Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Maybe you did this one already, but it’s worth asking again now, with the players arriving for spring training and so many good free agents still available: Who will lead the Red Sox in home runs this season? Is that player on the roster yet? – Rob T.
I took a quick spin through the Sports Q archives and found that we had this question last year, but not yet as 2018 approaches. So let’s do it now.
I do think it’s someone who isn’t on the roster yet – a certain someone we’ve talked about as the ideal fit for the Red Sox all winter, but someone who apparently isn’t satisfied with the Red Sox’ five-year, nine-figure offer.
I still think the Red Sox will get J.D. Martinez, despite threats from agent Scott Boras that he might just return to the Diamondbacks. As far as we know, he doesn’t have an offer close to the one the Red Sox have presented him. It may not be what he was hoping to get, but it’s still a ton of money and security for generations of Martinezes. He’d be foolish not to take it, and he does not seem a fool.
If and when they do get him, he’s the easy choice to lead them in homers. Mookie Betts led the Sox with 24 last year, seven fewer than he hit the season before. I suppose TB12 disciple Hanley Ramirez, who hit 23 last year – also seven fewer than the year before – could do it as well.
Martinez? He hit 45 home runs overall, and more in 62 games after his trade to the Diamondbacks – 29 – than any single Red Sox player hit all year. He’s a late bloomer for sure, but his power is legit. The Red Sox have some outstanding players. But they don’t have a slugger like Martinez.
For what it’s worth, I picked Betts last year and got it right, though my runner-up choice wasn’t close – Xander Bogaerts fell 20 homers short of 30, as it turned out.
But what do you guys think? Who will lead the Red Sox in home runs this year? I’ll see you in the comments.