With three of the four Boston sports teams thriving and in-season, the Boston Red Sox have been a bit of an afterthought as of late. Sure, it’s easy to say that after such a disappointing end to their playoff run with a loss in the ALDS to the eventual World Series Champions, the Houston Astros. With that said, what appears to be playing an even bigger role in their recent criticism is their lack of action this off-season. The trend in the MLB has been power hitting, this past year more home runs were hit than ever before (6,105) by a wide margin. After finishing in the bottom of the league in home runs, many fans expected Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski to be very active this winter in trying to bring a big bat to Boston. He now has pretty much one last chance to do so, and he finally has a formal offer on the table.
Giancarlo Stanton was who everyone’s eyes were on at first, someone who led the MLB with 59 dingers and was made available by the Marlins new chief executive Derek Jeter. Although Stanton had a full no-trade clause and ultimately chose New York, Dombrowski failed to even make much of an effort in picking up the phone and making a strong push at him. It was then onto the pursue of both Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez, who can be described as B-level free agents but still better than nothing. Re-signing first baseman Mitch Moreland took Eric Hosmer out of the picture, so now it’s really just down to Martinez, and Dombrowski is in a staring contest with agent Scott Boras who’s notorious for waiting as long as possible to sign contracts in order to get as much money as possible for his clients.
Buster Olney recently reported that the offer is five years $100 million, which would basically be a bargain the way the market currently is. In only 119 games played due to an injury, Martinez was third in the MLB in home runs with 45, and would’ve led the league in slugging percentage but wasn’t eligible for the stat due to the 43 missed games. He can play right field, first base, and of course could be the DH whenever needed. It seems like a no brainer to bring him in with a lineup lacking power and desperately looking for home runs, but there’s a few problems.
The Red Sox have had a recent tendency to pay players to either play poorly for them, not play at all, and maybe the worst, play for other teams. Hanley Ramirez did not have a great year last year and seemed to be trending down as the season went on which is unfortunate because he has $44 million left on his contract over the next two years. The Sox had also signed Rusney Castillo a few years back who looked as if he’d be a promising piece. As it turns out, he may not even be a big league player, as he wasn’t able to see any action last season. He’s owed $37 million through the 2020 season. And of course, we all know the Pablo Sandoval story, Boston’s paying him $41 million to pay for San Francisco now. The bottom line is the Red Sox really don’t have money to blow, so they can’t overpay for a 30-year-old slugger who has struggled to stay on the field at times throughout his career. Not to mention the free agent market next year is going to be even more interesting with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado being available. The Sox definitely don’t want to tie their hands and not be able to go after a true stud because they wasted money on another player who wasn’t worth it.
Dombrowski shouldn’t budge from this current offer; he should be strict about five years $100 million. He has leverage here, as most teams either can’t afford Martinez or aren’t interested in him. As of now, Boston is by far his best option, and by spring training many expect him and Boras to realize that. After whiffing on the Stanton sweepstakes and leaving fans frustrated, signing J.D. Martinez to a reasonable deal would be a great way to kick off the 2018 campaign.