First year Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora has his work cut out for him just with getting ready to hand in a daily lineup card to each game upcoming this season. With newly acquired power hitter JD Martinez now in the mix for daily at bats, Cora will have to be creative with the lineup to get players their at bats.
Martinez, a very capable outfielder, will not be a fixture on defense for now as we see how the battle for playing time develops along with injuries or trade moves. Martinez will instead be lined up for everyday DH at bats. This begins the challenge for Manager Cora as now Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland will no longer be the primary designated hitters and will be forced into some type of platoon role at first base.. Most players do not like to platoon and what if both players are mashing and need to be in the lineup everyday.
This is where the pressure can trickle over to the rest of the lineup as each player better be hitting as players will be fighting to get in the lineup. A player that could start to feel the heat is Jackie Bradley Jr as his defense is gold glove caliber, but his bat can be inconsistent at times. A JBJ offensive slump could easily push Manager Cora to make a move for the benefit of the overall team and slide JD Martinez into a corner OF spot and allow Hanley to go back to DH.
This scenario could be one of several possibilities to come up as the early season progresses and could leave a player like JBJ on the trade block as he will have some great value to teams with his well above average defense skills sets and has some offensive tools as well. The Red Sox could always use more pitching and JBJ could fetch a nice bounty on the trade block.
Having extra players that are fighting for at bats and Manager Cora struggling with the lineup card is a good problem to have as the Sox try to match the New York Yankees offensive power and fight for another AL East title. This will be intriguing to see and we are less then 3 weeks to go!