There are a lot of Red Sox fans who have been saying that the Sox need to get another big bat. Despite scoring 872 runs in 2009 (third in the American League), most think another big hitter would solidify this lineup and make a serious run into the postseason for 2010.
The Red Sox, however, already have that big bat. That big bat is already in the Red Sox's lineup and it's actually in the most prominent place in the entire order.
That bat is owned by Victor Martinez.The Red Sox started 2009 with Jason Varitek at catcher. Varitek started the season hot, hitting 10 home runs between April and May. While it was a pleasant surprise, everyone knew that Varitek wouldn't be able to continue that kind of production. That came true. Varitek's average dropped to .209 to end the year and he hit just three more home runs the rest of the season.
To replace his weak bat, the Red Sox acquired Martinez at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Indians. Martinez responded by being a 3-4-5 player for the Sox in 56 games: .336/.405/.507.
Martinez, who has a career .837 OPS, isn't likely to match those numbers specifically next season, but there's no doubt he's going to wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. Martinez averaged 4.05 pitchers per plate appearance last season, 16th best in the American League. Having Martinez in the lineup every day, all season with players like Kevin Youkilis (4.42, 1st), David Ortiz (4.19, 7th) and J.D. Drew (4.13, 9th) is just going to be brutal for pitchers' arms.
Would you take 24 home runs from Martinez in a full season? Martinez's eight home runs with the Red Sox last season would have worked out to 24 home runs over a full season. Figure give or take a little, he's guaranteed for at least 20 home runs on a year.
Martinez is a player that will hit 20+ home runs, gets on base at a near .400 clip and is a pain to strike out (he walked 75 times last season to 74 strikeouts). Is that bat big enough for everyone?
Also, it seems that Martinez will be the team's No. 3 hitter. That's where he hit the majority of the time when he came over from the Indians last season. Martinez in between Dustin Pedroia and Youkilis is a core of a lineup that will minimize outs extremely well.
Of course, this all may go under if Jason Bay or a like bat isn't signed. If you consider Bay or a Matt Holliday in the lineup already, maybe this Sox team is complete offensively. But if the Sox work with a player like Jeremy Hermida in left field -- an unproven commodity -- who knows what to expect?
Your turn: is a full season of Victor Martinez and, say, Bay still on the team, enough? Should the team look for better options off the bench that could supply runs? How good will Martinez be with a full year in Boston?