Cross Nelson Cruz off list of potential J.D. Martinez replacements

Rob Bradford
October 09, 2019 - 12:49 pm

If you're trying to envision a Red Sox lineup without J.D. Martinez Wednesday afternoon's report from Jon Heyman should be of some note.


Cruz's potential availability would have been of little consequence to the Red Sox if Martinez doesn't choose to opt-out of a contract that is scheduled to pay the designated hitter/outfielder $23.75 million in 2020 with the opportunity to opt-out again next offseason. But if Martinez does elect to explore the open market it will leave the Sox looking for a designated hitter, which is where conversations involving players like Cruz come in.

The 40-year-old Cruz represents one of the rare players who might be able to match Martinez's offensive production, coming off a 2019 season that saw him finish with a .311 batting average, 1.031 OPS and 41 home runs. The righty hitter's impressive production during his 43 games at Fenway Park (.343 batting average, 1.035 OPS) would have only made the idea of a commitment by the Red Sox even more interesting.

The next-best potential free-agent candidate to replace Martinez if he leaves could be Edwin Encarnacion, who has a $20 million club option for 2020 the Yankees may not want to pick up.

Decisions for options and opt-outs have to be made within five days after the completion of the World Series.