Now that spring training is underway, players that were holding out hope for major league deals are now beginning to sign minor league contracts. Today, two former MLB mainstays did just that.
Will Venable will be joining the Indians according to Ken Rosenthal, and given their current outfield predicament, it seems like a fairly safe assumption that he'll make the team if he's not truly awful in spring training. If the season were to begin today, Cleveland's starting outfield from left to right would be Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenahll. Michael Brantley is expected to return in 2015, but he might not be back until some point in May.
Matt Lyons wrote for Let's Go Tribe, Venable might be best suited for a platoon in left.
"Over his career, Venable has a clear split against left-handed pitchers (.610 OPS), compared to against right-handed pitchers (.745), which does not make him a great platoon partner with Lonnie Chisenhall or Abraham Almonte, who both struggle against lefties. Instead, if Venable makes the roster out of Spring Training, he could platoon in left field with someone like Rajai Davis or Collin Cowgill until Michael Brantley returns sometime in May."
As for Shane Victorino, he'll be joining Cubs' camp, but his chances of making the major league roster would appear to be murkier than Venable's. Despite the trade of Chris Coghlan to the A's, Chicago still has an abundance of outfielders. They currently have Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist, and potentially Matt Szczur, who was essentially the same player as Victorino was in 2015.
With limited roster space, Victorino will have to be incredibly impressive in spring training. Even then, it's possible that they simply don't have room for him, and he'll have to jump to another team that's in desperate need of outfield depth.