Wednesday, February 28, 2018

1B Playing Time May Create Some Red Sox Controversy

(Getty Images)
Now that J.D. Martinez is finally signed, and various Red Sox players have vented their displeasure over the "atmosphere" around the 2017 clubhouse, you might expect JetBlue Park to be Happy Valley. Hold on. There is still a potential controversy brewing over the distribution of playing time between Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland at 1B. And, of course, this will also have a ripple effect on the rest of the lineup—including Martinez. According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Moreland might have the "upper hand" at 1B over Hanley going into the season. After all, Moreland's glove is far superior and he actually out-slugged Hanley in 2017 (.443 to .429). Of course, Ramirez came into camp blustering about his healthy shoulders and his 30+ HR potential this year. We'll see. Don't forget that a $22 million guarantee kicks in for Hanley if he makes 497 plate appearances this year. And despite Alex Cora intimating that Ramirez is his #3 hitter in the lineup, he also said this, "Mitch, I saw in the playoffs how he hit the ball the other way and made the opposition make adjustments." Don't think that Hanley isn't feeling the pressure—he had a productive day at the plate yesterday while playing first. This could get very interesting.