The Red Sox willingness to part ways with the fairly affordable Victor Martinez makes me think they must feel as if they have a long-term solution at first base waiting in the wings. Adrian Gonzalez? Kevin Youkilis (with a long-term third baseman coming on board)? Anthony Rizzo?
Any other explanation is unfathomable. Martinez signed with Detroit for four years at $12.5 million per year. That’s what the Sox will be paying David Ortiz next year. That’s $2 million less than they will be paying J.D. Drew. Martinez is younger and a better player than either of those two. He’s a switch-hitter who devours lefties. And they don’t have another viable major league catcher on the roster.
Sure the Sox may have been leery of his catching ability, especially in a couple of years after his skills have deteriorated some. But Martinez is a capable first baseman. Which is why I think they are concerned about creating log-jam at that position. If nothing develops along that front this off-season, then the casualness with which Theo and company let Martinez walk away is going to look like a colossal mistake as well as an act of arrogance.
And speaking of mistakes, why is it the Red Sox don’t have a major-league ready catcher waiting in the wings? Jason Varitek didn’t lie about his age. The Sox knew he was going to coming to the end of his career one day. They had plenty of time to cultivate a young prospect. Yet their nearest prospect appears to be a year or two away from graduating to the big leagues. This feels like another major failing on the part of Theo Epstein, or at least the scouting department.