Friday, July 31, 2009

Boston Red Sox Play Let's Make A Deal

This just in from the Boston Globe, with my thanks. More tomorrow. The much-needed lumber gets stronger...
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"Shortly before the 4 p.m. trading deadline this afternoon, the Red Sox acquired switch-hitting catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians for a trio of pitchers -- righthander Justin Masterson and a pair of Single A prospects, lefthander Nick Hagadone and righty Bryan Price.
The Red Sox also swapped first basemen with the Atlanta Braves, sending Adam LaRoche -- who was acquired nine days ago from the Pirates -- to the organization he began his career with in exchange for smooth-fielding Casey Kotchman. Kotchman, 26, is a .272 career hitter with limited power. He has six home runs and 41 RBIs this season.
But the major news of the day was the acquisition of Martinez, 30, a lifetime .297 hitter in six-plus major league seasons.
With the Red Sox, the switch-hitting Martinez is expected to share time at catcher with Jason Varitek while also filling in at first base and designated hitter, giving manager Terry Francona numerous lineup options. The three-time All-Star has appeared in 52 games as a catcher and 47 games at first base this season.
Martinez, who will wear No. 41 with the Sox, is batting .284 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs this season, though he has been slumping lately, batting .240 in June and .175 in July. His best season came in 2007, when he batted .301 with 23 homers and 114 RBIs, good for seventh in the American League MVP race.
The Red Sox, who lead the American League wild-card race but trail the Yankees by 2 1/2 games in the AL East, were clearly looking to acquire a big bat in the hours before the non-waiver deadline, and Martinez may not have been their first choice.
Martinez, who is regarded as an excellent teammate, is not a strong defensive catcher, but he can handle the position. He has not made an error in 299 total chances behind the plate this year. Martinez has a .992 fielding percentage at first base. He has thrown out 21.4 percent of attempted base stealers in his career and ranks seventh in the AL with a 4.24 catcher ERA since 2005.
Originally signed by the Indians as a non-drafted free agent in 1996, he has 103 home runs and 518 RBI in 821 games with Cleveland. He leads the majors with 153 doubles and 406 RBI as a catcher since the start of the 2004 campaign and ranks among that group in batting average (3d, .296), on-base percentage (4th, .369), slugging (4th, .466) homers (tied-4th, 82), runs (5th, 324) and walks (5th, 269)."
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That's all for now, folks. See ya in the morning. GO SOX!!

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