Boston Red Sox Rumors: J.D. Martinez is a perfect fit for the right price

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: J.D. Martinez /

For a Boston Red Sox team that failed to hit a grand slam in 2017, power takes precedence in 2018 free agency and J.D. Martinez can deliver.

With Mitch Moreland headed for free agency and Hanley Ramirez headed for his 34th birthday, the Boston Red Sox will be searching for a big bat this winter. A lack of power ultimately ended the Red Sox’ 2017 season, but one free agent could help the cause next year.

J.D. Martinez split last season between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, totaling 45 home runs and 104 runs batted in with a .303 average and 1.066 OPS. He also posted the best walk rate of his career last season at 10.6%.

He provides pure power and can be a catalyst for the Red Sox offense that is hoping for improvement from Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts and continued growth from Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers.

While Martinez is a poor outfielder, he would be a perfect fit at designated hitter in 2018 and beyond with Ramirez spending as much time as he can at first base. Martinez can also fill in in right field to give Betts days off or shift him over to center to give Jackie Bradley, Jr. a rest.

Red flags

Martinez looks too good to be true, but he does come with several red flags. Though he can play right field, he plays it very poorly. Martinez’s Defensive Runs Saved for 2017 was -5 and he put up a -22 in 2016. It also remains to be seen whether Ramirez would welcome a near-permanent move back to first base or if he is determined to finish his career as a DH.

More from Chowder and Champions

Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent presents another dilemma. The notoriously high-pricing Boras is seeking a seven-year, $210 million contract for Martinez. Boras usually asks for exorbitant amounts during the November GM Meetings and brings his price down by the Winter Meetings, but the idea of spending that much money is always a shaky proposal.

On one hand, Martinez just turned 30 in August. Locking him in for seven years would ensure he can likely contribute to the team early on in the deal. On the other hand, his value at age 37 will likely be far below his price. It would also likely harm Boston’s ability to keep all of their young homegrown talent down the road.

Big, big money

Paying Martinez $210 would rank him as the eleventh highest paid player in baseball right now (including the continued payouts to Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder, on par with Washington Nationals ace and two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.

Martinez making the same amount of money as a future Hall of Fame pitcher sounds ridiculous, but the Red Sox are one of the few teams in the league who can afford to pay out for a huge need like his bat. The team has had a recent string of bad luck in regards to huge contracts, with Pablo Sandoval being a flat out failure and David Price’s results to be determined.

Next: A near certainty Boston Red Sox add one of these 3 MLB stars

If Boras’ asking price comes down a bit by the Winter Meetings, the Red Sox should seriously consider offering Martinez a deal. If it can help the team now without crippling them in the future, it seems like a no-brainer for a big bat.