The Boston Red Sox had a rather strange 2022 MLB trade deadline. Baseball chief Haim Blum doesn’t seem to be making a decision on whether he thinks the Sox should be a buyer for the sellers. This led to a somewhat messy deadline in Boston.
Eric Hosmer, Tommy Pham and Rhys McGuire came in the door. Cristian Vasquez and Jake Dickman walked out the door. Some potential clients have been involved in these deals, but none will enter the 2022 season for the Sox. It has been a very baffling strategy from Bloom in a very confusing season for the Red Sox as a whole.
It remains to be seen if these moves will cause Boston to feud in the Annex again. But it’s hard to say that after Vazquez traded with the Houston Astros, the Red Sox wasn’t supposed to be a seller. And their inability to trade this stellar player would likely come back to bite them in the future.
The first step the Boston Red Sox should have taken in the 2022 MLB trade deadline
Trade JD Martinez
The Red Sox opened the icy cold season, sprinting hot in May and June, and then getting cold again in July. After leading the wild card race in the MLS at one point, Boston finds itself four games out of last place currently. That’s a deficit that can be overcome, but given how bad the Sox have been looking at lately, and the fact that there are three teams between them and the Tampa Bay Rays, who hold the last spot, doesn’t seem achievable.
With that in mind, it made sense for Boston to explore how to become a deadline seller and see what it could get for some of its top players. Vasquez’s trade indicated that Bloom had given up on being a salesman. But his ensuing moves were all geared toward being more of a buyer than a seller.
In the process, Sox has retained nearly all of his veteran core except for Vazquez. Perhaps their sale shouldn’t be limited to just Vasquez, and the only name that stands out as the man the Sox should have passed on is JD Martinez. Boston had the perfect opportunity to trade Martinez on the deadline, but decided instead to stick with him for some strange reason.
Martinez has the fifth All-Star pick of his career this season, but he’s having a good season at best. It was pretty average when it came to its output (.281 BA, 9 HR, 40 RBI, .795 OPS), and at this point, it doesn’t really serve a purpose on the Sox.
There were plenty of reasons to engage with Martinez apart from his lack of production. To start, he will soon turn 35 and be strictly limited to assigned batting duties. Martinez doesn’t fit into the Boston schedule anymore. They’re looking to get younger around third star Raphael Devers, and Martinez has never been younger.
Martinez will also be a free agent after the 2022 season. It is likely that he will not re-sign with Boston. The Sox have smaller options that they can turn into a DH center instead of Martinez, and they’d be better off doing that rather than re-sign Martinez in the off season. The 2022 season has shown that Boston isn’t really close to the competition at this point, so bringing back Martinez should be seen as a waste of resources that Bloom insists not be spent.
Boston’s main goals this coming season are to sign Devers on a long-term extension, and to re-sign Xander Bogaerts once he chooses to exit his current deal. This means there won’t be much interest left for Martinez, which means he’ll likely be looking for a new home when free agency spreads.
This is why trading Martinez now would make a lot of sense. There is virtually no chance of Martinez returning next season, so Bloom may also have tried to get a couple of odds against him on the deadline while he could. There were definitely teams that could have used a hitter like Martinez in their squad, even while he was on the job during the 2022 season.
Instead, they are likely to lose to Martinez unrequited this upcoming season. There were a couple of other veterans on the Boston roster who could have been tackled by the deadline (Nathan Evaldi falls into a similar category), but Bloom chose to stick with them in the hope that the Reds could make a futile playoff over the final two months this season. .
The problem is that getting a break point is unlikely for these Red Sox, and even more likely you are unlikely to make a deep playoff run. All signs were pointing towards their collapse a while ago, but Bloom decided not to sell anyway. It was one of the most perplexing trade deadline strategies, and it is sure to come back to haunt Boston.
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