As we gear up for another baseball season it’s nice to finally have JD in Red Sox camp. All we can do now is try to make sense of it all. Has the emptiness finally been filled by the void left by David Ortiz?
Some media & fans have said JD is a consolation prize for not landing Giancarlo Stanton. I don’t buy that premise for one moment. No way in h#$% that Yankee Jeter was going to help the Red Sox by moving Stanton. As far as I’m concerned any media reports saying the Red Sox had a chance is 100 percent BS. Like the Surgeon General in South Park I base that statement on absolutely nothing. Reports like that defy logic. Derek had to make it look like he was shopping Stanton, so he leaked rumors his star player vetoed trades to NL then trolled New England acting like we had a chance. His “my hand was forced so I sent Station to NY for bag of balls” act is a lie. It’s a shame the league won’t look at bag job trades, but that’s life.
In my gut I do not like this deal. Historically speaking their judgment when it comes to signing big free agents isn’t very good. It doesn’t matter who the GM is. Let’s go back a few years. Edgar Renteria, David Wells, Matt Clement, Carl Crawford, Dice K, Pablo Sandoval, David Price, John Lackey, Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo and now JD Martinez. To be fair Lackey rebounded nicely and was part of the 2013 championship team. Price, Hanley, Lackey and Dice K did JUST enough where I’d say the return on investment was OK. The rest of them were terrible. If you looked at them alone and were pessimistic about JD you’d be justified in thinking that.
One factor isn’t being mentioned enough is the transition to DH after being a position player. JD can rake but doesn’t field particularly well. Early indications are he’s going to DH. What factors in his persona make you think he can transition to DH? I haven’t seen any. Ortiz was one of the rare guys who was mentally tough enough to just hit. Who else besides Big Papi has been a stud DH for an extended period of time. Other than Edgar Martinez I can’t think of one. In 140 at bats he has hit just .250 as a DH. To give you a better idea of the drop off his career average is .285. Thankfully the Sox aren’t the Pirates. It’s not like one bad contract can knee cap their chances of winning another World Series. All I ask is my team spend every dollar they can efficiently and with minimal waste. For the kind of money JD got I want to be sure he’ll be on the field for at least 145 games. In his seven year pro career JD has played 150+ games just once.
His injuries alone are enough to get me to back off. Allen Craig taught to back off signing guys with foot injuries. Feet are so critical to generate power with your hips. JD’s foot is already compromised. He’s missed 85 games in the past two seasons. I wish I could extend my general optimism I have with the Patriots and Celtics over to the Sox. At least the team protected themselves in incase JD’s Lisfranc injury comes back. In the 4th and 5th year the AAV of his deal goes down. The way salaries rise a $19.3 million salary in 2022 will feel like a grand bargain.
My baseline expectation for JD is 145 games, .281 30 HR 110 RBI .352/.525/.877 OBP SLG OPS line. Anything above that is aces in my book. Hopefully this pans out and I’ll be proven wrong.