Red Sox Rumors: Boston has five-year offer for J.D. Martinez

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez /

The Boston Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table for J.D. Martinez but the free agent slugger is holding out for more.

Those worried about the Boston Red Sox lack of activity this offseason can no longer say that the front office isn’t trying.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Red Sox offered free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez a five-year deal. The report makes no mention of how much money the offer included but it’s rumored to be in the $25-27.5 million per season range.

If Martinez is signed by the Red Sox to a salary in that range then he’ll become the second-highest paid player on the team in 2018 behind left-handed pitcher David Price ($30 million). It’s a staggering amount of money for a player who provides negative value on the defensive end and would primarily be utilized in the designated hitter role.

However, there’s no doubting that Martinez would go a long way toward fixing Boston’s most pressing need. The 30-year old is coming off a career year in which he hit .303 with a 1.066 OPS and 45 home runs in time split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. His home run total was third in the majors and his .690 slugging percentage was first.

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A Red Sox team that finished last in the American League in home runs and 14th in slugging could certainly use a boost in those areas. No other available free agent can fulfill that as well as Martinez can. He’s been rumored to be Boston’s top target all winter and the report confirms that they are ready to strike.

Unfortunately, the Red Sox being ready to make their move doesn’t mean that Martinez is ready to put his signature to paper. His agent, Scott Boras, has been insistent on holding out for at least a seven-year deal. It seems unlikely that anyone will cave to that demand given his defensive deficiencies makes Martinez a long-term risk. The threat of another team swooping in with an offer that tops their own could push the Red Sox to tack on another year, or at least an incentive-laden option.

That Martinez hasn’t jumped at the offer he’s been given doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not interested in coming to Boston. He’s simply holding out for more. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is in a staring contest with Boras and neither is ready to blink.

Dombrowski has a relationship with Martinez dating back to their days in the Detroit Tigers organization. That connection should be strong enough to keep the lines of communication open, so even if Martinez scoffs at the initial offer it doesn’t mean that Dombrowski has blown his chance to lure in his top target.

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If another team fails to step up with a more lucrative offer it’s possible the one on the table from Boston will eventually be accepted. The Red Sox seem to be all-in on their pursuit of Martinez as the solution for their offensive woes so we can expect the offer to sit in front of the top free agent bat on the market for as long as it takes to determine whether or not a better option exists.