J.D. MARTINEZ tossed a bit of a monkey wrench in on the Red Sox’ plans to reduce payroll.
Or did he?
If you missed it, Martinez opted IN, and his $23.75 million will be part of a payroll that ownership wants to pare down to under the $208 million tax threshold.
Martinez and agent Scott Boras read the market correctly: Who is going to flash superstar money at a guy limited mostly to the DH spot? So, Martinez will stay — unless Chaim Bloom finds a way to trade him.
The new head of baseball ops is now (we think) faced with the dilemma of trying to win with a reduced roster, which brings us back to the Mookie Betts drama that will play out over the coming months.
Trade Betts? Keep Betts? Trade others? Keep what’s here and go for it one more time before Mookie leaves? Take a trip through the internet and you’ll find all kinds of conjecture on what the 2020 Red Sox might look like. The opinions are flying.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network/RADIO.com, speaking on RADIO’s “Big-Time Baseball,” said, “Mookie Betts (is) one of the best players in the game, one year to go before free agency, and it’s going to be tough to lock him up. He’s basically said he’s intent on becoming a free agent, so he’s going to be mentioned in trades (but) I’m here to tell you today that I’m still going to be surprised if they trade Mookie Betts.”
OK, so they keep Betts AND Martinez. Assuming Mookie comes in at around $28 million, you’d have over $150 million tied up in six players: Betts, Martinez, David Price, Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Xander Bogaerts. That doesn’t leave much money for the rest of the roster, does it?
Clearly, the Red Sox would have been better off if Martinez had opted out. Now, they’re STUCK with one of the best hitters in baseball.
“You never want to lose a talented player,” club president Sam Kennedy said. “Of course, there are hard decisions teams have to make in terms of parting with guys.”
To say it’s complicated would be an understatement.
Kennedy says the club hasn’t talked extension with Betts since the end of the season. Betts, intent on hitting the market as a free agent in his prime, has turned down offers before.
Clearly, no one is going to trade the farm for a year of Betts. But that doesn’t mean a team like Atlanta that’s loaded with prospects doesn’t take a flyer to go from just making the playoffs to winning a World Series.
The names Price and Eovaldi, along with Jackie Bradley Jr., have popped up as far as trading guys, eating some salary, in a way to get the payroll down. Stay tuned on what could be a daily drama regarding next year’s roster, and also keep an eye out for this weekend’s general managers’ meetings.
By the way, Betts won his fourth straight Gold Glove, but Aaron Judge beat him out for the MLB’s Wilson Defensive RF of the Year honor.
It was fitting that it came on the same court where he suffered a devastating leg injury two years ago, but Gordon Hayward put up a historic performance in Cleveland Tuesday night. It’s the latest sign that he’s back.
“I don’t think about (my leg),” he said after the game. “I haven’t thought about it for a while. I think it’s over. You guys can stop asking me the questions about that. It’s a good game, but we can’t be satisfied. And hopefully they can stop dumping water on me after every good game. But that’s all right. I like it.”
Hayward went 16-for-16 on 2-pointers in the game, a historic night that led stat maven Dick Lipe to say in an email:
“Hayward: 1st player to go 16/16 or better on 2-pointers since Wilt did it twice against Baltimore in 1967, 18/18 and 16/16; Hayward: 1st player with at least 39 points, 8 assists and .850 fg pct since Gail Goodrich in 1973; Last Celtic to score at least 35 on 85% fg was Billy Knight in 1978, 37 pts, 14/16 fg.”
Look, I’m all for video replay fixing egregious calls in all four of the sports. Let’s get it right. But when it comes to a skate being an inch offside or up in the air, we’re stretching it.
The Bruins got the rotten end of a reviewed goal in Montreal the other night. Not only was Charlie Coyle’s skate NOT conclusively tardy, but the argument could easily be made he was in control of the puck, something that allows the player to precede the puck into the offensive zone.
They took three minutes to review this thing. If you have to take that long, it usually means there’s nothing conclusive.
“The rule was specifically put in place for egregious (examples),” Bruce Cassidy said. “They were over there for three minutes. You think ‘What’s the purpose of this rule?’ Either you find something or you don’t ... three minutes. So now you’re looking for something to be offsides.”
While the argument that you don’t get calls as the visitor in Montreal is ludicrous, the review was the dark side of a special night that included Canadiens fans saluting public enemy No. 1 Zdeno Chara (remember Max Pacioretty?) for his 1,500th game.
“Obviously, that felt really nice,” Chara said. “I really appreciated it and it was very classy. It’s something that I will definitely remember … That just shows that they are very passionate fans (and) they support their team. Pretty normal for Canadien fans (to) show so much support for their team. We’ve had some good battles and it’s a good rivalry. There’s a lot of history with both teams, so it’s always fun to play these games.”
Torey Krug has reached the 300-point mark. For the record, that’s eighth on the Bruins’ all-time defenseman scoring. He trails Ray Bourque (1,506), Bobby Orr (888), Chara (472), Brad Park (417), Doug Mohns (347), Glen Wesley (307) and Dallas Smith (302).
Finally, the Patriots have their bye weekend following their loss to the Ravens, but Kyle Van Noy gets the nod for one of the best comments of the week.
He said: “I mean, we’re 8-1. Of course we wanted to be 9-0, so it’s always tough. But facts are facts: We’re 8-1. So that deserves a smile, right?”