Just in case you thought the miniscule World Baseball Classic attendance at the Cuba-China game two days ago was a one-time thing, Ben Badler of Baseball America took another snapshot of the pathetic crowd at last night’s China-Brazil game.
Officially the announced attendance in Japan was 3,110, but Badler guessed that there were actually fewer than 100 people in the stands for a second straight game.
I’m not suggesting that any dramatic conclusions can be drawn from the fact that not many people from China, Brazil, and Cuba travel to Japan to watch their respective teams play in the WBC, but the fact that no one in Japan even wants to see these games definitely says something considering how much Japanese people like baseball in general.
Much like in America, the overall interest level in the WBC just isn’t there when the home team isn’t playing.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.