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The White Sox should sign Victor Martinez

Shop Smart. Shop V Mart.

Leon Halip

Let’s talk about Victor Martinez.

AL MVP Nominee.

Recipient of a qualifying offer from the Detroit Tigers.

The smart money says he’s going to turn down the qualifying offer in order to seek another long term, big money contract.  One team that could offer him that long term, big money contract is the Chicago White Sox.

The Sox have $50 million worth of spending money in the off season (give or take).  This off season, Rick Hahn is like a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, when they gave contestants the chance to “buy” prizes with their winnings:

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We’d all like to think that Martinez is the Datsun Z.  But there is a good chance that at the age of 38, he could be the baseball equivalent of a stone gargoyle or poorly built patio furniture.

I’m of two minds about Hahn spending his newfound riches at VMart.  It’s like Homer Simpson at the Occult Shop:

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“He’s a finalist for MVP.”

“That’s good!”

“But he’s 36.”

“That’s bad”

“But he would hit behind Abreu”

“That’s good!”

“But Adam Dunn”

“That’s bad”

A quick read of the baseball commentariat suggests that Martinez to the White Sox is a “when,” not an “if.”

I want Victor Martinez on the White Sox.  He’s a better DH than Adam Dunn.  Then again, that isn’t a very high bar to clear.  Like most of us, memories of Dunn make us leery about the idea of committing a great deal of money and years to a 38 year old DH.

Except Martinez isn’t Dunn.  Not by a longshot.  Fangraphs:

But he has been much more than just a great hitter. He has been a downright fascinating hitter. One thing that really jumps out when looking at his numbers are his walks and strikeouts. He has the lowest strikeout rate in the MLB, at 6.5%. He also has a 10.7% walk rate. No other player in baseball has walked more than they’ve struck out this year. Victor has 22 more walks than strikeouts (not including his league-leading 25 intentional walks). His strikeouts and walks, as well as his still-elite bat speed, are things I touched upon when I wrote about Martinez for this siteback in May. But that’s in the past. The contents of that post were remarkable because of the circumstances, e.g. his age, injuries and past as a catcher. The content that follows in this post is remarkable because of its place in history.

Lowest strikeout rate in MLB.

So much for three true outcomes.

The preliminary 2015 projection systems believe he won’t fall off the table.  Steamer has a projected slash line of .304/.372/.480. He would surely benefit from hitting behind Jose Abreu.

But just as signing Dunn was an overreaction to the DH-ydra of 2010, passing on Martinez would be another case of overreacting to the past.

If it were up to me?  Two years at $15 million with an option for a third year.

Shopping sure is fun, isn’t it?