Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Highly sought-after Major League Baseball free agent is hoping to be paid handsomely this offseason.
While the hot stove hasn’t even preheated yet, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported Wednesday that free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez is seeking a deal in the $200 million neighborhood, which, of course, is a very nice neighborhood in which to live.
At least that’s what Martinez and agent Scott Boras are telling teams … for now. It’s still very, very early in the offseason process, and things are bound to change. Is Martinez one of, if not the best power hitter available on the market this winter? Sure. But he’s not a flawless player, and even in today’s cash-heavy game, that’s still a lot of money for a player who averaged just 12 home runs through his first four major league seasons.
More than anything, this is just a way for Martinez and his camp to set a starting price at which negotiations can begin. And while Martinez hit home runs at a near-historic rate in 2017, so did just about everyone else in baseball. Teams might not be willing to pony up the $200 million for a player like Martinez when they can get a player a tier below for far less money. Martinez is also prone to huge strikeout numbers, striking out more than 25 percent of the time in each of the last four seasons.
“In an era during which a lot of teams increasingly pay for skills other than slugging,” ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote in September, “a generation of hitters are altering their swings in an attempt to drive the ball for extra-base hits and generating home runs more than ever before — and the staggering volume of hitters with gaudy home run production might diminish the already depressed market prices.”
We shall see. When there are big-money teams like the Boston Red Sox in the market for power bats, though, that could end up turning the market on its head.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeal/USA TODAY Sports Images
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