When we last checked in, Julio Daniel Martinez was at the top of the Red Sox wish list, and that is still the case. The last offer I had heard of was for about 5 years, but the Boras/Martinez duo is looking for at least 7. Shocker. Will there be common ground? It’s hard to know.
There always seems to be a mystery team that swoops in and swipes Boras clients at the last minute with a crazy offer. The one that comes to mind in recent years is the contract Prince Fielder received. There was no market for him, then out of no where on January 26th, 2012, he signed a massive 9 year deal for $214 million. In the blink of an eye, the Tigers and Dave Dombrowski came along and plucked him out of the air with a huge contract.
What should Dealin’ Dave do if he gets outbid by an unknown suitor like he did back in 2012? Let’s take a look at some other potential targets, even if their position on the Sox depth chart seems a little crowded.
Jay Bruce: UPDATE: Jay Bruce has signed with the New York Mets for a 3 year deal worth $39 million. He is off the table for a potential back up, though he would have been a fit.
The burly Texan bats from the left side, so he wasn’t a complete fit on a roster that has more left handedness than Ned Flanders’ Leftorium. However, last year he played in 146 games and popped 36 home runs while driving in 101 runs. The Red Sox need power, and his .832 OPS certainly would have beef up a lineup that featured only one other hitter to have 60 games played and an .800 OPS, that being Mookie Betts.
Logan Morrison: With Jay Bruce off the table, would the Sox look at LoMo? Although a lefty bat, he has a career average of .244 against southpaws to go against .245 vs righties. He does have versatility, given that he can play 1B and LF. He also hit 38 homers, with an OPS of .868 this past year. Like Bruce would have brought to the table, adding a hitter with an OPS north of .800 would be ideal and he fits that bill. Morrison could also come at a cheaper rate given what Bruce and other lower tier free agents have signed for.
Jake Arrieta: When your rival is going one way, why not go another? At this point, Arrieta might come at a cheaper rate than one might think. Teams don’t seem willing to pay for anyone this offseason and Arrieta is coming off a second half of 2.28 ERA baseball. The best answer to good hitting is better pitching. Adding Arrieta to a staff that already boasts Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz and Rick Porcello could do wonders with Eduardo Rodriguez possible out until mid year.
Jayson Werth: I don’t think this name has come up for any team in this offseason. It makes sense as his numbers have been in a steady decline since 2014 and the guy can’t seem to stay healthy. However, before his foot injury in June of 2017, he hit 7 home runs and batted .282 in April with a .815 OPS. If it weren’t for a terrible September, he would have been over .800 OPS for the year, but finished shy of it at .715. He has the power still, but he seems to keep getting injured. If he spends time at the DH slot and a little in the outfield as J.D. Martinez is projected to do, he could have a decent year for short money.
At this stage of the offseason, we have to entertain the fact that the Sox brass may stand pat, and go to war with the roster as is. Beyond JDM, who’s apparently willing to wait till spring training for a seven year agreement, there isn’t much pop without uncertainty. There are the aging veterans Curtis Granderson and Jose Bautista who can still contribute, but those once feared slugging outfielders are coming off down years. They simply aren’t the same impact players they were from 2005-2015. Carlos Gonzalez is another intriguing option, but if you look at his splits, he’s no different than Matt Holliday or Troy Tulowitzki: products of that Rocky Mountain air in Coors Field. The Red Sox are in need of a middle of the order bat, and shouldn’t be interested in someone who might be able to fill that role.
If the BoSox choose to do nothing in the event they fall short in the pursuit of Martinez, it isn’t a terrible place to be in. With a full year of Rafael Devers, a seemingly healthy Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts, and not to mention Bryce Brentz as a 4th outfielder who led the International League with his 31 homers, they might not need to add power; it could already be here. A bounce back performance from Mookie Betts to go along with a new analytical approach by Alex Cora and Tim Hyers might just be what the starting nine needs to get going.
Truthfully, there isn’t much on the market that excites me. In the end, the Red Sox could be better just to stand pat if a splash can’t be made, as the 2019 free agent market will be bountiful, and ripe for the picking.