MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, speaking at the club's Winter Weekend event on Friday, said he is hopeful about discussions with free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez. "I don't want to get too into the free-agent discussions. We're hopeful to make a deal, but as I've said, it takes two
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, speaking at the club's Winter Weekend event on Friday, said he is hopeful about discussions with free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez.
"I don't want to get too into the free-agent discussions. We're hopeful to make a deal, but as I've said, it takes two people to make that deal," Werner said. "I'm hopeful. [President of baseball operations] Dave Dombrowski has been talking to a lot of other general managers. We had a very good team last year. We won 93 games. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We expect to improve and I would hope we'd improve with a big bat in the middle of the lineup, but there are also other ways to improve."
Red Sox fans are no doubt eager for a splash after the rival Yankees added slugger Giancarlo Stanton earlier this offseason.
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"It's important for us to be competitive with them, but we're not trying to play chess with them," Werner said. "We're going to make some more moves this offseason. Again, I'm not worried so much about where we are on January 17 as I am about where we are on April 1."
The Red Sox have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, reportedly in the range of $100 million to $125 million. Per club policy, the Red Sox didn't comment on the amount of their offer.
Werner is holding out hope that Martinez, who bashed 45 homers in 432 at-bats last season, ultimately will choose Boston.
"You know, I can only talk about the Red Sox," Werner said. "We are in active negotiations with J.D. Martinez. People know about that. It takes two to make a deal. I can only speak for the Red Sox. ... We will most definitely have the highest payroll that we've ever had and you know other teams have to make their own decisions, but we expect to be competitive and we expect to improve our team from last year."
The length of Martinez's contract is the current sticking point. Agent Scott Boras would like to get seven years for the 30-year-old Martinez.
"At a certain point we have to exercise discipline," Werner said. "A lot has been written about players in their late 30s not performing as well as in their sweet spot, which we know is in their late 20s and early 30s. But Opening Day isn't here yet."
Or, as Dombrowski said during Friday's Town Hall event of the slow free-agent market: "At some point, the ice is going to melt, and when it happens, it's going to melt very fast."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.