Red Sox

Scott Boras praises J.D. Martinez's leadership, blasts MVP voters

Scott Boras praises J.D. Martinez's leadership, blasts MVP voters

When the list of A.L. MVP finalists was released earlier this week, there was one glaring exception: J.D. Martinez. 

The star slugger had an excellent first season in Boston after being signed to a mammoth contract over the offseason. He played a key role in their franchise-record 108 wins, and helped lead the team in every aspect to a World Series victory. 

His agent, Scott Boras, has represented some of the best baseball players in the game over the course of three decades. Wednesday at the GM meetings in California, he said that the way Martinez impacted the Red Sox with his leadership was something he'd never seen before. Consequently, Boras put the voters who left Martinez off the finalist ballot on blast for what he considered to be a grevious error. 

"His leadership and impact on the team was extraordinary… I don’t know of any player at any time in my career that’s had a greater impact on a team, apart from his performance, with his leadership and influence in the locker rom and the unique information he conveyed.

"I don't know of any player ever that's had more of an impact than what J.D. did in 2018." 

That's some high praise, even if it's expected, coming from an agent who's represented Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Greg Maddux, among others over the duration of his career.  

Boras went on to passionately express his opinion that Martinez's absence from the finalist ballot is an absurd transgression. 

"Every voter should be brought publicly into a forum and be taken to task for their negligence... There's a complete breach of understanding of the value of a player." 

Martinez certainly had a season that is worth MVP consideration, and his absence from the finalists list comes as a surprise to more people than just Boras. 

Individual accolades aside, it sounds like Martinez had more of an impact than we may ever realize on this year's Red Sox team, and it ended in a championship.

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Working with Pedro Martinez, Tyler Thornburg ready to prove himself to Red Sox

Working with Pedro Martinez, Tyler Thornburg ready to prove himself to Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla.  — The Red Sox are banking on their internal bullpen options to step up and get the job done in 2019. That means without Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly shoring up the back end of the 'pen, opportunity knocks for guys such as Tyler Thornburg. 

It’s been a long road back to normalcy for the right-hander. Thornburg missed all of the 2017 season with thoracic outlet syndrome and simply wasn’t the player Boston traded for when he returned in 2018. He’s happy to be starting the spring off with a clean slate.

“Being like a regular player is actually really fun,” Thornburg told reporters at JetBlue Park. “You know, it’s nice not being in the whole rehab stage, having to hold back in certain areas, and come to the park every day and you know, enjoy it. Not worrying about the two or three hours I have to do to make my arm good enough to throw. It just makes it a lot more fun, honestly.”

Thornburg was dominant in 2016 with the Brewers, when he was last 100-percent healthy. That season, he posted a 2.15 ERA and 0.94 WHIP while earning 13 saves. He’s spent the offseason working on being able to prove this year that he still has that same kind of stuff.

“All day, every day in the offseason was trying to get better,” Thornburg said. “Trying to get to where I know I can be, where I want to be. That was pretty much every day in the offseason for me.”

“Obviously it’s not just the fans [to prove it to],” he continued. “It’s the players, the coaches, the front office people that yeah, they know what I can do, they’ve given me the opportunity, things like that. So yeah, definitely looking forward to actually showing people how I can actually pitch.”

Thornburg certainly is getting the proper guidance in order to get him back to his 2016 self. He talked about what it’s been like to have the great Pedro Martinez giving him tips.

“Weird. It’s one of those things where you kind of just want to hand him the ball,” Thornburg joked. “No I mean it’s really cool.

“The guy obviously did incredible things while he was playing, so any time he opens his mouth, you really want to listen. So, I mean he gave me really good pointers when I was on the mound yesterday. Definitely some things that, you know, I want to think about going forward, all that good stuff. It’s awesome just to have him there, and have him give you some ideas on things.”

But no matter how many pointers Thornburg gets from Martinez, the real key to bouncing back will be patience.

“Yeah, I feel like maybe a couple years into being in the big leagues I kind of had to learn that [patience],” Thornburg said. “That you always have your ups and downs regardless, but especially these last couple years. I think if I hadn’t started being that way early on, the last few years would have been even tougher. But I’m really looking forward to this year after all the downs.”

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski mentioned Thornburg’s name when talking about closer candidates for this season. Is that on Thornburg’s mind this spring?

“Right now, it’s not,” he said. “Right now, it’s all arm, getting mound ready, things like that.”

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