On Tuesday, multiple sources reported that free agent Victor Martinez is set to sign with the Detroit Tigers, agreeing to a four-year, $50 million deal. This comes after the Red Sox reportedly were only willing to go so far as either a three-year $36 million deal or a four-year, $42 million contract.
The deal on the table with Detroit will make Martinez the fourth highest-paid catcher of all time, with yearly average of $12.5 million, just behind Jorge Posada's $13.1 million annual pay.
Martinez, 32, is a switch-hitting catcher that can also play first base and serve as designated hitter, but the Red Sox seemingly were just not willing to give someone of his age extra years.
On the surface that appears to be an odd stance. Martinez is exactly the kind of player that would seem to command a fourth or even fifth year at a favorable price, despite his age. His versatility would allow him to fill multiple roles in those final years. He can play first base. He can serve as your designated hitter. He can catch a game here and there. And his bat, which shows absolutely no wear and tear (he had a .313/.368/.497/.865 line in 183 games with the Red Sox) might be better off with fewer games behind the plate.
But perhaps even more than that, it was the Red Sox' original two-year offer that soured Martinez from returning to Boston.