The Red Sox may lose one of the best catchers in the game to free agency this winter, but will general manager Theo Epstein allow his team to start the 2011 season without a veteran starting backstop?
With Victor Martinez expected to get a lot of attention from several teams in the coming weeks, Boston may have to turn elsewhere to fill the possible void.
One option is Yorvit Torrealba, who turned down his $3.5 million option with the Padres for 2011 and is officially a free agent.
Torrealba, 32, hit .271 with seven home runs in 95 games for the Padres in 2010, serving as one of the leaders on a team that won 90 games and fell one game behind the NL wild-card champion Braves.
And while his bat is about average for a catcher, Torrealba?s fielding ability sets him apart. He threw out 36.7 percent of would-be base-stealers in 2010, good for third among major league catchers.
Martinez threw out just 21.4 percent behind the dish in Boston.
Torrealba will likely command a three-year deal worth between $13-15 million, while Martinez is going to get offers in the range of five years and several more millions.
With the money the Red Sox could potentially save on the catching position, they would free up extra cash to sign a big-name outfielder like Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford.