Russell Martin will be one of the top free agents this offseason. (Getty Images)

Russell Martin wouldn't mind playing in Boston

Rob Bradford
October 09, 2014 - 3:21 am
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The chances that Russell Martin signs with the Red Sox this offseason aren't good. But that doesn't mean such a move shouldn't be discussed, particularly when the player represents a potential solution to a potential problem. "It's definitely a place to consider if the option is there," Martin told WEEI.com during a late September interview. (The acceptance of playing in Boston is a departure from the tone struck by Martin in 2011, as stated here.) Martin is far and away (not even close) going to be the best catcher on the free agent market, having hit .290 with 11 home runs and an .832 OPS (.401 on-base percentage). Pittsburgh will likely offer the 31 year old the $15.3 million qualifying offer, having already stated they will stretch their payroll in an attempt to re-sign the backstop. (Some reports have stated Martin has already been offered a four-year deal from the Pirates.) The likelihood is the Red Sox lean on Christian Vazquez for the majority of the games in 2015. The potential issues with that road, however, is the uncertainty regarding the righty hitter's offense, and what you get to complement the young backstop. Here are the free agent catchers not named Russell Martin: John Buck, Ryan Doumit, Gerald Laird, Wil Nieves, A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross and Geovany Soto. Nick Hundley ($5 million) and Jeff Mathis ($1.5 million) both are living under club options. Switch-hitting Blake Swihart isn't perceived to be quite ready for big league duty, having played 18 Triple-A games. That leads us back to Martin. Team sources suggest it is unlikely the Red Sox go hard after Martin, feeling he will want to go to a team guaranteeing catching around the 120 games he has averaged over the past four seasons. But they did previously explore the Canadian native's services prior to the 2011 season before he inked a deal with the Yankees. "I think with the injury I was coming back from, the hip injury, I think [the Red Sox] doctors were concerned and the Yankees were a bit more aggressive," he remembered. "I think that'€™s what it came down to. "It'€™s a great baseball town. People love their baseball. For the most part they'€™ve always been competitive. They'€™ve got a great team. [Dustin] Pedroia is one of personal favorites. I love the way he competes so it would be a pleasure playing with him." If the dynamic with Vazquez does change, and the Red Sox view Martin as one of the solutions for their offensive woes, there might be a built-in recruitment tool -- Pedroia. Martin has known the Red Sox second baseman since the two played in the Arizona Fall League for Scottsdale, with the duo working out together sporadically throughout recent offseasons. (Martin was part of a collection of players that included Pedroia, Conor Jackson, J.J. Hardy and Howie Kendrick who met at Andre Ethier's Arizona home for daily workouts.) "One of the first times I ever met [Pedroia] he was playing ping-pong with somebody and I thought he was joking around, the way he talking to the person he was playing against. He was just super feisty and cocky and everything," Martin recalled. "It was just funny to see him go at it. It was just funny to see somebody as competitive, if not more competitive, than me. He can definitely dish it out. I just like to be there to listen." An in-season reunion for the two isn't likely, but with free agency fast approaching, the Martin conversation -- one involving one of the top free agents and a team boasting a significant chunk of money -- is at least interesting think about.