2010-2011 Offseason: Martinez, Beltre, and Ortiz

The deadline for re-signing your own potential free agents has been moved up to just 5 days after the end of the World Series, so the Red Sox have some significant decisions to make in the next two weeks. These are the three biggest position players who are potential free agents this offseason, and the loss of any of them would require a major acquisition to replace them. I have a hunch that the Red Sox are going to be reducing payroll this year, so I’m not sure that we can sign all three of these players AND have enough to improve our team for next season and beyond.

C Victor Martinez

Martinez is a Spanish-speaking veteran and team leader, and has stated that he would like to stay in Boston. He is an excellent hitting catcher, but has some defensive limitations, which were painfully exposed this year. Because of these weaknesses with controlling baserunners, and the fact that he will be 32 next season, the Red Sox are reportedly hesitant to commit to him as their long-term catcher; they would like to utilize him more as a 1B/DH in the future. However, as the top free agent catcher this offseason, Martinez could command quite a contract on the open market, and it remains to be seen if the Red Sox will pay him enough to keep him around.

2010 numbers .302/.351/.493 with 20 HR and 79 RBI in 493 AB
2011 projection .288/.352/.457 with 15 HR and 74 RBI in 456 AB

Projected contract: 4 years, $48M (in Boston?)

3B Adrian Beltre

The 31-year old Beltre has not made much noise about liking Boston or not, but hasn’t complained either. Scott Boras is Beltre’s representation, and if history is any guide, this is not really much of a decision for the Red Sox to make. Beltre will go to free agency and take full advantage of his career 2010. Before you take a look at my projection for Beltre, I want you to know that I am not a Beltre hater; in fact, I love his defense at third base and I think he’s got very good power from the right side. But the guy just had a career year, and remember that the last club to sign Beltre to big money after a career year lived to regret it.

2010 numbers .321/.365/.553 with 28 HR and 102 RBI in 589 AB
2011 projection .279/.324/.462 with 19 HR and 76 RBI in 541 AB

Projected contract: 3 years, $40M (somewhere else)

DH David Ortiz

Big Papi, who will be 35 next season, has mentioned on many occasions that he would like to finish his career in Boston, but also that he would be “uncomfortable” on just a one-year deal. He still has pop, is a team leader, and has been a fixture on this club for years, so it’s hard to imagine a lineup without him in it. But the fact remains that Papi’s strikeouts are way up, and he’s become more of a platoon player than every day scary DH. The safest bet is that this conservative front office will reward Ortiz by picking up his option, and see whether there is further decline before signing him to any new contract.

2010 numbers .270/.370/.579 with 32 HR and 102 RBI in 518 AB
2011 projection .248/.345/.473 with 26 HR and 92 RBI in 504 AB

Projected contract: 1 year option at $12.5M (in Boston)


My proprietary projections are based on a three-year average of rate statistics, which are regressed to league average rates at each position, then adjusted for park/league and age.


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