The Diamondbacks are still in the running to sign free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez and, like the Red Sox, are willing to sign him for a deal of “five years at more than $100 million,” according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Though the exact figures for both clubs are not exactly known, Heyman says “Martinez has told people close to him that he intends to remain unsigned unless something changes.”
This report comes a day after Martinez reportedly was frustrated with negotiations between him and the Red Sox and Bob Nightengale of USA Today told Doug & Wolf of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that the Dbacks had talked to Martinez “about a short-term contract, a one-year deal,” and a possibility of doing a “long-term” contract. Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras, dismissed the report of a one-year deal.
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.
While it seems that the Red Sox are the favorite to land Martinez, Heyman says the Diamondbacks have a couple of advantages that could help them land Martinez.
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. 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. Moreover, Arizona owner Ken Kendrick has met multiple times with Boras regarding Martinez.
While Martinez seems comfortable with remaining unsigned, having both the Red Sox and Dbacks compete against each other for him could work to his advantage because they can drive up the price enough where he may take a deal.