Since the Boston Red Sox reportedly won’t be extending a Qualifying Offer to JD Martinez in the coming weeks, they need to add “Find new DH” to their very long offseason to-do list.
Considering the last sluggers to occupy that position were Martinez, Hanley Ramirez, and David Ortiz, it’s going to be difficult to find anyone who can fill the Kool-Aid Man-sized hole in the lineup. And with the DH market not exactly ripe for the picking, the Sox probably need to think outside the [batter’s] box.
How about Trey Mancini?
Red Sox should consider signing Trey Mancini to replace JD Martinez as DH
At 30 years old, Mancini is about to become a free agent for the first time, and he brings a lot more to the table than many realize, especially in regard to the Sox gig. He’s got excellent numbers against their division and at their ballpark, and he’s a versatile defender.
Since making a triumphant return from cancer treatments that kept him off the field in 2020, Mancini has DH’ed more. He’s spent the bulk of his career in the outfield (311 games) and at first base (264), but over the last two seasons, he’s played 139 games as the Orioles’ and Astros’ DH.
He’d also still be a solid outfield option, too. With Tommy Pham’s option apparently double the originally reported price, the Sox could very well send him on his way. Mancini, a few years younger, could DH and sometimes, play left field, where he’s made 212 appearances – including 204 starts – in his six-year career. He’d also be a better right-handed hitting first-base option than Bobby Dalbec.
Then there’s the fact that he’s intimately familiar with the division. Aside from this post-trade deadline period, Mancini has been in the American League East for his entire career, so he’s got plenty of experience at the ballparks and against many of the current pitchers in the division. He’s got eight doubles and seven homers at Yankee Stadium, nine and five in Toronto, and seven and six at the Trop. And of course, he’s always hit well at Camden Yards, his home for 354 career games. Given Boston’s struggles against the division in 2022, Mancini could be a difference-maker.
He’s also no slouch at Fenway Park. Over 39 career games in Boston, he’s hit an eye-popping .338/.401/.563 with 51 hits, including 13 doubles, three triples, and five home runs. While he’s struck out 42 times, he’s also scored 27 runs, driven in 30 more, and drawn 18 walks. His 85 total bases at Fenway are the most at any ballpark outside of Baltimore. Consider how bad the Orioles have been for about half a decade, and his numbers become even more impressive.
The mutual option on Mancini for 2023 vested, but it’s unclear if either side actually wants him in Houston for next year. He’ll be 31 next spring, so he’s likely looking for a longer-term deal while he can get one. And since he’s struggled since the Orioles traded him to the Astros at the deadline, a return to the division where he’s spent his entire career might be just what he needs.