This MLB offseason has been extremely quiet. Around 100 free agents are still on the open market and only three players in the top ten have signed.
There are many factors that have caused the slow market. Teams not willing to spend the money to sign players, based on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and a stacked 2019 free agency class. Players still on the market who were hoping for a big payday have been frustrated and disappointed in the way this offseason has played out.
The biggest offensive player on the market is JD Martinez. Martinez had an unbelievable year last year splitting time with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a .303 batting average, 46 home runs with 104 RBI’s. He was looking for a big payday this offseason.
The Boston Red Sox won the American League East for the second consecutive year. Despite winning the East, the Sox had another early exit from the postseason. The team was very inconsistent offensively in 2017. The team ranked 27th in the league in home runs and despite injuries and subpar play the Sox did manage to put up 785 runs.
Heading into the offseason, a marriage between the Sox and Martinez seemed like a perfect match. The Sox needed power in the middle of the order and Martinez is a legitimate power bat.
Though the match seemed to be made in heaven, a deal is still yet to happen. Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras and Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski have not been able to come to an agreement.
Boras is one of the biggest name agents in baseball and usually gets what he wants for his client’s. Boras who usually negotiates with the teams GM has also been known to go over the head of those GM’s and negotiate with ownership to get a deal done. In his 31 years of experience, Boras has negotiated some of baseball’s biggest contracts in MLB history.
Boras has negotiated mega-deals such as Jacoby Ellsbury’s seven-year, $155 million dollar deal with the New York Yankees, Prince Fielder’s nine-year, $214 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers, a seven-year deal worth $210 million for Max Scherzer with the Washington Nationals and Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million dollar deal with the New York Yankees.
This offseason Boras is looking for seven-years, $200 million-plus for Martinez but would settle for a six-year, $180 million or $30 million annually. Boras and Martinez both expected to have a big market but the only two known teams to be in contact with Boras about Martinez have been the Red Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs offer is reportedly a five-year, $100 million.
Speaking of the Red Sox, they have an active offer to Boras on Martinez. The deal is reportedly five-years, $125 million or $25 million annually. All indications are that the deal is a take it or leave it proposal.
With an obvious gap between the two sides, one has to think, how long can this stalemate go? Both sides are dug in and waiting for the other to blink and a deal is seemly unlikely before the start of spring training, which starts this upcoming week.
Can the Sox and Boras compromise and come to a deal? One would think that, knowing Boras’ history, that he will not give in on his demands.
Reportedly, if the Sox were to offer a guaranteed sixth-year or an option for a sixth-year the deal could be reached. Something in the mold of a six-year, $170-175 million would likely get Martinez to sign.
Regardless something has to give in this situation. Whether a deal is reached or not between the two sides, Spring Training starts this week and teams will be focused on getting rosters straightened out and start their quest for a World Series championship.