Red Sox fans were mighty excited on Tuesday when the news dropped that the team had offered prized MLB free agent JD Martinez a five-year deal.
Over 24 hours later there is still no deal in place, and the longer this drags out the less likely it is that Martinez signs in Boston.
It is expected that the Arizona Diamondbacks will make one final push to retain Martinez, and that the Atlanta Braves could also be interested in landing the 30-year-old power bat.
In the early stages of this baseball winter it was thought that the Diamondbacks would be looking to unload pitcher Zack Greinke in order to shed salary, and it made little sense for Arizona to dump Greinke’s salary and in turn use that money to sign Martinez. But now that it’s the New Year and Greinke is still a member of the Diamondbacks it may be that tight-wad owner Ken Kendrick is ready to finally allow GM Mike Hazen to spend over $100 million on payroll. The Diamondbacks opened last season 26th in payroll and still managed to have a postseason run – with Greinke and Martinez leading the way.
Hazen would no doubt love to steal Martinez out from under his former boss Dave Dombrowski as Hazen’s situation was a tad awkward in Boston at the end. Hazen was the assistant GM of the Red Sox under Ben Cherington and was promoted to GM when Dombrowski came aboard late in the 2015 season. Hazen left a year later.
(Side note: Here’s Dombrowski while wishing Hazen good luck in Arizona: “In the meantime, a search for a new general manager for the Boston Red Sox is underway.”
Apparently that search has been going on for over a year now, as the Red Sox GM position is still vacant.)
As for the Braves, tied-in MLB writer David Schoenfield dropped this nugget on Wednesday.
“Long shot: How about the Braves [as a landing spot for Martinez]? They need a hitter, they’ve cleared Matt Kemp off the roster, and they have a young roster that has room to add a big salary.”
The Braves are now run by Alex Anthopoulos, who most recently was an executive with the liberally-spending Dodgers. Prior to that, Anthopoulos led the Blue Jays to their best era in a generation and wasn’t afraid to spend when necessary.