WHAT AN OFF-SEASON! I know a lot of people have been mad online (and even angrier on the radio) lately about the Bahston Red Sawks, but now that we've reportedly signed JD Martinez let's take a look at the off-season as a whole:
1. Brought in Alex Cora as manager
This move happened so early in the off-season that it's getting forgotten. Particularly in Year One a new manager can absolutely have a big impact and change the culture around an organization. Just look at what John Farrell did in 2013 to help rid the stink of Bobby Valentine. Obviously by 2017 Farrell wasn't the guy for this team anymore, and I give ownership credit for making a change despite the back-to-back division titles.
Who doesn't like Cora? He's young, he uses analytics, he comes from a winning organization, he has played in Boston before. The list of positive traits this guy possesses goes on and on. However, what I reallllly like about Cora is that he learned what it means to be in the dugout last year as bench coach of the Houston Astros. Compare that to someone like Aaron Boone, who is coming straight from the broadcast booth, and I think it's a much better hire.
2. Re-signed Mitch Moreland and Eduardo Nunez
Look, if the Sox have themselves a successful 2018 season nobody is going to credit that to bringing these two back, but each of them absolutely serves a purpose on this club.
Bringing back Moreland (combined with the new addition of JDM) means that we aren't reliant on Hanley Ramirez. I love Hanley. He went a white hot 8-for-14 in the ALDS last year. I've somehow talked myself into him being a stud each of his three years in Boston, but so far I'm 1-for-3. That's just not good enough for me to support Hanley blindly. I want to be a believer this year, but it would've been foolish to give him everyday at bats without any insurance policy. Moreland is that insurance policy, and it turns out when he was healthy last year he was pretty darn good:
Moreland started 2017— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) December 18, 2017
285/382/495, 128 wRC+
Broken toe and aftermath 6/15-7/26
154/227/239, 20 wRC+
260/323/514, 115 wRC+
Also he might be our top lefty outta the pen this summer.
As for Nunez he should be playing a super utility role in the infield. If Pedroia opens the season on the DL Nunie is our second baseman. He can also spell Bogaerts and Devers at short and third whenever they need a day. It would be unfair to expect Nunez to hit the way he did when he first came over last season, but he's a solid bench player and brings some edge/intensity to this group.
3. Signed JD Martinez to a 5 year, $110 million contract (opt out after 2 years)
LETS GOOOOO!! This is the big one. Martinez is as elite of a bat as they come. OPS+ is a stat that takes OPS (OBP + SLG) but adjusts it for the ballpark a player hits in and for the league they play in. An OPS+ of 100 is considered "league average". Since the start of 2014, the year JDM broke out, well you can see he's been quite good...
We all know the Red Sox ranked last in the American League in homers last year. JDM hit 45 in only 119 (!!!) games. Nobody on Boston even hit 25. Before signing Martinez we had nobody who really scared an opposing pitcher. Now we do. Even the presence of JDM will probably make everyone around him better. Where JDM hurt his team was in the field, but luckily he'll mostly be DHing for us.
This is a Red Sox team that won the division last year. We had "down years" from Mookie, Bogaerts, Bradley and Hanley. Now we brought in Cora and signed JDM/ Price should be healthy and we'll have a full year of Devers. We had an A+ off-season. Be excited, Sox fans.
David Ortiz OPS, 2014-16: .937— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 19, 2018
Bryce Harper OPS, 2014-17: .937
J.D. Martinez OPS, 2014-17: .936