Boston's All-Star catcher still in '11 limbo

With Victor Martinez an All-Star, thanks to the players (and by the way whose brilliant idea was that, to let the players vote?), it's yet another great opportunity to wonder where Martinez will be in 2011. Nick Cafardo with the guts:

    Earlier this season, it was easier to envision Martinez as the future designated hitter and backup catcher, but that was when David Ortiz was struggling. Now that Ortiz is hitting again, the Sox will have three rather large offseason decisions.

    1) Do they pick up a $12 million option on Ortiz’s contract, or do they try to negotiate that down so he’s in line with the Hideki Matsui and Vlad Guerrero salaries, which are half that? 2) If Ortiz balks, do the Sox then sign Martinez long tm as a DH/1B/C? 3) What do they do with Adrian Beltre, who can also be a free agent. If Beltre goes elsewhere, that might open the door for Kevin Youkilis to go back to third and for Martinez to become the primary first baseman.

    None of those decisions will be easy, and one can understand why Martinez’s situation hasn’t quite been settled yet.

Yes. One can.

You've got three important questions and all those moving parts, but fortunately the Red Sox have three things working for them: time, money, and intellectual capital.

The time will allow them to gather more data -- statistics, essentially -- that will inform every decision that's made.

The money will allow at least a small margin for error.

The intellectual capital will allow them to process -- as well as any organization in professional sports, I believe -- what the time and the data and the money mean, when all mashed up together.

None of which means everything will work out. They might make bad decisions anyway. They might make good decisions that wind up looking bad; there are a lot of moving parts, but not so many moving parts that playing the odds will necessarily lead to the desired outcome.

In the meantime, though, if I were a Red Sox fan I wouldn't be too worried about what happens after the season. Not when what happens this season still hangs very much in the balance.