Is it Time to Entertain a J.D. Martinez Trade?

The Red Sox dropped another game last night, I know a complete shocker. The Red Sox are an American League worst 6-14. They’re two games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the worst record in the Bigs. Let that sink in for a moment or two. The Red Sox are full tank mode. It’s clearly evident by the pitching they trot out there day in and day out.

Now that we are 20 games into the season and there are on 40 games left, the lack of quality pitching is going to make it hard for the Red Sox to mount any sort of comeback and chip away at the deficit they are in this season. The internet is clamoring for the team to “tank for Kumar” who is projected to be the number one overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft next season. The hashtag #TankforKumar has been a popular addition to any tweet you see involving the Red Sox.

Red Sox “Tanking”?

If the Red Sox are indeed “tanking” then now is the time to start trading the assets they own that hold the most value. There are two players on their roster that would be desirable to other teams, closer Brandon Workman and slugger J.D. Martinez. Martinez hasn’t looked right all season and last night against the Yankees he went 0-4 with four strikeouts. One of the strikeouts he looked like he was waving a fishing net trying to scoop a trout out of the water. Many are attributing Martinez’ struggles on the fact he can not review video during the game to look at his at-bats and swings.

I am not advocating a trade because of his latest performance, I am looking to trade him because he will net a decent return for a team needing to add more talented prospects to a system that has been barren due to the Dave Dombrowski era in Boston. Martinez can opt out at the end of the season and with the National League having the DH rule, his suitors have increased and the likelihood he could leave Boston may increase.

A Team That Can Acquire JD Martinez

There is one team the Red Sox could talk to about a Martinez swap and they already had conversations this past offseason when Mookie Betts was available. The San Diego Padres are flush with young talent in their system and Chaim Bloom could turn to the Friars to fill more of the cupboards in his minor league system.

The Padres acquired outfielder Tommy Pham this offseason and he hasn’t been sharp. Pham is hitting .219 with two home runs and has nine RBI. He is coming off an elbow injury and it’s clear he still isn’t exactly hitting to his ability in San Diego. The Padres would love to acquire Martinez and he would fit nicely in that young, talented stacked lineup. The Padres would have an even stronger lineup to face the Dodgers for the balance of the season.

The concern for Red Sox fans involving a trade for Martinez would be the return. Some in Red Sox Nation will question Bloom because of the return the received for Betts in the likes of Alex Verdugo (who looks like he is cut out for Boston), Jeter Downs and Connor Wong. I liked the return for Betts. But when Red Sox fans see this club struggle with pitching and Dodgers Brusdar Graterol looking like a future stud closer, many will question the return for Martinez.

Final Thoughts

The Red Sox need pitching and desperately. The Padres could send the Red Sox righty Cal Quantrill back for Martinez. But in my opinion that isn’t enough for the slugger. In three games this season he is 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA and many would welcome those numbers. He is under control through 2025 which is music to Bloom’s ears but the return is light. If the Red Sox could pry one or two more players from the Padres, it would be ideal. The Red Sox could look to pry pitching prospect Reggie Lawson who is ranked 22nd by Baseball America. The right hander can throw 96mph, he can go deep into games and has a very good curveball. While health and consistency has been an issue, he has the make up and upside that Bloom could be looking for.

The Red Sox are in trouble. It’s time to pull the bandaid off and get some quality pitching back into the system. It will hurt to lose Martinez. He’s one of the best bats in the game. But this team needs a reboot. Chaim Bloom is in the process of turning the roster over.

– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique)

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