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With the addition of Victor Martinez to the Red Sox, the team now has plenty of options.
Martinez has the capability to be a complete utility man for the Sox: he can play first base, he can catch, and he can be the DH – he’s already proven he can hit. In only his second game playing with the Red Sox, he had five hits and four RBI’s, not to mention his batting average for the season is .292.
But this begs the question, what happens next?
Right now, the most obvious solution is for Martinez to fall into place as catcher. Currently George Kottaras is on the DL, and we all know that Jason Varitek isn’t getting any younger. Varitek is still captain, and still one of the most important players on the team, but that doesn’t ignore the fact that there is something else Tek is lacking besides his inability to stop getting older…
It comes down to offensive production. Unfortunately Varitek’s numbers at the plate aren’t the greatest (his average for the season so far is only .233). While he’s still extremely successful behind the plate – and is respected and revered by the rest of the team – at 37 years old, that might not be enough anymore. Being a great catcher is one thing, but the way things are going, the Red Sox need a catcher who can hit.
The most likely scenario, given the circumstances? Victor Martinez will be making more appearances as catcher. Not only will the Sox want him prepping to be second to Varitek, but depending on what happens with his contract – he has a $7 million player option for 2010 – we may find him continuing to play for the Red Sox.
Yes, Kottaras will be back soon and will still be back-up catcher, but for how much longer? Kottaras has only put up a .224 batting average so far, and the way it stands, Martinez is looking a lot better. Also, Martinez is more useful. If he’s not playing catcher, he can play first base. And he can also DH, a position I doubt the Red Sox would even consider throwing Kottaras into.
Either way you look at it, adding Martinez to the team was a very smart move. Even though we don’t know how much longer Varitek will be staying with the Sox, it’s an added comfort to have Martinez. Kottaras might become expendable, but with Martinez, it allows the Red Sox to consider all of the options…and having options is the most important thing for the Red Sox during the stretch run.