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MLB free agency: Diamondbacks getting ‘creative’ in J.D. Martinez talks

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Arizona is trying to do everything in its power to keep its star slugger.

MLB: NLDS-Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks are trying to come up with “creative” ways to re-sign star slugger J.D. Martinez, sources told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The D-backs have continued to be in negotiations with Martinez and his agent Scott Boras. In fact, Boras recently had a third meeting with Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, and Heyman says one person within the club “expressed a bit more optimism than before regarding their chances to keep” Martinez, who is also being pursued by the Red Sox but Boston is being patient in their negotiations. The Red Sox, who have been regarded as the favorite to land Martinez, have reportedly offered a five-year guaranteed deal for more than $100 million, but they are believed to be sticking to their offer, Heyman says.

As far as what “creative” means, Heyman says it is unclear at the moment, but “it is believed that the D-backs are considering a higher AAV (average annual value) and shorter term with opt-outs included.” If this is a possibility, the D-backs could “bridge the gap in overall dollars” and possibly overtake the Red Sox as a favorite because Heyman has said previously they have certain advantages in their favor that have kept them in play.

One of them is that Martinez has “a stated preference to play the outfield rather than DH.” Another plus is that Martinez “enjoyed” his time in Arizona while playing the best baseball of his seven-year career. Martinez is coming off a breakout season in which he blasted 45 home runs and had 104 RBI while slashing .303/.376/.690 in 119 games while splitting time with the Tigers and the Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old’s astonishing display of power after the trade deadline helped Arizona earn its first playoff berth since 2011.

In addition, the Dbacks have shown in the past they can outbid a team for a top free agent, as they signed Zach Greinke after beating out the Dodgers and the Giants.

However, Heyman has previously reported that “Martinez has told people close to him that he intends to remain unsigned unless something changes.”