We are now through the first weekend of spring training games down in Florida, though we still haven’t seen a lot of the regulars out there. A good chunk of them made their debuts on Sunday, but we’re still waiting for spring to really get into full-swing. In the meantime, we do have a few news hits to talk about a little further from the last few days.
J.D. Martinez isn’t happy about free agency
This one doesn’t really have anything to do with Red Sox camp in general, at least not specifically. It is, however, being picked up nationally. Martinez spoke with WEEI’s Rob Bradford and shared his thoughts on the slow-moving free agency that has dominated conversation in the sport for the last two winters. Obviously the slugger hasn’t been involved in this winter’s market, but he was one of the posterboys for last year’s slow market before eventually agreeing to his current five-year deal with the Red Sox that includes opt-outs that start after this season. Martinez doesn’t really bring up the fact that he could be on the market next winter, though there’s little doubt that’s on his mind. Instead, he talks about the game at large and all of the issues he sees with the competitive balance in the league right now. The next CBA negotiations are going to be hell.
Alex Cora offers hints into the Red Sox lineup
In the grand scheme of things, lineup construction isn’t all that important to winning and losing. As long as a manger isn’t doing something absurd and putting his best players at the end of the lineup, huge differences won’t be made. That said, in any given game any small decision can have a huge impact, which is why we tend to make more out of lineup orders than we should. So, we can get started on that early as Cora has offered some early hints as to what the lineup is going to look like. Well, at least the first half. As we already know, Andrew Benintendi will be leading off with Mookie Betts hitting second. After that, we will see some J.D. Martinez in the three-spot, but it seems Cora is more keen on having him hit cleanup. He, wisely in my opinion, prefers Martinez’s first at bat to either come with runners on base or leading off an inning. If Martinez hits fourth, one of the first basemen or Rafael Devers will hit third. Xander Bogaerts will hit immediately after Martinez wherever the latter slots in. The most interesting takeaway for me here is that Devers is mentioned as a possibility to hit third. That tells me they have an awful lot of confidence that he is going to make major strides at the plate this season.
Ryan Brasier still nursing toe injury
We probably wouldn’t have seen him in game action by this point anyway, but Ryan Brasier is still suffering from a toe injury that is taking longer than expected to heal. Obviously the team is going to take its time with any injury this early in spring, particularly with someone who is so important to this roster. Since Boston has decided against adding more relief help, there is a big burden on Matt Barnes and Brasier this season. The good news here is that Cora is joking around saying they may have to “cut it off.” He probably wouldn’t be as inclined to joke around if there was something more serious going on. Hopefully we’ll see Brasier in games soon enough.
- We still don’t have an exact date on when Dustin Pedroia will make his spring debut, though Cora was asked and it can be deduced it will be around March 6. We’d obviously rather see him get a full spring, but it only makes sense that the Red Sox will take their time with the veteran. Expect him to get extra days off in April, too.
- Rick Porcello was on Rob Bradford’s podcast and indicated he hadn’t received an extension offer from the Red Sox. That’s not a huge surprise, as the focus is presumably on Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez, not to mention Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Porcello has a good chance of being on the outside looking in by the winter.