The Boston Red Sox have reportedly offered free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez a five-year deal. Timing is everything in that Martinez, a lifetime.285 hitter after seven years in the big leagues, put together a career year in 2017, and is poised to cash in.
Last season, the outfielder, who split the MLB season between the Detroit Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, blasted 45 home runs and 104 RBI and finished the season with a.303 average and a 1.066 OPS. If he produces as projected, Martinez would supply some badly need offense for the BoSox, who found themselves at the bottom of the American League in home runs and 14th in slugging percentage in 2017.
The J.D. Martinez contract offer was first reported by USA Today. Numerous reports previously emerged that Martinez was Boston’s top target in free agentry, which may give Martinez, 30, quite a bit of leverage. The bad news for the Sox is that agent Scott Boras represents J.D. Martinez. Boras is known for holding out for every last dime and reportedly wants a seven-year contract for his client. History has demonstrated that long-term deals hardly ever work out in MLB, as aging player skills substantially diminish at the back end of a contract, and teams get stuck with an underperforming player.
Another potential complication is that Boras clients are seldom quick to sign on the dotted line, even as MLB spring training is right around the corner.
While they struggled in scoring runs, the Red Sox won the AL East with a 93-69 record (two games ahead of the New York Yankees), although they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros. Even with their offensive woes, Boston pulled off an amazing 15 extra-inning victories in last year’s campaign.
J.D. Martinez is not known for his defense, and the dynamic Red Sox outfield is set (unless a trade occurs) with the killer Bs: Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi.
With primary first baseman Mitch Moreland re-signed for two years, J.D. Martinez, who is a righty, figures to get the most playing time as the team’s principal designated hitter in the middle of the batting order if he joins the Red Sox. He and Moreland both enjoy a reputation as great teammates, which should contribute to clubhouse chemistry, something that was an issue in 2017. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski also has a high regard for Martinez from his days as Tigers’ boss.
Unfortunately for the Boston Red Sox, the often-injured first baseman/DH Hanley Ramirez, who joined the team in 2015 as a high-priced free agent, has never panned out as a consistent RBI generator.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) January 2, 2018
Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports sized up the situation with the Boston Red Sox and J.D. Martinez, including a possibility that an impasse in negotiations could be avoided.
“Here’s how I see this playing out — Scott Boras wants seven years and $210 million for his client, Martinez. That’s an average annual value of $30 million, a steep price for sure. The Red Sox made him a five-year offer, presumably for somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million. Boras wants seven years, the Red Sox want five. I can see the Red Sox doing five years with a sixth-year option that would kick in based on a total number of plate appearances over years four and five of the deal.”
Along with the Boston Red Sox-J.D. Martinez news, USA Today also reports that Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has two immense offers on the table: seven years and $147 million from the Royals and seven years $140 million from the San Diego Padres.