Red Sox gain with Martinez staying, but now plot thickens

Alan Greenwood

Less than one week into his tenure and the Red Sox’ new supreme leader, Chaim Bloom, can bask in the glow of a key victory.

Well, Bloom at least avoided a key empty space in the middle of his 2020 lineup. J.D. Martinez declined to opt out of his contract, which has three more years to run. That contract guarantees Martinez a reported $62.5 million – all in all, not a bad payday for passing on an opportunity to hit the free agent market.

Whether Bloom had an ounce of influence on Martinez’s decision, he now faces one of the tougher items on his winter agenda: What to do with Mookie Betts.

With Red Sox owner John Henry firmly suggesting that getting player payroll under, or at least close to, the $208 million that activates baseball’s luxury tax.

It’s tough to figure just how much Betts may draw in a trade. The rumors should soon take flight.

Entering his final season before becoming a free agent, it seems fairly clear that he is going to demand a ton of money. It won’t reach the stratosphere occupied by Angels center fielder Mike Trout, who cut a 12-year deal with Los Angeles/Anaheim/California worth a reported $430 million. Betts’ will certainly not help the Red Sox trim what was the highest player payroll in baseball.

The fact that Betts has quickly become baseball royalty in the eyes of New Englanders will make his chore even more dicey.

TIME TRAVEL: Nov. 5, 1974 – From the typewriter of venerable Telegraph senior writer Dean Shalhoup, during his time as a sports scribe:

“The Spring Street and Fairgrounds Junior High football teams have been busy this past week preparing for the annual grid classic between the two cross-city rivals that will take place at 3:30 p.m. at Holman Stadium.

“The way things are going now, the annual pigskin toss is shaping up to be a superb battle between the city junior highs. Spring Street has a season record of 2-4 and Fairgounds is 3-3 – as Raider coach Norm Burgess says, it is ‘a battle of the mediocres.'”

No one could accuse Burgess of mincing his words.

AND FINALLY: There really is a sliver of a silver lining to the Patriots’ stunningly inept performance against the Ravens on Sunday night.

The most obvious benefit is the end of all silly speculation over the Pats’ destined stroll down the highway to a perfect season. And with that settled, we won’t have to endure endless prattle from the holier-than-now prattle master Don Shula.

As if that loss to the Football Giants wasn’t enough, there was Shula, awash in his self-righteous glory (or was that just his afternoon drool), proclaiming that the world was a better place because “Belicheat” was stopped short of perfection.

If anyone starts touting the chances of perfection achieved by the San Francisco 49ers, put a large denomination bill on the table and get them to ante up.

Contact Alan Greenwood at 594-1248, or agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com.