Bye Bye Victor; Hello Mediocrity?

Since the end of the 2010 Red Sox season, the biggest move Red Sox management has made was buying FC Liverpool.  The Sox haven’t even been linked to any of the big name free agents or trade targets that have been floating around this season.  At the beginning of the offseason, I assigned a value to Victor Martinez that I thought they should sign him at and not go any higher.  I believed that value to be 4 years for $60 million.

Today, the Detroit Tigers announced a deal in the range of 4 years for $50 million.  The Sox were not willing to go higher than $42 over 4 years.  Maybe I overpriced Victor in my head but it drives me bananas the Sox weren’t willing to at least go to $55 million.  Victor offered consistent offensive production from both sides of the plate, from a position that doesn’t generally put up solid offensive numbers.  I truly believe the Sox won’t offer Adrian Beltre anything that he would honestly consider.  To be honest, I don’t want the Sox to overspend on Beltre and would prefer they move Youk across the diamond and go after Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, or even Albert Pujols.  As it stands right now, the Sox lineup is weak.

With all that being said, there are some positives in the deal.  The Red Sox will get 2 first round picks in compensation from the Tigers.  No one drafts better than Theo, so I can’t wait to see who they land in the draft and how those prospects develop.  But that is the problem, I can’t wait.  I am impatient and crave success.  To me the Sox are third best in the American League East and that is not acceptable to me.  Expect Jarrod Saltalamacchia to be the starting catcher come April with Jason Varitek backing him up.

Victor Martinez will be 32 in December and by the end of this contract would be 36.  Catcher is one of the hardest positions to fill adequately in baseball.  Victor is head and shoulders above all major league catchers except Joe Mauer and Buster Posey offensively.  I fail to understand why the Sox wouldn’t be willing to go the extra mile for Vic.  I understand them being concerned with his age as catchers tend to decline around the age of 33-34.  The problem is they could easily move him to DH the last two years of the contract.

David Ortiz will only be here one more year after the Sox just picked up his option.  While I am on that subject I find it curious that the Sox were willing to pick up Ortiz’s option of $12.5 million and not give Victor his money when Victor offers more production.  The Rangers declined Vladimir Guerrero’s option for $6 million (half of what the Sox picked up Ortiz’s for), and Vlad offered comparable numbers to Ortiz.

If the Sox don’t make any moves that make this team better, the ownership is in real danger of losing its market share in this region. Once upon a time Boston was all about the Red Sox.  Now the Patriots are the toast of the town.  The Celtics may soon pass the Red Sox in popularity as well.  Hell, considering the Bruins are the only underdog in the city, they may pass the Sox due to everyone loving rooting for an underdog.  The bottom line is if the Red Sox are the 3rd best team in their division.  They need to make moves to be more competitive on the field and to generate interest in the ball club.  If the owners insist on guiding their efforts to their new asset, FC Liverpool, they are in real danger of doing what was once deemed impossible.

The pink hats will turn in membership card they bought for $25 because they though it was the cool thing to do.  The casual fan will tune in sporadically through out the season.  Fenway Park’s sellout streak will end.  NESN’s ratings will continue to plummet.  No one will truly care about the Sox because the ownership and management don’t seem to care either.  If this keeps up a once proud fan base will be no more.  Red Sox Nation will be no more.

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