2016 didn't turn out to be the comeback that Shane Victorino hoped for. After failing to make the Chicago Cubs out of Spring Training out a minor league deal, Victorino, largely due to his health, wasn't able to make a significant impact while playing for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate and was released in May.
Now, as the Cubs sit one win away from their first World Series appearance since 1945, Victorino's future in the game is murky after sitting out the entire 2016 season.
Victorino recently sat down with Ryan Lawrence of Philly Voice to discuss a variety of topics and admitted to an uncertain future:
"Yeah, I mean I still have a love for the game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that will ever leave you. But you know there are things you think about and decisions you have to make. Family comes into the equation. Being there for my kids, finally being away for the game this past season I saw the significance of being a dad and what that means. Understanding being a kid myself. But circumstances were different. My parents weren’t always around because they had to work to make ends meet. Where if I’m not around I’m just playing a game. So that’s the balance I’m trying to figure out. But, yes, there are things that I’ll weigh. The game of baseball, and my love for the game. It’s still there. I’d love the chance to come back and play, but that answer is not etched in stone. This summer has taught me a lot about parenting."
Later in the interview, Victorino pointed out that while he cherished each game he played in, he knew playing the major leagues wasn't something that was going to last forever.
Victorino's quotes would seem to suggest that if offered a guaranteed chance to play in the major leagues again, he would jump at it. That said, he didn't play in 2016 and was limited to just 101 games between 2014 and 2015 due to injuries, so that guarantee is unlikely to happen. It's fair to wonder if after a year away from the game he still has enough drive to want to try to make a team out of Spring Training or even start a season in the minor leagues.
Back in August, Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reported that the 35-year-old planned to "re-group" and try to catch on with a team for 2017. While that still seems possible, it's also possible that more time away from the game and possible uncertainties about physical health have since changed his mind.
Nicknamed "The Flyin' Hawaiian," Victorino played for the Phillies for parts of seven seasons, including the team's 2007-2011 run of National League dominance. During his time with the club, Victorino made two All-Star appearances (2009 and 2011), led the league in triples twice (2009 and 2011) and won three Gold Glove Awards (2008-2010).