by Bill Murphy

The Red Sox will have their first gathering as a team under the direction of manager Alex Cora this coming weekend. What are the odds for their success in 2018? That’s an interesting question to ponder while the team is hanging out at a Casino. The Red Sox have now made it a tradition to gather together every January at Foxwoods. Most of the squad will be there, with Mookie Betts, the lone standout missing. Even David Price is signed up to attend.

I wonder how many of our readers attend this event? The people I know who have gone one year or another, consider the event a very special get together. Here’s betting that JD Martinez won’t be there, BUT, Pedro Martinez will. AND so will the gentleman who swung the bat, that JD is needed to replace. One David Ortiz.

Scott Boras is the most irritating character of this boring baseball winter. He promises his clients contracts beyond their market value, especially in length, and waits and waits until some team loses patience and goes off the deep end and pays for, either in money or in length of years, way beyond what they planned on. Some people have guess pools, selecting the date they believe Martinez will sign. My guess, is it won’t be before Valentine’s Day. Isn’t that sweet?

There was a signing last week, which was not noticed by most Red Sox fans, BUT, I sat up and took notice. Jay Bruce has not been mentioned as being on the Sox radar, BUT, I really wonder IF he might have been. Their preference is certainly a righthanded bat, BUT, power I believe is more important than the righty/lefty thing and Bruce puts a check in that box.

There is no comparison between JD Martinez and Bruce. This is why the money isn’t close either between the two. Word is Bruce signed with the Mets for three years and $39 million. Martinez is said to be shooting for a minimum of six years and in the vicinity of $200 million. Apples and oranges, pretzels and peanuts, that’s why I might have settled for Bruce and stuck him in at designated hitter and let Hanley Ramirez platoon with both him and Mitch Moreland at first base. Whomever gets hot, gets more at bats. They are all capable of hitting a few homers.

I would have strongly hesitated though BECAUSE Bruce is nowhere near the Martinez category. Although he has a number of seasons in the 30 homer range, he IS NOT a hit for average guy. His best season was .281 and that is his only year over .265 and the majority of his seasons are .240 ish. One guy has settled for reportedly $13 million a year, while the other one is still seeking something in the vicinity of $30 plus million. What were you willing to settle for?

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall when John Henry, Tom Werner and Sam Kennedy, etc. sit down and talk spending money with Dave Dombrowski? The conversation might go something like this, remember we ate Pablo Sandoval’s contract, we may still eat Hanley’s (Dombrowski did not sign either player), we don’t know how the David Price contract is going to turn out, and we really don’t want to pay a washed up JD Martinez for half of his contract, when he no longer produces OR eat another long term contract. Wouldn’t you think the words might flow something like that?

Chances are, the Red Sox will not wait on Boras forever. Spring Training begins around Valentines Day (or in about a month) and our thought is that the team may have already set a drop dead date and whenever that comes, they will go to Plan B. We know Bruce won’t be the one, and it might not even be a hitter, BUT, IF the Sox wait and in the end they don’t get Martinez, what then? Better to choose your own direction, than to be stuck out in the cold.

Some recent whispers center around the Sox trying to add yet another starting pitcher IF the Martinez pursuit does not pan out. Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta’s names have been tossed around. Pitching and defense have been the ingredients many teams have followed to World Series titles and it is possible that IF the Sox chased Martinez to the end, he might ask them to ante up way more change, than he would require from any other team BECAUSE he really doesn’t want to DH. We expect, Martinez may get his six years, BUT, it will it won’t be at the $30 million he has set the bar at. He is likely to settle in Arizona, BUT, could take his act to San Francisco or St. Louis as well.

In closing, no water has actually gone over the damn yet. As Cora said at the winter meetings, “there’s no deadline in the off season.”