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J.D. worth Red Sox taking another look

MLB.com @RichardJustice

If the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez really are $100 million apart (as has been rumored), there's probably no reachable middle ground. In that case, it's time for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to move on to other options.

First, though, how about one more run at striking a deal? There may not be any such thing as a perfect fit, but Martinez is close.

If the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez really are $100 million apart (as has been rumored), there's probably no reachable middle ground. In that case, it's time for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to move on to other options.

First, though, how about one more run at striking a deal? There may not be any such thing as a perfect fit, but Martinez is close.

The Red Sox scored 73 fewer runs than the Yankees last season. They also hit 73 fewer home runs. No American League team hit fewer long balls than the Red Sox, and in a home run era, that's a glaring weakness.

Martinez hit 45 last season, and since 2015, only six players have hit more. Among the six: Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees splashy offseason acquisition.

Video: Must C Classic: Martinez hits four homers, plates six

Dombrowski has offered Martinez a five-year contract worth between $100 million and $125 million, according to reports. For a player who apparently had his sights set on a deal worth $200 million, that's a disappointing outcome.

Even worse, Martinez may not have better options. The Diamondbacks would like to have him back, but their payroll is already approaching $125 million, a team record.

With first baseman Paul Goldschmidt two years away from free agency, there seems to be a limit on how far Arizona officials can push the envelope to bring back Martinez even though he, too, is a nice fit.

Maybe Dombrowski feels no urgency to up his bid because (a) he believes he would be bidding against himself, and (b) he has other acceptable options.

Logan Morrison would make sense for the Red Sox after hitting a career-high 38 home runs season. He had hit more than 17 only once in his career, but he's bigger, stronger and has a better understanding of the importance of getting the baseball in the air. Like Martinez, he's also 30 years old and will have less ambitious salary demands.

Video: Red Sox rumored to have interest in Logan Morrison

As for the other free-agent sluggers -- most notably Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas -- they're less perfect fits. Beside that, they, like Martinez, are represented by Scott Boras.

Dombrowski should make one more run at Martinez just to make sure there's no deal there to be had. This has to be face-to-face. Yes, the two men know each other, because it was Dombrowski who signed Martinez for the Tigers in the spring of 2014 after he'd been released by the Astros.

Martinez's career took off during four seasons in Detroit, and he surely knows that Dombrowski's track record for winning, honesty and good judgment is as solid as any executive in the game.

There would seem to be no reason this can't get done if both sides can take their measure of the other. Martinez knows by now that he's not getting $200 million, that baseball executives do not see six- and seven-year contracts to 30-year-old players as smart investments.

But Dombrowski must understand that the Yankees have won the offseason and seem poised to win back the American League East with Stanton in a lineup that should have a full season of Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez.

With a flush farm system, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will have the flexibility to tweak his roster as the season plays out. He also has more Major League-ready prospects than the Red Sox.

Dombrowski got worked over by the Boston media on Wednesday for doing so little this offseason. That's not a completely fair assessment since he had conversations about Hosmer before re-signing Mitch Moreland. And there's also that offer to Martinez.

Video: Moreland signing opens up options for Red Sox

For now, the 2018 Red Sox look a whole lot like the '17 Red Sox with the exception of a new manager (Alex Cora), a slew of new coaches, a healthy David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez and a full season of 20-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers.

Would signing Martinez change the outcome of the AL East? Maybe not, but it would be a big step in the right direction. Regardless, it's time to find out.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez