The Chicago White Sox may be planning to pursue Detroit’s designated hitter/first baseman, Victor Martinez, during the offseason. The White Sox would not be the only suitors for Martinez’s services, which would likely lead to an exorbitant value being placed on the aging veteran. MLB analyst, Bruce Levine, tweeted about the possibility August 29th.
Based on the contracts that players such as Carlos Beltran and Mike Napoli signed last offseason, according to CBS Sports, we can probably expect to see the price tag for Martinez average at least $15 million per season. That might be a tough pill for many Sox fans to swallow, given the fact the team just unloaded an expensive free agent signing that never lived up to its billing. I am, of course, referring to Adam Dunn.
Dunn signed a four-year contract with the White Sox before the 2011 season for $56 million, $14 million per season. While Dunn did have two 30-plus home run seasons with the Sox, he failed to hit for higher than a .226 average in any season and struck out 720 times in less than four full seasons with the team, according to BaseballReference.com. Despite his respectable on-base percentage the last few years, Adam managed to be worth more than 1.0 wins above replacement (WAR) only once since leaving Cincinnati for the South side.
The combination of Martinez and Abreu occupying the 3rd and 4th spots in the lineup, not to mention Adam Eaton leading off, would be a nerve wrecking minefield for any opposing pitcher.
Yes, the White Sox saved money by dumping Gordon Beckham a couple of weeks ago. They also have all winter to execute more cost cutting measures if necessary. Should the team take those savings and spend them on a 36 year-old designated hitter that didn’t even play during the 2012 season due to a torn ACL? That is a question the organization will have to answer for itself. On the flip side, the man has been on a tear offensively since his first full major league season in 2004. He has a .305/.371/.472 slash line for his career, according to SI.com.
The fact Martinez is extremely effective from the left side of the plate makes him an attractive free agent target, since the team sacrificed Dunn’s left-handed bat last week. In fact, he would ideally step into the same role Adam played for the Sox. He is fully capable of giving Jose Abreu a rest when needed at first base. However, allowing Martinez to remain a DH primarily should minimize his risk of injury. The combination of Martinez and Abreu occupying the 3rd and 4th spots in the lineup, not to mention Adam Eaton leading off, would be a nerve wrecking minefield for any opposing pitcher. Just don’t expect Martinez to put himself in harm’s way when your team’s down a run, because as you can see below, he’s a little leery of collisions following his ACL injury.
Many White Sox fans are probably hoping the White Sox address their pitching situation at the back-end of the starting rotation and in the bullpen. However, if the White Sox do plan on spending some money offensively, Martinez would be a reliable contributor. Making such a move this offseason would be signaling the team’s transition from a rebuilding to a win now approach. The Sox have been known to surprise folks by coming in with the highest offer to players such as Jose Abreu, Adam Dunn, and Albert Belle. (Yup, an Albert Belle reference, that just happened!) Signing the talented, but aging, slugger would be an interesting roll of the dice. It will be more interesting to find out if this rumor has any life to it once the season ends.