The Red Sox were clearly not content with a roster that is already among baseball’s best – they wanted to upgrade, and they were willing to kick the tires on every all-star that might be available. The one they landed on, Victor Martinez, is a great fit for their roster.
Martinez can catch when Varitek isn’t, can play first when Lowell needs a day off, or can DH when Francona wants to give David Ortiz a breather. By adding Martinez to the C/1B/DH rotation, the Red Sox can essentially platoon Ortiz/Lowell/Varitek, giving them a constant platoon advantage and keeping the older legs fresh. Versatility and depth are often very useful in a playoff series, and the Red Sox now have that in spades.
The price to acquire Martinez hasn’t been officially solidified yet, but it sounds like its headed by Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone. The Red Sox had held off on trading Masterson for several years now, but finally found a player they deemed worthy of giving up the right-handed sinkerball specialist.
For the Indians, Masterson is the kind of major league ready arm they needed to move Martinez. He should slide right into their rotation and help imrpove their run prevention immediately. As a groundball and strikeout guy, Masterson’s upside is something like Gil Meche. He doesn’t have the knockout secondary pitches to be an ace, but he profiles as a solid middle of the rotation starter. I’m a fan, and Cleveland should be happy to have picked him up in the deal.
Hagadone is more of a risk/reward guy, a big arm strength lefty who has already had Tommy John surgery and is working his way back to full health. He’s been used as both a reliever and a starter, but Boston always projected his stuff to work in the rotation if he could stay healthy. He’s a couple of years from the majors, but power LHPs with a chance to stick as starters are valuable commodities.
From Cleveland’s perspective, they get two good young arms, one of whom can step right into their rotation. That makes this a win, even if dealing Martinez away hurts their offense quite a bit. From Boston’s perspective, they dealt from depth that they could afford to lose in order to get an all-star caliber player who fits perfectly into their roster.
This is a win-win. Good deal for both clubs.