While Orioles fans had a long wait this winter for the club to add any starting pitching, Red Sox fans had a long wait for their club to match the New York Yankees’ big move.
Match or at least try to. The Yankees stunned the baseball world in adding Giancarlo Stanton, the 2017 National League MVP, on Dec. 11. Well over two months later, the Red Sox finally got J.D. Martinez. Each team adds a huge slugger.
Martinez agreed to a five-year deal worth $110 million that has three opt-outs. For as potent as his bat is, he seemed to have two main suitors in Boston and Arizona, and little else, at least well reported.
In just 489 plate appearances last year between Detroit and Arizona, he hit .303/.376/.690 with 26 doubles, three triples, 45 homers and 104 RBIs. His OPS was a staggering 1.066.
This should clearly help a Boston team that has won back-to-back American League East titles, yet ranked 10th in the majors in runs last year and 27th in home runs. Boston designated hitters batted .244 last season.
To prove that you never quite know in baseball, do you realize that the Houston Astros released Martinez on March 22, 2014. He had produced an OPS of .687 in 975 plate appearances over three season and they just let him go. The same Houston club that won the World Series last fall. They are smart, and like all clubs make moves they regret. Since 2014, Martinez has a four-year OPS of .936.
Now the Orioles rotation, which posted a 5.70 ERA last season, gets to battle Stanton and Aaron Judge in New York and Martinez in Boston. In 92 career plate appearances, Martinez has an OPS of 1.110 versus Baltimore pitchers. That is his best OPS with 90 or more plate appearances against any club.
In New York: Despite a rotation that looks solid on paper, there have been rumors this winter that the Yankees were still pursuing starters. The most recent news seems to indicate they are not currently in pursuit of Alex Cobb and/or Lance Lynn. Meanwhile, Judge and Stanton are expected to be in the same spring training lineup for the first time today when New York plays Detroit.
In Toronto: The Blue Jays have some reason to be concerned about right hander Marcus Stroman. Their expected opening day starter has been shut down for a few days with right shoulder inflammation. Stroman went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA last season that ranked fourth in the AL. An MRI did not find any structural damage.
In Tampa Bay: The Major League Baseball Players Association has filed a grievance against four teams, including the Rays. The MLBPA has expressed concern over how Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Miami and Oakland is spending revenue sharing money.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are considered one of the biggest revenue-sharing recipients, getting what is believed to be about $45 million a year. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg told the Times he was “genuinely surprised” that the grievance was filed and that the Rays were “beyond what compliance is” with the rules.
As for the Orioles, righty Hunter Harvey had a nice spring debut and Garabez Rosa homered in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Rays. Harvey went two frames, allowing three hits and one run with one walk and three strikeouts. He touched 95 mph on the radar gun.