Will J.D. Martinez opt-out? Martinez’s defense traps him to the American League where DH offers the opportunity to minimize defensive inabilities. What is known is Martinez is a lock at 35+ home runs, 100+ RBI, and to hit .300. What is also known is Martinez is an adventure in the outfield with a -19.4 UZR/150 in left and a -18.5 UZR/150 in right.
If Martinez finds another team willing to pony up then the DH situation takes a real offensive tumble. The Red Sox could venture into the free-agent market and scoop up one of the usual aging sluggers who are available. That could be a cost-saving invested elsewhere, but a dent in run production.
Christian Vazquez is one of the best in the league and second to Mitch Gaver in WAR. Vazquez is a smart situational hitter who has demonstrated the ability to do the little things that can have a big impact. Is Vazquez the best on the team at the lost art of bunting? Vazquez has benefited from the sudden homer-happy environment and hit 21 and counting – a nice bonus.
Defensively Sandy Leon has an edge, albeit a slight one on Vazquez. Both are blessed with power arms, good footwork, excellent game management, and veteran leadership. Expect the usual to continue in 2020 with Pawtucket having a veteran addition for emergency storage.