Monday, December 7, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: The Victor Martinez Contract Extension

UPDATE (12/7): I'm re-posting this piece from November because it looks like the Red Sox and Martinez have started talking about a contract extension. What do you think?

With word coming down today that the Twins and Joe Mauer are exploring the possibility of a contract extension, there has been no dialogue between the Red Sox and Victor Martinez:
"Alan Nero, the agent for Red Sox catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez, said that there hasn’t been any discussion with the Red Sox regarding an extension for his client, and that, at this point, there is no rush to get one done.

“There’s nothing to report,” said Nero in the lobby of the O’Hare International Airport Hilton. “Basically, he’s a Red Sox, it’s as simple as that.

“There’s been no indication on their part, or our part, that that will happen. We’re comfortable in whatever they want to do. If they come to us obviously we’ll listen. But neither Theo (Epstein) or Ben (Cherington) have called and said, ‘Hey, we want to talk long-term’. There was little or no dialogue at all prior to them exercising the option. The bottom line is that we’re content, he’s happy to be a Red Sox, and he’s going to be a Red Sox for the next year.”
Even though there have been no talks between the two sides, can the Red Sox and Martinez come to terms on a contract extension this winter? Maybe. Let's take a look at the respective goals for each side:

The Red Sox

1. Retain their franchise catcher long term

2. Five or six years MAX (catchers have a tendency to break down)

The Victor Martinez Camp

1. Financial Security

2. Become one of (if not the) highest paid catcher in baseball

So how about this deal for Martinez and the Red Sox?

5 years/$65 million (with a $17 million dollar option for 2015)

Here is the contractual breakdown:

2010: $10 million
2011: $12 million
2012: $13 million
2013: $15 million
2014: $15 millon
2015: $17 million

Why it works for the Red Sox

1. Keep Martinez long term

2. Prevent free agent bidding war (especially if Joe Mauer signs an extension with the Twins)

3. Signed Martinez only from ages 31-36 (somewhat limits risk should Martinez begin to break down)

Why it works for Martinez:

1. Financial Security

2. Becomes one of the highest paid catchers in baseball

3. Gets an extra $2.5 million in 2010 just for signing the extension

The real incentive for the Red Sox here is to lock Martinez up before he can hit the free agent market. If Martinez becomes a free agent, then I imagine he will receive offers well north of this one, possibly as long as six or seven years. Signing with the Red Sox now would still be a good move for Martinez, who would be in a great location for the next few years and will be handsomely paid for his services?

Does this contract make sense? Let us know what you think in comments.

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Chris said...

I just think it's weird Nero said, "He's a Red Sox". That doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

K. Lastima said...

Isn't there some doubt as to whether Martinez is actually a decent catcher? It seems like the Sox would just be signing another DH.

Jorge Says No! said...

Victor Martinez is one of the best offensive catchers in baseball. Sure he's not the greatest defensive catcher out there, but his bat more than makes up for his inefficiencies behind the plate.

And what makes this scenario even better for Martinez and the Red Sox is that they can cover up Martinez inefficiencies behind the plate by having him DH a few times a week and by having him play first as well.

Sure he's not the greatest first baseman in the world, but again, his bat makes him valuable and keeps him in the lineup.

Elixinator said...

Victor is getting old; guaranteeing him a 5th year will put them in the same spot in 2016 as they are now with too many hip replacement candidates manning the corners and DH slot.

Victor is 31 entering the season, meaning he'd be 37 by the time a 5 year deal ran out.

Face it, the Red Sox are old. They will still be old, even when Varetik and Lowell leave; it will just be Victor and JD Drew batting 7th and collecting big paychecks.

Jorge Says No! said...

The problem for the Red Sox is that I doubt a 4 year deal would get it done for Martinez. The wear and tear on his body should be less if he plays more 1B and DH, but I understand your concerns about his age. I just think that if the Red Sox want to keep Martinez around, a guaranteed fifth year is a necessity. He's going to get that (and maybe more) from somewhere...

stephen said...

I understand your concerns about his age. Red Sox is that they can cover up Martinez inefficiencies behind the plate. thanks for sharing.