Today on Season Ticket, Host Chris Gasper (@cgasper) welcomes baseball reporter Nick Cafardo, who reports on potential offseason moves for the Red Sox based on what he's hearing from the MLB general manager's meeting in Orlando. Topics include Giancarlo Stanton, J.D. Martinez, and Shohei Otani, the "Babe Ruth of Japan."
Then, Bruins reporter Fluto Shinzawa talks to Boston Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan (@GlobeSullivan) about how he got caught up in the middle of a story between a Vietnam War veteran and a puck that came off the stick of Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr.
On the chances the Red Sox land free agent gem Giancarlo Stanton
Nick Cafardo: I don’t think it’s going to happen. I really don’t think the Red Sox's interest is that strong in this situation ... From what I’m gathering from speaking to people, from the Marlins in particular, the Red Sox are not one of the teams that are really strong into this right now.
Chris Gasper: It would be a big investment for any team that takes on Stanton and that includes the Red Sox—he is in the middle of a 13-year, $325 million deal.
Nick Cafardo: I think it all depends on how much money the Red Sox want to spend on a slugger for the middle of their order.
"I think they’ll be very aggressive there ... They need a slugger, he is a slugger, and I can’t think of a better option for them than him."Nick Cafardo, on the Red Sox pursuing free agent J.D. Martinez
On the risks surrounding a potential Giancarlo Stanton trade
Chris Gasper: One red flag from a Red Sox perspective on Stanton—the lack of durability. He did play in a career-high 159 games last season but that’s really the outlier for Stanton in his career. In an 8-year career, he’s played in more than 125 games just three times. So if you’re going to spend big bucks on a big-time slugger, you wanna make sure he’s going to be in the lineup and that’s not really something that Stanton has been able to do consistently throughout the course of his career.
On other power hitters to improve the Red Sox lineup
Chris Gasper: [J.D. Martinez] would be an appealing option to the Red Sox. He’s more durable [than Stanton], he’s somebody where you wouldn’t have to give up anybody off the major league roster or for your farm system to get him. It’s just money. He also doesn’t have the qualifying offer attached to him, which means you’re not going to have to sacrifice a draft pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. And Dave Dombrowski has a history with J.D. Martinez going back to the Tigers—he sort of discovered J.D. Martinez after Martinez had been discarded by the Houston Astros. That’s a name you hear a lot of.
Nick Cafardo: I think Martinez is well within Boston’s budget and I think they’ll be very aggressive there. Martinez just had a tremendous run with the Diamondbacks, who would love to re-sign him and maybe they will. He’s a guy that I think is the perfect fit for the Red Sox. They need a slugger, he is a slugger, and I can’t think of a better option for them than him.
On the Red Sox possibly trading Jackie Bradley Jr.
Nick Cafardo: You would be able to trade Jackie Bradley Jr. if you sign [J.D.] Martinez and you wanted Martinez to be your left fielder. So that could definitely take place. The Giants need a centerfielder, they’re openly looking for that centerfielder, so Jackie Bradley Jr. could definitely be in play at that point. That’s the only scenario I see where they would trade one of those outfielders.
"He's kind of like the Babe Ruth of Japan."Chris Gasper, on Shohei Otani
On Japanese free agent sensation, Shohei Otani
Chris Gasper: Another option for the Red Sox to augment their team and their lineup is someone who’s not even playing in Major League Baseball; he’s playing in Japan. He is the next Japanese sensation, Shohei Otani ... He’s kind of like the Babe Ruth of Japan, at least right now. He is able to hit at a very high level and pitch at a very high level and he wants to come to the Major Leagues and do that.
Nick Cafardo: This is a fascinating topic. Everybody I talk to just thinks the world of this guy’s talent, both as a pitcher and a hitter, which is just incredible when you think about it. He’s a right-handed pitcher, about 6-3, and he throws 95-100 MPH on his fastball. He’s got four pitches he can throw for strikes, which is like a dream come true. These teams would just love to have him as a pitcher, but he insists on [also] being a hitter. I’ve talked to people about him as a hitter; he’s a left-handed hitter and he has this immense raw power. He could be a definite home run hitter. He’s hit balls as far as 500 feet, so he can really be a power hitter as well.
On how the Red Sox might use someone like Shohei Otani
Nick Cafardo: You could use him as a sixth starting pitcher, where he could give Chris Sale an extra day or give David Price an extra day ... and then use him as a DH a few days a week. You’d have to not sign J.D. Martinez or ... have the space open for him to DH a little bit. He can play first base; he can play left field, although he hasn’t done that in the past couple years. It’s going to be fascinating; I’ve talked to a bunch of people (GMs) who really think it could work. Most of them said it could work for a while and then, one of the GM’s told me, eventually the player himself might just get so mentally exhausted or physically exhausted by doing this that he would have to stick to [batting] or [pitching].
On how a random email turn into a feature story involving Bruins legend Bobby Orr
Fluto Shinzawa: I try and make it a point to try and respond to everyone [who emails me]; not the real cranks who use swears and bad words and all that, but, in general, if a reader has the time to email me, I’ll email them back ... [I got an email] from a reader that I had never encountered before. His name is Sam Kelley, he’s from Scarborough, Maine, and he had emailed me a story saying he had been to a Vietnam Veteran’s reunion in Florida recently and he heard a story about this man named Perry Dotson. Perry was a platoon leader and was telling a great story, as he usually does at these reunions, about this lucky puck that he always carried around in Vietnam.
On the story of Bobby Orr's hockey puck
Fluto Shinzawa: It was from a game in 1969—Bruins against the [Minnesota] North Stars ... Perry’s in the stands and he’s ready to go off to Vietnam [in three days] and, all of the sudden, Orr and one of the North Star players get into a puck battle and ‘boom’, the puck goes flying over the glass into the stands, right into Perry’s hands ... So he brings it over to Vietnam and he always carries it in his breast pocket all the time.