J.D. Martinez gives Red Sox get out of jail free card

Jim Hackett
November 07, 2019 - 9:36 am
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The Red Sox have an uncanny way of dropping news or in this case, having news drop on them while the Patriots dominate the conversation, headlines and spotlight.

Listen to your team news NOW.

Monday was just another example of it, but this time it was news of the pleasant variety. Following the aftermath that was the Patriots' first loss of the season on Sunday Night Football to the Ravens, J.D. Martinez surprised many, by opting into his contract for 2020.

Martinez subsequently gave the Red Sox the get out of jail free card they so desperately needed.

How does keeping $23.75 million on a luxury cap riddled payroll provide relief you may ask?

Simply stated, the current construct of the Red Sox payroll forces the owners to the sidelines right where they belong. There will be no nonsensical “splashes” of the Tom Werner bad idea marketing variety like Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez or Carl Crawford for that matter. For those with a touch of grey, add in Jack Clark or any of the overpaid busts that have been brought into town that sit on the Red Sox payroll like the congealed fat in a container of day old Chinese food. Nope. Not this time. The Red Sox are cash strapped and in the frustrating case of the fiscally moronic Red Sox of the last several years, being cash strapped is a good thing.

What an odd twist of fate, no money equaling good times...

I liken this situation to that of Grandma Gilmore (Happy Gilmore’s loving grandmother), when confronted about owing the IRS over $270,000,000 in back taxes. When hearing the news from the tax collector, Happy begrudgingly asks, “Grandma, you didn’t pay your taxes?” Grandma responds, “Well I would have…but I didn’t have any money.”

And that’s that. If you have ever been broke, there are subtle moments of confidence that arise. Collections agents can hammer you all they want but if you don’t have the money, you just can’t pay. The Red Sox being securely over the luxury tax puts their owner’s hands firmly in handcuffs for a while and I’m telling you, that’s a good thing.

Enter Red Sox new chief baseball officer, Chaim Bloom.

With Red Sox owners in timeout for the foreseeable future, young Bloom can seemingly operate in the role he was actually hired for; that is… to run the baseball operation.

Someday, the Red Sox will be free of the pork fat clogging their contractual arteries and Bloom will be able to get to work. The dead contracts of Sandoval, Ramirez, Pedroia and Rusney Castillo among others will all eventually taper off. David Price and his $30,000,000 annual albatross will be gone eventually too. At that point your core of talent that is under contract like Xander Bogaerts and maybe even Martinez for an added year or two, will be looked upon as relatively efficient building blocks.

The end result being that the Red Sox wealth of financial resources will be freed and can be deployed properly for players that can actually pay it back like Rafael Devers. He will command and receive a mint when his time comes and that is an investment I would have no problem with. If the Red Sox are smart they will lock him up before his time is due.

Freedom. Financial freedom, at least to the point where the Red Sox can actually make well-reasoned choices versus panic stricken splashes. That is one of the blessings that this week’s opt-in from a very productive J.D. Martinez gives them. The other, has a direct correlation to one Mookie Betts.

Does anyone out there think for a second that the Red Sox wouldn’t have overreacted and overreached contractually for Betts or a player of lesser merit had Martinez opted out? Please. Just look at the track record. I fully expected Martinez to opt out before the news broke and prepared myself for the ensuing nausea that would follow. Months of panicked debate about Mookie Betts and how to fill his and Martinez’s gaping void. Or worse, considering tying up $300-400 million to secure Betts for another decade, guaranteeing at least ten more years of fiscal and organizational imprisonment.

Look, regarding the situation of Betts and his future who knows. Can they sign him? Does it make sense? What kind of haul can they get if they trade him? Should they ride it out and make another run for it in 2020?

These are all questions that young Chaim Bloom has to answer and figure out and thanks to J.D. Martinez surprisingly opting in, at least he is in position to make those choices. Had Martinez opted out, things could have been a lot harder on the young executive to stabilize this organization in the presence of its meddling owners and demanding fan base.

You can thank Martinez for that. He is one of the few on this roster that will actually perform over his contract and his presence gives the Red Sox the freedom of choices moving forward. They don’t have financial or contractual freedom yet, but they do have a solid base from which to decide and that makes the Red Sox standing today better than it was last week.

Bloom can do his job now. Thanks J.D.

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