With Spring Training fast approaching, the free agent considered the best slugger in this year's market remains available in J.D. Martinez. The 30-year-old outfielder enjoyed a career year in 2017, slugging .690 with 45 home runs in 119 games, 29 of which came in 62 games for the D-backs following a mid-July trade with the Tigers.
The team that has been connected to Martinez the most this offseason has been the Red Sox, who are in need of a power upgrade in the middle of their lineup. There is reportedly a five-year, $125 million offer still on the table from Boston, with USA Today reporting the only other offer Martinez currently has is for one year with Arizona.
J.D., Red Sox continue 'good faith' talks
Martinez is not "fed up" with the Red Sox, according to reports from the Boston Herald and NBC Sports Boston. It was earlier reported that Martinez would rather sign with another club as a result of Boston's "inflexibility" in increasing its offer.
Scott Boras on J.D. Martinez: "J.D. Martinez has never made any statement regarding the Red Sox. J.D. is involved in multiple negotiations and is pleased with the participants and the good-faith process. Suggestions otherwise are not accurate.” https://t.co/7tkRoZLtTo— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 7, 2018
"J.D. is involved in multiple negotiations and is pleased with the participants and the good-faith process. Suggestions otherwise are not accurate."
- Scott Boras
The Red Sox, looking to upgrade an offense that produced an American League-low 168 home runs in 2017, have long been viewed as the favorite to land Martinez this offseason. --This report was first posted on Feb. 7.
Red Sox patient in pursuit of big bat
Boras suggested to NBC Sports Boston that Martinez could wait out part of Spring Training rather than sign a deal he doesn't like.
That could result in the Red Sox moving on from Martinez. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has acknowledged that possibility and will continue to take a "wait and see" approach with so many alternatives still available. Though the Red Sox would benefit from signing Martinez, they do have an incumbent designated hitter in Hanley Ramirez, and they re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland this winter.
If the Red Sox don't flinch, what would Martinez's remaining market look like? That is unclear.
There is little doubt that Martinez has grown into one of baseball's most productive sluggers, but he'd likely be limited to a DH role at this point. The Giants were interested earlier this offseason, but that was before acquiring Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson. Few expect the D-backs to fund a reunion. The Blue Jays reportedly were interested earlier in the offseason.
But Boston has always been the spot where Martinez expected to sign -- as did the rest of baseball. There is still a fit, but at this point, it no longer looks so guaranteed.
The Boston #Redsox and Cleveland #Indians talked about potential Edwin Encarnacion and Jackie Bradley swap during winter that died on the vine. Will Redsox revisit or keep waiting for JD Martinez. Predictions on Elite Eight remaining free agents https://t.co/SNHzM4OlrB— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 7, 2018