11-23-2010: Martinez signs with Detroit

There are widespread reports today that the Detroit Tigers are ready to sign Victor Martinez to a 4-year, $50M contract. The annual value of the deal is $12.5M, and ranks as one of the largest free agent contracts for a catcher in baseball history. Reportedly, he had competitive offers on the table from the Orioles and the White Sox, while the Red Sox maxed out their offer at 4 years and $42M. Peter Gammons was right again.

Let’s get something straight – the Red Sox weren’t outbid; they passed. Epstein could have easily matched the Tigers’ offer, but he just didn’t want Martinez as our catcher for the next four years. The Tigers are willing to live with Martinez’ defense. A very tough stance for Theo to take in this town, but kudos to him. Let’s see what happens over the next 4 seasons, and don’t forget the two compensation picks we’ll get as a result of this signing.

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Links 11-17-2010: Bullpen options, Sox cap offers to Beltre and Martinez, Justin Upton

The best-laid bullpen plans…

After a disastrous 2010 campaign, everyone acknowledges the need for a bullpen overhaul. However, relievers are famously volatile, and most teams regret free agent deals. That’s exactly why the Sox went out and got LHP Andrew Miller and then claimed RHP Taylor Buchholz on waivers. It turns out that he IS related to Clay Buchholz, BTW, though he’s only a distant cousin.

Theo Epstein has stated that he is not against doing a multi-year free agent deal for the right reliever. The ideal guy seems like LHP Scott Downs, who has had success in the AL East and can pitch to both lefties and righties. But he is a Type A free agent, which means we would owe our first-rounder to Toronto should we ink him. Brian MacPherson lists some non-Type A guys that are of interest, and I like Joaquin Benoit and Koji Uehara, but I don’t see Downs as a problem if we sign another Type A such as Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre or Victor Martinez, since our first-rounder would go to someone else rather than Toronto.

Read more of this post

Links 11-10-2010: AL Gold Gloves, corner infielders, Salty as the man?

The AL Gold Gloves were announced yesterday to kick off awards week, and it is a Yankee-fest. Robinson Cano wasn’t a standout in the field. And Derek Jeter again? Are you kidding me? It seems they’ve mixed up hitting and reputation with fielding yet again.

It looks like we will be in need of a corner infielder, for 2011 at least. The top free agent third basemen are Adrian Beltre, and then nobody we want. First basemen include Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche. Taking the guys out who figure to sign long-term deals, that leaves us with Berkman, Lee and possibly Pena. I’d be happy to add any of these guys for 1-2 years at $5-9M/year.

Read more of this post

2010-2011 Offseason: The catcher gap

I have begun churning out my first projections for 2011, and here’s what I get for the catchers I can project:

Name AB HR RBI Avg OBP SLG wOBA
Victor Martinez 464 15 76 0.289 0.359 0.458 0.366
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 259 7 32 0.242 0.320 0.388 0.321
Dusty Brown 218 5 28 0.243 0.321 0.380 0.321
Jason Varitek 340 11 41 0.222 0.310 0.380 0.314

I don’t think I need to comment here. The dropoff from Victor Martinez to anyone else is precipitous, and that’s putting it lightly. Not only is Jason Varitek not looking like an everyday option, he’s looking worse than our other backup options, so I really don’t expect the Sox to sign him out of sentimentality.

Read more of this post

2010-2011 Offseason: Catcher

With the offseason coming up soon, we need to begin analyzing what we already have in place for 2011 and where we could make improvements. Here’s a look at our situation at catcher.

Without a doubt, this is the most worrisome position for us this offseason. Victor Martinez is a potential free agent, and entering his age 32 season, the Sox are reluctant to commit the money and years to sign him (perhaps as much as 4 years, $60M). With his certain Type A status, there’s even less incentive for the Red Sox to outbid another aggressive team for Martinez.┬áMartinez has indicated a desire to stay, but also to continue catching for the duration of his next deal (which the Sox are not on board with, if their two-year offer to him is any indication). However, the loss of a team leader and 4 WAR player is not going to be easy to any team to absorb. And with the essential role the catcher plays, you’ll need a familiar face somewhere on the roster.

Also a free agent this offseason is team captain Jason Varitek, who entering his age 39 season and with his declining skillset is even less desirable of a signing than Martinez. Varitek started the year strong, but quickly got injured and seemed to run out of gas this season. Tek wants to retire as a Red Sox, and the team would like to oblige, but not at the cost of a bloated contract and a wasted roster spot.

Read more of this post

2010 AL East Preview: Sox, Yankees reloaded

As Spring Training finally dawns, we are looking at two teams at the top of the division with significant turnover from this offseason. The Yankees have shed several older, oft-injured players and added a powerful left-handed bat in OF Curtis Granderson. For their part, Boston has decided to focus on run prevention with the signing of John Lackey and even sacrificed OBP in order to improve their team defense in this “bridge year”. The Tampa Rays have another year of development and polish on their young and talented core. Meanwhile, Toronto has gone into rebuilding mode with the trade of Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and the Orioles’ youth movement is on the cusp of paying dividends. What can we expect to see in 2010? Read more of this post