I know it's a little delayed, but I'm new to the Fanpost Friday concept, so my apologies.
My prediction would probably be pretty unpopular among the majority of the Red Sox fanbase, but I think J.D. Martinez gets traded before the end of the season.
Now that the NL can use the DH, he represents a significant asset to all 30 teams. And that rule change may or may not be permanent. Not only will the injury bug bite players who tried to ramp up too quickly (i.e. our pitching staff last season) but there’s also the very real possibility of COVID impacting rosters across the league. Seemingly loaded lineups could be tested like the Yankees were last year. If one of the game’s top 10 bats is made available, it could draw considerable interest from pitching-heavy contenders, even in a weird, shortened season.
His player option allows him to either opt out after this season (with no QO attached to him, if he were traded) in the event that universal DH were implemented permanently, and he wants to try to cash in on one more big contract while he’s still 32 years of age; or he could stay with his new club for just under $19.5M next year if the market appears to be dry this offseason. (He’d have the option to opt out again after the 2021 season if he did go this route.)
Furthermore, with all of his money off the books, Boston could theoretically make a run at bringing Mookie back, regardless of what Martinez decides to do with his player option. Also, if he does opt out, and Mookie stays in LA or signs elsewhere, there’s nothing stopping Bloom from bringing Martinez back.
Worst case scenario: Martinez opts in for 2021 after we trade him (or he signs elsewhere after opting out) and Mookie signs somewhere other than Boston, in which case we’re left with whatever prospects we received in the hypothetical Martinez trade, plus enough cash to sign other free agents.
What NL teams are fits?
It might sting to watch him play against Boston if he were moved to an NL East team, but Atlanta makes a lot of sense, and they have a deep farm system with ML-ready pitching. The defending champion Nationals could also use a boost to their lineup to help replace Anthony Rendon in their quest to repeat, and while Carter Kieboom would probably be off limits, 8 of their Top 10 prospects (per MLB.com) are pitchers, and Bloom could probably command 2-3 of them if we sent one of the best bats in the game to fill their DH role.
I can't help but think the Reds will be aggressive in upgrading the lineup if their rotation proves to perform as well on the field if it looks on paper. They haven't been afraid to go for it in years past, and if they jump out to a hot start, they could seize a wide-open NL Central.
The Padres probably won't win the NL West, but AJ Preller probably feels the pressure to at least reach a Wild Card spot after their owner expressed urgency in the offseason. They've been very active in the offseason, they're the only team involved in both moves since the transaction freeze ended, and they already engaged the Sox in trade talks when they inquired about Mookie Betts. They have a deep farm system and a desire to rid themselves of the Wil Myers contract. If we swapped Martinez for Myers and agreed to take on the majority of money necessary to facilitate the deal, that should give Bloom enough leverage to command any 2-3 prospects not named MacKenzie Gore.