Red Sox Free Agency Rumors: J.D. Martinez seeking $200 million deal

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez /
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PHOENIX, AZ – SEPTEMBER 27: J.D. Martinez (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – SEPTEMBER 27: J.D. Martinez (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

Ideally, the Red Sox would convince Martinez to become their primary designated hitter – if not next season then at least later in the deal after Hanley Ramirez‘ contract runs out.

The problem with that is it could mean paying at least $25 million per year for a player who adds no defensive value. As impressive as his production at the plate was, the negative value Martinez provided on defense left him with a 5.2 WAR, which tied for 27th in the majors. That’s still All-Star caliber value, but not quite MVP level. His WAR tied him with New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, who needless to say wouldn’t make $200 million on the open market.

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This is the danger of being enamored with home run totals in an era where every team – except for the Red Sox – is seeing a historic rise in power numbers. We all dig the long ball but there are other ways to value a payer.

Martinez would be an immediate solution to Boston’s most glaring issue but if they can only count on him to DH then they are essentially guaranteeing that he’ll never meet value on his contract. There’s a reason why David Ortiz – the greatest DH to ever play the game – never made more than $16 million per season. Are the Red Sox really going to pay someone else nearly double that to fill the same role?

That being said, most teams will have some of the same concerns. Just because his agent claims he’s asking for $200 million, doesn’t mean Martinez will get it. It all depends on how many teams have money to spend on a big bat.