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Red Sox’s reported interest in John Buck seems surprising

Nov 11, 2010, 1:47 PM EDT

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According to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com “the Red Sox are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of free-agent catcher John Buck” if Victor Martinez signs elsewhere.

On one hand that makes sense, as both Martinez and Jason Varitek are free agents and Buck is generally considered the second-best catcher on the market this offseason.

On the other hand, Buck hardly seems like a typical Red Sox target. Boston’s lineup has ranked among the league’s top three in walks drawn every year since 2003 because the front office places a premium on players with good plate discipline and high on-base percentages. Not only doesn’t Buck fit those bills, he’s among the least-disciplined hitters in baseball.

This season he drew a grand total of just 16 walks and struck out 111 times in 437 plate appearances. His strikeout-to-walk ratio ranked dead last in baseball among the 205 players who batted at least 400 times and his walk rate was third-worst ahead of only Pedro Feliz and A.J. Pierzynski.

And while Buck was able to succeed despite a horrible 111/16 K/BB ratio this season, hitting .281 with 20 homers and an .802 OPS, his previous track record is far less impressive. Prior to this season he hit .235 with a .298 on-base percentage and .407 slugging percentage in 584 career games, averaging 31 walks and 103 strikeouts per 437 plate appearances.

Buck is coming off a career-year and has always had good power for a catcher, but I’d be surprised if the Red Sox are truly prepared to get into any bidding wars over someone with a .301 career on-base percentage.

  1. proudlycanadian - Nov 11, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    A free agent trade of Buck for Martinez works for me. Last season, the free agent trade of Alex Gonzalez for Scutaro worked out quite well for the Jays.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 11, 2010 at 5:24 PM

      Buck Martinez once caught for the Blue Jays and is their TV play by play announcer. An Omen??? Come on down V-Mart. The Jays could use a first baseman who can fill in behind the plate.

  2. BC - Nov 11, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Bye bye V-Mart.

  3. pisano - Nov 11, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    This guy is the sleeper on the free agent market . I was hoping like hell the Yankees would grab him , but it seems the Sox are smarter . Buck can field and hit and hit for power . This guy is a hard nosed player and would help any team . Theo is no dummy and will get alot for his money .

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