The news broke this weekend that not only had the New York Yankees reached an agreement with the Miami Marlins on a trade for Giancarlo Stanton, but he had also waived his no-trade clause. With this shocking move, the Yankees instantly leapfrogged the Boston Red Sox for early 2018 favorites. That leaves the Yankees with three consecutive 30+ boppers in their lineup. In the other corner, we have Boston’s good-not-great lineup that now pales in comparison. Boston has a slight edge in the rotation, but not much, and their bullpens seem to be about even. A move like this will force Dave Dombrowski to reciprocate. The question is: what could/will he do?
Free agents: Carlos Santana, J.D. Martinez
Boston has been linked to these players all off-season long. Carlos Santana has been proposed as a perfect match for some. Carlos Santana will be entering his age-32 season in 2018, and had not as impressive a year in 2017 as he had in 2016, but the power was there with 23 homers. The reason he would be a decent fit for Boston is because of the potential value for money he presents. His position is mostly DH or first base, so being a switch hitter too, he would allow for a platoon between himself and Hanley Ramirez there. Being almost 32, he would not command too much money and years, so this makes him a pretty good option for Boston, but not a solution to their problems.
J.D. Martinez also presents a good option for Boston, but he could be quite costly. After having a career year and hitting 45 home runs, he will command both money and years on the open market. The good news for Boston, is that he as traded this year, so there is no draft compensation tied to him at age 30 entering 2018. With Martinez represented by Scott Boras though, it could cost an arm-and-a-leg to get him to come to Boston. Additionally, another problem Boston faces is that he plays outfield. Boston had most likely the best defensive outfield in baseball in 2017. Should the team sign Marinez, he would take one of the three slots. That would hurt one of its main strengths from 2017. They could put him in left field with the wall so it would not matter as much, but that would mean the team would need to find a spot for Andrew Benintendi to play. Of course, the team could inquire if he would be willing to convert to a first baseman, but he has never played first.
Both of these options are decent ones, but not even close to the ones available next off-season. It would be in Boston’s best interest to pursue one of these players, and Stanton to New York mght necessitate the signing, but Dombrowski may need to show a little restraint here.
Trade for Joey Votto?
Boston needs a power threat to augment its lineup. Joey Votto would be a good candidate here. To make things clear, he may not be as much of a power threat as some, but after hitting 36 homers this past year, he definitely strikes fear into opposing pitchers. Votto, however, does more than hit homers; he gets on base at a very high rate, he hits doubles, does not strike out a lot, and hits for a high average. He comes with two concerns: his age, and his price tag.
As far as his age is concerned, at age 34, he is getting up there a bit. Fortunately, the DH spot means the Red Sox could rest him or slot him into the DH position to as he ages. For 2018, he would have to play mostly first base as Hanley would DH a lot, but in the future, the Red Sox could preserve him and his bat by giving him days off from the field as the DH.
As far as his contract goes, and the cost of acquiring him, it could be quite off-putting for the Red Sox. He has six years of his 10-year $225 million contract remaining which means he has around $135 million left on his deal. If Cincinnati eats a portion of that contract, then Boston may end up giving up a good few prospects. Jackie Bradley, could be packaged with a good prospect or two to acquire him if Boston takes on his whole contract. However, if Boston has Cincinnai eat some of the money, then we could be talking about Jackie Bradley and a top prospect or two like Trey Ball or Michael Chavis being included in the deal. I think it would be best if Boston just took on the whole contract, as the team has the money for it after resetting the luxury tax this year, and the cost in prospects for a team whose farm system has been thinned out of late, would be lower.
Eric Horner is an option of course, but I feel he is not what Boston wants and comes with red flags, especially considering his lack of power- which is an area Boston had trouble with this year. Therefore, I chose not to mention him. As for the other options, I feel that Dombrowski will have to make at least one of these moves to counter New York’s with Stanton. Even then, just one of these options does not make up for it, but it would be a start. Either way, Dombrowski cannot be this quiet for so long. Knowing him, he should have the cogs turning on another big signing or trade deal very, very soon.