Could Victor Martinez be headed to a division rival?
Buster Olney of ESPN tweets that "the Orioles could take a serious run at Victor Martinez in free agency, in a combo 1B-C-DH/leader type of role."
Martinez is an impending free agent currently with the Boston Red Sox, serving as catcher. While his season was partly abbreviated due to an injury and has struggled on offense, he's still put together a .299/.347/.489 mark with 18 home runs in 502 plate appearances spread over 119 games.
Martinez isn't considered to be a good defensive catcher although he has improved lately. At age 31, however, Martinez' time behind the dish is drawing to a close, especially as he's shown he can handle first base.
There figure to be plenty of teams in on Martinez and his versatility, but the switch-hitter has given every indication he hopes to stay behind the plate. However, given that he's looking for what should be his last big-money deal, he'll let his new team pick where he plays -- so long as he gets paid.
In Baltimore, Martinez would likely play the bulk of his time at first and DH, given phenom Matt Wieters is the current backstop.
The Orioles, struggling through a brutal season, have picked things up since manager Buck Showalter was hired. With a burgeoning crop of young players, the O's could quite conceivably do a worst-to-first turn. Okay, that's unlikely, but a push to finish over .500 in 2011 can't be discounted.
Martinez, who is a fantastic leader both on the field and in the clubhouse, could be a vital piece toward ushering contention into Baltimore.
-- Evan Brunell
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .