Tigers GM Al Avila said today that the organization has interest in pursuing an extension with outfielder J.D. Martinez, as Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. He declined to discuss whether and to what extent the sides had already discussed that possibility.
“I don’t really want to get into our conversations with the players or their agents at this point,” said the newly-minted Detroit GM. “Usually we don’t make those comments. I can tell you we would have interest in something like that.”
Martinez, 28, is entering his second season of arbitration eligibility after earning $3MM last year. He’ll be looking for a big increase on that payout after a stellar campaign. MLBTR’s arbitration projections, via Matt Swartz, expect Martinez to receive nearly a $5MM raise this winter.
From his perspective, Martinez tells Iott, he has interest in a longer-term arrangement. But he said he’d let his representatives at RMG Baseball handle any contractual matters. “I would love to play in Detroit the rest of my career,” said Martinez. “But I leave the business part to my agent.”
That increasing earning power certainly has Martinez set up for a significant new contract. There aren’t many recent comps from power-hitting corner outfielders, but Adam Jones (six years, $85.5MM) and Alex Gordon (four years, $50MM) previously signed fairly large extensions when they were in the 4+ service class.
With 61 total home runs and a composite .304/.350/.543 batting line over the last two seasons, Martinez has out-produced all of this winter’s top free agents since he began his breakout. If he keeps that up, he’ll be in line for a massive free agent payday, and any extension would need to reflect that. All said, it seems that the initial interest is there to make a deal plausible, but both sides have plenty of ground to cover if something is to get done.