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Martinez could be Tribe's next to go

Martinez could be next to go

ANAHEIM -- Sitting at his locker stall on Wednesday afternoon, browsing text messages on his cell phone, Victor Martinez was not in a game situation.

Still, he had to be wondering if he's on deck.

Martinez had just gotten the official word on what had been speculated all day. Teammates Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco were on their way to the Phillies in another blockbuster swap that nets the Indians a package of prospects for a reigning Cy Young Award winner.

The trade was the Indians' first public acknowledgment that the hopes for contending in 2010 are not strong, and general manager Mark Shapiro said ownership informed him that they will not commit significant dollars to further acquisitions this winter. So Lee and his $9 million option for 2010 were shipped elsewhere, and Martinez and his $7 million option for 2010 could be next.

Such speculation only intensified with the inclusion of Triple-A catching prospect Lou Marson in the Lee deal.

"I can't control that," Martinez said. "I leave that in God's hands. Wherever He wants me to go, that's where I'm going to be. I can't really control that."

The Red Sox and Rays have been rumored to have shown significant interest in Martinez in recent weeks. Perhaps that interest will intensify in these waning hours leading up to Friday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

In discussing the Lee trade, Shapiro would not address the speculation about Martinez.

"This will open up multiple alternatives for us going forward," Shapiro said. "I'm not going to speculate on individual players."

But with Martinez and Kelly Shoppach on board and Marson touted as a Major League candidate for 2010, the Indians have a crowded house at catcher. First base, where Martinez has spent significant time this season, is also looking full, too, with top prospect Matt LaPorta getting regular time at the position in Triple-A.

If Martinez does stay, the impassioned team leader can't be happy with the Indians entering a "reload" period, as Shapiro called it, at this point in his career.

"We have some good, young talent on this team," Martinez said. "It's a matter of getting them comfortable and them playing more. We'll see what happens."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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