We’re still waiting for the Red Sox to strike on some sort of actual move to improve their major-league roster, but it feels like things are getting closer. More likely is that feeling being a combination of me getting antsy and the simple fact that it literally has to be getting closer with every passing day. Still, even if there wasn’t any major news over the weekend, we did miss a few things here at OTM, so let’s catch up on a few bits of news and notes around this team.
J.D. Martinez has multiple five-year offers
We knew shortly after the New Year passed that the Red Sox extended a five-year deal to J.D. Martinez, the presumed top target for Boston’s front office. As I said at the time, that length of contract makes a ton of sense for the team and is likely the minimum it would take to get a deal done with Martinez, depending on the average annual value of the contract. Well, apparently the Red Sox weren’t the only team with that idea. According to Jon Heyman in this post about the top ten remaining free agents, other teams have also extended five-year offers to Martinez. It’s not clear at this point just who else is competing for the slugger’s services, but it’s not overly surprising that other teams are offering five years. While that length seemed ideal, I would certainly be willing to go to a sixth year if that gets a deal done, though obviously it would be preferable if that final year was attached to a vesting option or something similar. I’d have to think a little longer about guaranteeing a sixth year, though ultimately, if that got it done, I’d probably go there. Who knows, maybe we’ll all be dead in six years anyway. Get that ring while you can.
The Red Sox turned down a Jackie Bradley Jr. for Yasiel Puig trade offer
According to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox received a pretty interesting trade offer from the Dodgers at some point this winter. Reportedly, they offered Yasiel Puig straight-up for Jackie Bradley Jr., a deal that Boston quickly declined. Speier indicates that there were no real talks after this. If this had actually gone down it would have been a pretty wild move from an entertainment and baseball standpoint, though it’s not terribly surprising that Boston turned it down. I will say that Puig probably has more offensive upside than Bradley — though the latter’s upside at the plate may be a bit underrated at this point — and Puig is also one of the few players with whom I wouldn’t mind moving Betts out of right field into center field. That being said, Boston’s best defensive outfield still includes Bradley in center and Betts in right. Plus, Bradley has one more year of control than Puig, and likely at a smaller price tag. Still, as Speier points out in the linked post above, this offer at least illustrates the level at which Bradley’s trade value could be around the league, and the level to which the Red Sox value their center fielder. While, as a Red Sox fan, I am glad they turned down this offer, part of me is imagining the absolute shit show of Puig playing in Boston.
Steven Wright and the Red Sox avoid arbitration with $1.1 million deal
The deadline for teams and players to exchange their arbitration figures is coming up on Friday, meaning that trials could be coming shortly after that. Boston generally avoids those situations, though they do have a fuller plate than usual this year. They did manage to avoid arbitration for the second time this winter, though, giving Steven Wright a $1.1 million deal for the 2018 season. This is $100,000 less than MLB Trade Rumors projected. Earlier in the year, they agreed to a $2.05 million deal with Tyler Thornburg, $50,000 less than MLBTR projected. The Red Sox are out here saving $150,000 compared to projections. Feel the excitement!
The Red Sox are not interested in Blake Swihart trade offers
Blake Swihart is perhaps the most interesting player to watch for the Red Sox in the lead-up to spring training and during camp. The former top prospect is now out of minor-league options and blocked by Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon. As such, teams are understandably calling to see if they can buy-low on the catcher from a team that may not have a spot for him. Dave Dombrowski is not interested, though, according to this report from Ken Rosenthal. The link is behind a paywall, but Dombrowski indicates that while he won’t rule out trading any player, he does not foresee the team trading Swihart any time soon. Without much intriguing catching depth at Triple-A, it seems the plan is for Swihart to serve as the third catcher while hoping his athleticism allows him to cover other positions, including possibly second base. How the Red Sox’ bench shakes out is going to be really interesting to watch.
Red Sox sign William Cuevas to a minor-league deal
Here is the real excitement, with the Red Sox making a minor-league signing of a former farmhand. William Cuevas, who the team signed out of Venezuela in the summer of 2008 before leaving via free agency in 2016, is coming back. Cuevas has mostly topped out as a minor-league swingman, though he has made four major-league appearances with three of those coming in Boston in 2016. He can hit the strike zone consistently, but the stuff really isn’t that impressive. It’d be shocking to see him in the majors this year, but he’ll serve a role as a swingman in either Pawtucket or Portland.