It’s often said that 90 percent of the rumors we hear regarding trade and free agent discussions never pan out and that about sums up my experience simulating the offseason as GM of the Red Sox. A lot of talk with little action.
I ended up making only one move to add to the roster but Martinez will have a significant effect on improving this team for 2018 and beyond.
I’m banking on bounce-back campaigns from Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez, as well as the continued development of rookies Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers. Boston’s offense will undoubtedly improve next year even without the benefit of a splashy free agency signing and with Martinez on board, they have the potential to be among the elite lineups in the league.
Here’s what the Red Sox lineup could look like following this simulation.
While this may not look all that different from what Boston rolled out last season, if Martinez continues to put up the type of numbers that remind us of David Ortiz then this is a better lineup than the one that led the majors in runs scored in 2016.
The pitching staff remains intact with no need for any significant moves. The Red Sox will have a surplus in the rotation once Eduardo Rodriguez gets healthy so I didn’t feel the need to allocate any salary from my limited budget to that area. The bullpen is well stocked and should get Tyler Thornburg back to replace the departing Addison Reed. The Red Sox also plan to convert lefty Brian Johnson to the bullpen to take the place of Fernando Abad.
I’m a bit envious of the wheeling and dealing that other Site Experts did during this simulation but despite several conversations, I wasn’t able to reach an agreement I felt comfortable with. Signing Martinez proved to be a better solution for our needs than any reasonable trade that was on the table.
Unfortunately, Martinez’ salary left me hamstrung when it came to making any other moves. It was difficult to see Eduardo Nunez get scooped up for a bargain 2-year, $14 million deal or find out Ryan Braun was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a package I’m confident I could have topped. Those moves wouldn’t have been possible once Martinez came on board unless I found another way to shed salary elsewhere.
Given that the Red Sox don’t have many holes on the roster to begin with and solved their biggest issue by adding Martinez’ bat, I’m able to walk away from this simulation feeling satisfied with how it turned out.