting to find out whether there will be more talks with Josh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent reliever Joakim Soria and reached a deal to keep catcher Geovany Soto.
Soria, a two-time All-Star with Kansas City, is recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery on April 3. The 28-year-old right-hander also had the ligament replaced in 2003.
His agreement was revealed Monday by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced. The person said the contract includes an option for 2015.
Soria’s agent, Oscar Suarez, would say only “we’re very close to a deal with the Texas Rangers.”
Texas general manager Jon Daniels wouldn’t confirm an agreement and wouldn’t even say whether medical reports suggest Soria will recover by May or the All-Star game.
“I’m not going to comment on him at this time,” Daniels said. “I’ve got to protect the organization.”
On the day starting catcher Mike Napoli agreed to a $39 million, three-year contract with Boston, a deal subject to a physical, Texas retained Soto for a $2.75 million, one-year agreement. He can earn an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses.
Soto, who turns 30 next month, hit .196 with five homers and 25 RBIs in 47 games last season. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2008 when he batted .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBIs for the Chicago Cubs.
“It was not a great catching market to begin with,” Daniels said. “It’s a tough position to fill in the game right now.”
Texas allowed Soto to become a free agent when it failed to offer a contract by Friday’s deadline. The move allowed the team to cut his salary, which was $4.3 million this year, by more than 20 percent.
“He’s in an environment where he’s comfortable,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “The key is that we make sure he’ll be in the best physical and mental shape that he possibly can be and maybe we can get out of him what he did in his rookie year and the year after in Chicago. But the main thing is everyone loved throwing to him.”
Texas decided not to guarantee three seasons for Napoli. He hit .320 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs as the Rangers won their second straight AL pennant in 2011, then slumped to a .227 average with 24 homers and 56 RBIs this year as he became a first-time All-Star. His on-base percentage dropped from .416 to .343.
“They were very upfront with us throughout the process. So not a surprise,” Daniels said. “I’m hesitant to use the word disappointment because ultimately we had a decision to make.”
Hamilton, who hit 43 home runs with 128 RBIs for the Rangers last season, was in Nashville but not to speak with the Rangers.
“I saw Josh on the flight here Sunday by accident. Coincidence, I guess, is a better word than accident,” Daniels said. “Chatted with him a little bit in the airport. I know he’s here probably to meet with some other teams.”