On the brink of free agency, slugger J.D. Martinez has switched representation and is now a client of agent Scott Boras, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (on Twitter). The change comes just a day before the beginning of an offseason in which Martinez stands out as the top bat on the free-agent market — if not the top free agent overall.
The 30-year-old Martinez missed the first five-plus weeks of the season due to a foot injury and nonetheless returned to hit a career-high 45 home runs in 119 games between the Tigers and Diamondbacks. Overall, he slashed a ridiculous .303/.376/.690 on the season, bringing his cumulative batting line since 2014 to .300/.362/.574. Martinez has averaged 32 homers per season and 40 long balls per 162 games played in that four-year stretch, establishing himself as one of the top sluggers in all of Major League Baseball.
Martinez’s new representatives will likely position him as the top offensive threat on the open market this winter, though they’ll also have to assuage concerns over their new client’s recent injuries as well as his declining defensive ratings. Martinez was limited to just 120 games in 2016 as well, though that was the result of a fractured elbow that can largely be written off as a fluke injury. His glovework could prove more troubling. After rating as an above-average defender in 2014-15, Martinez graded out as one of baseball’s worst defenders at any position in 2016 and was well below average (though still somewhat improved) in 2017.
Those potential shortcomings notwithstanding, it’s quite likely that Martinez will out-earn every other hitter on the free-agent market this winter. He joins Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Jake Arrieta as the most notable Boras clients of the offseason — a list that also includes Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, Jeremy Hellickson and Tony Watson.
The change in representation has been reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which contains agency information on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players. If you come across any notable errors or omissions within, please let us know via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.