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With Hoz signed, can Sox gain traction on JD?

Dombrowski confident in roster, but Boston continues to pursue free-agent slugger
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Now that a big free-agent domino has fallen with Eric Hosmer agreeing to terms on an eight-year deal with the Padres, can the Red Sox gain some momentum in their prolonged quest to reel in slugger J.D. Martinez?

It is clearly a question worth asking, but one that Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn't have an answer for as of Sunday afternoon.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Now that a big free-agent domino has fallen with Eric Hosmer agreeing to terms on an eight-year deal with the Padres, can the Red Sox gain some momentum in their prolonged quest to reel in slugger J.D. Martinez?

It is clearly a question worth asking, but one that Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn't have an answer for as of Sunday afternoon.

"We haven't had many free-agent conversations over the last little time period, so I can't really say there's any difference," said Dombrowski. "But it's apparent that it's starting to break. Hosmer ended up signing, or apparently agreed to terms when you look at it. [Yu] Darvish last week. There are still a lot of big-name guys out there, but there are some other guys starting to sign, so overall, it looks like it's starting to happen."

The Red Sox made Martinez a five-year offer worth at least $100 million earlier in the offseason.

Due to a seemingly limited number of suitors for Martinez -- the D-backs are the only other one that has been publicized -- the Red Sox don't want to bid against themselves.

Does Dombrowski feel the Red Sox need to acquire a big-name free agent?

"When you say it, you almost can't come up with the right answer because it seems like if I say one thing it comes out [wrong]," said Dombrowski. "I always think that our club can be better. We will always strive to make our club better. But if we went into the season with the club we have now, and it was healthy, I would feel very good about that."

Meanwhile, the players in the clubhouse are just going about their business. On Sunday, they welcomed back an old friend in Eduardo Nunez. Whether or not Martinez comes walking in some day is still anybody's guess.

"We hear about it every single day," said Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi. "I don't think anybody wants to pay attention to it really. We're players. We play. That's not really what we have to worry about. Whatever happens happens. I'm sure we'll hear about it before we see somebody walk in, but we'll see what happens."

Video: Rick Porcello confident heading into 2018 season

Lowe works with Porcello
Former Red Sox right-hander Derek Lowe attended the team's workout in street clothes on Sunday and did some work in the bullpen with Rick Porcello. Lowe's signature pitch during his playing career was the sinker, which is Porcello's out pitch.

Lowe lives right down the street from where the Red Sox train in Fort Myers, but he doesn't work for the club. He is good friends with new pitching coach Dana LeVangie. Lowe first started talking sinkerballs with Porcello in January at the Red Sox' Winter Weekend in Connecticut.

"Yeah, he sunk the ball well for a long time, so just talking about different stuff, grips, trying to take any little tip that he throws my way and if it's something that works for me, I'll use it to my advantage," said Porcello. "Not everything is going to directly translate, but there's a lot of things I can learn from him and everybody. Just taking information and processing it and talking [to him] about a whole bunch of different stuff."

Another familiar face arrives on Monday, as 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell will be on hand to work with some of the players, including third baseman Rafael Devers.

"I'm a big believer that whoever can contribute to this program, I'm happy that they offer their services and that they're here," said manager Alex Cora. "You saw everybody's excitement. … It was amazing when D-Lowe walked in, especially with Pedro [Martinez]. He has a great relationship with Dana and reconnected with him in Connecticut at the Winter Fest, so was here. They are similar pitchers, so why not? If that's going to make Rick better, so be it."

Video: Cora discusses the offseason and rivalry with Yankees

Big day on Monday
Monday's first full-squad workout will be an exciting day for Cora, who will address the team before they take the field. Traditionally, members of ownership and the front office also speak to the players.

"Yeah, I'm more prepared for this one than the one with pitchers and catchers," said Cora. "But there's a lot of people that are going to be here tomorrow. I know how big that first day is, not only for the baseball team, but for the players and the organization. I'm looking forward to that.

"It's an opportunity to, not that you have to make a statement; they know what's at stake. But to get some points across. I'm glad that everybody is here. It's going to be a tough day, schedule-wise. We're going to be all over the place. That's what it's all about now. Now we go."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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