Eric Hosmer and JD Martinez should be top targets in the off-season

Photo Credit: USA Today

Eric Hosmer and JD Martinez represent the power of the upcoming free-agent class.

I’d expect that Red Sox GM, Dave Dombrowski, will be heavily involved in trying to recruit and sign these big power hitters.

The Red Sox were in desperate need of a power bat in 2017 – scoring 93 runs less than the prior season. Without David Ortiz in the lineup for the first time since 2003,  Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez were expected to take steps forward. Many were anticipating an AL MVP run out of Betts, while Hanley was expected to drive in well-over 100 runs. To Red Sox fans’ dismay, neither of those happened.

Sadly, Mookie (24) Hanley (23) Benintendi (22) Moreland (21) were the top home run leaders.  The power outage this season led to a more double’s oriented team and a heavy focus on baserunning and taking the extra base. Brian Butterfield was more aggressive than usual this season, unfortunately, that led to some dismal baserunning and a plethora of runners being thrown out.

This decision was agreed upon by all Red Sox coaches, including former manager John Farrell, who realized that the team wasn’t going to hit a lot of home runs. It was a solid thought process, but the end result was a first round exit for the Red Sox.

Dombrowski was adamant in not wanting to go over the luxury tax this past season. This decision allowed Edwin Encarnacion, a DH that David Ortiz endorsed, to sign a three year deal with Cleveland. In addition to luxury tax issues, Dombrowski did not want to block young talent, such as Sam Travis, from climbing up to the Major League club. The end result was signing Mitch Moreland to a one year deal and watching Encarnacion excel in Cleveland to the tune of 38 home runs and 107 RBI’s.

If the Sox were to go after Eric Hosmer, the Red Sox would acquire a proven first baseman. Hosmer would flash the ability to drive the ball of the Green Monster, as well as send plenty of home runs into the right field bleachers.

The only potential issues would be his contract demands of possibly 4-5 years and 100+ million. If the Sox are not wanting to pay out the money to Hosmer, they could try to resign Mitch Moreland. The current first baseman would require a team-friendly deal of a lower level, multi-year deal.

JD Martinez is a right-handed power hitter whom Dombrowski picked out of the Astros’ system. After Dombrowski left for Boston, Detroit traded Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he flourished under Torey Lovullo. He would present an issue in the sense that he is an outfielder and DH – both of those positions are currently filled.

Brian Butterfield may work with Martinez at first, or they could attempt to find a taker on Hanley Ramirez’ contract. The 30 year old slugger would require a smaller contract than Hosmer, though he certainly would not be a cheap investment.

There is little question that Dave Dombrowski will be in on both of these players. With first base currently unfilled, he will need to either commit to Sam Travis, or find a long-term solution. He has shown the ability to evaluate talent well and exploring the free agency market may be crucial to the Red Sox success in 2018.

Giancarlo Stanton could be an option if Dombrowski were to attempt to make a splash; however, this may be cooled off if the new Sox manager likes the current personnel.

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