Since the beginning of the offseason, it has seemed like a fait accompli that free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez would sign with the Boston Red Sox. But with 50 days remaining until the season begins, the two sides have yet to come to an agreement on a deal -- and there's increasing reason to wonder whether they ever will.
On Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Martinez is unsatisfied with the Red Sox and has told people that he'd rather sign with another team -- that despite being offered a five-year deal worth $125 million, and despite the risk that he'll have to miss time:
Martinez, 30, has yet to accept Boston's reported five-year, $125 million offer. He is telling people in Miami that he is willing to hold out until he gets his price, as first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman. He also is telling people that he is fed up with the Red Sox's inflexibility and would rather sign with another club, sources say.
Within Rosenthal's piece, Red Sox decision maker Dave Dombrowski touted a plentiful trade market as a reason for the team to continue to wait and see. Though it's not evident who Dombrowski had in mind, it seems like the Red Sox have already discussed a few interesting scenarios this winter. One unearthed by Bob Nightengale of USA Today on Wednesday involved Boston acquiring Edwin Encarnacion from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr. Those talks ceased because the Red Sox were reluctant to deal Bradley:
The Red Sox had trade discussions during the winter with the Cleveland Indians for Edwin Encarnacion, according to club officials with direct knowledge of the talks, but didn't want to part with outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
Nightengale also noted that Martinez's only alternative to the Red Sox is returning to the Diamondbacks on a one-year deal. It's unclear how much the Diamondbacks are offering, but if Martinez is serious about avoiding Boston, then it might not matter.
Martinez, of course, is the market's top available hitter. Over the past three seasons, he has homered 105 times and posted a 148 OPS+. For comparison's sake, Giancarlo Stanton compiled 113 home runs and a 150 OPS+ in that same timeframe.