Multiple media outlets are reporting that the Red Sox have been out-bid for free agent catcher Victor Martinez by the Detroit Tigers. V-Mart will reportedly receive a 4-year deal worth $50 million, according to Venezuelan newspaper “El Nacional”.
A Major League source told the AP and ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes that the Sox gave Martinez a choice between a 3-year deal worth $36 million and a 4-year contract for $42 million. V-Mart made $7.7 million last year during his only full season in Boston…
This news should come as a shock to no one. It’s exactly what we predicted less than two weeks ago, and now it appears to be a reality.
It’s not all bad news for the Sox, who lose a Type A free agent in Martinez. Boston will receive the Tigers’ 19th overall pick in next year’s draft along with a sandwich round pick as compensation.
This is all under the assumption that the Red Sox offer Martinez arbitration, which is a no-brainer given V-Mart’s desire for a long-term deal and the contract offer on the table from Detroit.
The team has until midnight on Tuesday to offer backup Jason Varitek (among other players) arbitration, a move that is far less likely with respect to the veteran catcher.
Varitek exercised a $3 million option a little more than a year ago to stay in Boston for a 14th season. He’d be almost guaranteed to receive a raise through arbitration, so the Sox may be interested in bringing the 38-year-old back at a discount in 2011.
What ‘Tek is willing to accept for a 15th season with the Sox is anyone’s guess, assuming he isn’t offered arbitration.
Former 1st round pick Jarrod Saltalamacchia is now number one on the Sox’ depth chart at catcher. Acquired mid-season last year, Saltalamacchia is a .248 career hitter in the Majors and has had numerous throwing issues behind the plate.
He hit just .158 in 10 games with the Sox last season with no homers and 3 doubles.
Martinez was easily the highlight of an otherwise weak market of free agent catchers. Among those that remain unsigned are Miguel Olivo, A.J. Pierzynski, Rod Barajas, Bengie Molina, and former Tiger Gerald Laird.
Former Blue Jays backstop and rumored Sox target John Buck signed a 3-year, $18 million deal with the Marlins last week.