The Red Sox’ signing of Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal Monday actually makes it more likely that they will sign JD Martinez in MLB free agency, and they remain the favorites to ink the top bat on the free agent market.
With the Red Sox set at first base with Moreland, that rules out a signing of free agent Eric Hosmer – who like Martinez has Scott Boras as his agent. Boras was likely pitching Hosmer and Martinez as some sort of package deal to the deep pocketed Red Sox, but that is now off the table.
The Red Sox can now go to Boras and make Martinez their primary target and beat any other offer from any other club.
What will also work for the Red Sox this week in negotiations with Boras is that nearly all of the other suitors for his services are running out of cash. The Giants do not want to get into the competitive balance tax for the fourth straight year, the Dodgers already have $185.8 million guaranteed on their books for next season (they eventually realized Giancarlo Stanton was far too pricey), the Cardinals already traded for Marcell Ozuna, and the Angels just paid a $20 million posting fee alone for the services of Shohei Ohtani.
At this juncture, the Red Sox desperately need to make some sort of big move to counter the Yankees’ acquisition of Stanton. New York made it to the ALCS last season and has already “won” the offseason by putting the bat of Stanton next to the bat of Aaron Judge.
Signing Martinez instead of making a trade for the likes of Toronto’s Josh Donaldson or Baltimore’s Manny Machado has many benefits for the Red Sox, first – that they won’t have to give up anything in return from their already depleted farm system. And second, signing Martinez wouldn’t require giving up a compensatory draft pick.