The Red Sox are set to report to spring training in about two weeks. There has been a story line that has been covered very well on this site, and one that will be discussed over the next few weeks and months. The status of one Mookie Betts. While this is something that will hopefully figure itself out in the relatively near future, there’s no time like now to start planning either way.
If Mookie does get traded to team X, J.D. Martinez would get time in the outfield, which he has said in the past is something he wants to do. Offensively the production may be off by a few points in batting average and a few RBI. Defensively, however, Martinez committed three errors in 39 games, while Mookie committed two errors in 149 games. Two key contributors are returning to the Red Sox lineup, whether or not Mookie is playing for the Sox on opening day. Xander Bogaerts (33 HR, 117 RBI) and Rafael Devers (32 HR, 115 RBI) are both coming off career years, and Sox fans should expect close to the same numbers during the 2020 season.
With Mookie out, the Red Sox would have to look to the depth on the bench. Things could change via a trade or signing during spring training, but right now the Sox backup options are led by Jose Peraza (6 HR, 33 RBI), who came to Boston from the Reds this winter.
Minor leaguers could be a viable and cost effective option for Boston. Of note, CJ Chatham is coming off of a 5 HR 46 RBI season in Portland and Pawtucket. If the Red Sox pull the trigger on the blockbuster trade, one player who may benefit and see significant playing time would be Bobby Dalbec. Defensively, he’s no Mookie (but who is). 15 Errors in Pawtucket would raise a red flag if you were playing anywhere else besides Fenway. However, offense is what wins in baseball today, and the top Sox prospect had a great year with 27 HR and 73 RBI for the Sea Dogs and Paw Sox. There’s also a potential dark horse pick for a contributor to the team, and that would be the return of utility man Brock Holt. If the team is watching its finances, then maybe having a guy that can play seven positions could help and open the opportunity for J.D. to be in the DH spot while a familiar face plays in a familiar OF.
If the Red Sox keep their soon to be $500 million man, they would bring back an offense that was 4th in the AL in total bases (2688) and 4th in the AL in RBI (857). Perhaps Mookie staying would make the future manager’s job easier, because the Red Sox would simply roll out a lineup comparable to what was out in 2019. Realistically, after an offseason where essentially there were no big additions and Alex Cora was fired while the team had allegations of cheating facing them, maybe having familiar faces return with potentially some eased up expectations is what this team needs. A bright future for the Red Sox is 50/50, and a lot of it depends on what #50 will do.