How Eric Hosmer’s Contract Could Affect Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez Pursuit

Boston Red Sox owner John Henry wasn’t in the mood to talk about his team’s pursuit of free agent slugger J.D. Martinez on Monday — but we still can.

Amid what’s been a historically slow offseason, a huge domino fell Saturday night in the form of Eric Hosmer, who reportedly agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract with the San Diego Padres.

What does that mean for the Red Sox and their reported pursuit for Martinez?

It’s worth noting both Hosmer and Martinez are represented by Scott Boras. Boras and his clients have been known to hold out as long as possible for the best possible deal, but spring training is underway. The season is near. Guys want to get back to work.

Will Martinez come to a similar realization, even if it maybe means “settling” for less than he and Boras originally demanded?

Possibly; and according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, there’s a feeling Martinez could sign soon.

As for Martinez’s contract, we should mention the average annual value of Hosmer’s contract is $18 million — coming in below most projections entering the offseason.

MLB Trade Rumors projection: 6 years, $132 million ($22 million AAV) projection: 7 years, $140 million ($20 million AAV)
Fangraphs projection: 6 years, $126 million ($21 million AAV)

Hosmer’s actual contract: 8 years, $144 million ($18 million AAV)

Hosmer’s deal also reportedly is front-loaded, meaning he’ll make $20 million per season for the first five years of the contract. He can opt out after the fifth season, and if he doesn’t, he makes $13 million over the final three seasons. (he reportedly earned a $5 million signing bonus, as well.) It’s almost like two separate deals, and it all keeps the AAV below what most forecasted Hosmer to receive.

Maybe that’s how the Red Sox and Martinez’s camp find some middle ground: by striking a similar deal that will allow Martinez to get a good chunk of his money up front. That might require Boston adding a year or two to its reported five-year offer. What about a similar seven- or eight-year contract with an opt-out after four or five years?

We’re speculating here, but what if the Sox offer Martinez a seven-year, $136 million contract with an opt-out after four seasons? Let’s say that deal includes $100 million over the first four seasons and $36 million over the remaining three, all with an AAV under $20 million. It’s obviously more than the Red Sox’s reported offer, but it’s also a far cry from the nearly $200 million Martinez reportedly sought (which was a pipe dream to start).

Some believe Hosmer’s deal actually will drive up Martinez’s price. It’s one less impact bat on the market, and other teams that missed out on Hosmer might turn their attention to Martinez. The problem with that line of thinking, though, is there never seemed to be a huge market for Hosmer, and there doesn’t appear to be a huge market for Martinez, either. It’s possible things change, but it’s hard to imagine a team jumping into the fray in mid-February. If there was going to be a bigger market for Martinez, wouldn’t it have developed by now?

The Boston Globe has reported twice in the last week the Red Sox won’t bid against themselves for Martinez.

Hopefully, some sort of resolution comes soon, and judging by the recent activity in an otherwise glacial offseason, we finally might get it.

Thumbnail photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images

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