Red Sox need to trade J.D. Martinez while he still has value on the market

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 30: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 30, 2020 in New York City. Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Mets 4-2. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 30: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 30, 2020 in New York City. Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Mets 4-2. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Is it time the Red Sox look to trade J.D. Martinez?

There’s a simple and yet complicated answer to the question above. At first glance, the Red Sox would be crazy to move one of their best players during a shortened season. However, J.D. Martinez once again has the ability to opt-out of his contract and become a free agent this coming winter. With the current state of the franchise, I wouldn’t be shocked to see that news come across the ticker during the World Series.

If you asked me this question ahead of the season I’d say no way, but that was back when we still had Mookie Betts, David Price, Chris Sale, and Eduardo Rodriguez. With two of those players on the IL and the other two calling Los Angeles home, It’s a completely different answer. Add in the fact that the Red Sox have been atrocious in every facet of the game this season, and Martinez has no reason to stay.

The universal DH made its debut this season and very well could be something that sticks around for the long haul. If that does become the case, then J.D. now has another 15 teams that could pay him for his services. That sure makes the grass look pretty damn green on the other side when you’ve got plenty of suitors blowing up your DM’s.

There’s always the chance that he wants to stay in Boston and finish out his playing days with the Red Sox. On more than one occasion he’s made it clear that he loves the city and franchise and would like to remain here for the long haul, but nothing has come in the way of a restructured contract. If Bloom, and more importantly the ownership, can reassure him that they’re going to invest again after this season with the reset CBT, then he could be swayed into staying.

In the long run that’s the best-case scenario for both sides in my honest opinion. Yeah, I know I’m sitting here trying to sell you on trading one of our best pieces, but that’s also if it’s clear that he’s going to opt-out. Martinez, Bloom, Sam Kennedy, and John Henry can all get together for dinner and some drinks and discuss the future of the slugger.

If their sales pitch doesn’t sway him and he wants to walk, then trade him. However, If they can get him to buy into what their plan is for 2021 and beyond, then they need to restructure his deal and remove the opt-out clauses. It’s a conversation that needs to happen and happen pretty damn soon as the time is quickly running out for both sides in regards to 2020 and the future.

The trade deadline is fast approaching, in fact, it’s less than two weeks away. Last week we heard from the Red Sox leadership that except for a small few, nobody will be safe when the deadline comes and that anyone and everyone could be moved.

Boston has an insane amount of upcoming free agents and it wouldn’t surprise me to see many of them in new uniforms come September 1st. But what about the big slugging heir apparent to David Ortiz?

Like I mentioned above, Martinez is that odd case that he’s technically still under contract but can choose to opt-out and test the market. This is where we may need to see some of that cutthroat mentality that sent Mookie to Hollywood back in February. With it being 50-50 that J.D. stays, the fact that he can walk and Boston can’t do anything about it should set off alarms in Bloom’s head.

This season is all but lost, there’s still more than half the calendar left but with this team, it feels like a formality. There are plenty of contenders that would make a decent offer if J.D. is available and can afford to make it more than a rental. Much like with Betts, his new team could easily ink the extension that Boston should’ve and lock him up for the rest of his career. It may be something that Chaim needs to seriously think about.

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Losing Martinez in any other season would be a serious deathblow to your offense, but not in 2020. So far this year the DH is pushing a .238/.326/.405/.731 line while having just two homers and 11 RBI. J.D. is known for being a slow starter, but there were highlight tweets every day during summer camp about the show he was putting on at the plate. Where the hell did it go?

Though his stats this year may not be setting the world on fire, he still has the potential to be a superstar slugger. We’re not too far removed from the devastation that he caused in both 2018 and 2019 en route to back-to-back All-Star campaigns. That fire is still there but it may need a change of scenery to help him regain the confidence that is dormant at the plate right now. The big value with J.D. lies in the fact that he could snap this cold streak at any moment and get white-hot once again.

I don’t know if it’s was the Mookie trade and lack of followup that sucked the heart out of this team or the removal of Alex Cora as manager, but it feels like the magic from 2018 has been lost from this squad and moves need to be made. If I’m Chaim Bloom, I’m letting teams know that J.D. is available. Even if he were to opt-in for 2021, who’s to say that he rebounds from this season?

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Some of you may think I’m crazy for suggesting that the Red Sox trade away one of their best players, but the jokes on you, they’ve already done that! So what’s to stop them from doing it again with Martinez while they can still get a return on him? 2020 is more than a lost cause and I’d much rather get something for J.D. in a trade than lose him for nothing this winter. As much as I’ve enjoyed his time at Fenway Park, I think the final grains of sand are about to fall through the hourglass.