By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
For MLB fans waiting for a quick power surge in their lineup by adding free agent slugger J.D. Martinez, it could be a while longer yet. Possibly well into spring training according to a report by Fanragsports.com’s Jon Heyman.
Heyman goes on to speculate the offers for Martinez currently are in the neighborhood of “$120M-$150M,” which is a significantly underwhelming compared to his initial seven year, $210M asking price. Other than a confirmed five year offer from the Red Sox at an undisclosed annual value, no concrete numbers as to what Martinez has been offered is presently known. According to Heyman, sources closest to Martinez say he will continue to hold out for at least a six year deal. The Diamondbacks and even the Toronto Blue Jays have been closely connected to the former Detroit Tiger.
Speaking of underwhelming, Jay Bruce agreed to terms with the New York Mets yesterday on a three year, $39M contract. This can’t bode well for Martinez’ market since Bruce is typically a perennial 25-30 home run slugger, and happened to slug 36 of them in 2017. $39M compared to $150M is a no brainer when it comes to value. Even so, for any team looking to contend, it’s hard to pass up the potential of a 40HR+ slugger.
Martinez was probably the biggest factor following the 2017 July 31 deadline in propelling the Diamondbacks into the post season. He is the last remaining free agent who can produce those numbers year in, and year out. Lorenzo Cain and Carlos Gonzales would be suitable back up plans. However, neither would help the Diamondbacks bridge the power gap between the Dodgers, or the Red Sox between the Yankees.
As a Red Sox observer who is familiar with the dymanics of a big market, and witnessed the failures of several free agents who have been complete busts (Crawford, Sandoval, Melancon), it goes without saying that there is a huge risk with a $125M+ deal.
We get the fact Martinez wants an extra year. However, if we are talking about a minimum of $25M per season, and only talking about a few possible extra million per year beyond that amount, isn’t it fair to question his desire to actually win? If the Red Sox offer $25M and are primed to win a World Series within the next few seasons, but the Blue Jays offer $27M, wouldn’t you still rather play for the Red Sox and add to your legacy?
The Red Sox especially have a strong reputation for winning championships with selfless rosters who collectively have shared an intense desire to simply win. Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, and Shane Victorino to name a few. Dustin Pedroia was signed to a team friendly deal. David Ortiz also frequently signed team friendly deals as well, despite providing the Boston with a $30M Miguel Cabrera type offense. The latter two players took much bigger “discounts” than what Martinez would be conceding.
All things considered, Martinez could present a real character issue for the Red Sox, or quite frankly any team who signs him. It’s getting to be an ugly situation.
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