Top free agent JD Martinez has made his decision: he is signing with the Boston Red Sox on a 5-year $110-million contract with an opt-out after 2 years... well shit.
Anyone who thinks this is good for the Red Sox probably has a brain that's smoother than Kenny goddamn G. JD Martinez signing here has ruined your beloved Red Sox for the next 5 years.
Is JD Martinez a good player? Yeah, maybe. But that's just it: maybe. MAYBE. The Sox just gave $110-million to a maybe. But go ahead and parade around Yawkey Way, or Racial Equality Way, or Whatever-the-Hell Way John Henry wants to call it now, and act like this is a good thing for the Red Sox.
JD Martinez has hit over 30 HRs twice in his career. Equally troubling, Martinez has only managed to play more than 125 games in a season ONCE. Also, in the seasons where JD Martinez did hit more than 30 HRs, he relied heavily on being able to flick balls out of the park into the gap between right and center. And while that may work at Chase Field in August when it's a dry 2000 degrees, at Fenway Park "gap power" is a fancy way of saying "fly out to right field".
But the worst part about JD Martinez joining the Red Sox isn't what he can do on the field for this team, but it's what he means in the big picture for this team. JD Martinez's $21-million AAV is an absolute death blow to Boston's chances of landing an actual superstar next offseason. If you're paying JD, David Price, and maybe even Hanley still, you're not getting Bryce Harper. Especially since that genius Dumbo, the worst president of anything right now, front loaded the deal before the opt-out after year two. So now not only are you 100% out on Harper AND Machado, but if by some miracle Martinez actually plays well, he's fucking gone after two years. The Red Sox have mortgaged their future to sign this guy and you should be pissed as a Red Sox fan.
What's more is he didn't even want to be here. He was forced to sign here because no one else was dumb enough to give him this kind of money. This has Carl Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, and David Price written all over it. And that snake Scott Boras can deny it all he want but JD definitely wishes he was somewhere else. So now we're adding another guy who doesn't want to be here, to the exact same clubhouse that was a toxic waste dump last year? No yeah, great job Dave, this should work out. Yup. Yippee. We got another FUCKING guy who's only here because Jon Henry likes to throw money at all the wrong guys.
Look if you want to celebrate this signing then fine. You're an idiot, but whatever. The Red Sox just made a move because they felt like they had to make one. They completely botched the Mike Stanton trade opportunity and let the Yankees get him for nothing, so now they had to take second place in an unknown commodity who wishes he was somewhere else and prevents them from getting the big one AGAIN next year. I feel the same way about this signing as I did Carl Crawford's and David Price's. And if that's not a bad enough omen for you, I don't know what is.
(Indy Star/Time Sports)
One of the storylines heading into the 2018 MLB season revolves around a perennial MVP candidate: Bryce Harper. Will this be his final year in Washington? Where will he be in 2019? But if you want answers to those questions, you best not be asking the 25-year-old right fielder, as he made it crystal clear today that he wants absolutely no part in answering any questions having to do with his future.
To paraphrase Harper's comments he made Monday morning, he said: " I'm focused on 2018... if you guys have any questions about 2019, 2020, or anything like that, you can call Scott [Boras] and he can answer them. I'm focused on 2018, and if you guys have any questions about 2019, I'll be walking right out that door."
First off, I absolutely love what Harper said here. It doesn't sound remotely douchey, it shows how focused he is on this season. Plus, I know for a fact he's not bluffing. The first question he gets asked about his thoughts on where he will be in the future, he's going to walk his ass right out the door. It's not arrogance, it's about his mindset. He can't get to next offseason without playing the 2018 season, so why focus on the future?
Second, with Giancarlo Stanton switching leagues to the AL, the race for the NL MVP is now between, presumably, Nolan Arenado, Joey Votto (s/o Mikey), and Bryce Harper. So, with a big season, Harper could very well be due for a monster payday of close for $400 million in total on his next contract. But if he's focusing on that, his numbers may suffer from it, and it could cause him to leave A LOT of money on the table.
So as far as Bryce Harper's future, it's going to be fun to talk about this for the entirety of this upcoming season. Adding to the suspense will be Harper's lack of comments on the situation. All in all, it should be an exciting year ahead of us for baseball fans, we just need to get there.
It’s definitely fair (more than fair) to say the 2017 Boston Red Sox lacked home run power. That issue had a little bit to do with a few hindering factors: David Ortiz retiring after the 2016 season was the BIG one, but Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts both falling into the mid-20s for home runs (30 HR club in 2016), and Xander Bogaerts more than halving his home run total from 21 in 2016, to 10 in 2017 both contributed to an AL-worst 168 home runs last season.
That being said, even with the lack of power, the 2017 Boston Red Sox had the 10th most runs scored in all of baseball, 6th in the AL. So when we look at how the Red Sox could improve their offense as we approach the 2018 season, obviously adding power is at the forefront of everyone’s concern. But just how necessary is it?
Diving in deeper, there was one glaring issue that the Red Sox never were able to fix last season: baserunning. And this issue became even more apparent in the playoffs (particularly Game 4 vs. Houston), where they consistently had boneheaded mistakes on the base paths, en route to a 3-1 series defeat at the hands of the World Champion Houston Astros.
Overall, Boston made 81 outs on the bases (11 ahead of the 2nd worst team), including 73 with RISP. Obviously those things happen, but if they were able to cut those gaffes in half - 40 (3rd least in baseball) - you’re talking about another 40 possible runs you could’ve scored. So instead of 785, the Red Sox could’ve possibly wound up with 825+ (3rd in baseball), and with this pitching staff, that should be able to get the job done more often than not - especially in big games.
So as the J.D. Martinez saga has now dragged on into Spring Training, obviously adding him would help the offense immensely, but you HAVE to factor in how much his numbers could deteriorate if the bat is repeatedly taken out of his hands by boneheaded mistakes made by basically the same team around him.
With the NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching (February 26), the Boston Bruins find themselves in a precarious situation that they have not been in for quite some time. Thats right, for the first time in what seems like forever, the Bruins are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. In fact, they are only a few points out of having the best record in the NHL. If the Bruins play their cards right, they could find themselves winning a Presidents' Trophy in what many considered to be a rebuilding year. As the Bruins continue to win games with some of their young guns, it has become apparent that this team could add pieces at the Deadline to not just be a bonafide playoff team, but a legitimate contender to win the whole damn thing.
So, of course, rumors are going to start circulating and the team is going to be linked to some of the top available players on the trade market. We have seen the rumors already start to circulate in regard to New York Rangers winger Rick Nash, but news has now begun to pop up about his captain, Ryan McDonagh, being available as well. Thats right, folks, the Rangers are blowing this thing up. The 28-year-old has never been an offensive-minded defenseman, but he is a legitimate top-four guy and a true veteran presence that could greatly help the Bruins if they were to acquire him. The former first rounder currently has two goals and 24 assists, while sporting a career-low +/- of 7.
Obviously the Bruins would love to have this guy, but, as always in any sport, it is going to come down to the price. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal was the first to report that the Rangers would more than likely be asking for Jake DeBrusk in return for McDonagh's services, who has a year left on his contract after this season at an annual cap hit of $4.7 million. DeBrusk would not be the only piece going to New York, but he would be the hardest pill to swallow, so he will be the focal point of the remainder of this article.
The Bruins highly covet DeBrusk, who was drafted 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. In 51 games so far this season, the 21-year-old has notched 11 goals and 18 assists. Additionally, DeBrusk has been a focal point on the second line with David Krejci. If the Bruins aren't turning this into a blockbuster deal and acquiring McDonagh AND Nash, then it doesn't make a ton of sense to me. Even if the Bruins were to acquire McDonagh and Nash, are those the two players you want to empty your bucket of assets for? Personally, its a no from me.
Understandably, the Bruins should be reluctant to trade him away, even if McDonagh is a perennial Norris Trophy candidate every year. As I briefly mentioned previously, McDonagh is a fantastic fit for this Bruins team. In years past this team has been looking to add a legitimate top-two defensive pairing-type of guy, and McDonagh is that dude.
If I am the Bruins, I am waiting to see if that price will come down. I do not want to trade some of the assets that I have been accumulating for multiple seasons just to spend it on a guy that will be here for a year and a half. If the Bruins can get a player like McDonagh for the likes of Ryan Spooner or Frank Vatrano, then we can start talking. Drew Doughty, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Erik Karlsson are all slated to become free agents with McDonagh, so perhaps those guys will be impacted by a potential trade of the St. Paul, MN native.
The likelihood of a deal of this magnitude getting done at the Deadline is not great, but they are fun to talk about, right?
To JD Martinez or not to JD Martinez, that is the question. A motivated Hanley Ramirez’s answer has got to be “to not JD Martinez.”
It’s pretty simple: if the Red Sox land JD Martinez, Hanley’s role on this team is quite literally up in the air. Having both Martinez and the recently re-signed Mitch Moreland on the team would make Hanley the odd man out. Now, if the Red Sox don't land Martinez, it’s a completely different story. The Red Sox would be forced to heavily rely on Ramirez’s bat and health, which is a pretty scary thing to even merely think about if you’re the Red Sox.
People forget, Ramirez has only hit 30 home runs twice in his career: in 2008 with the Marlins and in 2016 here in Boston. If Hanley is going to be this team’s DH, they need a David Ortiz-esque 30/100 season out of him, and he needs to stay motivated, focused and healthy. Who knows whether we’ll get one, all or none of the above at any given time.
A motivated Hanley Ramirez is one of the better hitters in Major League Baseball, and I mean that. When he really wants to, he can tear the cover off the ball like he means it. In 2016, he hit 30 homers, drove in 111 runs and hit .286 and slugged .505. He dropped to 23 homers, 62 RBI with a .242 average and slugged .429 in 2017. In 2016, he had Ortiz by his side. In 2017, he had a super young team around him, he was hurt and he was too confident and made up too many excuses as he was expected to “lead” the team.
This year, he himself even said he expects himself to hit 30 home runs and his manager, Alex Cora, told everyone quite simply: “If he hits, he’s going to play.” Not to mention, on this team, he *should* be a leader. He’s the second oldest player on the team, has been around the block a few times and is a solid role model on and off the field when he has his act together. Not to mention, he’s off to a good start: he dropped 15 pounds over the offseason, thanks to him getting in on the TB12 Method, and he showed up to camp two days early. If he can merely pretend like he’s Tom Brady for the majority of the season, then we’ve got something brewing here, folks.
If there’s one thing I really want to tell Hanley, though, it would be this: please, pretty please, on behalf of all Red Sox fans, please stop swinging for the fences during every single one of your at-bats. First and foremost, it doesn’t work. Your contact rate percentage was the lowest of your career in 2017 at 75 percent. Your ground ball rate dropped 7 percent last year, too. Second of all, it doesn’t help your shoulder. You talked about how you “hit 23 home runs with one shoulder last year.” Maybe you would have had both shoulders for longer if you didn’t air it out on every single pitch you saw no matter what it was?
Alright, I’m done. That was harsh, but I needed to get it off my chest.
Monetarily, though, Hanley should be motivated, because he’s got a $22 million vesting option that begins in 2019 IF he reaches 497 plate appearances this year (which is, by the way, the weirdest number ever and just looking at it makes my anxiety shoot up through the roof). He needs to stay healthy both for the benefit of his team and for himself.
Like most Red Sox fans, Hanley irritates me beyond human comprehension. Why he can’t stay motivated, I really don’t know. Albeit, I’m willing to give him another chance this year. He has what it takes to be the x-factor of the Red Sox if they don’t sign Martinez, and I believe that. Call me crazy. If Boston does snag JD, then it’s a completely different story. For the time being, I’m remaining cautiously optimistic. This particular Red Sox teams has so many “what ifs” surrounding it heading into the season, but I’m quite ready to see just how they play out, especially Hanley’s situation. Let’s fuckin’ have it.