Did Orioles really offer Martinez $48mil? I don’t think so…

November 22, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Word trickled down late this morning that Victor Martinez had accepted a 4-year, $50 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers.

Sounds reasonable for a player of his caliber.

Word also came out that the Orioles were one of the victims of the Martinez move to Detroit. Apparently the Orioles proposed a 4-year, $48 million deal that he turned down.

My “first-blush” blog (you can read it right here) includes a sentence that says “someone’s not telling the truth…” and goes on to question which of the parties isn’t being completely honest.

Eight hours later, I’m of clearer mind now and having made a few phone calls to folks “in the industry”, here’s my summation.

The Orioles didn’t really offer Victor Martinez $48 million dollars.

Ask yourself this question:  Why would the Orioles offer $48 million dollars to a player who most certainly told them from the jump that he wasn’t going to play the role the team was planning for him?

Martinez knows that Matt Wieters is the Orioles catcher.

And Martinez is on record saying he’s going to play for someone who offers him the opportunity to be a full-time catcher.  He can play first base — and he can DH for an American League team — but catching is his bread and butter and even at age 32, it’s what he wants to do.

He was clear on that over the last few months whenever the subject was discussed about his pending free agency.

That meant the Orioles weren’t an option for him, right?

Why would the Orioles have offered $48 million for a guy who basically pre-negotiated with them and informed them he wouldn’t be willing to play for them under “their conditions”?

I can’t imagine that both parties didn’t have that conversation before an offer was made, right?

Andy MacPhail definitely must have asked Martinez’s agent something akin to this:  “Now, Victor is OK with playing 110 games at first base, right?  We’ll get him behind the plate 20-30 times and we’ll DH him some, but for the most part he’s going to be out first baseman and DH, not our catcher.  He’s OK with that, right?”

MacPhail definitely asked that question, right?

Of course he did.

And what would the agent’s response be?  “Well, Victor really wants the catcher spot.  He’s not interested in going somewhere as a first baseman.  And he’s not a full-time DH.  He’s a catcher.  He wants to go somewhere and catch.”

Martinez’s agent would have said that, right?  It was, of course, the worst kept secret going anyway.

So if those two conversations were part of the process, why on earth would the Orioles have offered Martinez ANY kind of contract?

Why offer him $48 million for 4 years?

My answer:  They didn’t.

Who leaked that?  Probably Martinez’s camp.  Probably someone who was trying to get the Tigers to move off of a 3-year, $36 million offer, for example.

The Orioles have done a lot of dumb stuff over the last few years.  Some of those moves have been on Andy MacPhail’s watch. They are not incapable of doing something stupid, that’s for sure.

But offering Victor Martinez $48 million dollars when they knew he didn’t want to come here and play the position they had in mind for him?

They’re not THAT stupid, trust me.

And they’re NOT trading Matt Wieters, either.

I call bulls**t on the $48 million dollar offer.

I don’t buy it.

It doesn’t pass the sniff test, to me.

Unless MacPhail is really losing his way, offering a guy that kind of money just for snot and giggles doesn’t make much sense.

Actually, it makes no sense at all.