Well, one of your baseball Christmas presents may be off the board before Thanksgiving.
And there's report saying the Orioles came within a $2 million drumstick.
According to Ignacio Serrano of El Nacional and confirmed by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal (and brought to the rest of the world by mlbtraderumors.com), the Detroit Tigers have agreed to terms with catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez on a four-year, $50 million deal.
Serrano's report said the Orioles offered four years and $48 million. A team source confirmed the accuracy of the offer early this afternoon.
But I've always thought Martinez was the Orioles' No. 1 target. And I've always thought the Orioles were at a competitive disadvantage (no pun intended) because Martinez prefers to play catcher and the Orioles wanted him at first base. Although the Tigers may end up using him at first and DH more than catcher. We'll see.
The most interesting part is that one of the big free-agent dominoes may already be signed. Although there is caution in the report that the deal is agreed to but not signed.
The Orioles would have used Martinez, a 31-year-old switch-hitter who has been primarily a catcher for most of his career, as their regular first baseman, while also using him on occasion to catch and serve as the designated hitter. They particularly valued his ability to hit left-handed pitching, long a trouble spot for the club in a division that includes Jon Lester, David Price and CC Sabathia.
Martinez hit .302 with 20 homers and 79 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox this past season. That included a .400 average against left-handed pitching.
With him apparently off the board, the Orioles will turn their attention to other free agent first baseman. Former Tampa Bay Ray Carlos Pena, according to several sources, is one of their top choices.
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