Should the Indians resign Victor Martinez, and if so, when?
Currently he is signed through this season, with a club option ($7m) for 2010.
Last year, when Martinez was injured, Shoppach was hitting, and the Indians had just snagged Carlos Santana, I figured that the Tribe planned to let Victor play out his contract and move on. Martinez would be in his early 30s, prone to injury and natural breakdown as a catcher, and the Indians would have Shoppach and Santana (and Wyatt Toregas and Chris Gimenez for depth).
Sure, Victor could play 1B, but the Indians had potential star 1B players (LaPorta and Mills, for starters) in the minors who could play inexpensively. And would Victor's offense, so impressive at Catcher, be as impressive at 1B?
This year, with Martinez hitting .400 with power in the heart of the order, his presence is clearly fundamental to this season's success and it has made me question my assumptions of last year.
Yes, there are also intangibles to consider, such as how he handles pitchers and his leadership, but don't fall in love with your assets, right?
So should the Tribe approach Martinez after this season, when they still have exclusive negotiating rights and can tear up his option year in order to sweeten the deal and get him to sign?
Or should they just exercise the option and see how 2010 goes? Trade Martinez if the season goes bust (surely it won't), but get to the end of 2010 and take stock of where Shoppach, Santana, LaPorta, and Mills are in their development and then make a decision about whether to compete for Victor's services?
And how much would Victor Martinez, if healthy, command on the free agent market in dollars and years at that point?