The Boston Red Sox are reportedly involved in talks with free agent catcher Russell Martin, a former All-Star and Los Angeles Dodger.
The New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays have also reportedly been in on Martin.
The specific parameters of the offer are not yet known, although it's likely a multi-year (most likely two) offer would be required to reign in the former top prospect.
Martin provides a bit of an enigma for the Red Sox or any other team who chooses to pursue him. Defensively, he's not a great option, and his offensive skills have eroded over each of the last four seasons. Injuries limited him to just 89 starts and 97 total appearances last year.
On the flip side, Martin is still just 27, and a clean bill of health could, along with a change of scenery, possibly mean an upward trend in production.
If the Red Sox were to acquire Martin, it would likely mean that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia would open the season in the minor leagues. He still has minor league options left, while Martin does not.
This would give the Red Sox an extended evaluational period to judge what Saltalamacchia would need to improve on. Salty appeared in just 19 combined games at all levels within the Red Sox organization, after they acquired him from the Texas Rangers at the trading deadline.
Worst case scenario? Martin plays horrifically, gets released, and the Red Sox are left with the same catching situation they have now in a Varitek/Saltalamacchia platoon.
Only this time around, Saltalamacchia has gotten a no-pressure start in the minor leagues and would likely face little criticism from the media, as anything would be seen as an upgrade over Martin. Not exactly a selling point, but food for thought.
Martin likely won't be very expensive, and judging by the Carl Crawford contract and eventual Gonzalez extension, they aren't hurting for dough.
Martin has at least shown he can do it in the majors on a consistent, albeit disappointing, level.
The newly added offensive prowess doesn't hurt either, as it basically allows the Red Sox to experiment with whoever they like and find who has the best chemistry with the staff.
This writer doesn't see much harm in it, especially considering the fluidity of the Red Sox's current catching situation.