Its that time of year where Major League Baseballs winter meetings commence, and the free agent signing frenzy begins. This is also known as the Hot Stove season. This years hot stove period will be one of the hotter ones weve seen in quite some time.
There are many top-notch players out there looking for either big money, new homes sometimes both-, a place to rejuvenate their careers, or a chance to reach playoff glory. Then you have the small group of players who are looking for one last chance to shine before retirement.
One player looking for the big pay day is power-hitting utility man Victor Martinez, who played for the Detroit Tigers last season. Despite his age (35) hes still one of the best players in the game. And with his career numbers of 189 home runs, 927 runs batted in, 1,668 hits (could reach 2,000 in 2015), and a .307 lifetime batting average, consistency and effort are never a problem for the Venezuelan native.
Throw in the fact that hes a switch hitter and can play multiple positions (catcher, first base, designated hitter), Martinez is definitely a stand out of this years free agent class. Here are five teams who could make the biggest pitch for Martinezs services ..
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1 The Detroit Tigers
It would be foolish to think that Martinez wouldnt consider returning to his most recent team. After all, the Tigers have won the American Leagues Central Division championship every year that hes been with them (since 2011 although he missed the 2012 season due to a knee injury).
Plus the one-two punch of Martinez and Miguel Cabrera makes every pitcher in the big leagues nervous. Whether or not the Tigers pay for his asking price remains to be seen, but dont count them out yet.
2. The New York Yankees
Although the Bronx Bombers finished in a respectable second place in 2014 (84-78 record), injuries, roster shuffling, and inconsistency cost this team enough games to keep them out of the playoffs. The Yankees are in need of a spark, perhaps Martinez could provide that.
Imagine how the heart of the Yankees batting order would look with Martinez following Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira The Steinbrenner family has never been afraid to spend money, and they wouldnt hesitate to pull the trigger on a player like Martinez.
3. The Seattle Mariners
The Mariners finished one game behind the Oakland Athletics for the American League wild card, and thus missed out on the postseason. The Mariners could have been a 90-win team contending for the AL West had it not been for a lack of team offense. Robinson Cano couldnt carry the load himself, Martinez could alleviate some of that pressure.
4. The Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are in the market for a veteran catcher who can hit and manage a young pitching staff. Theyre also looking for a leader who can rally the clubhouse and mentor the younger players. Martinez can do all of the above.
Plus V-Mart, as hes been nicknamed, can bat in the designated hitters spot during interleague games, and relive Anthony Rizzo at first base if needed. The Cubs have some extra spending money this offseason, and theyre trying to end a 107-year World Series drought. Adding Martinez seems like a no brainer to me.
5. The Chicago White Sox
Sox general manager Rick Hahn hinted back in August that he was interested in the Venezuelan switch hitter. Now that hes available, the Sox could use him. With the retirement of the legendary Paul Konerko, and after trading Adam Dunn (who has also since retired), the White Sox are in need of another big bat to hit behind American League Rookie of Year Jose Abreu.
Not only will they compliment one another, but Martinez and Abreu can rotate between first base and the DH spot. Martinez can also move behind the plate during interleague games to keep both bats in the lineup.
Now if only they can move on from the bean ball incident involving Sox Cy Young award finalist Chris Sale from last August
Let the bidding wars begin.