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.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.