BOSTON (CBS) — If the Red Sox want to bring free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez to Boston, they will really have to break the bank.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted on Wednesday that Martinez – and his recently hired agent, Scott Boras – are seeking a deal in the range of $200 million. Arguably the top free-agent hitter available this winter, Martinez is coming off a season in which he batted .303 and hit 45 home runs with 104 RBIs between the Tigers and Diamondbacks.
Even more impressive about Martinez’s performance last season is that he hit 45 homers in just 119 games, including an incredible 29 blasts in 62 games in Arizona. That could also be a concern, however, because he missed the first six weeks of the 2017 season with a sprained foot and has missed 30-plus games due to injury in three of the past four seasons.
Martinez would be a particularly good fit for the Red Sox, who desperately need to add power to their lineup after finishing last in the American League with 168 home runs. He could play DH if Hanley Ramirez shifts back to first base, and Fenway Park would suit his right-handed power well.
If Martinez really is seeking $200 million, that means his deal would have to be for at least six years ($33.33 million annually), possibly seven or eight. He turned 30 years old on Aug. 21.
The Red Sox have said that they would be willing to go over the luxury tax threshold in order to sign the players they want, and have already been reported to be targeting free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer. Signing Martinez would certainly come with some risks, but the Sox are one of very few teams in the major leagues who could afford it.