The chances of Victor Martinez continuing his career may be “touch and go” in the aftermath of heart-related health issues in 2017, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. The Tigers slugger twice suffered irregular heartbeats, the second of which led to chronic ablation surgery in early September that prematurely ended his season. Martinez has one year and $18MM remaining on his original four-year contract with the Tigers, and he turns 39 years old in December, so retirement could potentially not be far away for the veteran. That said, the top priority is Martinez’s health, and everyone around baseball is pulling for Martinez to both make a full recovery and be able to end his career on his own terms, whether after the 2018 season or beyond.
Here’s more from Cafardo’s weekly notes column…
- Jackie Bradley Jr. could be a big commodity on the trade market, as Cafardo opines that the Red Sox could deal Bradley, move Andrew Benintendi to center field and then sign J.D. Martinez to play left field. Boston’s “need for power is so critical,” Cafardo writes, that the Sox may have to take the hit on defense, not to mention the payroll hit of dealing Bradley (controlled via arbitration through the 2020 season) and spending big on Martinez. Cafardo also noted Martinez as a potential Boston target in his column last week, citing the past relationship between Martinez and Dave Dombrowski from their time together in Detroit. The Giants, Phillies, Royals and Braves are all listed as potential suitors if the Red Sox did shop Bradley, and several more teams would certainly check in on the 27-year-old. Bradley took a step backwards at the plate this season, though he posted above-average hitting numbers in 2015-16 and is one of the game’s better defensive players.
- Jim Hickey has drawn a lot of attention for pitching coach vacancies around the sport, though Cafardo writes that some around the game consider Hickey to be a potential managerial candidate. He speculates that “the Mets could take a long look” at Hickey, or potentially the Red Sox as they look to replace another former pitching coach-turned-manager in John Farrell.
- Speaking of Farrell, he could emerge as a contender for one of the open managerial vacancies around the game, or even with the Nationals if they choose to move on from Dusty Baker. One AL executive feels the Nats “would be looking at strongly” if they did make a change in the dugout, though the exec also feels Farrell may take a season away from the game to both increase his job options and perhaps just to take a break from the grind.
- While discussing teams looking for managers, Cafardo makes the interesting comment that “the Phillies still have their sights on” Orioles skipper Buck Showalter. Once Pete Mackanin was reassigned from the manager’s job in Philadelphia, there was some initial speculation about the Phils targeting Showalter given his ties to Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak. Since then, however, the Phillies have seemingly moved onto other candidates, plus there’s the obvious obstacle of Showalter still being under contract to the Orioles for one more season.
- Speaking of the Phillies job, Cafardo also notes that Red Sox bench coach Gary DiSarcina’s name has come up as a possible candidate. DiSarcina worked for the Angels as a coach and front office assistant during Klentak’s stint with the club as an assistant GM. The longtime former Angels infielder has several years of experience in a variety of front office, coaching and minor league managerial roles with the Halos and Red Sox.