Mitch Moreland is more valuable than J.D. Martinez

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Mitch Moreland #18 and J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox run during a team workout at jetBlue Park at Fenway South on February 17, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Mitch Moreland #18 and J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox run during a team workout at jetBlue Park at Fenway South on February 17, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It may not seem that way, but given his similar production and a lower salary, Mitch Moreland is even more valuable than J.D. Martinez.

Few players possess J.D. Martinez’s power and versatility, but Boston Red Sox teammate Mitch Moreland’s similar, however lesser, play, combined with his lower salary make him more valuable.

M.V.P. candidate and Silver Slugger winner Martinez has been a Fenway favorite during his previous two seasons in Boston. In 2020, he looks to emerge as a major team leader alongside shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

Former Red Sox’ outfielder Mookie Betts’ recently signed a colossal 12-year $365 million contract with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. New Red Sox’ general manager Chaim Bloom became notable in 2019 for his work helping make the Tampa Bay Rays a playoff team without spending Betts-level cash.

Martinez’s contract invests $110 million over five years (starting in February of 2019) into his powerful bat. Moreland’s contract is worth $8.5 million over two years. Moreland is much cheaper, which sets a more favorable deal in Bloom’s eyes, but the value of a dollar only goes so far. After all, a team could sign every player for ten bucks, but if they can’t put the bat on the ball, they aren’t even worth the bus fare.

Martinez has driven in over 100 runs each of the last two seasons. In 2019, in 575 at-bats he hit 36 home runs, drove in 105 runs, and batted a stellar 0.304. There, again, is no doubt that Martinez earned his spot as one of baseball’s finest.

Moreland, though his statistics are not as phenomenal, is a better value. In 2019, in 298 at-bats he hit 19 home runs, drove in 58 runs, and batted 0.252.

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Martinez earned $23.75 million in 2018 and 2019. Moreland earned $5.5 million in 2017 and he earned $6.5 million in 2018 and 2019.

With 79 home runs in a Red Sox uniform, Martinez has been paid $47.5 million. That is $601,265.82 for each home run. His 235 R.B.I.s (excluding Friday and Saturday’s opening games of 2020) have each been worth $231,707.32. His 373 hits have each been worth $127,345.84. His 296 games have been worth $160,472.97.

Moreland has earned $18.5 million in Boston. He has hit 56 home runs, driven 207 runs home, and recorded 299 hits. Each home run has been worth $330,357.14. Each R.B.I. has been worth $89,371.98. Each hit has been worth $61,872.91. His 364 games have each been worth $50,824.18.

Moreland is cheaper by every measure, but so are store brand groceries. Sometimes they are ever so slightly worse, but oftentimes, they are just as good.

Moreland is comparable to Martinez, not entirely because of his statistics or salary, as well. Part of his value stems from when he does not play.

Young utility infielder Michael Chavis is built for first base and the designated hitter spot. With 18 home runs, 58 R.B.I.s, and a 0.254 batting average in 95 games, he helps a player like Moreland share the load throughout the season.

Additionally, while Moreland hits left-handed, Chavis hits right-handed. In 2019, Martinez batted an outstanding 0.404 against left-handed pitchers with a 1.381 O.P.S., but he still had fair numbers against right-handed pitchers with a 0.272 batting average and 0.781 O.P.S.

Moreland primarily faces right-handed pitching. Against righties, in 2019, he batted 0.262 with a 0.887 O.P.S.

Chavis actually faced righties more than lefties in 2019 and played better against right-handed pitching, but his statistics against left-handed pitching are still promising, especially considering he is still young (24 years old) and has time to grow, probably unlike 32-year old Martinez and 34-year old Moreland.

Chavis recorded a 0.226 batting average and a 0.742 O.P.S. against lefties and could very well improve in 2020.

Many teams are eager to add a bat like Martinez to their lineup and would sacrifice some high quality prospects in the hopes that the Boston slugger could help bring them a World Series.

With the comparable store brand Moreland and Chavis ready to step up for much cheaper prices, name brand Martinez might be a better value off the team.

Additionally, there are adequately important questions regarding team structure without Martinez. In games where a lefty starts for the opposition, Moreland would likely not play and Chavis would start at either first base or D.H., leaving one of the two positions open. Who plays in Moreland’s place at first or D.H.

New addition Alex Verdugo is an outfielder, but he is an apt fielder who could easily be transitioned to play first base when needed, and his solid bat makes him a good option at D.H.

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Who then plays right field in his place? New addition Kevin Pillar came 22nd in voting for the National League M.V.P. in 2019 and knows the Fenway Park outfield intimately due to six years of playing in the A.L. East with the Toronto Blue Jays.