Shane Victorino will forever be a member of the 2008 WFC Philadelphia Phillies. There's still a soft spot in all of our hearts for the hyper outfielder who now plays for the Boston Red Sox.
His departure wasn't something many Philly fans got overly upset about -- though some did -- mostly because the Phillies were unlikely to re-sign him this past offseason so they dealt him to the Dodgers at the Deadline to help them compete for a title and because teams like the Sox were willing to pony up the kind of money Ruben Amaro Jr. simply wasn't going to fork over for the Flyin' Hawaiian.
That's fine. But that doesn't mean we have to totally dislike the guy simply because he plays for a different city now. Plus, he was a tremendous guy in the Philadelphia community with all of the work he's done with the Boys and Girls Club among other places.
[From the Archives: Victorino's thank you in the Daily News]
And Shane feels similarly, noting yesterday that he made the trip to Philadelphia with his current team this week partly because he wanted to see us Philly fans.
Comcast SportsNet's Jim Salisbury spoke with Victorino in Boston:
"I want to see the fans,” Victorino said in Boston on Tuesday. “I want to acknowledge them, show them that I appreciated playing in Philly all those years.” [...]
“I miss Philly, no question,” he said. “My teammates, we we’re like brothers. That never goes away. It was a great place to play, very special to me, and a great organization with great people top to bottom. Now I’m fortunate to be in another great baseball city with another great team. I’m blessed.”
So close to a "No Questions Asked!"
Welcome back to Philly, Shane. Hopefully you get a little better welcome than Papelbon in Boston.
The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on a deal with outfielder Michael Saunders, according to a source.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the deal was close early Monday afternoon.
When the medical reviews and other loose ends are complete, Saunders will end up with a one-year contract for 2017. It is believed that there will be an option for 2018.
Saunders, 30, will give the Phils the left-handed bat they’ve been looking for in the outfield. Saunders is likely to play right field and his addition will likely push Roman Quinn back to Triple A, where he will get more seasoning.
Saunders is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors. He played in a career-high 140 games with Toronto in 2016 and made the American League All-Star team on the strength of a first half in which he hit .298 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He fell off in the second half and hit just .178 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and a .638 OPS. Saunders finished the season at .253/24/57/.815.
With less than a month to go before spring training, the Phillies are likely done with their significant offseason moves. The offseason began with trades for reliever Pat Neshek and outfielder Howie Kendrick. Later in the winter, the club traded for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. Now Saunders is on his way.
It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP poll.
A week, to be exact.
The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.
In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advatange: Wildcats.
UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.
Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.
Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.
Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.
The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.