By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
As the Boston Red Sox head into the winter meetings next week, both Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani will likely be traded/signed to their respective teams. Regardless, the Red Sox are no longer in the running for either player.
It came as a bit of a surprise to many Boston observers for Ohtani to nix the Red Sox so quickly from his list of prospective teams. His preference seems to be heavily west coast, but the Rangers and Cubs still remain on his list. Boston has had a rollercoaster last few years. Drama was very high last season surrounding Dustin Pedroia and David Price. There was also the Adam Jones controversy, and the long standing notion (even though I vehemently disagree) that Boston is a “racist city.” These controversies could have played some factor or no factor at all, but it certainly didn’t help their case.
The imminent Marlins trade of Stanton puts “super agent” Scott Boras in an awkward situation. Stanton has been on the trade market officially for a few weeks. Of the ten 2017 post season teams, presently not a single one is interested in acquiring Stanton due to the size of his contract. He is owed $295M over the next ten years. If a team seeking a big bat is unwilling to take on a “bad Stanton contract,” how is Boras going to persuade GM’s around the league to sign a “bad JD Martinez contract?” Boras is seeking $210M over seven years for Martinez.
MLB insiders across the industry have widely been speculating that the Red Sox would eventually be the team to sign Martinez. Dave Dombrowski does not have an extensive history with his agent, Boras. Their only notable recent contract was just before the 2012 season when Dombrowski inked Prince Fielder to a nine year $214M contract. Fielder only played for Detroit two seasons before being traded to the Rangers. His regular season numbers in Detroit were solid, but was only a .150 hitter in the playoffs. Whatever intuition that lead Dombrowski to trade Fielder proved valid. Only two and a half years following that trade, Fielder retired from baseball for good due to the fact his overweight “physique” could no longer endure the demands of playing in the majors.
Dombrowski certainly has no intentions of getting burnt by Boras again. At the end of the day, Martinez is already 30 years old, and should NOT command much more than the five year $125M contract that Yoenis Cespedes signed with the Mets. If multiple teams get into a bidding war, a sixth year for an extra $25M could be added. Dombrowski also has leverage over Boras with other trade targets such as Jose Abreu, and Ian Kinsler on the market. Not to mention free agents Jay Bruce, Lorenzo Cain, Logan Morrison available, among others.
Everyone forgets that most of the young core on the existing Red Sox roster were the same players who helped make them the #1 offense in all of 2016. Though 2017 was a bit of a slope, most of them will experience an uptick in production in 2018.
It’s very possible that Scott Boras’ heyday is long behind him. Every MLB GM at the winter meetings has him completely dead to rights, and the Red Sox are no different. If JD Martinez signs with Boston, it’s going to be at Dombrowski’s price.
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