8:27pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that, in addition to the five-year offer from the Red Sox (which he pegs for “at least” $120MM), Martinez has discussed both long- and short-term scenarios to return to the Diamondbacks.
A shorter-term deal to return to the D-backs would come as something of a surprise, though it’d be somewhat similar to Yoenis Cespedes’ initial deal to return to the Mets. Unable to find the long-term pact he sought on the open market in the 2015-16 offseason, Cespedes instead returned to the Mets on a three-year, $75MM contract with an opt-out after the first season of the contract. He’d go on to sign a four-year, $110MM pact with the Mets the following offseason.
Nightengale reported earlier today that the only other formal offer that Martinez had received outside of Boston was a one-year pact to return to Arizona, though certainly that doesn’t mean that Martinez and Boras haven’t discussed other parameters with the Diamondbacks (or potentially with other clubs whose interest has yet to be firmly reported).
7:30pm: Boras, unsurprisingly, rejected the notion that Martinez is unhappy with any potential suitor, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Rather, the agent tells Silverman that Martinez is “involved in multiple negotiations and is pleased with the participants and the good faith process,” calling suggestions to the contrary “not accurate.”
12:15am: The staredown between J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox doesn’t appear to be all that close to ending. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston spoke to agent Scott Boras Tuesday evening, with Boras making clear that his client is willing to wait until after the start of Spring Training to sign a contract. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription required) that Martinez has become “fed up” with the lack of flexibility on Boston’s part and may actually prefer to sign with another club at this point.
“The dialogue is ongoing, we have not reached any kind of agreement,” Boras tells Drellich, noting that Martinez doesn’t necessarily need a full Spring Training to work himself into game shape. “Particularly for position players, these guys are in great shape, they’re ready to go.”
Boston has reportedly offered Martinez a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $125MM, and to this point there hasn’t been much in the way of serious competition that has been widely reported. The D-backs would love to retain Martinez, but they’re already facing a record payroll in 2018 without Martinez in the fold and have an onerous commitment to Yasmany Tomas on the books. Beyond that, one has to imagine some concerns from the Arizona brass when it comes to Martinez’s glovework in the outfield over the course of a long-term pact.
Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox don’t seem anxious to up their bid. President of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski preached to Rosenthal a “wait-and-see” approach when it came to Martinez, expressing some confidence that Hanley Ramirez could rebound and ably fill the team’s DH slot in 2018 (though that belief seems more like lip service than anything else when made against the backdrop of a reported $125MM offer to another right-handed bat that would clearly supplant Ramirez as the primary designated hitter).
“I don’t have a (timetable) on it because I really don’t know,” said Dombrowski to Rosenthal. “Perhaps if I was losing options, juggling three guys, or if we were in the starting-pitching market where there are four (top) guys, I would say, ‘Hey, I need an answer now, or I’m going to turn to this guy.’ But we’re really not in that situation.”
Beyond the lack of competition for Martinez on the free-agent market, Dombrowski also suggested that the trade market could yet be a viable approach. The veteran exec called it “amazing” to be hearing of so many players available in trade talks at this juncture of the offseason.
“At this time of year, you normally don’t get phone calls out of the blue about such-and-such being available,” said Dombrowski. “I have. I don’t know what’s going to go on.”
Outside of Boston and Arizona, there’s been little talk of serious competition for Martinez’s services. The Giants and Blue Jays were both rumored landing spots at one point, but both have made multiple outfield acquisitions since that time. It’s certainly possible that a spring injury creates a new opening for Martinez, and the very presence of a five-year offer in the currently reported range suggests that the Red Sox feel there’s some degree of competition a bit below that level (perhaps from the D-backs, though that’s purely speculative).