Red Sox Free Agency: Is J.D. Martinez’ defense holding up a deal?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 06: J.D. Martinez /

Since it appears that the Boston Red Sox have the budget room to sign Martinez to a long-term contract, what is holding up the deal?

Although J.D. Martinez is asking for some big bucks for a long period, $200 million over 10 years, it appears that the Boston Red Sox have the payroll flex and the cash to close the deal, if they so desire and improve their chances for a postseason berth.

So, besides the steep cost commitment, what else could be keeping Dave Dombroski, President of baseball operations, from making the obvious move?

Certainly, Martinez had a career offensive year, but, on his best day, he is an average right fielder. Yet he says he isn’t ready to trade his wooden glove in for a DH bat; he wants to play two or more years in the field.  But, Martinez has a career fielding percentage of .983 and -26 Defensive Runs Saved.

Martinez is determined to play the field for a few more years and create a liability for his team.

Well, OK, Mr. Martinez, welcome to Pesky’s Pole and the rest of the pesky territory in the right field of Fenway Park. Get ready to hear this line on a regular basis if the Red Sox sign Martinez and let him play right field.

“…and that ball is rolling all along the curve of the wall and Martinez is chasing it…”

But the Red Sox have an above average, MVP-level, right fielder in Mookie Betts and he also is a right-handed hitter.

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Then there is  a Gold Glove quality center fielder in Jackie Bradley and Andrew Benintendi in left field, both of whom are lefties. So, against a left-handed starter, you could sit one of them in order to let Martinez spend some time in the outfield while he fills the DH role against right-handed starters. Either scenario forces the Red Sox to remove a regular from their lineup and results in a drastic decline in the outfield defense.

If Martinez is insisting on taking his Iron Glove to the Fenway OF for the Sox, something has to give; or, someone has to go.

Anybody want to replace Betts in RF with J.D. [Junky Defense] Martinez?

How about Martinez in RF with Betts in CF and Bradley traded and starting for another team?

Or, leave Mookie in RF and JBJ in CF and—for laughs–send Martinez out to joust with the Green Monster:

“The line drive caroms off the wall and Clank! It caroms of Martinez’ glove.”

Perhaps, then, Dombroski does not want to guarantee that Martinez will gallivant about the Fenway lawns, creating runs for the opposition.  Or, maybe he is forced to consider making room for Pig Iron Glove by trading Gold Glove JBJ?

Next: Offseason swings, misses, foul tips

If Dombroski is willing to endure his offensive defense and does sign Martinez and lets him fecklessly meander RF at Fenway, he had better immediately make arrangements for a ton of tutorials from the master of that field, Dwight “Dewey” Evans.