Davey Johnson remains unsigned, leading to speculation that contract negotiations with the Nationals have hit some sort of snag, but yesterday the manager downplayed those concerns.
“There isn’t really any rush for me,” Johnson told Bill Ladson of MLB.com. “I’m not worried about it. I assume everything is going to worked out. I don’t feel like it’s an emergency. I feel like I’m still the manager.”
General manager Mike Rizzo expressed a similar sentiment, telling Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that “I expect him to be the manager of the team” and “we’re talking and we’re doing great together.”
So then what’s the holdup, exactly? Kilgore reports that the two sides “could not finalize an agreement” during talks earlier this week and Rizzo noted that Johnson was busy before that participating in a fishing tournament. “And he won the damn tournament.”
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.