Following their 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night, the Red Sox announced that the team had acquired 12-year veteran Steve Pearce from the Toronto Blue Jays.
In exchange for the long time outfielder and first baseman, Boston will be sending 23 year-old prospect Santiago Espinal back to Toronto. Espinal, a shortstop who had been with the organization since he was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 amateur draft, owned a .313/.363/.477 slash line in 65 games with High A Salem this season.
Pearce is a player well familiarized with the American League East, as he has appeared in 481 total games with the Orioles, Rays, Yankees, and most recently, the Blue Jays.
With a career .840 OPS against left-handed pitching, expect Pearce to slide into a utility role with the Red Sox. Capable of playing both first base and corner outfield, I would not be surprised if Blake Swihart’s role with the big league club becomes even more suppressed. A corresponding roster move will have to be made prior to tomorrow’s night game in New York, so could Swihart be the one to go?
Regardless of that, this is the first trade the Red Sox and Blue Jays have made with one another since Boston acquired John Farrell from Toronto in exchange for Mike Aviles following the 2012 season.
During his impromptu presser tonight, Dave Dombrowski said he expects Pearce to join the team tomorrow in New York.
One things for sure, when it comes to Pearce’s uniform number with the Red Sox, I can confidently report that he will not be assigned #28. Recap of tonight’s win coming tomorrow morning/early afternoon.
Per Ken Rosenthal, free agent outfielder JD Martinez ‘has become “fed up” with the lack of flexibility on Boston’s part and may prefer playing elsewhere.’ This all came out last night, and it is not a good look on Martinez’s part. Whatever sense of entitlement he’s earned in his playing career, the 30 year-old is using all of it this offseason. Since free agency started, there were rumors that Martinez was looking for a seven-year offer worth around $200 million dollars in total. Last time I checked, the only offer Martinez has available to him right now is a five-year, $125 million dollar offer from the Red Sox.
Right before the World Series ended in November, Martinez left his old agency, RMG Baseball, for super-agent Scott Boras. If you were to look at the top free agents in baseball who have yet to sign with a club, you will notice that a majority of them are indeed Boras clients. The man is known for getting the largest and longest contracts for his clients and he is really putting that to the test this winter.
From the perspective of Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox, I do not take this as bad news. If there are no favorable offers on the table for Martinez now, why would that change as Spring Training begins? I’m not an insider, but I can’t imagine a team who plans on contending in 2018 would sign Martinez to a huge deal in March if they could have done so in January or February. Realistically, the Red Sox have been the most persistent team pursuing Martinez. There have been rumors about the Giants or Blue Jays trying to lure him, but those rumors carry less weight than the Red Sox ones do.
Evaluating the market for Martinez is not even that much of a challenge. There are not many teams out there willing to sign a 30 year-old outfielder with one of the worst gloves in baseball to a deal worth more than $200 million dollars. The fact that there’s still an offer on the table worth more than $120 million dollars is crazy. Why does it matter if there’s an extra two years on it or not? Just take it and show you are worth that deal.
Martinez may be fed up with the Red Sox, but Red Sox fans are beginning to get fed up with him.
Buster Olney tweeted this earlier, so I thought I would share my reaction. First off, I think this can be taken as good news for Red Sox fans. Imagine the reaction if the report was they had offered him five years, $150 million? Instead, I find an Average Annual Value of only $20 million dollars a year to be reasonable. Reasonable for the Red Sox I mean, not for Martinez. There are plenty of bad contracts for outfielders out there that Scott Boras can use as leverage. If Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Heyward are making more than $20 million a year, then Martinez, a much better player, is worth more than that. You could make the case that the Cubs value Heyward’s defense more than his offense, and that is why he is making as much as he is, but I think I would take Martinez over him if I were starting a team from scratch.
Like the title reads, I don’t think Martinez will accept this offer. Not only is the offer just five years in length, it only has an AAV of $20 million dollars. To get Martinez, Dave Dombrowski will more than likely need to up that offer. At that point, it might not even be worth signing him. Investing more than five years and more than $100+ million dollars in an age-30 player has not worked for other teams in the past. Dombrowski has already stated he feels comfortable with the team in place now, saying, “So yeah, we would be content. Would we rather (sign Martinez)? Yes. But again, we have to be flexible in our thought processes because you never know what is going to take place.”
What does this mean you ask? Well, I think it means that Dombrowski is not willing to break the bank on one guy who is far from a guarantee. Putting money aside for next year’s loaded free-agency class is a good fallback option to have. I would not mind not getting Martinez if it made Bryce Harper would be patrolling the outfield at Fenway in 2019. That’s just me though, only time will tell what will happen. Martinez or no Martinez, the Red Sox still have work to do. See you at Winter Weekend.