Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy felt J.D. Martinez’s opt-out decision “was a hard one to read” and “I honestly thought it could go either way,” though Kennedy is obviously pleased to have Martinez back in the fold, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo writes. Martinez’s choice will naturally have a big impact on Boston’s financial situation, particularly since the team is looking to shed some payroll and possibly get under the luxury tax threshold, though Kennedy was only focused on what Martinez’s return will mean for the club on the field.
“You never want to lose a talented player. Of course, there are hard decisions teams have to make in terms of parting ways with guys in every sport,” Kennedy said. “What J.D. Martinez has done for the Red Sox and hopefully will continue to do, is not just a big bat in the middle of the lineup. He also helps elevate other players on the team and that’s widely documented. That’s helpful. That’s a good thing. Now we move on.”
More from Fenway Park…
- It isn’t yet known if Martinez staying will make it more likely that the Sox could trade Mookie Betts in order to solve their luxury tax issues, though Kennedy said (via Cotillo) the club is still hoping to enter into extension talks this winter. “We love Mookie Betts….We’ve engaged in discussions with him and his representatives in the past and we’ll continue to engage with them,” Kennedy said. No negotiations have taken place to date this offseason, which isn’t surprising given that most teams wait until closer to Spring Training to begin extension talks (plus, Chaim Bloom was only just hired as Boston’s new chief baseball officer). While the Sox have been proactive in locking up in-house stars over the years, most recently inking Xander Bogaerts and Chris Sale to extensions last spring. Betts, however, has been clear about his desire to test the free agency after the 2020 season, and with the open market now less than a year away, it remains to be seen if the Red Sox can get anywhere in convincing him to stay.
- Whether Betts is part of a blockbuster deal or not, Bloom’s hiring would seem to indicate that the Sox will be much more active on the trade market under their new front office boss than they were under Dave Dombrowski. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes that since the start of November 2016, when Bloom and Rays GM Erik Neander took over Tampa’s front office, the Rays swung 65 different trades. In that same timeframe, the Sox made only 21 deals. While the two franchises are obviously in quite different places in terms of payroll and roster creation strategy, it does stand to reason that trades may be a much larger part of Boston’s efforts to reshape the team.
- Could a reunion with Rick Porcello be in the cards? The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato looks at the pros and cons, noting that Porcello perhaps could have a rebound year and, at worst, will eat innings within a rotation full of injury question marks. That said, Bloom (who has no past history with Porcello) could prefer to acquire a starter with a higher potential ceiling, and who’d cost less than what Porcello is likely to find on the open market. MLBTR projects Porcello for a one-year, $11MM contract — no small amount for a Red Sox team that is ideally trying to avoid the luxury tax.