MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Red Sox Winter Weekend began Friday night with most current players lining up on a stage at Foxwoods, ahead of a town hall discussion with fans.
Something was obviously missing: a marquis addition, or any addition at all, really, aside from new manager Alex Cora.
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Before the town hall began, chairman Tom Werner offered the media something that sounded like assurance the assembly of players Friday will be supplemented come Opening Day.
“We’re going to make some more moves this offseason,” Werner said. “So, again, I’m not worried so much about where we are on January 17 as where we are on April 1.”
Werner even dangled a carrot of specificity.
“We are in active negotiations with J.D. Martinez,” Werner said. “People know about that. It takes two to make a deal. I can only speak for the Red Sox, we’re going to have — we will most definitely have the highest payroll that we’ve ever had and you know other teams have to make their own decisions but we expect to be competitive and we expect to improve from our team last year.”
Asked if there was momentum with Martinez, Werner went no further.
“I don’t want to get too into the free-agent discussions,” Werner said. “We’re hopeful to make a deal, but as I’ve said, it takes two people to make that deal.”
Later, it took only a couple questions from fans for Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to be asked where the 2018 Sox would get their power from. Other fans had similar questions about the pace of the offseason and the competition’s improvements.
“The players want more money than the clubs have been willing to offer,” Dombrowski said. “If you want to play, it’s going to change, and I think it’s going to change very quickly.”
As Dombrowski said at a different point in the night: “the ice is going to melt, and it is going to move very fast.”
David Ortiz, speaking to the media alongside Pedro Martinez, has been a busy man in retirement. But he’s noticed the crawl of free agency.
"I'm just wondering, who the hell is going to play this season?” Ortiz said. “Because nobody has signed yet. I'm wondering, what's going on? It's pretty much everybody. I have tons of guys, a friend of mine [who I asked], did you sign yet? Nope. It's almost spring training, bro. What's the deal?' That’s a question you guys should ask the owners.”
Gathered media indeed asked Werner about the pace of free agency.
“I can only speak for the Red Sox,” Werner said. “We’re going to have — we will most definitely have the highest payroll that we’ve ever had, and you know other teams have to make their own decisions, but we expect to be competitive and we expect to improve from our team last year.”
Martinez and Ortiz stopped short of saying the Sox had to add a bat, but they were naturally supportive of an addition like Martinez.
“You always need a bat like that,” Ortiz said. “A bat like that is never a waste.”
Martinez suggested Ortiz would need to come back if Martinez.
“I was just talking to David, if we don't happen to get one of those big bats, I'm going to get you some lighter bats,” Martinez said. “And I don't know who's going to make those shoes [to keep you healthy], but we've got to make those shoes.”