Red Sox Free Agency: J.D. Martinez offer may not be accurate
By Sean Penney
Scott Boras, the agent for free agent slugger J.D. Martinez, claims the reports of the Boston Red Sox making a $100 million offer are not accurate.
Just when we think we’re one step closer to seeing J.D. Martinez donning a Boston Red Sox uniform, another obstacle threatens to set us back to square one.
After reports surfaced that the Red Sox have a five-year, $100 million offer on the table for Martinez, agent Scott Boras swiftly shot down the rumor. According to FanRag’s Jon Heyman, Boras is claiming the offer the Red Sox are rumored to have submitted is “not accurate.”
Which part of the report is “not accurate” remains unclear. Boras could have meant that the Red Sox never made an offer, although that’s unlikely given the number of reports that have come out over the last two weeks stating otherwise.
It’s far more likely that Boras is denying the value of the offer, which falls well below Martinez’ asking price. While Boras wouldn’t tarnish his reputation by flat out lying, he has a way of twisting the truth. Boston’s offer may not have been for $100 million but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s significantly higher.
In fairness, the initial report from ESPN’s Buster Olney stated the offer was “in the range” of $100 million. There is some leeway in the interpretation, so Olney’s reporting could prove accurate while Boras could also be telling the truth about the offer not being $100 million.
What does “in the range” mean? If Boston offered $105 million, the Olney report and Boras’ response would both still be true. Maybe the offer included a sixth year vesting option or some incentives that could increase the value based on certain achievements (i.e. All-Star appearances, MVP awards, Silver Slugger awards).
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If Boras was asked to comment on a $100 million offer of his client, any slight deviation from that figure could allow him to truthfully deny the report. That doesn’t make Olney wrong or suggest that Boston is willing to invest significantly more in Martinez.
While Boston’s offer must be relatively close to what has been reported, Boras is shrewdly pushing the perception that the offer is higher. It’s in his client’s best interest for other suitors to believe the Red Sox are willing to go higher to entice them to bid well above that level. If other teams are aware of the exact offer then they’ll only be inclined to top it by a modest amount.
An average annual value of $20 million falls well below initial projections for a hitter of Martinez’ caliber. A lack of viable suitors in a slow market has prevented Martinez from receiving the types of offers he expected. Free agency follows the economic principle of supply and demand. Martinez may be worth significantly more than $20 million per year based on what similar hitters have received in the past but it doesn’t mean he’ll actually get more than that. He’s worth what the current marketplace says he’s worth.
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Boras denying the report of Boston’s offer may lead some fans to believe that the Red Sox are losing their grip on the front-runner position to land Martinez. Don’t buy it. Boras may have technically been telling the truth but it still changes nothing until another team jumps in and forces the Red Sox to raise their bid.