Victor Martinez Heads Into Contract Year

The Boston Globe's Tony Massarotti breaks down Victor Martinez's impending free agency, comparing the catcher's walk year situation with Jason Bay's 2009.  The Red Sox haven't had serious extension discussions with Martinez yet, though such talks are often reserved for Spring Training.

Massarotti uses David Ortiz ($13MM), Jorge Posada ($13MM) and Joe Mauer (a projected $20MM) to set the boundaries for Martinez's next salary.  However, Ortiz's extension was signed four years ago, Posada's over two years ago.  And Mauer might deserve unique superstar consideration.

Martinez's biggest wart is his 2008 season, lost to an elbow injury.  The other concern is his ability to serve as a full-time catcher – he hasn't caught a full season since '07.  If Martinez's projected .294/.366/.450 performance comes as a first baseman/DH, he's suddenly in line for a Hideki Matsui or Adam LaRoche-type contract – one year, $6MM.  Since Martinez will catch full-time in 2010, it'll allow the Red Sox to gauge where he belongs in the following seasons.