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Inbox: Hosmer better fit for Boston than J.D.?

Beat reporter Ian Browne fields questions from fans
December 18, 2017

Instead of J.D. Martinez, why don't the Red Sox just sign Eric Hosmer? They need a first baseman and have plenty of depth in the outfield. -- Adam D., Manchester, N.H.My understanding is that Martinez is definitely the top priority for the Red Sox because of his power. But there's

Instead of J.D. Martinez, why don't the Red Sox just sign Eric Hosmer? They need a first baseman and have plenty of depth in the outfield.
-- Adam D., Manchester, N.H.

My understanding is that Martinez is definitely the top priority for the Red Sox because of his power. But there's no guarantee they can get him. If Martinez goes elsewhere, Hosmer could be a really nice fit. There is a lot to like about him, including his leadership, age (28) and sweet opposite-field stroke from the left side of the plate that could play nicely at Fenway Park.
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What are your thoughts on the potential risk/reward that would come with a Martinez signing? I worry about his age and the long-term financial burden, especially seeing how the Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez deals have worked out in that regard.
-- Ben G., Camden, Maine

It seems like that's what the holdup is right now in negotiations. Martinez, according to reports, is looking for a seven-year commitment. I think the Red Sox would be much more comfortable going four or five years, even if it's at a greater annual average value than they originally anticipated.

With the Yankees landing Giancarlo Stanton, should the Red Sox be worried?
-- Tom C., Irvine, Calif.
Things aren't nearly as bleak as you think. In fact, the Red Sox have a highly competitive roster. Chris Sale and a healthy David Price could give Boston one of the top 1-2 rotation punches in the game. Craig Kimbrel is an elite closer. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers are three young, talented players just about any team would love to have. And president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will strike with a move at some point to upgrade the offense.
Now that Manny Machado is on the block, would the Sox consider trading Xander Bogaerts in a package to get him?
-- Todd H., Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

For a player like Machado, you'd have to consider just about anything to get him. It would take more than Bogaerts. Machado is one of the most impactful all-around players in the game. However, I think other teams might be better positioned to land Machado at this time because Boston's farm system isn't all that deep in terms of elite prospects at the upper levels. Also, Machado has only one year left on his contract, so that also makes it a bit of a dilemma deciding what to give up for him.

I understand the Cubs may make Kyle Schwarber available in a trade and he would be a unique fit for the Sox. Should the Sox be looking to the A's for a power hitter like Khris Davis?
-- Russ S., Kalispell, Mont.

The Red Sox did ask the Cubs about Schwarber earlier this month, but it didn't appear there was a match. Davis has a right-handed swing that would definitely play well in Fenway, but thus far, the Athletics have shown no inclination to trade him. You can't really blame them. Davis has two more arbitration-eligible seasons before he reaches free agency.
Is it possible for Devers to move to first base?
-- Owen S., Billings, Mont.

Sure, it's possible. But Devers is only 21 and has played less than half a season at third base for the Red Sox. It's kind of early to be looking at a position change. It looks like he has the attributes to be a pretty good third baseman. He just needs to gain a little more consistency with his technique. At the Winter Meetings, Dombrowski said the Red Sox are fully committed to Devers at the hot corner.

The Red Sox won the division last year without a 25-home run guy. What's the problem with building this team around several on-base hitters?
-- Arthur A., Davenport, Iowa

You make a fine point. The 2015 Royals didn't have any players hit more than 22 home runs and they won the World Series. To win like this, you need a lineup filled with guys who can get extra-base hits. You also need speed, defense and strong power pitching. Power isn't always the be-all, end-all. More than just hitting for power, the Red Sox simply need to be more consistent and more productive than they were in 2017.
I loved seeing Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell and Derek Lowe get into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. But while looking at the list of past inductees, I noticed Trot Nixon is not in. As a child of the '90s raised a Red Sox fan, Trot was my favorite player. Is there any type of conversation to get him in? Thank you.
-- Sean G., Wichita, Kan.

Interesting that you ask that question. Nixon was a finalist in the most recent voting and was edged out by the three players you mentioned. Nixon has a really solid career for the Red Sox, notching an .845 OPS over 10 seasons and obviously making some contributions to the 2004 World Series championship that will live on in team lore forever. I'm pretty sure he will eventally be in the Red Sox Hall of Fame.