The biggest name remaining in free agency is J.D. Martinez, and the three teams left in the picture are the Boston Red Sox (favorites to land him), San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Red Sox are in the lead because of Martinez leaning towards them, and their ability to spend more than anyone else. The Diamondbacks, who Martinez played for at the end of last season after being traded there from Detroit, have been in touch with him, but might find it difficult to sign him on a deal that commands around $25 million a season. The Giants are also in the picture, but they’re luxury tax situation is likely what’s holding them back of being in a better position to sign him.
There’s nothing too surprising in that regard. However, one new interest angle to Martinez’ next deal has to do with his position: He wants to play in the outfield. He’s willing to spend some time at DH, but for now, unless the Red Sox offer more money (which is probably the reasoning behind the position-only thing), he’ll probably stay patient. His agent, Scott Boras, never rushes things, and in the past landed clients like Prince Fielder and Chris Davis huge deals in late January. We’re only in mid-December.
The Red Sox don’t really have outfield room, unless they trade Jackie Bradley Jr., which right now doesn’t seem like something they’re too happy about. Other teams in the National League are probably hoping Martinez is willing to play as a first baseman, considering how poor his fielding has been. In the end, it’ll probably come down to money, which the Red Sox have more than anyone in the Martinez sweepstakes.
As for the numbers he brings with him, the 30-year old batted 45 home runs last season in just 119 games, 29 of them coming during his time in Arizona. He batted .303 and finished with an incredible .690 slugging along with a 1.066 OPS, good enough to give him the 14th place in the MVP votes. While teams always look for more in a hitter than just power, someone as productive as Martinez (128 home runs, .574 slugging over the last 4 seasons) always lands a huge deal.