The Boston Red Sox and free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez have provided some of the very few headlines of this offseason. Both sides parallel the trending gap between clubs and players. The Red Sox are reported to be offering a contract similar to Yoenis Céspedes received from the New York Mets last offseason (4 year, $110 million).
Martinez is rumored to be seeking more years and a higher AAV then what is currently on the table from Boston. J.D. Martinez is coming off a season in which he hit 45 HR’s and drove in 104 RBI’s with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Red Sox are looking to add more power to a lineup that finished last in the American League in HR’s. The Sox and Martinez have been linked as an ideal pair since the beginning of the offseason, yet neither side can agree to deal.
On July 18, 2017 the Tigers decided to trade their star to the Diamondbacks for prospects. J.D. Martinez flourished in his unearthed pennant race. Martinez provided many big home runs down the stretch for the D’backs in route to their first playoff appearance since 2011.
The D’backs lost in three to the eventual National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the season was deemed a success. Martinez was considered a rental player for the small market club.
Arizona ranks 16th in team payroll with Zack Grienke’s AAV of $34 million taking up 28% of the team’s $118 million (figures provided by Spotrac). Perennial All-Star Paul Goldschmidt is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season and will get a significant raise from someone. If this were a normal offseason the D’backs would certainly be out of the J.D. sweepstakes.
The market for Martinez has taken his free agency into February. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training for all 30 teams throughout next week. Martinez has been reported to be willing to wait out Boston or any club for that matter beyond Spring Training.
Discussions between Martinez and the Red Sox appear to be at a halt. The Red Sox have given no inclination to go beyond their current offer. Martinez is determined to get more than what the Sox have put on the table. Enter the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Martinez enjoyed a great deal of success in his limited time in the desert during last season, and a reunion now seems feasible. Arizona’s time to win is now with the aging Greinke and free agency looming for Goldschmidt. Arizona coming off of a 93-win season and re-signing Martinez would be formidable even in the tough NL West.
The D’backs cannot win a bidding war with the Red Sox. Yet, the current market paired with the Sox unwillingness to big against themselves opens a door for Arizona. The D’backs could offer Martinez a deal similar to the contract the Mets gave Céspedes (4 year, $110 million). The ideal way to tailor the offer to Martinez’s liking would be to offer an opt-out after the first season.
This would give Martinez both years and dollars while giving him an outlet to re-enter free agency should he choose to after this season. This agreement would return a big bat to heart of an already dangerous lineup.
The opportunity for Arizona is now. The current economic climate in baseball has created a competitive balance for Arizona to outmaneuver Boston. The D’backs cannot afford to let Martinez slither his way to Boston.