There are a lot of rumors floating around about the Toronto Blue Jays already, and I understand that most of those rumors need to come with the caveat that unless we’re hearing it through the Toronto media, then there is no guarantee that any of them are true. However, each one of them leads us down a path of discussion and possibilities, some more far-fetched than others.
Take the latest tweet from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who seems to know just how to push the buttons of the Toronto fan base by noting that the Blue Jays are in the prowl for another big name free agent, this time Designated Hitter/First Baseman Victor Martinez.
Now I don’t typically hold a lot of weight on a guy who excels during his walk year, but Victor Martinez is a guy that I am somewhat split on.
On the good side of the coin, I love the fact that he’s a relatively consistent bat with a solid approach at the plate. Over the course of his career Victor Martinez sports a .306/.373/.475 slash-line with career wRC+ of 125. Additionally, he’s typically good for 16 home runs and 77 RBI, mixing in 30+ doubles a season. Oh, did I forget to mention his platoon splits?
Martinez also potentially fits into the Blue Jays’ mantra of not handing out greater than five-year contracts. At 36-years-old on Opening Day 2015, Martinez likely won’t expect more than a three or four-year deal at this point in his career. That’s not to say he’ll come cheaply, but the Blue Jays have been open about their willingness to overpay for the right player in lieu of over-committing in years. Given his consistency and his applauded clubhouse presence, Martinez may just be that guy.
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That said, age is an obvious concern here, as Martinez is pushing the end toward the end of his career. The Blue Jays, or any bidding team for that matter, will want to make sure he’s healthy and can stay that way through the entirety of his contract.
Then there is also the problem that he isn’t likely to spend much time in the field, having played just 51 games in the field over the last two seasons. Teams that are going to commit in excess of $12.5 million a season (his last AAV with Detroit) are likely going to be wiser to spend that on a player that also helps them in the field, especially a team like Toronto with holes to fill in the infield and outfield.
With that in mind, I still like the idea of a bat like Victor Martinez in the middle of the line-up with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, especially one without the need to be platooned. Is that enough to make up for what it would cost the Jays in terms of spending on other positions? I’m not sure.