Indians’ talks with Victorino intensifying

The Indians have been eyeing free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino all offseason, but talks appear to be gaining steam here in Nashville. According to multiple reports, Cleveland remains a primary suitor for the outfielder.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick called the Indians the “prime” suitor in the current negotiations, which also reportedly include the Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs. The Phillies are believed to be involved to a lesser extent, while the Braves and Reds have backed off for now.

The general consensus is that the 32-year-old Victorino will warrant a three- or four-year deal, and it might take a four-year pact to convince him to join the Tribe. According to Crasnick, manager Terry Francona personally reached out to Victorino earlier this offseason.

Last year, Victorino posted a slash line of .255/.321/.383/.704 across 154 games between stints with the Phillies and Dodgers. He mixed in 11 homers, 29 doubles, 39 stolen bases, 55 RBIs and 72 runs scored.

Over the past three seasons, Victorino has hit .264/.334/.432/.766, and he has appeared in at least 131 games in each of the past seven years, averaging 146 games over that span.

On Monday, Indians GM Chris Antonetti said the club was comfortable with Michael Brantley in center field, though he also has the ability to shift to left. Victorino can also play both spots. In L.A., he spent 48 of his 53 games in left field for the Dodgers.

Victorino would potentially give Cleveland an experienced leadoff man as well. Last year, Shin-Soo Choo spent a lot of time in that role for the Indians, but the club is currently listening to trade offers for the right fielder.

–Jordan Bastian

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