For the last several weeks, virtually all of the buzz around J.D. Martinez has centered around two teams — the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. Various reports have stated that the Sox have a five-year offer on the table for the slugger that is worth somewhere between $100MM and $125MM, possibly closer to the former figure than the latter. Martinez and agent Scott Boras came into the offseason with a much higher salary in mind, and while time and a lack of suitors has likely dropped that initial $210MM price tag quite a bit, Boston’s apparent unwillingness to increase its offer has turned the situation between Martinez’s camp and the Red Sox into something of a “staredown.” The D’Backs, meanwhile, also won’t come close to a $210MM figure but their approach has been to see if Martinez would accept some type of unique contract (i.e. a shorter-term deal on a higher average annual value, possibly with a player opt-out clause after a season or two) to return to the desert. Boras has personally met with D’Backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick multiple times over the offseason, plus Martinez said after the season concluded that he greatly enjoyed playing for Arizona, so there is certainly some opportunity for a reunion between the two sides. Obviously, Martinez’s particularly good relationship with the D’Backs opened the door for their chances at signing him to a deal that may fall short of his original target — he and Boras aren’t likely to be as flexible for a team that Martinez isn’t as familiar with, or isn’t planning on contending in 2018. Still, since the stalemate in the Red Sox negotiations has opened the door for one team to get involved in Martinez’s market, could others follow suit? Compiling a list of potential JDM suitors in mid-February is tricky, despite the fact that Martinez would boost any lineup in baseball. Concerns about Martinez’s injury history and his lack of defensive value as an outfielder haven’t gone away, and the unprecedentedly slow free agent market is also an impediment to a signing on a couple of fronts. Firstly, a team could pass on Martinez for one of several other notable bats who are available at a lower price. Secondly, some of the “Team X could be a fit for Martinez if they made another trade” scenarios are problematic since these hypothetical teams could be wary of having a positional surplus in a market where potential trade partners could, again, just opt to sign someone else. Let’s begin by eliminating the teams that clearly don’t seem feasible, whether because they’re rebuilding or due to a lack of payroll: the Marlins, Reds, Padres, Pirates, Rays, Royals, Tigers, Indians, and Athletics. It’s worth noting that while San Diego and Kansas City may be prepared to offer a nine-figure contract to Eric Hosmer, their interest in such a splurge extends specifically to Hosmer himself due to his youth (he is over two years younger than Martinez). Beyond those teams, you have another wide array of clubs who can likely be eliminated since they’ve already added outfielders this winter or had crowded outfield/DH situations to begin with: the Mets, Phillies, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays, Yankees, Angels, and Astros. A few of these teams were linked to Martinez in rumors earlier in the offseason, but St. Louis (Marcell Ozuna), San Francisco (Andrew McCutchen), and Toronto (Curtis Granderson, Randal Grichuk) all went in different directions for their outfield needs.
What Other Teams Could Emerge For J.D. Martinez?
MLB Trade Rumors | Feb 15