The Boston Red Sox have had an offer out on the table for free agent slugger J.D. Martinez for weeks now. Today, it was revealed in a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney that the terms of that offer are for five-years and worth $100M. A far cry from the reported seven-year, $210M asking price that agent Scott Boras was initially seeking. The Red Sox have a major power deficiency, and everyone including Boras knows it. That being said, it’s not wise to bid against themselves in an especially slow free agent market and cave to meet Martinez’s hefty contract aspirations.
Let me set the record straight by saying I am firmly in the camp that the Red Sox need to sign Martinez and he would be a perfect fit for the ballclub, at the right price. Now $20 million a year is no slap in the face, but that’s not going to get it done with a free agent of this caliber. I’m all for the Red Sox signing Martinez to sure up the middle of their lineup for the next five years for a deal that can escalate up to $25M per season, once the two parties eventually end this “stare-down” and meet in the middle.
Boston is the only true suitor that can afford Martinez this winter, and while the Arizona Diamonbacks have reportedly still kept in touch with Boras about re-signing the veteran outfielder, even this offer on the table might be a little too rich for their blood. Boras and Martinez both know that, and they have already threatened to let this thing play out all the way until Spring Training if need be. While it shouldn’t come to that, this is one of the slowest free agent periods ever, and the players against front offices battle is rearing it’s ugly head on the open market with dirty words like “collusion” being discussed in the media.
The 30-year-old Martinez is no joke. He’s coming off a career-year in 2017 where he slashed .303/.376/.690 over 119 games with Detroit and Arizona with 45 homers and 104 RBI’s. It’s true the slugger was released by the Houston Astros after washing out in their system and that has caused many in the Boston media to raise an eyebrow, but since redefining his swing in Detroit in 2014, Martinez has blossomed into one of the best power hitters in all of baseball. The .936 OPS during that span tells the story.
Since the start of that 2014 sesason with the Tigers, Martinez has 128 homers with 350 runs batted in. If you follow him on Instagram you’ll see videos posted daily of Martinez putting in the work in either the weight room or the cages. He’s driven to succeed and be the best and would be a perfect fit with the Red Sox calling Fenway Park his new home.
If the Red Sox signed J.D. Martinez to a 5-year, $100M deal it would be an asbolute steal for a player of this caliber. Just think that the last guy they inked to a deal similiar to this was Pablo Sandoval, and I think we can all agree that Martinez billing is much greater than the plump Panda on the hot corner that the marketing genuises at Fenway couldn’t wait to shove down our throats. Signing Martinez is a sound baseball decision, and if the Red Sox can land him to a 5-year deal worth at or under $25 million per season, then it is simply best for business.
Dave Dombrowksi has played his cards right up to this point knowing Martinez was alaways their guy and just waiting to let his market (or lack thereof) play itself out. Sign the man and end the staredown with Boras, but don’t bid against yourselves in the process of doing so. Count me in for J.D. Martinez at five years.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank