Hello from Houston, where concerned parents this week thankfully brushed back an Orwellian brainwashing, and Roger Clemens saw his defamation suit against former trainer Brian McNamee tossed out of court. Newsy week down here in the Lone Star, including a little nugget about a less controversial Hawaiian.
As reported in today’s Inquirer, Shane Victorino has switched agencies, leaving the Beverly Hills Sports Council for New York-based agents Seth and Sam Levinson. For a player who is truly coming into his own as a top centerfielder this year, a move like this makes you wonder about his reasons.
It’s not like he went from the McGuire-Zellweger agency to Scott Boras, as both the Levinsons and BHSC are big time (BHSC’s client list includes Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth and J.C. Romero; the Levinsons represent David Wright, Scott Rolen and Raul Ibanez). So why do it now, two-and-a half years before potential free agency?
Victorino said that the decision came down to a vibe he felt from the Levinsons. “I felt like the Levinsons had more of the family-type atmosphere that I was looking for,” he said (Seth and Sam Levinson are brothers). “They had what I wanted in that sense.”
Victorino also said that he has a strong desire to remain with the Phillies long-term. Last winter, he avoided arbitration by signing a one-year contract worth about $3 million. Unless he and the team agree on a multi-year contract extension, he will become a free agent after the 2011 season. Some players agitate for extensions, but Victorino seemed relaxed about the situation.
“I want to play here,” he said. “I don’t want to go anywhere. If I have to take one year deals the next few years, that’s fine.”
In tomorrow’s Inside the Phillies, we’ll look at the Flyin’s massive improvements this year as a situational hitter. Always known more for his raw skills than savvy with the bat, Victorino has responded to a spring training conversation with Charlie Manuel in which the skipper said bluntly, “You’ve got to learn how to control the bat better.”
Victorino appears to be in an environment that is allowing him to mature and thrive. He recognizes that and wants to hang around for a while.