MLB Hot Stove rumors: Free agent J.D. Martinez is willing to play the waiting game
J.D. Martinez isn't getting what we wants from the market, so he may be willing to play the waiting game
The market for free agents has been fairly bearish thus far, at least unless you're a reliever. Speaking of free agents who aren't relievers, slugger J.D. Martinez doesn't seem to be satisfied with what he's seeing thus far. The Red Sox and Diamondbacks are prominent among the teams interested in Martinez, but presumably their offers or discussions of offers have been at odds with his expectations. As such, Martinez is ready for a standoff. The details from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports:
Miami acquaintances of Martinez say he is willing to "hold out," certainly into spring training, for what he believes should be his market value. The Red Sox have offered Martinez a five-year deal, and sources suggest at least one other has, too.
Working for Martinez is the fact that he's become one of the top power hitters in baseball since reconstructing his swing prior to the 2014 season. Since that point, he's slugged .574, authored an OPS+ of 149, and averaged 40 home runs per 162 games. Last season, Martinez mashed 45 taters for the Tigers and D-Backs, 31 of which came in the second half. On the downside, Martinez is a defensive liability, and he's been somewhat injury-prone. More to the point, he's going into his age-30 season, and teams, for an array of reasons, are reluctant to go long with bat-first free agents no longer in their twenties.
As for whether such a gambit will work, it depends. If the teams in need of a Martinez see fallback solutions sign elsewhere, then Martinez may seize some leverage. If that doesn't happen, then it could backfire. For now, though, it's probably a trial balloon from the Martinez camp to see if suitors respond to the mere threat of waiting out the market.
And, well, they're probably right
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