by Jimmy Hascup
In dire need of a jolt to their offense, the Boston Red Sox have acquired C/1B Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians for right-hander Justin Masterson, left-handed pitching prospect Nick Hagadone, and right-handed pitching prospect Bryan Price.
The big news maker here is obviously Victor Martinez headed to the Red Sox, but I can’t help but applaud Red Sox GM Theo Epstein for not including blue-chip youngster Clay Buchholz in the deal. They also didn’t include Lars Anderson or Michael Bowden, which has to make Red Sox fans very happy. The Indians received some nice arms in the deal, but I’ll discuss them after analyzing Martinez’ impact.
Martinez, who batted .284 with 15 HR and 67 RBI with the Indians, has served as the catcher, first basemen, and designated hitter this season. He provides the Red Sox with excellent flexibility, as he allows the Red Sox to rest Mike Lowell, by shifting Kevin Youkilis to 3B, when he plays 1B.
Martinez can also mix in at DH with David Ortiz, if his struggles continue and are further exposed with the steroid allegations. V-Mart will also be able to mingle with Jason Varitek at catcher, as his .239 BA just hasn’t cut it this year for the Red Sox. Even though the CI/DH spots seem crowded, there’s no reason for fantasy owners to be worried if they’re Martinez owners. He’ll play regularly and provide the Red Sox with much needed punch in a lineup that’s really been craving production lately.
Martinez should see similar production while in Boston, but does move to a more hitter friendly Fenway Park. Another 10-12 HR shouldn’t be out of the question for V-Mart, with 110 RBI a realistic mark for him to reach.
The Red Sox lineup as a whole should benefit from this acquisition. Maybe this is the trade that breaks Jason Bay out from his June and July slumps. He’s hit just five HR since May and has a .208 BA.
As for the Indians, they received a quality trio of young arms from the Red Sox. Masterson, a true grond-ball pitcher, should benefit while playing in Progressive Field. He has a career 3.76 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with a career 7.6 K/9 rate. Masterson should get a chance as a starter in the Indians rotation, but give him time to make an impact in fantasy leagues. Grab him, but don’t expect him to save your pitching staff. Cleveland won’t be winning too many games from here on out, but Masterson could make a case as a nice sleeper next season.
Nick Hagadone, is a 23-year-old lefty pitching in Single-A coming off Tommy John surgery in 2008, so he’s thrown just 22 innings this year. He has 30 strikeouts along with a 2.86 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He’s a southpaw who pitches in the mid-90s, with a solid slider, so people in keeper leagues should keep an eye on him for next season. He was Boston’s 3rd best prospect, according to Baseball America.
Bryan Price is a 22-year-old righty who has pitched in two levels of Single-A this season. He’s compiled 96.1 IP, given up 99 hits, and struckout 97. He had a 6.45 ERA in Low-A, but has since pitched much better in High-A, sporting a very nice 2.45 ERA in eight starts. Price was a closer at Rice, but has a nice three pitch mix, which had the Sox optimistic about his chances as a starter. He’s still a ways away from making it to the bigs.
What do you guys think? Did the Red Sox give up too much for Martinez? Does this make them the favorites in the AL?