New Russell Martin trade rumors have the Boston Red Sox very interested in his services. The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t even publicly stated that Martin is available through trade, but anything is possible when it comes to players coming off of injuries. Martin is coming off of a broken hip, and the arbitration-eligible catcher has probably lost a bit of his value until he can prove he is back to being one of the National League All-Stars at the position.
According to Ken Gurnick at MLB.com, it looks like Martin will not be offered a contract from the Dodgers before the Thursday deadline, leaving him in the arbitration process with the team. It is assumed that he will make about $6 million for the 2011 season during arbitration, which would in itself be a nice one-year deal for a catcher coming off such a big injury.
Things could definitely change on Dec. 2, though, as the Dodgers have until 9 p.m. PT (midnight ET) in order to get a contract put together to Martin and his agent. Can the Dodgers afford to lose another player who might be an All-Star again when he is healthy?
Last season with the Dodgers, Martin was only able to play in 97 games, hitting .248 with just five home runs and 26 RBI. His best season was in 2007 with the Dodgers, when he hit .293 with 19 home runs, 87 RBI, and also had 21 stolen bases. His numbers dipped quite a bit in 2009, and when he was injured during the 2010 season, Martin still appeared to be mired in a slump for the Dodgers. That is something they have to seriously take into consideration when deciding whether to offer a multi-year extension to keep Martin on the team. They don’t need an aging player soaking up a lot of payroll if he isn’t back to form.
The trade rumors come in to play because the Boston Red Sox don’t have very good catching options in 2011 either. Victor Martinez already signed with the Detroit Tigers, and Jason Varitek won’t be re-signing with them. Maybe an ironic twist is that the Dodgers want Varitek, meaning that if they signed him it would almost be guaranteed that Martin would be traded to another franchise.
This is where the Red Sox could offer up a deal and save some money in the short term. He isn’t as good as Martinez was at hitting, though, so it appears the Red Sox are ready to make a big step back in offense anyway.