The finalists for the 2018 awards voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America were revealed on Monday. Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez was not among the three finalists for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. His teammate, Mookie Betts, as well as Mike Trout and José Ramírez were. The winner will be revealed on Thursday, November 15.
Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent, thinks his client was snubbed, per Casey Stern of MLB Network Radio. Boras said, “Every voter should be brought publicly into a forum and be taken to task for their negligence.” Boras also said, “There’s a complete breach of understanding of the value of the player.”
Boras is almost certainly just making a stink to draw more eyeballs to Martinez’s numbers this past season: a 1.031 OPS, 43 HR, 111 runs, 130 RBI (best in the majors). Martinez can opt out of his current contract after the 2019 or 2020 seasons. Making his 2018 production memorable is a small way Boras can add more leverage on behalf of his client if he goes in search of a new contract. It might make the difference between an exec focusing on Martinez’s age or his gaudy numbers. Boras is banking on the media picking this up and running with it based on his outlandish claims. Boras is well aware that 1B/DH types have found less and less success in free agency as front offices have integrated analytics to a greater degree. This is the kind of stuff that makes Boras such a successful agent.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.