V-Mart Extension a Must
With all the attention on trying to lock-up Josh Beckett long term these past few weeks, there is a crucial piece of the future not being addressed. After reading Ian Browne’s of MLB.com’s mailbag this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder why the Sox wouldn’t try to lock up Victor Martinez for the long haul, regardless of what position he will play in the future. Letting him play out the season and enter the free agent market would be detrimental to the future of the franchise.
V-Mart just turned 31 this past December and has shared time at 1st base over the past several years, leading the Sox to question a long term deal. As Browne pointed out, the Sox want to see V-Mart play for an entire season at catcher before they make any judgments on his future. The concern is that V-Mart may evolve into a full-time 1st baseman or DH depending on the condition of his body.
I understand the Sox are focused on protecting their investments and love to add in health clauses to everyone’s contract (i.e. John Lackey), but does it really matter if V-Mart catches for the next 5 years or if he slides over to 1st base or DH? No.
As we all know, David Ortiz is no longer a spring chicken at age 34. His early season struggles last year began to place doubt about Ortiz’s longevity and raised some eyebrows in the front office about what to do in the future. If V-Mart can’t be behind the plate for more than another year or two, he would be a perfect DH or 1st baseman (move Youk to 3rd). V-Mart’s offensive numbers are too strong to not at least try and resign him before he enters the open market next winter.
For some players, using the wait and see approach is valuable and benefits the team, but not in this case. Offensive catchers are in such high demand and if a free agent in November, V-Mart will attract a ton of attention, driving his price tag through the roof. Theo should stop hesitating and put a solid offer on the table to begin the negotiations. V-Mart is a key component in the continued success of the franchise over the next several years.