With Giancarlo Stanton signed, sealed and delivered to the New York Yankees via the Miami Marlins, J.D. Martinez takes center stage at the winter meetings as the next big bat on deck.
Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters Tuesday night that the team knows the player they want. Dombrowski added that there was a group of players they want and he had the list.
He took a paper from his pocket to emphasize the point, although he did not offer to share the contents with anyone. Signs have surfaced that Boston would prefer to sign Martinez as they attempt to fill a big hole in the middle of their order. Rumors are the Red Sox are just waiting for Martinez’s agent Scott Boras to start being serious about contract negotiations.
Dombrowski has said that Boston has Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi who can produce runs and another left-handed bat is not needed, and coincidently Martinez bats right-handed.
The Boston president of baseball operations added that the ideal way of getting a hitter the team needs is through free agency and the team needs to stock its farm system after making trades the last two years that depleted the deep talent it had.
Martinez is the ideal candidate being a non-tendered free agent who would only cost the team money, and no draft pick.
However, the biggest sign the Red Sox want Martinez is Dombrowski mentioned how hard it was for right-handed hitters to hit home runs to the opposite field in AT&T Park in San Francisco. It just so happens that the Giants are one of the suitors for Martinez after also missing out on Stanton.
Martinez 2017 Numbers
Martinez, who is 30, set a career mark in home runs in 2017 with 45. He opened the season with the Detroit Tigers but was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks at midseason. Martinez hit 31 of his 45 home runs after the July All-Star break.
Over the last four seasons, Martinez and Angels’ star Mike Trout are the only two hitters in Major League Baseball to hit .300, with at least 125 homers, 350 RBIs and adjusted OPS of 140.
In November, Boras boasted about his client Martinez by giving him the label of The King Kong of Slug. Boras is believed to be asking $200 million for Martinez. The figure might be a bit ambitious, but Martinez is likely in line to get a deal of five to six years for a minimum of $25 million per year.
Dombrowski, while the GM with Detroit in 2014, signed Martinez for far less after Martinez was released by Houston and agreed to a minor league deal. In 2015, Martinez signed a deal for one year and $3 million and in 2016 a two-year extension for $18.5 million.
Arizona wants to re-sign Martinez, whom they acquired last season in mid-July. In his 62 games with the Diamondbacks, Martinez batted .302 with 29 home runs, 65 RBIs, and an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.107. His offensive performance helped Arizona clinch a wildcard berth in the National League.
Martinez sits at the front of the class in a free agent market that has moved very slowing this season. However, Boston may be ready to make a big signing and has Martinez square in its sights.
The Miami native, who has played six seasons in the majors, has career stats of 152 home runs, 476 RBIs and on-base percentage of .342.
Martinez is an outfielder but would likely become the designated hitter for the Red Sox if signed.
Other Options for Boston
If Boston is unable to sign Martinez, they could try to sign free agent Eric Hosmer. The former star first baseman with Kansas City is not the pure power hitter the Red Sox are looking for, but his defenses skills and leadership he showed with the Royals, makes him the free agent market’s most well-rounded player.
If the free agent route is not in the cards for the Red Sox, facilitating a trade would also be an option. The best player available through a trade is Jose Abreu with the Chicago White Sox. However, the stumbling block to that trade is Jerry Reinsdorf the owner of the White Sox, who says he is not trading Abreu, but Reinsdorf is known to change his mind.
Last season, Abreu hit 33 home runs and knocked in 102 runs while batting .304. He is a .301 career hitter and at 30 is in his prime.