Dealer Dave wields big bat

Ad­di­tions now help next off­sea­son, too

Boston Herald - - NHL / NBA SCOREBOARD / RACING - RED SOX BEAT Chad Jen­nings Twit­ter: @chad­jen­nings22

ORLANDO, Fla. — While all around him buzzes with talk of Gian­carlo Stan­ton’s trade mar­ket and J.D. Martinez’ con­tract de­mands, Dave Dom­browski has other things on his mind.

He needs a big bat, of course, but the Red Sox pres­i­dent of baseball op­er­a­tions also needs to lock his best player into a long-term con­tract, and he must con­sider the rich pos­si­bil­i­ties of next year’s free agent class.

“You look at all those things to­gether,” Dom­browski said yes­ter­day at the sec­ond ses­sion of the gen­eral man­agers meet­ings. “In some ways, you pri­or­i­tize your own play­ers, too, and keep­ing them for the long term. If you do that, does that re­strict you from do­ing some­thing else? But yet, if you don’t keep them or they don’t want to be with you, then you have other avail­abil­i­ties that are out there, po­ten­tially. So, there’s a lot that goes into those de­ci­sions.”

A lot of big-pic­ture pos­si­bil­i­ties to con­sider, all of which should lead Dom­browski right back to the big bats avail­able here and now.

This mar­ket fits the Red Sox’ cur­rent needs, and those cur­rent needs aren’t block­ing any of their longterm goals. The Sox can give a bat like Martinez a mas­sive con­tract, sign a tal­ent like Mookie Betts to an ex­ten­sion and still have wig­gle room to pluck one of the big names out of the 2018 free agent class.

A team like the Red Sox has to do ev­ery­thing at once, and this win­ter is one of those all-at-once mo­ments.

Betts, Xan­der Bo­gaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are among 13 Red Sox el­i­gi­ble for ar­bi­tra­tion this win­ter. Most will sign one-year deals with a mean­ing­ful raise, but some will be worth long-term com­mit­ments.

Betts is one of those. Per­haps Bo­gaerts as well.

But nei­ther Betts nor Bo­gaerts is a first base­man or pro­vides the kind of mid­dle-of-the-order pop that can be found this off­sea­son. The Red Sox still need a guy to bat fourth in the lineup next year and be­yond; they still need some­one to play first base be­yond Han­ley Ramirez.

On the free agent mar­ket, Martinez is one of those true cleanup hit­ters, and both Eric Hos­mer and Car­los San­tana are strong de­fen­sive first base­men who have some of­fen­sive pop. The trade mar­ket, too, has le­git­i­mate power avail­able be­yond the high-pro­file pos­si­bil­ity of Stan­ton.

“That’s special power,” one gen­eral man­ager said of Stan­ton. “But there’s (other) im­pact abil­ity out there.”

Next year’s free agent mar­ket? It could be re­mark­able, head­lined by slug­gers Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Josh Don­ald­son and pos­si­bly an ace in Clay­ton Ker­shaw. But pass­ing on Martinez out of hope for Harper is far too risky in the short term, and it might not pay off in the long term. And if starter David Price opts out of his con­tract af­ter next sea­son, sig­nif­i­cant spend­ing power will open for the pur­suit of a dif­fer­ence-maker.

“You al­ways look to the fu­ture, so you’re never just look­ing at this year,” Dom­browski said. “You al­ways do that. But I think what gets lost, too, is that we have some young play­ers that we want to re­tain in our own or­ga­ni­za­tion. So, how many big, big-dol­lar guys can one club have? So, I think that there are still lim­i­ta­tions on ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion in baseball in that re­gard.”

Put Martinez in the mid­dle of a lineup be­hind Betts and Andrew Ben­in­tendi, and ahead of Rafael Dev­ers. That’s a good place to start, both in the short term and the long term. It adds the power that hasn’t emerged from within the sys­tem while build­ing around the young ath­leti­cism that has so­lid­i­fied it­self in re­cent years.

What’s avail­able now fits all that Dom­browski is try­ing to ac­com­plish. It’s a mar­ket built for the Red Sox, and they need to take ad­van­tage.

“In today’s world, you not only make de­ci­sions on a player’s abil­ity, but you also talk about con­tracts,” Dom­browski said. “So you do have to weigh all those things in. I do think there are quite a few play­ers that are ca­pa­ble of help­ing us for what we need to do. Maybe they’re not quite as high-pro­file as some of the names, but I think we still have to re­mem­ber that we still won 93 games, so we are in that po­si­tion. We’re not look­ing to just re­vamp our ball­club. We’re look­ing to make that ad­di­tion, and I think there’s quite a few guys out there that could help us.”

Dom­browski has a lot of things on his plate. He can han­dle some of it by tak­ing ad­van­tage of what’s right in front of him.


DEEP THOUGHTS: J.D. Martinez, a free agent af­ter a huge of­fen­sive sea­son with Detroit and Ari­zona, is the kind of hit­ter who could power the Red Sox lineup.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.