To say the Red Sox have been active this winter would be a gigantic understatement, but it appears they are far from done. ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the Sox are considered the favorites to sign free agent catcher Russell Martin.
Martin was not tendered a contract by the Dodgers and has hit the open market. The 27-year-old was an All-Star in 2007 and 2008 but was hampered by a hip injury last season and hit just .248 in 89 games for Los Angeles…
Boston is reportedly one of four teams to have made Martin a contract offer. Two of the other interested suitors are believed to be AL East rivals Toronto and New York.
The Sox currently have Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on their roster behind the plate, but they may not view either as a capable starter. Varitek will turn 39 next April while Saltalamacchia has never been a consistent catcher from an offensive or defensive standpoint.
Martin’s best season came in 2007 when he hit .293 with 19 homers and 87 RBI for the Dodgers while slugging a career best .469. Since then, he has regressed offensively each year and LA has gone in a different direction with the signing of Dioner Navarro.
Martin, a native of Ontario (advantage Blue Jays?), made a little more than $5 million last season and told the Dodgers in their negotiations that he wouldn’t play for a cent less in 2011.
In order to prove his health and productivity, Martin likely won’t receive anything longer than a 2-year deal. He has a strong throwing arm behind the dish but there are differing opinions regarding his overall defensive ability.
The Sox may have already spent nearly $300 million this off-season with the signing of Carl Crawford and the reported extension offered to the newly acquired Adrian Gonzalez.