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Red Sox Seen As Favorite To Sign Russell Martin

According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, the Red Sox are considered the front-runner to sign free agent catcher Russell Martin.

Heard this: Boston is viewed as the front-runner for Russell Martin at this point, according to folks with knowledge of the talks.
-Buster Olney (via Twitter)

The Red Sox are viewing Martin as strictly a starting catcher and not a utility infielder, unlike other suitors which include the New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays already have a catching tandem which includes rookie A.J. Arencibia and veteran Jose Molina. The Blue Jays have said they would like Martin to play other positions like third base, however Martin still believes he can be an everyday catcher.  Martin is a native of Canada, which could sway his interest in playing in his home country. 

The Yankees have also expressed interest in Martin as a part-time catcher with backstops Jorge Posada and rookie Jesus Montero already on the Major League roster. The Yankees appear to be focused on Cliff Lee, but remain very engaged with Martin and his agent, Matt Colleran.

The Red Sox have said that they are comfortable with Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate in 2011. But with their recent acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, they are looking to upgrade in a various amounts of areas. Martin would be a clear upgrade over Saltalamacchia as he is a better offensive catcher and a slightly better defensive catcher.