Red Sox coach blames 'bad habits' from Indians on Victor Martinez's throwing struggles

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Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Victor Martinez has tried to improve his woeful throwing numbers by participating in twice-daily workout sessions with catching instructor Gary Tuck.
Tuck praised Martinez’s work ethic while adding that “he came over here with some really bad habits” and “you can’t break them overnight.” I’d be interested to hear the Indians’ response to that, since Tuck is basically saying Cleveland has a terrible coaching staff that hindered Martinez’s development defensively.
However, his throw-out percentage during eight seasons with the Indians was actually decent at 24.5 percent, especially compared to his abysmal rate of 8.3 percent since joining the Red Sox in the middle of last year.
Rather than bad habits, what really seems to have destroyed Martinez’s ability to control the running game is elbow surgery in 2008, because as Bradford notes since returning from that he’s gunned down just 9-of-92 steal attempts. Whatever the case, Martinez finding a way to go from horrendous to merely bad throwing out runners may determine whether the Red Sox make a significant effort to re-sign the impending free agent.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.