By Ted Gay – @TedG63
JD Martinez is finally a member of the Boston Red Sox. He is the player we wanted. Now, what are we supposed to do with him?
Martinez is a career right fielder. We have a two-time gold glove winning right fielder in Mookie Betts. Are we to move him to please our newest expensive bauble? Or is Martinez going to be a DH? What does that mean for the newly dedicated Hanley Ramirez who has promised greater production this year? (Although any promise Ramirez makes should be taken with several grains of salt) The most expendable player is Jackie Bradley. Betts can be moved to center with Martinez in right, Mitch Moreland at first, and Ramirez at DH. Also, where does this leave Eduardo Nunez? He will no longer be needed as a fourth outfielder. Having too much talent is always a good problem to have, but there are going to be some unhappy, talented players sitting on the bench which could lead to festering clubhouse problems for new manager Alex Cora.
Most importantly Martinez needs to meet at least, if not exceed expectations, which right now stand at 31 home runs, 82 RBI, and a .290 average. Martinez never seemed to want to play in Boston. Is he going to be another Carl Crawford? Is being a top 40 AL player good enough that it justifies 110 million dollars and five years to a fan base starved for a power hitter? They call Missouri the Show Me state, but Boston is the Show Me city and Martinez have to start showing on day one.
If Martinez replaces Bradley in the lineup, the offensive upgrade is significant, but it needs to greatly outpace the runs that will be scored without Bradley in center. Bradley is also too talented to wallow on the bench. Dave Dombrowski may need to deal him, but since the Sox have four starting outfielders his value will be lessened.
This is the move that Dave Dombrowski will be tied to for the rest of his time in Boston. If Martinez is successful in Boston Dombrowski will get credit but if Martinez fails he will drag the President down with him.
Dombrowski did not overpay for Martinez. He needed a power hitter, and he got the best one on the market. But Red Sox Nation is looking for a savior, and JD Martinez is a number five hitter who has never driven an offense.
The Red Sox got better today but did they get significantly better? If they don’t produce more runs and win more games, the move will be a failure, and this is not a fan base that deals well with failure, especially expensive ones.
If nothing else this move makes the months of April through September more interesting. Let’s see it if makes October more interesting too.
ICYMI: AVIDBOSTON PODCAST EPISODE 29! THE NUNEZ/MARTINEZ EDITION! ENCARNACION, HOSMER, AND SO MUCH MORE!
Also available on iTunes!