BOSTON -- Despite a stalemate that has lasted most of the offseason, the Red Sox remain engaged with free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez and his agent Scott Boras with the hope it will finally lead to a contract, a source told MLB.com.The start of Spring Training is now a week away,
BOSTON -- Despite a stalemate that has lasted most of the offseason, the Red Sox remain engaged with free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez and his agent Scott Boras with the hope it will finally lead to a contract, a source told MLB.com.
The start of Spring Training is now a week away, but the Red Sox continue to exercise patience on the Martinez front because the belief is that he is still the best option to help supplement an offense that finished last in the American League with 168 home runs last season.
Boras told NBC Sports Boston that his client doesn't need a full Spring Training in order to be ready for the season.
"Particularly for position players, these guys are in great shape, they're ready to go," Boras said.
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The D-backs, the team Martinez finished last season with, have interest in retaining the right-handed hitter. However, they would likely have to shed some payroll in order to sign him. Beyond Boston and Arizona, the market for Martinez is unclear.
Meanwhile, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski doesn't seem to mind continuing the waiting game for a hitter who smashed 45 homers in 432 at-bats last season.
"I don't have a [timetable] on it, because I really don't know," Dombrowski told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. "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."
Earlier this winter, the Red Sox made Martinez a five-year offer for approximately $125 million, according to reports. Martinez, it has been widely reported, is seeking more than five years.
Dombrowski has steadfastly maintained that as much as he would love to acquire another bat this offseason, he feels comfortable with his lineup as presently constituted.
Earlier this winter, the Red Sox re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland to a two-year contract. Hanley Ramirez, who is enthused by his improved health after offseason surgery on his left shoulder, is slotted in as the designated hitter. The outfield is stacked with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.
If the Red Sox acquire Martinez, he would be a primary DH. This would likely lead to fewer at-bats for Ramirez and Moreland, who would have to share first base.
First baseman/DH Logan Morrison, who smashed 38 homers last season, is another free agent the Red Sox could pursue if they can't find common ground with Martinez. Dombrowski also remains open to acquiring a bat on the trade market.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.