Tag:Victor Martinez
Posted on: October 6, 2010 1:06 am
Edited on: October 6, 2010 1:12 am

R.I.P. Red Sox: Injuries crumble promising year

RIP All eyes will be on eight teams starting Oct. 6 for yet another chapter of postseason baseball. As the sports world waits for the crowning of a new (or as the Yankees hope, repeat) champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. The Red Sox kick off the latest installment.

The Red Sox went into 2010 with an Opening Day payroll just over the luxury tax threshold. This isn't a common occurrence in Boston, as the club likes to hold cash back for midseason deals, but there was only one problem with that: Boston didn't have the depth to bank on these midseason deals coming to fruition.

In the first year of a two-year "bridge" plan to integrate top minor leaguers into the team, the Red Sox succeeded in putting together an excellent team. They just forgot to sign one person: Lady Luck.

Injuries dominated the entire season en route to an 89-win season, a failure in these parts.


Almost no one was immune from injury, with only Adrian Beltre lasting the entire season as a healthy position player. Here's a quick roundup around the diamond:

C: Victor Martinez broke his thumb and went on the disabled list for a month. Jason Varitek fractured his foot in a season similar to Dustin Pedroia's and also missed extended time. Kevin Cash and Gustavo Molina did a poor job of holding down the fort while trade-deadline acquisition Jarrod Saltalamacchia eventually caved to injury as well.

1B: Kevin Youkilis was headed to another MVP-caliber season before tearing a tendon in his right thumb, ending his season on August 3.

Dustin Pedroia 2B: Pedroia (pictured) went down with a left-foot fracture, missing almost two months before returning August 17 and quickly landing right back on the disabled list after a setback.

SS: Marco Scutaro gamely stuck in the entire season, but suffered from left-elbow tendinitis, a sore neck, a pinched nerve and a right-shoulder impingement. He eventually had to shift to second base to finish out the year once he no longer could make the throw from short. Expected backup Jed Lowrie missed the first half of the season due to mono, but could battle Scutaro for the shortstop gig in 2011.

3B: Only Beltre escaped the wrath of the injury gods.

OF: J.D. Drew somehow hung in there all season, strange from the poster boy of injuries. He paid for it with one of his worst seasons, while center fielder Mike Cameron battled kidney stones and an abdominal tear before hanging it up. Jacoby Ellsbury got a Beltre knee to the ribs and suffered through a season full of misdiagnoses, rehab, returns, setbacks and questioning of his makeup.

SP: Daisuke Matsuzaka's spring training was delayed with a sore neck among other issues, while Josh Beckett celebrated his lucrative contract extension with a back problem that knocked him out over two months with a lower back strain and couldn't put anything together on the mound.

While the bullpen didn't have many injury problems, it had plenty with ineffectiveness and was one of the worst in the leagues. The poor play of closer Jonathan Papelbon (and free-agent starting pitcher John Lackey) only served to compound matters.


Clay Buchholz took the next big step and now pairs with Jon Lester -- who cemented himself as one of the best pitchers in the game -- to give Boston a young and incredibly talented top of the rotation. While Buchholz' 2.33 ERA is unsustainably low, there's no hiding his major step forward.

Daniel Bard impressed on the mound as well en route to becoming one of the most dominant setup men in the game, with many clamoring for his ascension to the closer's role in 2011.

Bill Hall shook off the cobwebs of the last few seasons, rediscovering the power stroke that enabled him to slam 30 home runs for the Brewers. His ability to play multiple positions was a lifesaver for Boston, which was able to deploy him where there were holes. Darnell McDonald came up from the minors as a veteran and made a splash in his debut, going on to establish himself as a fourth outfielder who can start against left-handers.

Adrian Beltre had a MVP-caliber season and established himself as a strong clubhouse presence -- but not when he gets his head rubbed .


The Red Sox knew the minors wouldn't be of much help in 2011, and they were right. While players like Lars Anderson and Josh Reddick got their taste of the bigs, success was limited to just two.

One was outfielder Ryan Kalish, who imitated Sonic the Hedgehog in the outfield with his diving flip catches. Kalish struggled to adjust to major-league pitching but showed the talent and the guts to be named as a future 20 homer/20 stolen base candidate.

Felix Doubront zipped through Double- and Triple-A en route to making a few starts for Boston before joining the bullpen. Before his season was cut short to (all together now...) injury, he flashed the potential to make a major impact in the bullpen next season. His future in Boston likely lies in how the team addresses its shortcomings in the bullpen.


The Red Sox will be expected to win, as is always the case in town. Given the team doesn't have much help from the farm on the horizon, Boston will again have to turn to the free-agent market. The Red Sox have a hair over $100 million committed in 2011 salaries and only expected raises for Jacoby Ellsbury and Papelbon to factor in. That should give the team upwards of $50 million to play with, and they'll need all of it with Martinez and Beltre free agents.


Adrian Beltre Adrian Beltre should be high on the priority list. No, he won't match his 2010 levels of production, but will remain one of the best third basemen in the game. Even though all signs point to his departure, money talks -- and unlike last season, Beltre now knows what life is like in Boston and seems open to a return.

Victor Martinez should also see a return to town, as he can catch for at least a couple more seasons and give the Red Sox quality at the plate. Martinez' ability to play first base also helps matters. However, Martinez also has his own signs pointing to a departure.

If so, Boston needs to go out and get an impact bat, with five-tooler Carl Crawford the prize. Jayson Werth would also be a reliable stopgap, but nowhere near the level of Crawford. If Beltre doesn't return, Boston's best bet is to shift Youkilis to third base and go after a first baseman -- perhaps Carlos Pena. Pena combines defense and powers, and if you get lucky, can hit for a solid batting average as well.

The bullpen is a key area to be addressed and while it's not Epstein's M.O. to shell out big bucks for a bullpen (which is a sound strategy), it may be time to put that philosophy aside. Scott Downs is reliever who has two things most relievers don't: an ability to pitch with a left arm and to pitch well. Epstein needs to bring the bucks and get Downs into the fold as the complement to Daniel Bard. However, the soft underbelly of middle relief is also a problem. Fortunately, there's no shortage of strong right-handed relievers -- the only question is if Epstein will go bargain-basement hunting like usual or shell out for a solid option.


The Red Sox will come back loaded in 2011, just like they did in 2010. The minor-leagues will be one year closer to helping out, which will only serve to deepen the depth the Red Sox will need as the season winds on. Couple that with the Yankees' own question marks and the Rays' planned slashing of the budget after seeing integral parts of the team leave as free agents this offseason, and the road to the playoffs for Boston looks far less prohibitive than 2010's road did.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. teams here .

-- Evan Brunell

Join MLB Facts and Rumors at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday to chat live during the Rangers -Rays game!

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:58 am

Rockies to exercise option on Olivo

Miguel Olivo The Rockies will exercise their $2.7 million option on catcher Miguel Olivo, Tracy Ringolsby writes .

Olivo's option was originally worth $2.5 million, but bumped up wihen he played in his 110th game.

Olivo made $2 million this year in Colorado after the Royals declined his $3.3 million option after 2009.

Olivo hit .269/.315/.449 with 14 homers and 58 RBI in 2010. Although his power numbers went down (from 23 homers and a .490 slugging percentage) this season, he increased his average and on-base percentage in Denver.

Looking at his splits, Olivo's gains may be a product of Coors -- he hit .318/.349/.556 at home and .211/.276/.322 on the road. Ten of his 14 homers came at Coors.

The home-field factor wasn't the only red-flag in his splits -- he hit .325/.377/.548 with 11 homers in the first half of the season, and .193/.225/.313 in the second half.

The Rockies have Chris Iannetta under contract, but is due $6.1 million over the next two years. The Rockies could look to trade Iannetta, but would have to eat much of his contract. He due $2.55 million next season, $3.55 million in 2012 with a $5 million club option for 2013 with a  $250,000 buy-out. If traded, he may void that option.

Ianettea's trade value isn't exactly at its peak -- he hit .197/.318/.383 with nine homers and 27 RBI this season, and .175/.296/.278 with two homers on the road.

If the Rockies do trade Ianetta, Michael McKenry and Paul Phillips are possibilities to backup Olivo. Both were called up in September. Two of the Rockies' top prospects are catchers, Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco. Rosario tore his ACL in August, while Pacheco started the season in high-Class A, but finished the season in Triple-A and will play in the Arizona Fall League.

The Rockies have hinted they'd like to take a look at free agent catcher Victor Martinez.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 1, 2010 12:48 pm

Rockies could make play for Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez The Rockies made their annual September surge, only for Colorado to fold down the stretch.

The club can't afford to have anymore of these slow starts only to turn it on in the second half -- there is a window of opportunity to win, as shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is only too well aware of.

"We like our chances that we are going to be together for the next three years, and really that could be the end of it," Tulo observed to the Denver Post . "It's going to be tough to keep all three of us, I'll tell you that. I want it to happen, and I want it to happen here."

Along those same lines, the Rockies are looking for impact bats -- one to start in the outfield and one who could complement Todd Helton at first. They may also need a catcher, as it's likely Miguel Olivo declines his mutual option in search of a more lucrative contract. Unless Colorado is ready to turn the job over to Chris Iannetta -- and based on their actions over the past year, that's not happening -- the club also needs a catcher.

Enter Victor Martinez, who Troy Renck of the Post says the Rockies will target. Martinez could catch and then spell Todd Helton at first base. Given Helton's weakness is against lefties and Iannetta flourishes against southpaws, it could be a perfect platoon. Given that V-Mart is going to have countless suitors, however, Colorado likely won't be able to compete with the offers the backstop will receive.

Renck names Conor Jackson as a low-cost alternative that could platoon with Helton. Jackson is coming off a second-straight injury plagued season but shouldn't find much trouble finding a bench spot somewhere.

 -- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:32 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 3:44 pm

Could Victor Martinez be an Oriole?

Victor Martinez Could Victor Martinez be headed to a division rival?

Buster Olney of ESPN tweets that "the Orioles could take a serious run at Victor Martinez in free agency, in a combo 1B-C-DH/leader type of role."

Martinez is an impending free agent currently with the Boston Red Sox, serving as catcher. While his season was partly abbreviated due to an injury and has struggled on offense, he's still put together a .299/.347/.489 mark with 18 home runs in 502 plate appearances spread over 119 games.

Martinez isn't considered to be a good defensive catcher although he has improved lately. At age 31, however, Martinez' time behind the dish is drawing to a close, especially as he's shown he can handle first base.

There figure to be plenty of teams in on Martinez and his versatility, but the switch-hitter has given every indication he hopes to stay behind the plate. However, given that he's looking for what should be his last big-money deal, he'll let his new team pick where he plays -- so long as he gets paid.

In Baltimore, Martinez would likely play the bulk of his time at first and DH, given phenom Matt Wieters is the current backstop.

The Orioles, struggling through a brutal season, have picked things up since manager Buck Showalter was hired. With a burgeoning crop of young players, the O's could quite conceivably do a worst-to-first turn. Okay, that's unlikely, but a push to finish over .500 in 2011 can't be discounted.

Martinez, who is a fantastic leader both on the field and in the clubhouse, could be a vital piece toward ushering contention into Baltimore.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 8, 2010 10:02 am

Red Sox make two-year offer to Martinez

Victor Martinez
Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez was surprised to receive a two-year contract offer from the team, and thinks he deserves a longer deal.

“It wasn’t hard because it wasn’t something I was expecting,” Martinez told WEEI.com. “I wan’t expecting a two-year deal. I wasn’t expecting them to come to me during the season, anyways.”

Signing Martinez, who is playing the $7 million option year of a five-year, $15 million contract, is sure to be a top priority for the Red Sox this winter. He has hit .336 and .292 in his first two years in Boston, and the Red Sox don't want to go forward with Jason Varitek as their starter. The two-year offer is just a start to get negotiations kicked off.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 11:02 am

Red Sox offer two-year deal to Martinez

Victor Martinez A loss to the Orioles dropped the Red Sox to eight games behind first place. Also seven games behind the wild card lead, it's all but over in Beantown for postseason aspirations.

For 2011 to be any better, GM Theo Epstein is going to have to pull some long hours, given that catcher Victor Martinez and third baseman Adrian Beltre are two of several pending free agents.

While Epstein has catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fold plus a motley crew of Triple-A veterans, Boston lacks a bona-fide starting catcher headed into next season. Aside from a scorching May and June, V-Mart's year hasn't been up to par with previous seasons, checking in at .294/.341/.467 in 414 plate appearances. Of course, that line is tremendously valuable for a catcher, especially one that has improved his defense lately.

The Red Sox have gotten a jump start on retaining Martinez, offering a two-year deal to the 31-year-old. That won't get anything done, but as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports, the initial two-year offer is simply to let Martinez know Boston wants to retain him. The only question is how many years and dollars to allocate to someone with yo-yoing offensive productions and plenty of questions surrounding how long he can last as a catcher.

Boston may view V-Mart as their first baseman, which would slide Kevin Youkilis to third base, theoretically to replace Beltre. That would leave Saltalamacchia as the incumbent behind the plate, a risky proposition. Salty is expected to get his fair share of playing time down the stretch, with Martinez logging time at first, in an attempt to prove to Boston he is ready to be a full-time catcher.

However, if both Martinez and Beltre are retained, the team could enter into a rotation with Martinez, Youkilis and Beltre grabbing time at DH to give Saltalamacchia a good amount of playing time. If David Ortiz returns to the Sox to DH, then Salty will just have to deal with being a backup catcher -- which would bring to a close the Jason Varitek era in Boston. Given how well Varitek was playing in his first full season as a backup, the Red Sox may not be prepared to end the Captain's tenure.

So if not two years, how about three? That appears far more likely, but Martinez might be able to squeeze a four-year commitment out on the market, with the White Sox and Tigers top contenders, and plenty of other teams in the mix. Even the Yankees could inquire, as Jorge Posada is largely finished as a catcher.

 -- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: July 6, 2010 6:11 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 6:13 pm

Ellsbury may join team in Toronto

Jacoby Ellsbury The Red Sox could be getting a much-needed body off of the disabled list before the All-Star break.

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reports Terry Francona said there was a possibility Jacoby Ellsbury could return to the team this weekend in Toronto.

So far, this is just a possibility, Cafardo emphasizes.

Ellsbury suffered four cracked ribs on April 4, spent more than a month on the DL and cracked another rib and has been on the disabled list since May 28.

Francona told reporters Ellsbury was starting to throw and was having a good day in Arizona, where he has been rehabbing.

Another of the rib crew, Jeremy Hermida, took four rounds of batting practice in the cage on Tuesday and is expected to take regular batting practice tomorrow. However, Francona said he didn't know when Hermida would be headed out on a rehab assignment.

Francona had other updates to the length Red Sox list: no clue on Victor Martinez (thumb), foot injury buddies Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek are continuing to throw and Clay Buchholz (hamstring) should be ready after the All-Star break. Mike Lowell (hip) is at home in Miami.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 28, 2010 9:49 pm

Report: Boston's Martinez to DL

The Boston Globe reports that Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez, even without needing surgery for a break in his thumb, will be placed on the disabled list on Tuesday.

The Red Sox don't have great in-house options available at catcher (their top two Triple-A catchers are both on the disabled list), and apparently will bring up Gustavo Molina. Molina is not much of a hitter, but the schedule (including the All-Star break) works in Boston's favor and Jason Varitek should be able to start the majority of the games Martinez misses.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com