Beltre, Martinez Are Boston’s “First Choices”

Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez are two of this winter's most sought-after free agents, but don't discount the possibility that both players remain in Boston next season.  In a conference call with media (including WEEI's Alex Speier), Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said that re-signing both Beltre and Martinez are top priorities for his club.

Our first choice for our third baseman in 2011 and beyond would be to bring back Adrian Beltre,” said Epstein. “Victor would certainly be our first choice to be our 2011 catcher and beyond. He did an outstanding job for us in the year and a half he was here. … I know it’s been portrayed in the media a little bit as if we haven’t been pursuing him. … We absolutely want this guy back.”

The Red Sox are one of the few clubs that can afford signing two high-profile free agents like Beltre and Martinez, though Epstein noted that "it always comes down to years and dollars.”  The former is the more important factor for Boston.  Both players are 31 years old and signing either to a long-term contract might be tricky for a club that has Josh Beckett and John Lackey signed through 2014 to already borderline-regrettable deals.  Signing Beltre and Martinez would also make it virtually impossible that the Red Sox could afford Carl Crawford, their other big target of the winter.

Epstein said the club is "not particularly close to anything at this time" and doesn't expect any major signings before the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to free agents.  He also said that the Red Sox will trade or sign "at least one" new reliever this winter, though Epstein expects the market for bullpen help to be very busy this winter given the number of quality arms available.


76 Responses to Beltre, Martinez Are Boston’s “First Choices” Leave a Reply

  1. EarlyMorningBoxscore 5 years ago

    The Sox have money even if they sign Beltre and V-Mart they could afford Crawford or Werth.

    • Sniderlover 5 years ago

      I’d assume Boston also wants to use some money for the bullpen.

      • EarlyMorningBoxscore 5 years ago

        Still they could still use money on bullpen, sign Werth or Crawford, and resign Beltre, and Victor anybody who thinks the Red Sox are pinching pennies are really oblivious to the fact that the Sox could spend as much as the Yankees, but they do not do it.

        • Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

          I don’t know about matching the Yanks, especially since they are probably going to jump their payroll up to almost $250MM if they sign Lee, as well as re-sign Jeter and Mo. But the Sox had $49MM, net of raises and arbitration awards, coming off the payroll this offseason, before exercising the Ortiz option, so that’s still $37MM free if we only maintain team payroll at $170MM. We will not just maintain. We’ll go up to maybe $185MM. That means we’ve got $52MM per season in additional salary we could take on. Assuming Beltre ($15MM/Yr.), Martinez ($11MM/Yr.) and Werth ($15MM/Yr.) were signed, that gives us about $11MM more to spend on bullpen help. My suggestion would be to sign Downs and Benoit, and we’d still probably have a couple million left over.

          • MB923 5 years ago

            Where the heck do you get $250 million from? lol. Jeter and Mo will make less money than what they made. Vazquez will be gone, Pettitte could retire. Heck there’s a chance even if the Yankees get Lee that their payroll decreases (if Pettitte retires)

        • Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

          I don’t know about matching the Yanks, especially since they are probably going to jump their payroll up to almost $250MM if they sign Lee, as well as re-sign Jeter and Mo. But the Sox had $49MM, net of raises and arbitration awards, coming off the payroll this offseason, before exercising the Ortiz option, so that’s still $37MM free if we only maintain team payroll at $170MM. We will not just maintain. We’ll go up to maybe $185MM. That means we’ve got $52MM per season in additional salary we could take on. Assuming Beltre ($15MM/Yr.), Martinez ($11MM/Yr.) and Werth ($15MM/Yr.) were signed, that gives us about $11MM more to spend on bullpen help. My suggestion would be to sign Downs and Benoit, and we’d still probably have a couple million left over.

        • eman 5 years ago

          wow

        • Fangaffes 5 years ago

          The Yankees have a much bigger stadium and a HUGE TV contract. There’s no way in the world the Red Sox (or anyone else) could match them.

        • Fangaffes 5 years ago

          The Yankees have a much bigger stadium and a HUGE TV contract. There’s no way in the world the Red Sox (or anyone else) could match them.

  2. rsoxbob 5 years ago

    Agreed. Removing Lugo, Lowell, Varitek and Okajima from the payroll should free up the $ to sign Werth or Crawford even if both V-Mart and Beltre were to sign with Boston–both players were on last year’s payroll, albeit at lower salaries, so the math isn’t that daunting.

  3. ze3 5 years ago

    Somebody make an offer to a free agent already!

    • LifeLongYankeeFan 5 years ago

      Exactly I’m getting pretty tired of this.

  4. missyae 5 years ago

    More of Theo saying the right things before he lets them leave. Same ole BoSox P.R. stuff.

    • JackParkman 5 years ago

      Yup, I agree. What else would he say, they are the backup plans?

      • MaineSox 5 years ago

        What else should he say? Unless he has no intention of resigning them under any circumstances he would be a fool to say anything else.

      • MaineSox 5 years ago

        What else should he say? Unless he has no intention of resigning them under any circumstances he would be a fool to say anything else.

  5. jwredsox 5 years ago

    Just formalities here, nothing to see.

  6. Martinez as a battery mate = stolen bases in bunches. As a Rays fan please sign him. Sure he may knock in 5 RBI’s a game versus the Rays but here’s to the Rays starters knowing his weak zones.

  7. What’s Polishuk talking about? Not having to pay Lowell’s salary alone will cover the difference in new salary for both Beltre and V-Mart for the year, not to mention Hall’s millions. Next year, Drew’s $12 mil is gone, plus Cameron’s sweet kiss. Don’t the Sox have $30 mil, or more, to play with before they even reach last year’s salary level? Seems to me they can sign three stars and still break even come next year.

    • soxfan0928 5 years ago

      Halls “millions” was paid by the Mariners last year (ultimately the Brewers, who paid the Mariners, who paid the Sox). The Sox were actually only on the hook for Hall for about $1.375mil (salary of $8.525mm, payment of $7.150mm). We did, however, get rid of another $11,150,000 in payments to other clubs for Lugo/Bonser/Wagner/Gonzalez. Add Lowell’s $12.5mm, and you’re looking at around $25mm freed up from last year.

      We paid Beltre $10mm last year, so he’d get about a 4 year/48mm contract (increase by $2mm). Vic got $7.7mm, he’ll get another $3mm/year for a 3 year/30mil or 4 year/40mil. That leaves the $20mm left for Carl Crawford. We overpaid Ortiz by $6mm this year.

      • Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

        You missed Varitek’s $3MM. Sox are not giving Crawford $20MM, not no way, not no how. I’m pretty sure the Angels, who will win the auction, will end up paying somewhere around $16-17MM per season for him. He MIGHT get Matt Holliday money, but certainly not more than that.

  8. Mickeyblue 5 years ago

    I guess they have completely given up on getting a big name firstbaseman next year like Agon Pujols or Fielder because if they bring back either one of Beltre or Vmart then where would they play. If they bring back both they are definitely out

  9. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    Theo needs to immediately change course here. The BoSox are now the 4th most interesting sports team in the Boston market, and sinking fast. NESN revenues are way off and ticket sales are even down (artificially propped up by sticking scalpers with unsold leftovers). The Sox need to bust open the wallet and spend about $185MM in total payroll to bring in at least 4 big FA’s, as well as make some trades. They’ve got to have Downs and Benoit for the bullpen. They could really use two from the group of Werth, Beltre, Martinez, Buck or Olivo. The survival of this F/O is definitely at stake in this offseason. He must be willing to part with quality prospects to get quality players in return. He must be willing to part with draft picks, or swap them out, if necessary. No draft is ever so good as to preclude parting with picks. Less than 1 in 10 of the top 100 picks ever becomes an MLB regular.

    Failure to produce a team that wins, boosts ratings and sells tickets this coming season will lead to the dreaded “former” getting stuck in front of the phrase “GM Theo Epstein.” After his 2010 failures, we in Boston are starting to call him “Boy Blunder.” He needs to think again.

    • RandomN8 5 years ago

      The problem with this logic is committing so much money to these free agents is theyre all in there 30’s. Lackey is the perfect example, even if he comes back with a better year, those last years are gonna be regrettable, same as Lowell

      • Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

        I can understand the reticence to have many players in their 30’s, but the Sox are not without youth in the MLB or talent in the minors. To win, we must have some seasoned quality bats and a strong bullpen. No prospect or draft pick is going to bring us those qualities. Money is not a problem for the Sox. Getting the right talent is a huge problem. It can only be answered by signing FA’s or trading. If you trade, then you will be giving up talented youth and/or draft picks. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. So we must do something, and the most effective way is to sign FA’s, where you risk money, not buckets of young talent.

    • RandomN8 5 years ago

      The problem with this logic is committing so much money to these free agents is theyre all in there 30’s. Lackey is the perfect example, even if he comes back with a better year, those last years are gonna be regrettable, same as Lowell

  10. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    Theo needs to immediately change course here. The BoSox are now the 4th most interesting sports team in the Boston market, and sinking fast. NESN revenues are way off and ticket sales are even down (artificially propped up by sticking scalpers with unsold leftovers). The Sox need to bust open the wallet and spend about $185MM in total payroll to bring in at least 4 big FA’s, as well as make some trades. They’ve got to have Downs and Benoit for the bullpen. They could really use two from the group of Werth, Beltre, Martinez, Buck or Olivo. The survival of this F/O is definitely at stake in this offseason. He must be willing to part with quality prospects to get quality players in return. He must be willing to part with draft picks, or swap them out, if necessary. No draft is ever so good as to preclude parting with picks. Less than 1 in 10 of the top 100 picks ever becomes an MLB regular.

    Failure to produce a team that wins, boosts ratings and sells tickets this coming season will lead to the dreaded “former” getting stuck in front of the phrase “GM Theo Epstein.” After his 2010 failures, we in Boston are starting to call him “Boy Blunder.” He needs to think again.

  11. I dont think we need vmart, if we can sign joe buck. I think we need to focus on resigning Beltre, and working on the bullpen. Then we can worry about signing Werth or Crawford.

    • smart logic kinda doubt you would want want to sign joe buck though unless you want to annoy the team with his banter but john buck if you need a solid to mediocre catcher to help tutor salty

  12. I dont think we need vmart, if we can sign joe buck. I think we need to focus on resigning Beltre, and working on the bullpen. Then we can worry about signing Werth or Crawford.

  13. RandomN8 5 years ago

    I hope Red Sox sign both Beltre and Martinez to long term deals, both are gonna be regretable

  14. save the money for the next free agent batch at this rate adrain gonzalez and prince fielder will be available boston if they just be patient will get one of the 2 hopefully not at the risk of there good prospects sign a stopgap 3b or use lowrie and resign bill hall they can field a competitive team with werth vmart youk ortiz pedrioa drew ellsbury and scutaro with lowrie/hall as there combo 3b plus keep there good prospects.i think the smart thing is trade papelbon sign benoit downs and rauch.save a good chunk of money for adrain or prince cuz its the better option long term as opposed to beltre

    • Ben_Cherington 5 years ago

      that is the hardest thing to read ever…my eyes are bleeding! lol but i think i might agree if i read it correctly.

  15. redsoxfan77 5 years ago

    Honestly the Sox have money I’m a Sox fan it’s just that John Henry doesn’t want to spend money. If I were Theo resign V-mart and sign Crawford I dont like Beltre look at the year he hit 48 homers he was on the juice and next year he is gonna be injured and hit 18 homerones and bat .260 and if he is gonna be 32 in the first few games of the year and if he gats 4 or 5 years he would be 36-37 and he has had injuries in the past

  16. SoxFanInFl 5 years ago

    I would sign Crawford, Buck, Dunn and a couple of bullpen arms. Start Lowrie at 3rd or Youk, start Youk or Dunn at first with Crawford in right. Saves some cash plus it allows you the flexibility to make a move at the deadline or a big splash next offseason without having your hands tied by bad contracts.

  17. BoomDizzle 5 years ago

    I look forward to both players leaving while the Red Sox move on to the over hyped Jason Werth. That would finish them off for next season.

  18. i’m hoping the SOX sign WERTH, V-MART and trade for adrian gonzalez. they have about 40m to play with after they picked up papi’s option, and that’s if they don’t up their payroll. they could pick up WERTH for about 14-16m and VMART for about the same. that leaves about 10m to pick up adrian gonzalez’s “club friendly” 5.5m for this year and gives a little bit to work with for the bullpen. that would make for a nasty left/right handed lineup. ells/pedy/youk/gonzo/werth/papi/vmart/drew/scutaro. if that’s not the best lineup top to bottom in baseball, i don’t know what is.

  19. ze3 5 years ago

    I’m just glad the Phils didn’t talk about Bonine and Kratz as being their ‘top proprities’ for the last 2 months, they just went ahead and did it. We all know they were the darkhorse for these signings and took everybody by surprise. Good job Phils.

  20. JohnnyHamer 5 years ago

    Take a breath and think that statement through.

  21. I’ve got to veto this halfway. On the FA market, they very well might get these kinds of deals if they were out there last year. However, they would be extremely unlikely to live up to them.

    Beckett I get. The guy is a great pitcher when he’s on the top of his game. He’s the kind of guy who can get hot and lead you to a championship (unless he’s got blisters…) His deal is reasonable, despite a bad year.

    Lackey was a bad deal. They overpaid in a weak FA market. Bad idea. Lackey has NEVER been that good. Lackey is like a less good, healthier AJ Burnett. Useful, sure. Worth signing for big money over 5 years? No way. The sad thing is not that Lackey had a bad year this year. It’s that 5th year. The deal was already an expected loss. Starting off with a fairly bad year simply guarantees that. While it may not be some sort of franchise-killing deal like Fonzo Soriano, it’s unlikely that anybody will look at the deal at the end and say “Hey, the Red Sox got their money’s worth out of that guy.”

    And sure, I’ve been wrong before. I thought Drew was significantly overpaid, but he’s turned out all right. But I’m still throwing my hat in the ring and saying this guy was bought at a bad price.

  22. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    Uhhm, aging? Yeah, I suppose everyone is aging, assuming we’re breathing. But to imply that Beckett, at age 30, is too old or not good enough to sign to a 4-year deal right now is downright foolish. Maybe he would get a little less money because of his injury-plagued season, but he’d still get upwards of $12MM per season based on his very successful history. He’s almost 2 years younger than Lee (32) and just 2 months older than C.C. Sabathia. He’s won at least 15 games in 4 of his last 6 seasons, and pitched for more than 174 innings in 5 of those 6 years. How many times has Cliff Lee won at least 15 games in any of his last 6 seasons? Just once. I would rather have a healthy Beckett than Cliff Lee. Beckett’s contract is NOT regrettable at this point. His 2010 season was regrettable.

    Lackey, himself, is only a couple of months older than Cliff Lee. Everyone is urinating all over their own pant leg to try and sign Lee at $23MM a season, and you’re calling his contemporaries (or younger) aging? While I can’t say I love Lackey’s contract right now, this was definitely an adjustment year for him. Welcome to the AL East, where you consistently face the best of the best. He still managed to eat a bunch of innings and win 14 games. We certainly expect better from him in the next few years, but this contract remains in the “to be determined” category; not yet regrettable, but certainly questionable. That questionability is not based on age.

  23. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    Dan Duquette, is that you?

  24. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    Dan Duquette, is that you?

  25. contibute dude wow you

  26. woadude 5 years ago

    wow to you, i dont like the John Lackey signing either but he will make pennies to Cliff Lee and ber the same kind of pitcher, seriously look up on google or something Cliff Lee stats, he was DFA in 2005-2006, he sucked hard core dude!!! he put in work and became a great pitcher but seriously he showed he was human and he could collapse and be a Barry Zito, i would rather the sox spend 16 million a year comparted to damn near 23 million!!! you should get YOUR facts straight.

  27. do you say anything intelligent at all instead of trying to be funny on a website do you have any knowledge of the subject.didnt beckett and lackey lead teams to a world series and won alot of games share or leave tool

  28. do you say anything intelligent at all instead of trying to be funny on a website do you have any knowledge of the subject.didnt beckett and lackey lead teams to a world series and won alot of games share or leave tool

  29. MaineSox 5 years ago

    Mike Lowell…

  30. MaineSox 5 years ago

    Mike Lowell…

  31. RandomN8 5 years ago

    I didn’t say they have in the past. Yet. Buy lackey is pretty close, the beckett extension is gonna regrettable, remember the last year of the Lowell contract

  32. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    J.D. Drew, age 32, in the 2006-2007 offseason, to 5 years at $14MM per season. He has since averaged 19 Hrs, 66 RBI, .271 BA, .379 OBP, .479 SLG and .858 OPS per season, while playing much better than average defense (+7.7 UZR/150 average over 4 seasons). Not anything to scream about, but certainly not a contractual failure. I think the Sox would sign him again to 5 years if they had to do it all over again, just not at $14MM/Yr. The Sox almost gave Bay a 4-Yr., $60MM deal. Thank God the Mets outbid us.

  33. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    The rest of Boston is speaking with me, in terms of declining TV revenues and ticket sales. The sky is not falling, the tolerance hammer is getting ready to drop. Tune in to the local radio talkshows and hear what they are saying about the Sox and Theo’s recent expositions of philosophy. You may be satisfied, and that’s fine for you. But the vast majority of us are not satisfied with his overvaluing our prospects and draft picks. He claims the rest of the GM’s are being unreasonable. But that’s BS. Cashman, Wren and others found reasonable deals to bolster their pens last July. Theo Epstein is FAR from the best GM in baseball. Cashman is obviously the best. Next would be Jon Daniels, followed by Andrew Friedmann, both of whom have better MLB ballclubs and FAR better farm systems than we do. Theo is probably 6th or 7th on the list, but artificially has benefitted in part from the moves made by Larry Lucchino, and some inheriting from the Dan Duquette days. Theo Epstein did virtually nothing to bring us the 2004 championship.

  34. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    The rest of Boston is speaking with me, in terms of declining TV revenues and ticket sales. The sky is not falling, the tolerance hammer is getting ready to drop. Tune in to the local radio talkshows and hear what they are saying about the Sox and Theo’s recent expositions of philosophy. You may be satisfied, and that’s fine for you. But the vast majority of us are not satisfied with his overvaluing our prospects and draft picks. He claims the rest of the GM’s are being unreasonable. But that’s BS. Cashman, Wren and others found reasonable deals to bolster their pens last July. Theo Epstein is FAR from the best GM in baseball. Cashman is obviously the best. Next would be Jon Daniels, followed by Andrew Friedmann, both of whom have better MLB ballclubs and FAR better farm systems than we do. Theo is probably 6th or 7th on the list, but artificially has benefitted in part from the moves made by Larry Lucchino, and some inheriting from the Dan Duquette days. Theo Epstein did virtually nothing to bring us the 2004 championship.

  35. Would you kindly explain how the Phillies made the playoffs then?

  36. PookieGonzales 5 years ago

    I’d still give it too the Phils

  37. MB923 5 years ago

    Sorry, that’s the Giants, not the Red Sox. Phillies rotation is also better.

  38. Jason_F 5 years ago

    The best pitching staff in baseball just won the World Series behind a below average offense. Also, with regard to your argument above about Beckett and Lackey, you are seriously underestimating how much effect recent performance has on a free agent contract. There is no way Beckett approaches 4/$48M if he’s a free agent this offseason.

  39. We gotta couple of budding James Joyces here. :)

  40. No one respects authority anymore. 😀

  41. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    I think you might be right. And if the Yanks sign both Lee and Pettitte, they might be either the best or the second best. CC, Lee, Hughes, Pettitte and a 5th starter.

  42. woadude 5 years ago

    yeah tell that to Cliff Lee circa 2006

  43. woadude 5 years ago

    Shut up!!!! no way Beckett doesnt make at least that!!! he has one good year one mediocre year and one great year and then one mediocre year, watch Beckett this year and you will see his contract is a steal, he makes 48 million over 4 years? he would make at least 90 million on a 5 year contract anytime else…trust me.

  44. MB923 5 years ago

    Lester I’d put MAYBE in the top 5 in the game but CERTAINLY in the top 10 in the game. However, Halladay hands down is better. And Buchholz over Oswalt, you’re joking right? This was his first good season, and read what you originally said before to Al – “Again… one year hardly qualifies the talent of a player”. If you’re going based on Buchholz’s stats this season only, since this was his first productive/full season, you’re just contradicting yourself then. Oswalt has done it for multiple years.Beckett is as inconsistent as AJ is although I think I’d take Beckett certianly, but he’s not better than Cole. And Cole/Lackey is debatable but I’d go with ColeSorry, Phillies 1-3 is hands down better than the Red Sox 1-3.

  45. MB923 5 years ago

    I can tell he don’t know much about baseball if he thinks the Red Sox rotation is better than the Giants

  46. Jason_F 5 years ago

    Trust you? That’s the best defense you have for your statement? Why should I believe you, because you watched every Red Sox game this year? Give me a break, homer.

    Take a step back and read what you wrote. You said a guy that just put up a season, a season in which he made 11 less starts than he should have due to injury, of 5.78 ERA, 1.535 WHIP, .295 BAA, etc., would earn $18M per year on a five year contract if he were a free agent this offseason.

    Do you realize how illogical that sounds? You do understand that there is a chance that Beckett never gets back to his old self, right?

  47. Jason_F 5 years ago

    Trust you? That’s the best defense you have for your statement? Why should I believe you, because you watched every Red Sox game this year? Give me a break, homer.

    Take a step back and read what you wrote. You said a guy that just put up a season, a season in which he made 11 less starts than he should have due to injury, of 5.78 ERA, 1.535 WHIP, .295 BAA, etc., would earn $18M per year on a five year contract if he were a free agent this offseason.

    Do you realize how illogical that sounds? You do understand that there is a chance that Beckett never gets back to his old self, right?

  48. Jason_F 5 years ago

    Whatever perceived advantage you think the Red Sox ROTATION has over the Giants (key word: perceived, because the Giants rotation is indeed better) is more than negated by the advantage that the Giants have in the bullpen department. Remember, you did start this by saying “pitching staff.”

    You can’t have it both ways, you either put stock in the most recent data we have or you don’t. If you do, then Beckett, Lackey and Matsuzaka are all inferior to Bumgarner and Sanchez (a case can even be made for Zito). If you don’t, then you can’t put too much credence into what Buchholz did this year.

    Either way, it’s pretty clear cut who has the better pitching staff. Zip it up, your bias is showing.

  49. Jason_F 5 years ago

    Whatever perceived advantage you think the Red Sox ROTATION has over the Giants (key word: perceived, because the Giants rotation is indeed better) is more than negated by the advantage that the Giants have in the bullpen department. Remember, you did start this by saying “pitching staff.”

    You can’t have it both ways, you either put stock in the most recent data we have or you don’t. If you do, then Beckett, Lackey and Matsuzaka are all inferior to Bumgarner and Sanchez (a case can even be made for Zito). If you don’t, then you can’t put too much credence into what Buchholz did this year.

    Either way, it’s pretty clear cut who has the better pitching staff. Zip it up, your bias is showing.

  50. RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

    the yankees farm system is not as good as Bostons Stevie Boy!

  51. RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

    the yankees farm system is not as good as Bostons Stevie Boy!

  52. RedSox31 5 years ago

    While I agree Theo is not the best GM in the MLB, I disagree that Cashman is. What does he do to be the best? The NYY FO just tells him to offer as much money as he wants, so he does. Nothing to it, doesn’t take talent, he has the easiest General Managing job in all of baseball.

  53. Sawksfan 5 years ago

    Maybe you shouldn’t respond at all at this point. Just saying…

  54. Fangaffes 5 years ago

    Don’t mind Steve. He knows nothing. He’s so ignorant, he thinks you can trade draft choices in baseball.

  55. MB923 5 years ago

    You obviously failed to see the point I was making. Beckett is as inconsistent as AJ is, but I’d still take him over AJ. Point is, Beckett is not as good as you make him out to be and his last 3 seasons and his career is as almost as similar to AJ

    Career ERA

    Beckett- 3.96
    Burnett- 3.99

    Last 3 seasons

    Beckett- 4.39
    Burnett- 4.41

    Christmas is coming up, as Santa says, you better think twice.

    Better than Burnett? Yes. World’s apart? No.

  56. MB923 5 years ago

    Cartman would

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