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Why Angels Fans Should Be Happy With The Shane Victorino Trade

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The Angels just landed Shane Victorino and a whole heapin' of salary relief from the Red Sox, in exchange for Josh Rutledge. Here's why you should like the deal.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

1. Look at the Angels' LF situation.

Currently, the Angels are starting Daniel Robertson, who has put up 0.4 rWAR/0.2 fWAR and is projected by Steamer to put up 0.0 fWAR going forward. Don't get me wrong, I like Robertson. He's had some nice ABs, made some really nice plays in the outfield, and he doesn't try to actively injure other, more key players on the field. Which brings me to Matt Joyce. Whether he's out with a concussion or not, he should not be playing in left field anymore. He should not be getting at-bats anymore either. This charade has to stop. So far, Joyce has been good for -0.9 rWAR/-1.2 fWAR. He is actively hurting this team, literally and figuratively, every time he steps on the field.

Shane Victorino, on the other hand, has already amassed 0.8 rWAR/0.1 fWAR in only 33 games this season and is projected by Steamer to put up 0.4 fWAR going forward. So, obviously, small sample size caveats do apply, and, despite an outfield logjam in Boston that has taken away playing time from the Flyin' Hawaiian, he has been on the DL for significant amounts of time both this year and last. No, this is not the move that cinches the AL West for the Halos, but it is a nice depth/platoon move going forward. Oh, and he's two seasons removed from a 6.1 rWAR/6.0 fWAR campaign in 2013. If (and it's a big if) Shane can stay healthy, he can be a very nice piece of the puzzle for the Angels.

2. Do the splits, man!

For his career, as a right-handed batter, Victorino has hit left-handed pitching to the tune of .304/.373/.502. And since he abandoned left-handed hitting altogether, he's done this against lefties:

2013: .314/.370/.491 in 188 PAs

2014: .325/.333/.425 in 43 PAs

2015: .343/.439/.457 in 41 PAs

Also, just for grins: in 2013, as a right-handed bat, Victorino hit right-handers to a slash line of .300/.386/.510 in 115 PAs. (I hesitate to publish that line, as I'm worried that Mike Scioscia might see it.) And, while Victorino is no wizard in the outfield, he's no slouch either, and he's head and shoulders above Matt Joyce, who, once released, should be no impediment to keeping Daniel Robertson on the bench as a late-inning defensive replacement for the Angels' latest acquisition.

3. The Angels gave up nothing.

I'm sure Josh Rutledge is a good guy. I'm guessing he calls his mom every Sunday. And he probably sold a bunch of candy bars so his Little League team could go to Taiwan for a tournament once. But he's not a good baseball player. He's been riding a bit of a hot streak in AAA recently, but overall, his 2015 slash line of .272/.323/.403 isn't what you're looking for from a 26-year-old playing in a hitter's heaven like the Pacific Coast League.

In addition to Victorino, Boston is sending about $3.8M in salary relief to Anaheim. So, that's around $1.1M for a guy who can be a useful platoon/bench bat down the stretch run and...dare I say it....provide some veteran-y goodness in the clubhouse!

So, there you have it. The Angels got better today.* And I, for one, welcome our new Flyin' Hawaiian overlord. Who's with me?

*If Scioscia does the right thing. Oh, please, Scioscia, do the right thing.