If Victor Martinez Leaves, John Buck Would Be A Great Replacement

According to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com, the Red Sox will pursue former Blue Jays catcher John Buck "aggressively" if current catcher Victor Martinez signs elsewhere.

The anticipation is that the Detroit Tigers will likely make the biggest push for Martinez this offseason as they look for a veteran hitter who can spend time behind the plate and first base this season as well as serve as protection for Miguel Cabrera in the lineup.

The Red Sox are very high on Buck as he matched Martinez in power categories, with both hitting 20 home runs.  Buck also proved to be a better catcher defensively last year as he threw out 28% of base runners compared to Martinez's 21%.

Buck will also come much cheaper than Martinez on the open market.  Which makes Buck quite valuable to the Red Sox as they are also interested in retaining third baseman Adrian Beltre as well as exploring outfielders Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford.

In 2010, Martinez however did hit for a high average of .302 with the 20 home runs and 79 RBIs (a normal V-Mart season).  Martinez also added a .351 OBP. and .493 slugging percentage.  Besides being a switch-hitter and an All-Star last season, Martinez wasn't that much better than Buck.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - John Buck 118 409 53 115 25 0 20 66 16 111 0 0 .281 .314 .489

 

The only clear downside to Buck is that he isn't a very patient hitter as he only walked 16 times last season and struck out around 111 times which doesn't exactly fit the style of the Red Sox of working the count and drawing more walks. 

However Buck has been known as a very hard worker behind the plate and works well with young pitchers as his the Toronto staff last season's average age was 25 years old and was able to work with the likes of Ricky Romero (14 wins 3.73 ERA), Shawn Marcum (13 wins 3.64 ERA), and Brett Cecil (15 wins 4.22 ERA) resulting in one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball, ranking in the top-10 in wins, ERA, and innings.

With unproven switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the only major league ready catcher currently on the Red Sox roster, signing John Buck would be a great addition to the pitching staff, the lineup, and it will allow Salty to get another season under his belt and hopefully help him transition into the All-Star catcher we all know he can be.

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