The Red Sox and Yankees enter the season poised to be two of the very best teams in the American League. The front offices of both organizations made key offseason acquisitions that will make both lineups deeper and better. The Yankees were able to trade away numerous top prospects for Giancarlo Stanton. The Red Sox were able to secure the best bat on the Free Agent market in JD Martinez.
While it is going to be painful watching Giancarlo launch homeruns wearing a Yankee uniform, the Red Sox still got the overall better player, and set themselves up for a brighter future by acquiring JD Martinez. Stanton would be a really nice player to have, but JD Martinez is the overall smarter choice.
Martinez is a smarter choice for Boston for a myriad of reasons. Martinez is a better hitter by average and is more keen to using all fields. While Stanton has more power. Martinez is not lacking in power himself. Martinez is a player who is hard to shift as he sprays the ball to all parts of the field and is not a dead pull hitter, and is still going to drive in a ton of runs. Martinez does not strikeout nearly as much as Stanton, and overall Martinez is a contact hitter. Putting the ball in play can be a huge factor in games especially late in games when trying to manufacture a run.
One of the main reasons why the Red Sox made the smarter choice with Martinez was that Boston was able to Martinez via free agency. The Red Sox may be paying Martinez a lot of money to play baseball but that was the only thing they gave up to get Martinez. In order to acquire Stanton the Yankees had to give up numerous top prospects. After the Red Sox had to give up so many top prospects to acquire Chris Sale the Sox do not have the prospects to part with, but it was still smart to hold on to the ones they do have.
One thing to keep in mind when giving up prospects for a player like Stanton, who has battled durability issues the last couple of years, is that if he doesn’t work out, the franchise loses more than just money. If the prospects given up pan out and turn into superstars it will leave franchises wondering what if. If the franchise wants to get those players back it will require a greater financial contribution then it may initially have required to keep that player in your system. The same was true with a player like Hanley Ramirez, who was given a chance by the Red Sox, only to go to the Marlins and the Dodgers, where he became a star. Once he wanted to come back to the Red Sox it cost them.
If the Red Sox ever find themselves as sellers at the deadline again, and they can find someone to take on the brunt of JD Martinez contract, the Red Sox could gain some prospects out of that deal. So not only would they only be out the initial money they paid for him, they could get a superstar player, and potentially some young top prospects for him as the years go on. In the case of Stanton, if he doesn’t work out and the franchise ends up trading him to a contender. Not only would they be out prospects and money, the prospect return coming back will not make up for the players the Yankees had to give up acquiring Stanton.
Photo Credit: NECN.com
Another factor that could come into play as the season grows longer is the factor of playoff baseball. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are probably going to be in the playoffs. The player with the experience in October is always a smarter choice. Stanton spent his entire career before this year in Miami, who never made the playoffs in his entire 9 year career. Martinez has played 7 games in October over his stints with the Diamondbacks and the Tigers.
Martinez has hit around .250 in his career in the playoffs with 3 homers and 6 RBI, so the stage has not been to big for him yet. As this season gets heated up Martinez and Stanton are both going to put up tremendous numbers and both players will be playing in the All Star Game. For the next handful of years these two players are going to be at the center of the rivalry, a rivalry that should be great for many years to come.