With the addition of J.D. Martinez will the Red Sox investigate trading Jackie Bradley? The need for additional pitching may offer such an opportunity.
The long winter wait is over, and the Red Sox own version of kiss and cry has taken place with Scott Boras, Dave Dombrowski and a newly minted multi-millionaire named J.D. Martinez. A big group hug for the cameras and all the correct platitudes will be muttered by all. The fact is Martinez made out rather well considering a free agent market that was a bit frayed around the edges.
Will Martinez play the outfield? Or maybe – based on his metrics – the outfield plays him? Will Martinez be a designated hitter? That, of course, brings into the situation the other $22 MM player one Hanley Ramirez who was last seen hitting a dreadful .249. What to do with HanRam and, quite naturally, keep him from reaching goals that kick in his option?
The Red Sox have somewhat of a glut with Martinez, Mitch Moreland, and Ramirez all in motion for at-bats. There will be a flip-flop against the righty – lefty pitching matchups. Maybe Moreland will bang a ball off his toe as in 2017 and sit? Maybe Martinez will play just 119 games again? And maybe – using the local vernacular – Ramirez will “suck” and be confined to nesting on the bench?
The quick solution is money as it pays off Ramirez and does a big “See, ya!” But, hey, another $22 MM on top of the Pablo Sandoval $50 MM and Rusney Castillo and whatever he is owed. No, folks, there will be no out the door for Ramirez unless Boston ponies up significant money, but there is still opportunity. A trade.
All winter long the name Jackie Bradley was tossed hither and yon as a possible trade chip. The Red Sox vehemently denied any desire to move JBJ, which, to me, means they didn’t find the right price. Now they do – Martinez needs his space and that would be left field with Andrew Benintendi doing a shuffle to center.
There is more to add to tempt the palates of another GM’s and that is Mr. I Am Out Of Options Blake Swihart. Swihart has no place to play. The discussion a week or so ago was giving Swihart some duty at second base. Hello, Eduardo Nunez and goodbye to second base or third base. And catcher? Not with Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon.
I have no qualms if the Red Sox suddenly went shopping for a starter and used Swihart and Bradley as bait. Bradley will be a free agent in two seasons and that means a big payday. Will Bradley ever be a .270 hitter? Or even a .250 hitter? I just can’t get all mushy about Bradley’s ability with the stick, but certainly can with the glove.
So, just who do you get? Rumors are always afoot as to who needs what and what they are willing to give up. I could toss out a series of names, but that is pure speculation as is the idea of trading Bradley and possibly Swihart. What I will state is that seems like a doable path to freeing up clog with baseball Drano.
Just what will happen is pure conjecture, but the most valuable chip available is Bradley. I would not hesitate to trade for a starter to strengthen the rotation for protection for the inevitable breakdowns.