Inbox: What's in store for JBJ and Mookie?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers Boston fans' questions

November 22nd, 2019

Is there much of a market for JBJ? How would the Sox replace him given that cost savings would be the primary reason to try dealing him?
-- @ReallySeamus

It’s too early to say what the market is for , but Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will spend the next couple of weeks figuring that out. I think there are creative and cost-effective ways to replace Bradley. For example, you could slide over to center field -- his natural position -- and give Boston's top hitting prospect (per MLB Pipeline) Bobby Dalbec the chance to play left. There’s also a chance the Red Sox could spend Spring Training trying to transition to the outfield.

JBJ is a for sure goner, right? They need an upgrade.
-- @TheJ35

You aren’t going to get an upgrade defensively. You could find a way to get more offensive consistency out of that spot, though not necessarily the 20-homer power Bradley has. The reason I think he is a goner is payroll. It’s pretty clear ownership wants to get below the $208 million luxury-tax threshold. While former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski always put an enormous value on defense from a center fielder, my early inclination is that Bloom doesn’t think Bradley’s skillset is worth the $11 million or so he will make through the arbitration process.

Who do you think would be more likely to move: Mookie or JBJ?
-- @K_DeLa

JBJ. The conversation is obviously going to dominate the winter because of his uncertain contract status. But it’s hard to get true value for a franchise player who is set to make close to $30 million when there is only one year left in his contract. Bloom’s creativity will be tested to the limit if he is to find enough value for Betts to make a trade. I think the Bradley situation would be more straightforward, which is why it is more likely. Either scenario is clearly in play, however.

Percentages of likelihood of the following scenarios: Red Sox trading Mookie, Red Sox keeping Mookie on current contract, Red Sox extending Mookie.
-- @alexjc1993

I’m not going to get into percentages, but I’ll go from most likely to least likely. Betts stays and plays out the year and files for free agency next winter. Betts gets traded this winter. Betts gets traded before July 31, 2020. Betts signs an extension before he reaches free agency.

Should the Red Sox trade one of their pitchers in order to free up cap space to keep Mookie?
-- @gosheric

First of all, there’s no cap. What you have is a luxury-tax threshold of $208 million that the Red Sox are trying to stay under. I think that trading a high-priced starter -- i.e. or -- is an avenue the Red Sox will try to pursue so they can keep Betts for another season.

Likelihood Sox trade JDM to someone like the White Sox to clear room for a Mookie deal?
-- @FattyMcGee5

is a force. I say you keep that guy in your lineup for as long as you can. Also, Betts has made it fairly clear he’s not signing an extension before he reaches free agency. So do you trade Martinez just for the chance that you might be able to keep Betts? I don’t think so.

If you could do the Chris Sale deal over, would you include Benintendi and keep ?
-- @markrom

Only if you want to take down that 2018 World Series banner that Benintendi played such a vital role in helping them win.

Over or under -- plays 23 games this season?
-- @CompadreMax

Based on recent history, you have to go with the under here. Give Pedroia credit for continuing to try to come back. And I don’t get why some fans are so worked up that he still wants to play. That’s his right. He has two years left on his contract. Why shouldn’t he exhaust all options before retiring? However, I’m just not confident his left knee will allow him to make that comeback.