During a recent Boston radio appearance Peter Gammons predicted that the Red Sox will not re-sign Victor Martinez and speculated that the switch-hitting catcher will end up signing with the Tigers as a free agent this offseason.
Gammons speculated that Detroit will give Martinez a four- or five-year contract, adding: “I don’t think anybody else is going to give him four or five years to be a catcher.”
And they shouldn’t. Martinez is a very good hitter, batting .300 with an OPS above .840 in five of the past six seasons, but he’s also 32 years old, has never been considered particularly good behind the plate, and has thrown out just 19 percent of stolen base attempts in the past two seasons. His odds of being a catcher in 2013 or 2014 seem pretty slim, and while his hitting is very good it’s hardly elite for a first baseman or designated hitter.
Martinez is a Type A free agent, so in order to sign him the Tigers would lose their first-round pick, which is 19th overall. Anything in the top 15 picks is protected and would involve Boston receiving a second-round pick instead, so if they’re going to lose Martinez as a free agent his landing in Detroit would be one of the better scenarios.
In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.
The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.
Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.
Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.
There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.