The Florida Marlins are nearing a deal with free agent catcher John Buck, so says Ken Rosenthal. Jon Paul Morosi followed up that tidbit with word that Buck’s deal could be three years at a total of $15 million.
The ramifications of such a signing will ripple far beyond Miami. The Marlins were said to be seeking a catcher and pitchers in any trade involving second baseman Dan Uggla, whom the Tigers are known to be pursuing. The Tigers didn’t have a catcher to offer the Fish, so if the Buck deal goes through, the Tigers might be in a better position to acquire the slugging second baseman.
Not only would Buck’s Florida contract affect the Uggla negotiations, but it very well could impact the free agency of another top Tigers target, Victor Martinez. The Red Sox, VMart’s latest club, had been planning on turning to Buck if they weren’t able to keep Martinez. Boston didn’t want to go beyond two years on their offer and the feeling was they could use Buck’s availability to leverage Martinez into taking a shorter deal.
With Buck seemingly out of the mix, Boston may very well ramp up their efforts to keep the switch-hitting Martinez, as the remaining catching market is thin beyond the possibility of trading for an established player, such as Dodgers backstop Russell Martin.
That certainly doesn’t bode well for Detroit’s chance to land their top priority. Boston may now be willing to push their offer to three years for Martinez, who is said to be looking for a four-year deal, but he also wants to remain a full-time catcher. Boston would be able to offer full-time catching duties to Martinez, but the Tigers have remained steadfast in the idea of using Alex Avila as the primary catcher and having Martinez, should they land him, used as a right handed platoon-mate and part-time DH.
If the Buck deal does in fact go through, I would have to assume that makes Martinez a very happy man and may mean that Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers brass will have to shift their focus elsewhere. The next best catcher on the market is likely Miguel Olivo. On the other hand, with the Marlins sewing up their catching hole, Uggla might become a bit more attainable to the Tigers.
The Hot Stove season is starting to heat up a bit now. This should be fun…