Red Sox: Past free agency mistakes make Dave Dombrowski cautious

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 06: J.D. Martinez (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 06: J.D. Martinez (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

This isn’t the exact same scenario but we can draw some parallels between Fielder’s case and the one Dombrowski now faces in targeting Martinez.

Boston’s status as a contender and desperate need for a power threat make Martinez an obvious solution to a short-term need, just as Fielder was for a Tigers team that lost their designated hitter.

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Detroit was going to get Victor Martinez back in the lineup in 2013 and only needed a temporary stopgap to fill in while he recovered from knee surgery, but that didn’t stop them from handing Fielder a nine-year deal to fill the same role. Boston is already set with a loaded outfield and they have Hanley Ramirez plugged in at DH, but that won’t stop them from chasing Martinez to fill a short-term need for a home run hitter.

Martinez doesn’t have the body type concerns that Fielder had but he does have a lengthy injury history. He has topped 125 games played only once in his seven year career. None of his previous injuries were of the chronic variety so there is little concern of a re-occurrence of those past ailments, yet Martinez still carries the dreaded injury prone label.

He’s already a poor defensive outfielder and those skills will further deteriorate with age. While Martinez wants to continue playing the outfield, he could become a huge liability if he isn’t plugged into the DH role in the latter stages of his next deal. This should scare off most NL teams and may even make the Red Sox think twice about committing long-term to a player who inhibits roster flexibility.