Victorino, who turned 32 last week, hit .255/.321/.383/.704 with 11 homers and 39 steals in 45 attempts for the Phillies and (after a mid-year trade) Dodgers in 2012. That represented the worst full season of his big league career, down from a career line of .275/.341/.430/.770. Victorino fits the profile that the team seeks of an above-average defensive outfielder capable of playing both right and center at Fenway Park, potentially addressing a position of need (right) in the Sox outfield while also giving the team its hoped-for insurance for either Jacoby Ellsbury in 2013 or, in all likelihood, Jackie Bradley Jr. in the following two seasons. He would also allow the team to be patient with outfield prospect Bryce Brentz.
Still, while Victorino is a switch-hitter and thus, in theory, could give the Sox some left-right lineup balance, he struggled badly against right-handed pitchers in 2012 (hitting .229/.296/.333/.629 against righties, and eventually trying to bat right-handed against right-handed pitchers), compared to excellent marks against lefties (.323/.388/.518/.906).
That is in keeping with Victorino's career trends. Against lefties, he's a career .301/.373/.508/.881 hitter, while against righties, he has a .267/.330/.402/.732 line.
Still, his defense and speed on the bases give him value even if the 2012 season represented something other than an aberration. Moreover, he would not cost the Red Sox a draft pick, as he was ineligible for a one-year qualifying offer from the Dodgers after having been traded mid-year.
If the Sox can land Victorino, they would have added two outfielders (Victorino, Jonny Gomes), a first baseman (and potentially catcher) in Mike Napoli and another catcher in David Ross without sacrificing any prospects or draft picks. That, in turn, would follow the team's stated desire to build a competitive team for 2013 without sacrificing its longer-term ambitions.