- Tim Burke
What Will Happen To JD Martinez and Mookie Betts?
The Red Sox pitching needs desperate fixing. The ownership has been clear this season they do not want to be more over the luxury tax. The big problem is the future of their best hitters, Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. Here is the situation.
JD Martinez potentially wants a reconstructed contract. He is hitting machine, with 235 RBIs in his two years in Boston. He has an option to opt out of his contract after this season, the next, or even the one after that. If JD wants more money instead of a pay decrease in the upcoming years he can probably make it. In my opinion JD Martinez is one of the leaders of the Red Sox. I see him as the biggest reason why they won the 2018 World Series. Nobody has more RBI’s than JD martinez in the regular season or playoffs. He made players around him like Mookie Betts better. JD is what the Red Sox were missing in the 2017 season. A hitter who could fill the hole in the lineup Ortiz left behind. Martinez's value goes beyond his hitting abilities. His knowledge at the plate can be passed onto younger players. Devers spent all offseason hitting with Martinez down in Florida to improve at the plate. Now Devers is a superstar and MVP candidate.
JD grew up a Red Sox fan and wants to be here. Look at what he’s done in his short time. I also do not think he wants to leave Boston at all, which is a positive sign for the Red Sox. Hopefully he is in a Red Sox uniform for a long time.
There has been a lot of speculation about Mookie Betts’s future in Boston. He is the best all around player on the Red Sox. He has potential to be one of the greatest ever to wear the uniform like Williams, Ortiz or Yaz. The question is does he want that? Here is a recent quote from the All Star outfielder.
“It’s pretty cool that they have their career in one place, but you can be remembered in that same fashion even if you put on a couple different jerseys,” said Betts. “It definitely doesn’t hurt to only put on one jersey . . . [But the Yastrzemski celebration] doesn’t sway me [about the future] one way or the other.”
This quote has been circling around social media for awhile. You do not need to know the context to know Mookie Betts is more likely than not to hit the open market in 2020. A lot of people are aware of the report than Betts turned down an eight year 200 million dollar offer circa 2017. A twenty five million dollar average just is not enough. Two great players in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are making an average of 30 million on their contracts but Betts is on another level. Mookie will likely make somewhere between the Machado/Harper 30 million and Trout's 35 million. Do the Red Sox even want to pay this? Star studded teams lose a lot of players. They cannot afford everyone. How far are the Red Sox willing to go to keep Betts?
Obviously, it will be expensive to keep both players. Especially when the Red Sox pitching needs fixing. Imagine having Martinez, Betts, Boegarts and Devers in your lineup for years to come though . That is a dream offense. The Red Sox need to make an adjustment to keep all their star sluggers. The best option for the Sox front office should focus on drafting and developing pitchers. They have not had an established homegrown starting pitcher in a long time. This organizational weakness has lasted years whether it was Epstein, Cherrington, or Dombrowsi's front office. The Red Sox have simply failed to develop any of the pitchers they have drafted into a starter since Clay Bucholtz who they drafted in 2005. That was like five Spiderman movies ago! Developing starting pitchers will take years but the Red Sox will not be able to make trades for pitchers as they do not have enough valuable prospects for trades and their money will go into extensions for the forseeable future so they need to develop pitchers internally. The problem with all of this is Boston fans, ownership, and management want to win. They want to win now not in the future. Do the Red Sox try to revamp their pitching by trading Betts? I hope not but good pitching wins World Championships. The Sox new head of Baseball Operations has a dilemma. Keep their stacked offense long term or get the pitching help they need.