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Red Sox can't re-sign Martinez just yet

Feb 15, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

The Red Sox may well want Victor Martinez as their catcher beyond 2010. He’s not much defensively and he never will be, but he doesn’t embarrass himself and it could be a long time before a real upgrade is available. Still, despite Martinez’s obvious eagerness to get a deal done now, nothing figures to happen for two very big reasons.
1. Joe Mauer still hasn’t reupped with the Twins.
Mauer would likely spur the biggest bidding war yet between the Yankees and Red Sox if the Twins fail to sign him to an extension past 2010. As is, Mauer and Martinez are far and away the top catchers set to be available next winter. A.J. Pierzynski, Gerald Laird and Bengie Molina are the best of the rest. Things don’t look any better two years down the line. Yadier Molina has a 2012 option that’s sure to be picked up. Jorge Posada will be a free agent, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be a catcher in 2012. Brian McCann and Russell Martin are still three years away from free agency (four for McCann if his option is picked up).
Odds are that a Mauer deal will get done, and that could spur the Red Sox into action with Martinez. However, there’s another factor that weighs heavily that will be overlooked by some:
2. Martinez’s current contract is extremely friendly for luxury-tax purposes.
I touched on this subject back in December.
With all of their recent moves, the Red Sox are in danger of having to pay the luxury tax for the first time since 2004. An extension for Martinez wouldn’t necessarily add anything to the team’s 2010 payroll, but it would immediately raise Martinez’s luxury tax figure from $7.68 million and replace it with his new average annual salary (with the 2010 salary still factoring into the mix). Since it would likely take at least $12 million per year to sign Martinez, the jump could push the Red Sox over the top.
So, even if it costs a few extra million dollars then, the Red Sox would likely be better off waiting until next winter to re-sign Martinez.

  1. Old Gator - Feb 15, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    If the Beanbags can afford to bid on Mauer, I’m going to ask the SEC to investigate John Henry’s market dealings over the past three years. I mean, the guy’s a glorified stockbroker. He’s either got a bottle with a genie in it who speaks with the voice of Robin Williams, or he’s been engaging in enough insider trading to embarrass Ivan Boesky. Or better yet, will the Beanbags be the first team to jap the Borg using Federal bailout funds and calling Mauer’s contract a “bonus”?

  2. Dave G. - Feb 15, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    You assume Henry is dumb enough to get hosed on the market? Not hardly, therefore he has enough funds to support his team. Now, what IS obvious and should be investigated is the Yankees asking the City of New York to chip in 180 million for their stadium and then within weeks signing Texiera. Serious, the NY taxpayers should be PISSED that their taxes went to buy Mark Texiera.

  3. Old Gator - Feb 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    If Hank Greenberg got hosed on the market, anybody can get hosed on the market. Just ask Jason Compson. You know how those “greatest scientists in the world” in your vintage B-movies were always scratching their heads when some mutant, resurrected Jurassic aberration or alien force began causing all kinds of weirdness out there in the world before finally showing itself – or how the scientists that did figure it out always got ignored until “it” walked down the middle of Broadway or hovered above the White House? Well, this market was like that. John Henry was dumb enough to buy the Feesh, and inept enough to fail to adjust to Banana Republic politics well enough to get a stadium built in Macondo. No doubt he could also have been taken by surprise by the black death market too.
    But regardless, you’re right about the sucker effect in New York. The view from Macondo is pretty jaundiced too; we got snookered with our eyes wide open, which is more the rule than the exception here in the northernmost city in South America – just not as much as Gotham got snookered by the Borg.

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