Boston Red Sox: Five outfield options to consider if Mookie Betts is traded
By Matt Clark
Perhaps the best option to replace Betts in right field is the man who played 24 games there last season for the Red Sox. J.D. Martinez is certainly familiar with Fenway Park’s spacious right field area. While he is a significant downgrade defensively from what Betts brings to the Red Sox, he is capable of manning right field for Boston.
The concern with the Red Sox making Martinez their everyday right fielder is the toll that it could potentially take on his body. Last season, Martinez struggled with a back injury that was attributed to his time in the field. Removing a bat of his caliber from the lineup, especially if it is a lineup already devoid of Betts, would be a crushing blow to Boston.
However, the Red Sox could mitigate some of the wear-and-tear on the 32-year-old Martinez’s body by using him as sparingly as possible. Perhaps using him in a platoon situation where he oscillates between the outfield and designated hitter would be an option to accomplish this.
Putting Martinez in the outfield would allow the Red Sox to rest regular starters by placing them in the designated hitter role. Also, it allows the team greater roster flexibility and would be beneficial if the team wants to bring up young players such as Bobby Dalbec or C.J. Chatham, as they could get experience in the field as veterans move to the designated hitter role or vice versa.
Whether this deal goes through as currently constructed and the Red Sox get Alex Verdugo or if it is completely restructured with different players, the Red Sox will need to make some difficult decisions regarding the roster construction and the status of their outfield.
The longer that this situation drags on, the less viable options will remain at the disposal of the Red Sox. Hopefully, they are able to come to a resolution fairly soon so that they can determine the final construction of their team prior to the start of spring training.