Tag:Victor Martinez
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 8:18 pm
 

DH market still crowded

Vladimir Guerrero If there's a surplus of one position on the free agent market, it may be the designated hitter spot.

Jim Thome, one of last season's bargain pickups, is still unsigned, as are Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. And then there's the not-retired Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi, Russell Branyan, Jose Guillen and Hank Blalock.

So far this offseason, the Red Sox exercised their option on David Ortiz, the Yankees have said they'll move Jorge Posada out from behind the plate, as will the Tigers with newly-signed Victor Martinez. Adam Dunn will be a first-time designated hitter with the White Sox.

As for teams with needs, that includes the team Thome DH'd for last season, the Twins, who would like him back. Of course, after putting up the year he did, he feels like he deserves a raise -- especially with his 600th career home run likely coming this season. The Rays, Angels and Rangers also have obvious needs, while the Orioles, Royals and Blue Jays could upgrade at the spot or stay put.

As it stands, here how the current AL DHs line up:
Orioles -- Luke Scott
Red Sox -- David Ortiz
Yankees -- Jorge Posada
Blue Jays -- Edwin Encarnacion
Rays -- Matt Joyce
White Sox -- Adam Dunn
Indians -- Travis Hafner
Tigers -- Victor Martinez
Royals -- Billy Butler
Twins -- Jason Kubel
Angels -- Mike Napoli
A's -- Hideki Matsui
Mariners -- Jack Cust
Rangers -- David Murphy

And here's who is left on the market (2010 AVG/OBP/SLG HR, RBI)
Jim Thome .283/.412/.627 25, 59
Vladimir Guerrero .300/.345/.496 29, 115
Manny Ramirez .298/.409/.510 16, 42
Johnny Damon .271/.355/.401 8, 51
Russell Branyan .237/.323/.487 25, 57
Jason Giambi .244/.378/.398 6, 35
Andruw Jones .230/.341/.486 19, 48
Hank Blalock .254/.319/.349 1, 7
Jose Guillen .258/.314/.416 16, 62
Jeremy Hermida .216/.268/351 6, 29
Troy Glaus .240/.344/.400 16, 71
Mike Sweeney .252/.321/.444 8, 26
Jorge Cantu .256/.304/.392 11, 56
Jermaine Dye (2009) .250/.340/.453 27, 81

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 12, 2010 9:30 pm
 

Additions of Crawford, Gonzalez not a cut above?

There's certainly cause for celebration in Boston these days, as the Red Sox have added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to an incredibly deep lineup.

However, is the lineup any better than 2010, when Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre helped anchor it?

Check out the figures below for the players' 2010 seasons:

  G AB H R 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG OPS
Victor Martinez 127 493 149 64 32 20 79 0.302 0.351 0.493 0.844
Adrian Beltre 154 589 189 84 49 28 102 0.321 0.365 0.553 0.919
Total 281 1082 338 148 81 48 181        
                       
Carl Crawford 154 600 184 110 30 19 90 0.307 0.356 0.495 0.851
Adrian Gonzalez 160 591 176 87 33 31 101 0.298 0.393 0.511 0.904
Total 314 1191 360 197 63 50 191        

The bold numbers indicate who holds the edge in the categories in question.

So far, the new duo blows the old duo out of the water. More hits, runs and RBI by a comfortable margin. The one warning sign comes in home runs where Crawford/Gonzalez only lead by two but trail significantly in doubles.

There's one problem, though: while Crawford and Beltre both appeared in 154 games, there's quite a divide in games played by Gonzalez and Martinez. Gonzalez got to play in 160 while Martinez played in less thanks to being a catcher and missing time with injury. That limited V-Mart to just 127 games.

Let's look at the numbers again, but pro-rated over a full 162 games:

162-game projections G H R 2B HR RBI          
Victor Martinez 162 190 82 41 26 101          
Adrian Beltre 162 199 88 52 29 107          
Total 324 389 170 92 55 208          
                       
Carl Crawford 162 194 116 32 20 95          
Adrian Gonzalez 162 178 88 33 31 102          
Total 324 372 204 65 51 197          

Now that changes things a bit.

There are a few caveats, however. First is the lack of impact defense has on this chart. Gonzalez and Crawford are Gold Glove-caliber players. Beltre is as well at third, but V-Mart certainly isn't a defensive catcher. In fact, Detroit plans to have him play the bulk of his time at DH.

In favor of Crawford and Gonzalez in this comparison is the fact that Gonzalez' power number should rise dramatically at Fenway. Crawford, too, may be able to get over the 20-home run hump that is causing many to scoff at such a lucrative deal for someone who has never hit 20 home runs. Given Crawford impacts the game in so many other ways and checked in with 19 home runs in 2010, it's a strange thing to scoff at.

In addition, it's no sure thing Martinez could repeat his numbers if he continued down the path of catching full-time, although he probably would have approximated his numbers once more in 2011. Beltre, on the other hand, has now turned in two sublime seasons in contract years and hasn't been a factor on offense otherwise. His volatility cannot be discounted.

Ah, but on the flip side, Martinez and Beltre both fill impact positions at catcher and third base. The former position is no easy feat to find above-average offensive production, while third base is important defensively and is no picnic to fill offensively.

First base and left field, on the other hand, are two of the easiest positions to find bats at -- and even defense, if one was so inclined. But defense at first and left is less important than other positions.

Will Beltre and Martinez outperform Crawford and Gonzalez next season offensively as well as defensively? Probably not, but the difference is a lot closer than one may think.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 29, 2010 5:44 pm
 

Rangers sign Torrealba

Yorvit Torrealba
Nobody is going to confuse Yorvit Torrealba for Victor Martinez, whom the Rangers tried and failed to sign this month. But as offensive catchers go, you could do worse.

Texas has agreed on a two-year, $6.25 million deal with Torrealba, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. With Bengie Molina leaning toward retirement and Matt Treanor not an everyday option, the Rangers had made signing a catcher a top offseason priority.

Torrealba, 32, batted .271 for San Diego in 2010, third among National League catchers with at least 300 at-bats. He doesn't get on base a ton (.320 career OBP) but has a little pop, with 24 percent of his hits last season going for extra bases.

Torrealba was a Type B free agent, so the Padres, who offered him arbitration, will get a supplemental first-round draft pick next year. The Rangers do not surrender a pick for signing him.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 26, 2010 5:51 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 10:50 am
 

Hot Stove League profile: Jim Thome

For the past three week, CBS Sports' MLB Facts and Rumors has been profiling both free agents and trade candidates who will help stoke the fires of the Hot Stove League. Today, we wrap up with ageless DH Jim Thome.

Hot Stove League When Jim Thome signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Minnesota last winter, it was greeted with a collective shrug. Thome had batted .249 in 2009, was traded by the White Sox late in the season for a minor leaguer in a clear salary dump, and was approaching his 40th birthday. A wire story on the signing noted that "he'll be more of a bench player than the middle-of-the-lineup-force he's been for 19 seasons."

Well, Thome exceeded everyone's expectations in 2010, likely including those of the Twins. He had a .283/.412/.627 line at the plate, with his OPS of 1.039 the highest since 2002 and his OPS+ of 178 the second-best of his career. He had 59 RBI and hit 25 homers, bringing his total to 589, eighth all-time. He was productive, healthy, and actually got better as the season wore on.

Thome's not going to sneak up on anybody next year, and he's not going to be available for $1.5 million, either. He's going to be back to make a run at 600 homers, but where?

STATS

2010: .283/.412/.627, 59 RBI, 25 HR in 340 PA.

Career: .278/.404/.559, 1,624 RBI, 589 HR (eighth all-time).

Jim Thome WHAT IT WILL TAKE

Thome should command something in the neighborhood of $5 million for one year, probably with an incentive tied to plate appearances. Since he's made almost $140 million in his career and could be playing his final season, you would think he'd be looking beyond money. He'll want to be somewhere he can play, and he'll want a chance at the World Series ring that has eluded him for two decades.

WHERE HE COULD GO

Thome spoke glowingly of his experience in Minnesota, where the former Twin killer enjoyed huge popularity, and Twins GM Bill Smith is on record as wanting Thome to return. One potential sticking point could be playing time.

The reason Thome played so much in 2010 is because Jason Kubel, who was supposed to be the regular DH, was called upon to play in right field after right fielder Michael Cuddyer had to take over at first due to Justin Morneau's season-ending concussion. The Twins have picked up Kubel's option for 2011, and Thome's return would give them two left-handed designated hitters. Thome, who kills right-handed pitching, could end up in a platoon situation, but not with another left-handed hitter.

So who else could use him? The Red Sox picked up the option on David Ortiz, so there went one good option. The Tigers seemed like a decent fit, but now say newly signed Victor Martinez will DH most of the time. The White Sox have been trying to upgrade at DH, and the Angels and Rays also could use a better option there. There are some losing teams in the market for a DH (Mariners, Orioles), but it seems likely Thome will prefer a contender.

PREDICTION

The Twins are able to promise Thome enough playing time to entice him back for one more run at a title.

OTHER PROFILES
J. Bartlett | H. Bell | A. Beltre | C. Crawford | A. Dunn | P. Fielder | P. Konerko | C. Lee | V. Martinez (SIGNED) | D. Uggla (TRADED) | R. Soriano | J. Upton | J. Werth

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 25, 2010 2:26 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Did Red Sox mess up in not signing Martinez?

Hot Stove League Did the Red Sox mess up in not signing Victor Martinez?

On one hand, giving four years to an aging catcher rarely works out well. It's a near lock that by year four, the Tigers will be looking forward to the expiration of Martinez' deal just like they did for Magglio Ordonez and are anticipating with Carlos Guillen.

However, does that necessarily  mean the deal is a poor one?

After all, for the next two-to-three years, the Tigers have a premier bat in the middle of the order. While Detroit plans to use him as primarily DH, Boston would have kept him as its backstop for at least the next two seasons. He would have provided incredible value over and above most other catchers, which may have been worth the extra year.

And after those two years, V-Mart could have shifted to first or DH. It's debatable whether he would have had the stick to last at those positions at that point, but one has to imagine he would still be able to bring the thunder. With the flexibility Martinez offers, the team would have been able to go into many different directions -- up to and including trading Martinez if push came to shove.

The Red Sox have experience with a tough situation in the last couple years of a deal, with Mike Lowell finally being erased from the payroll. This may have influenced Boston's thinking, but Martinez is in a bit of a different situation than Lowell, able to catch, play first and DH and would likely have more residual trade value than the longtime Marlin. In addition, injuries largely sunk Lowell and those can't be predicted.

Martinez Over the last few years, GM Theo Epstein has become far more conservative in deals, such as Mark Teixeira. The notable exception is the curious (panic-motivated?) signing of John Lackey. That philosophy has reduced the Red Sox's chances of getting bit, but it's also reduced Boston's chances of contending.

  (It would be a disservice to Epstein here to not point out the decisions that have worked out as a result of his philosophy. Exhibit A is Jason Bay, who may yet still bounce back for New York. You can't assume Bay would have struggled in Fenway like he did for the Mets, nor that he would have suffered a concussion, but facts are facts, and Bay turned in a terrible season.)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is long on potential and could end up with a Jason Varitek-ian career in Boston, but he could just as easily wash out of his third organization. Boston likely would have been better on the field with Martinez than Saltalamacchia in 2011 and 2012 (unless Salty finally lives up to expectations).

Given the team is built to win now, is the value of those two years worth a potential dropoff in the fourth year of the deal -- or even third year? Is the increased chance of a World Series in the next two seasons worth that one season of gritting your teeth and waiting for Martinez' deal to expire -- if it even happens?

Tough questions. No way to answer them.

But this much is clear: Epstein has become far more conservative in recent years, and has drawn the ire of the fanbase as a result. Whether or not Epstein's lack of going for the jugular is truly holding the team back is a mystery yet to be solved.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:38 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 9:56 am
 

Rangers were on Martinez, interested in Konerko

Konerko Before Victor Martinez chose the Tigers, the Rangers were in on the catcher's services, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal .

This is a bit of a surprise, given the Rangers are expected to stay in the thick of the Cliff Lee bidding until the bitter end (and it probably will turn out bitter with Lee being fitting for pinstripes) and also dealing with bringing back Vladimir Guerrero.

However, it appears that's not stopping the Rangers from trying to upgrade elsewhere -- such as first base, where the club is interested in longtime White Sox Paul Konerko.

Konerko is widely expected to return to Chicago but if he does not, wants to go to a team that is close to his home in Arizona. The Rangers count among these teams, although the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Angels are closer. Helping Texas is its spring training facility in Arizona.

Konerko would actually be a nice get for the Rangers. He would be going to another hitting-friendly ballpark and the club has both first base and DH wide open, as Mitch Moreland isn't enough to serve as a block at first base.

Coming off a career year, Konerko is sure to get at least a two year deal and could wind up with three when all is said and done.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:08 pm
 

Red Sox decline to offer arbitration to Varitek

Varitek Could Jason Varitek's Red Sox career be coming to an end?

While not closing the books on his return, Boston declined to offer arbitration to the backstop, meaning Varitek cannot accept and bind both sides to a one-year deal.

Varitek's return to Boston actually improved Tuesday with the news that catcher Victor Martinez is inking a deal with the Tigers, but the continued declining of the arbitration offer even after that news broke speaks to how cautious Boston is being. Varitek would likely have gotten a slight bump over his 2010 salary of $3 million. As a Type B free agent, he could have brought Boston a supplemental first-rounder had he declined the offer of arbitration and signed elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the club also declined to offer arbitration to Bill Hall, closing the books on his onerous contract that was largely subsidized by the Brewers. Mike Lowell, a Type B free agent, was also not offered arbitration as the veteran is expected to retire.

Arbitration was offered to Martinez, Adrian Beltre and Felipe Lopez. With V-Mart's trek to Detroit, Boston will hold the No. 19 pick in the draft, unless Detroit signs a higher-profile free agent, which is unlikely. They also gain a supplemental first-round pick. The team is in shape to gain from Adrian Beltre's departure as well, if it happens, so Boston may be more willing to part with its own first-round pick as a result.

The last player to be offered arbitration was infielder Felipe Lopez, who likely has a gentleman's agreement with the club to decline. That gives the Red Sox a free pick after Lopez was released by the Cardinals late in the season and plucked up by Boston for the chance at the extra draft pick.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 23, 2010 10:20 am
Edited on: November 23, 2010 10:44 am
 

Report: Martinez to Tigers

Victor Martinez The first big free-agent signing of the offseason may be coming soon, as ESPNdeportes' Ignacio Serrano reports Victor Martinez is close to a four-year, $50 million deal with the Tigers.

Martinez will return to the American League Central, where he played for the Indians from 2002 to 2009, when he was traded to the Red Sox.

Martinez hit .302/.351/.493 with 20 home runs for the Red Sox last season and is a career .300/.369/.469 hitter.

The Tigers have money to spare, with several big contracts coming off the books for 2011. The team announced earlier in the day that they would not be offering arbitration to their five free agents, Magglio Ordonez, Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Bobby Seay and Gerald Laird.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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