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Free Agent Domino: Victor Martinez Off the Board

According to this article from ESPN, free agent Victor Martinez has agreed to a deal with the Tigers, spurning offers from the Red Sox, White Sox, and…Orioles.

The article says that the O’s were “outbid,” and according to Jen Royle it came down to $2 million dollars and the ever-present “losing team in the AL East” syndrome. No official confirmation on the dollar amounts (something we’ll probably never get), but it hardly matters. We’ve been down this road before and whether it’s $2 million or $20 million, part of the reason the O’s got outbid is because as of today they’re still a bottom-dwelling team in baseball’s far-and-away toughest division.

I know some folks are going to say “well why didn’t the O’s offer 4 years and $55 million? Or 5 and 65? BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO WIN??!!!!” And I suppose we could go through all of that again, how there’s no direct correlation between desire to win and willingness to dramatically overpay. But let’s not. For the moment I’m more interested in: what now?

There’s probably no chance Adam Dunn comes here. And speaking of Jen Royle, she’s also saying that Konerko isn’t an option. That makes sense given that he’s in the twilight of his career and probably doesn’t want to spend those years on a team struggling to get to .500.

Carlos Pena? Turn the spot over to Luke Scott or Nolan Reimold or Johnny Damon and upgrade the offense at another position? I’ll be damned if I have any idea.

For now I’m taking a holistic approach to this offseason. All I want to see is a noticeably upgraded roster by the time spring training begins. So it won’t include Victor Martinez. OK, fair enough. Who’s next?

10 comments to Free Agent Domino: Victor Martinez Off the Board

  • ryan97ou

    i’ve also heard that another major point of contention was he didn’t want to be the backup catcher. which i’ve always thought would be an issue with him.

    still, i guess i had hope. sucks that this season is such a weak free agency crop.

  • Andrew

    my initial reaction remains about the same: equal parts disappointment and relief

  • neal s

    @ Andrew: That sounds about right.

    I wanted Martinez…but I didn’t. Which, come to think about it, is exactly how I feel about Beltré, Konerko, Pena, and Lee.

    Bottom line is that this crop of free agents is terribly uninspiring. I say we need to “upgrade” but I look at the names and I wonder how many of them really fit that bill.

  • ballmer bruce

    Time for Andy to keep his promise and buy bats. Sign Beltre and Dunn and Garland and this team can compete for playoffs next year. No more excuses Peter Ange(lose).

  • neal s

    @ ballmer bruce: I’m going to suppose that you really feel that way and you’re not just using the old radio host tactic of playing the heel for the sake of ratings.

    So here’s the thing: I’m not at all convinced that signing Beltré and Garland are the right moves, and Dunn’s not coming here.

    On Beltré my fear is that we’ll get the guy from 2005 in Seattle when he fell off big time after his contract year in LA. Granted, he rebounded since then and proved last year that he’s still a very decent player. But is he worth a high-dollar, four or five-year commitment when he’ll be 32 to start next season? Teams not named Yankees or Red Sox can’t afford to get stuck under albatross contracts, and Beltré might very well be just that.

    Garland I like as a middle-of-the-rotation guy, but we already have younger guys to serve that role. I wouldn’t mind having him but it wouldn’t be a blockbuster deal by any stretch.

    Dunn would be a game-changer but every account you read says he doesn’t want to DH. I’m all for getting him anyway and just putting him at first, but the overwhelming odds are that he’s just not interested. You can’t sign a guy who doesn’t want to play here.

    Add it up and what I’m saying is that while I wouldn’t necessarily be upset if somehow we landed all three, to not do so would hardly be an indication that the O’s are making excuses or not trying to win.

    You can argue that I’m making excuses or “drinking the kool aid” and that’s fair enough, but even if I’m doing both it doesn’t change the fact that going out and throwing money around isn’t always a smart move. Especially to second-tier free agents who are far from sure things.

  • neal s

    Here’s another thing to think about, from the ESPN article about V-Mart:

    “It always comes down to dollars and years,” Epstein said.

    Right. The GM of the Red Sox — a team with no shortage of money — is openly acknowledging the need to be smart about who they sign, and for how much/long.

    So should the O’s be less smart than that simply to make a splash or prove a point?

    From what I can gather, the O’s were more in on Martinez than the Red Sox. Should Boston fans clamor that their team “doesn’t want to do what it takes to win” because their team didn’t outbid the Tigers? And should they react similarly if the Sox don’t retain Beltré?

  • ballmer bruce

    To Neal. Every year you can make excuses not to spend on free agents. Andy is probably already working on the reasons why we should not go all in next year on Albert. Lets see, he will be too old by the time the last two years of an eight year deal will kick in. I am getting really disgusted with the excuses every year.

    And no, I am not a hater. Just an old 62 year lifelong fan who is almost fed up.

  • ballmer bruce

    It is really simple in the final analysis. Some teams decide to really compete, others decide to make excuses and pocket the profits.

  • Andrew

    @ ballmer bruce:
    I don’t think there’s really that much explanation needed for not spending more than what we offered for Victor Martinez, if that’s what you’re getting at. He’s not good enough at first base or DH to warrant that kind of cash. We can sign some bum like Derrek Lee and get similar production for a lot less.

    And I know I’m not exactly the right voice to be saying this, but Dunn + Beltre + Garland adds at best something like 8 wins to the team. That’s hardly the difference between 2010 and the playoffs.

  • dan the man

    @ ballmer bruce:
    The O’s didn’t have a shot to increase their offer. Only one other team offered more money than the O’s and it’s a team that Victor can go catch fulltime on. Whatever. I like that Andy went hard after the guy he wanted – that’s the important thing. I’m not sure what they do next, though. I’m hoping for Lee, because I don’t think Konerko would come here.

    Jon Garland is off the board as well, so there goes that. 1 year for $5 mil – chump change to play for the Dodgers.