By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Red Sox were right about J.D. Martinez.
The Yankees, at least for now, were wrong about Giancarlo Stanton.
Count me among the many who were wrong about which team won the offseason power-hitting jackpot.
Much was made about the Red Sox apparent lack-of-interest in acquiring Stanton, allowing the Yankees to swoop in and fleece Derek Jeter and the Marlins in a trade for the face of their franchise.
Instead, the Red Sox seemed to settle on the injury-plagued Martinez, waiting until spring training to bring him into the fold before haggling over his contract when more concerns with his troublesome foot popped up.
It turns out the Red Sox got the better player all along.
The difference between Martinez and Stanton could not have been more glaring in the ALDS. The performance of the two proved to be a big reason why the Red Sox are moving on and the Yankees are going home.
Martinez delivered. Stanton did not.
I’m sure Yankees fans will give Stanton a pass, right?
Martinez set the tone for the entire series in his first at-bat, crushing a three-run home run off J.A. Happ in the first inning of Game 1. After two October flameouts in a row, it was crucial for the Red Sox to get off to a good start.
Martinez made it happen.
Meanwhile, New York’s $325 million dollar man was nowhere to be found in any of the four games. Stanton went 4-for-18 with no RBI, no walks, no extra-base hits, and six strikeouts.
Reggie Jackson he is not.
Contact matters in October. In Game 4, Martinez was productive even when making an out, driving in Boston’s first run on a sacrifice fly. The Red Sox won the game by one run.
Stanton failed to make contact with the game on the line in the ninth inning. He struck out in the biggest moment of his career to-date.
Who says strikeouts don’t matter in baseball anymore?
On paper, Stanton’s first year in New York was solid. He batted .266, hit 38 home runs, drove in 100 runs, and had an .852 OPS. Statistically, that’s good, but Yankees fans will tell you Stanton left something to be desired.
That was never more apparent than in this series. Stanton didn’t leave something to be desired, he left everything to be desired.
Red Sox fans don’t feel the same way about J.D. Martinez. He is the best big-money free agent signing the team has had since Manny Ramirez. There probably isn’t a close second.
Stanton will have plenty of opportunities to make amends for his letdown this October. After all, the Yankees are paying him $260 million to stick around through 2027.
But at the end of 2018, this much is clear: the Red Sox brought in the right power hitter, the Yankees brought in the wrong one.
Perhaps that wasn’t clear to us in February, but it’s obvious in October.