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The Flyby: Expecting the Unexpected

Looking at the past week’s FanPosts.

Boston Red Sox Summer Camp Workout Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Almost a week ago, I asked people what wacky predictions they had for this season. The wilder, the better. The only rule I really set was you couldn’t predict the season wouldn’t reach a natural conclusion, because that wouldn’t be terribly surprising at this point.

We got two responses to this prompt, but I am also going to be using the Flyby this upcoming season to highlight FanPosts that may not be related to the prompt at hand. If someone wants to be featured in the Flyby, they should obviously answer the prompt, but we want to celebrate all FanPosts on Over the Monster if possible.

Soxfan893’s Surprise Predictions

What they said - Jackie Bradley Jr. is going to be in the MVP discussion. On top of being a fantastic defender, he has had streaks where he is the hottest hitter on the planet. The 60-game season uniquely benefits his skill set as a streaky hitter.

I’m not going to tell Soxfan893 to pump the breaks because I’m hoping they are actually correct. When Bradley is on, Bradley is on. Unfortunately, the inverse is also. When he’s off, he’s really off.

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The beauty of a 60-game season is that there’s a lot of variance and there’s really no time for stats to normalize, for better or worse. Some players who are not All-Star level talents are going to put up All-Star level numbers. Some players who usually put up All-Star level numbers may not be so good.

And it is nearly impossible to predict which player will fall into which camp.

My feeling is that with Bradley, you’ll be able to count on only one thing: That he will continue to play elite level defense. I do not feel comfortable predicting how he will hit in a 60-game sample. But if he is as good as he is when he’s at his best, the Red Sox may just have a chance to be pretty good.

GOAT91’s Surprise Prediction

What they said - J.D. Martinez will be traded. With the NL having the DH instituted for 2020 (and potentially beyond), there are 15 more teams that can reasonably trade for him. As one of baseball’s best bats, he would be a tremendous asset to any team wanting to win this year. He has the ability to opt out after this season. This benefits Boston because the savings might help make a Mookie reunion possible. (Well, at the time that was true.) What teams are fits? The Nationals, Braves, Reds, and Padres stand out as good ones.

GOAT91 wrote this post before the worst news of the year for Red Sox fans hoping for a Mookie Betts reunion tour. I’m talking, of course, about Mookie Betts signing a monster extension with the Dodgers. Well that sucks.

The rest of his post makes sense, however. J.D. Martinez does represent a few things for the Red Sox. He’s an eminently tradable asset with limited control, and that makes him easy for anyone to fit into their budget. Additionally, as a top offensive player, there isn’t a team out there that doesn’t get better by having Martinez as part of it. And with the NL adding the DH for 2020, every single team has an argument for being involved if they want to win, since the only thing about Martinez that isn’t great is his defense.

So I’ll bite. I think there’s a decent chance J.D. Martinez is traded. And I’ll go one step further. I would even say that there’s a high probability that the Red Sox are going to be aggressively trying to trade him, in large part because they don’t expect him to stay in Boston beyond 2020. With the Red Sox unlikely to compete for a playoff spot unless the field expands to 16 teams over the next several hours, as the league negotiates with the MLBPA to make it work (and even then, there’s a chance the Red Sox aren’t even a top eight team in the American League), it makes sense to consider moving a player who probably won’t be here next year.

The problem here is that I’m not sure the Red Sox will be getting enough in a trade to actually justify such a move. The rules this year are weird. Players can only officially be traded if they are on the 60-man roster, this means a lot of the fringy guys who round out trades won’t be available. There’s been talk you can include players as PTBNL, but I honestly haven’t seen confirmation one way or another, and I’m not sure how seriously they plan on policing this anyway. Even if this obstacle is cleared, I am not sure many teams are going to line up to move primo talent for half a season of a player if Martinez opting out is seen as a foregone conclusion, which I’m not sure it is, given the current state of baseball.

In the FanPost, one such team listed was the Padres. GOAT posited that a Martinez-Myers swap, with the Padres including a high end prospect or two that aren’t named MacKenzie Gore to make it work. When the Red Sox were looking to move Mookie Betts, the Padres weren’t willing to move the prospects that are being discussed here, so I’m inclined to believe the Padres would also leave Luis Patiño and Luis Campusano as untouchable assets.

Personally, if the Padres are our chosen partner, I believe it is most likely that if anything major, the Red Sox would be bringing back Taylor Trammell, at most, and I’m not sure even that would actually interest the Padres, as I believe their desire to move Myers is fairly overblown.

If Martinez isn’t moved and he opts out, he’ll be eligible for a qualifying offer, so one thing is clear: if the Red Sox move Martinez, the value will have to exceed the qualifying offer for them.

Other FanPosts

The Rafael Devers Conundrum - GOAT91 actually put in double time this week, and we’re very happy to see them hit the ground running. This is a fun read about Devers becoming the potential face of the Red Sox, post-Mookie Betts.

Martinez Rebuilt His MLB Career From Scratch - james.earl74 recaps the career of J.D. Martinez, and his journey from a player cut from the worst team in baseball, to being one of the best hitters on the best team in baseball in 2018. This may be the last time we get to watch J.D. in Boston if he opts out or is traded.

And that’s all for FanPosts that I wanted to highlight for the past week. In the future, again, the best way to be featured is to respond to the prompt, but other FanPosts are appreciated as well!