J.D. Martinez is coming off a season in which he set career-highs in TAv, home runs, and OPS. And it was a contract year, so naturally the 30-year-old outfielder and his agent figured this would lead to a pretty solid payday in the offseason. In fact, there was word during the early stages of the offseason that Scott Boras was trying to get Martinez a contract in the area of $200 million. As this historically slow offseason has trudged on, we’re now less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting and players like Martinez are still on the market.
It also seems like Martinez is going to get nothing close to the $200 million that his agent was touting back in November. Martinez has reportedly had a contract offer from the Red Sox for a while now, but it’s for much less than what his agent was anticipating. ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that Boston’s offer is for $100 million over five years. There’s no word as to whether Martinez has offers from other teams on the table (and Boras has denied that it’s on the table), but if the Red Sox are only offering that much then it explains why he’s still a free agent.
It also explains why a lot of other players are still testing the waters as we speak. It could also explain why we could see players like Martinez continue to hold out until they get what they feel is a fair deal. We may not see plenty of players holding out until midseason (like Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports recently noted), but it’s clear that this is going to bleed into spring training and maybe even afterwards.
Meanwhile, it seems like things are continuing to deteriorate when it comes to Christian Yelich and his relationship with the Marlins. While J.T. Realmuto had previously made it publicly known that he was not satisfied with his current situation, Yelich’s discontent was merely part of the smoke that comes with the fire of rumors. Now, Yelich has poured some accelerant on that fire after his agent, Joe Longo, told ESPN that the relationship between player and club was “irretrievably broken.”
Additionally, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN added to that by reporting that Yelich hadn’t decided whether he would attend the Marlins’ FanFest. Crasnick also noted that Marlins players are required to attend FanFest and anybody who purposefully skips it would be subject to a fine. If Yelich is willing to take the fine, then that would go a long way toward letting the Marlins know just how unhappy he currently is with the team.
Even with Yelich pushing very hard to be traded, the Marlins are still in a position of power here and it appears that they’re quite aware of this. The Braves are one of the teams that’s been linked to both Yelich and Realmuto in trade rumors, and Peter Gammons recently said on MLB Network that the Marlins asked the Braves for top prospect Ronald Acuna in negotiations centered around Yelich. If you’re going to be pushed to get rid of a good outfielder under a decent amount of team control, then you may as well aim as high as you can at the start of trade talks and see what happens afterward. That’s what the Marlins are doing by asking for arguably the game’s best prospect.