The Boston Red Sox have been one of the most active teams in the Hot Stove Season of 2010-11, with the signing of free agent Carl Crawford and the trade for Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford will give the team a new legitimate base stealing threat and a bookend left fielder who can cover a lot of ground, while Gonzalez provides a much needed lefty power bat and is a gold glove fielder at first. 

Lost in the hoopla of the big name acquisitions is the loss of Victor Martinez, the switch hitting veteran catcher who has a career .300 batting average.  Although he did not pan out as well as Theo Epstein hoped, Martinez is still one of the best hitting catchers in the league. 

In his eight year MLB career, Martinez has average 103 RBI’s per season with a respectable OPS of .838.  In addition, he may continue to have 1B eligibility which gives fantasy owners much needed flexibility when filling out a lineup. 

The Detroit Tigers signed Martinez to a four year, $50 mil contract, making him one of the highest paid catchers in baseball. Although he is leaving the hitter friendly confines of Fenway Park for spacious Comerica Park, he will be surrounded by a potent offense that includes veterans Miguel Caberra and Magglio Ordonez and youngsters Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson. 

Martinez should also benefit from leaving the high-pressure media circus of the New York/Boston media, which can certainly cause players to press too much if they are not producing up to expectations. Martinez was brought into Boston with much fanfare and media scrutiny but never quite lived up to the lofty expectations. 

Fantasy owners should target Martinez as the third or fourth catcher overall, behind the top two picks: Joe Mauer and Brian McCann.  The catcher pool is also filled with young studs like Buster Posey and Carlos Santana, but the top three veterans provide more consistent production with a high batting average.  

For those managers looking at drafting Mauer as a top pick in 2011, it might be interesting to note that Victor Martinez has a higher career average of home runs and RBI while still hitting a respectable .300.  Mauer is a special talent and is certainly an early round draft pick, however you can get similar production from Martinez later in the draft.

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