It’s been well-documented how slow this offseason has been in terms of player movement, and if you are a member of any social media website, you’ve almost assuredly seen fans being frustrated with the lack of roster moves by the majority of teams. It’s certainly justifiable, as we’re now under a week from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and the overwhelming majority of quality free agents are still on the open market.
So if you’re frustrated, imagine how the players are feeling.
One of those free agents is slugger J.D. Martinez, and according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Martinez has become “fed up” with Boston’s lack of flexibility with their negotiation process. Martinez’s agent -- super agent Scott Boras -- has denied that report, claiming that teams are “acting in good faith” and that any reports to the contrary are inaccurate.
Whether accurate or not, perception is often reality, and the perception is that Boston won’t budge from it’s reported five-year, $125 million dollar offer, although Boras has declared that offer to be inaccurate as well. While that is understandable frustrated to a player that is widely viewed as the best offensive player in the market, it’s also understandable why the Red Sox would be hesitant to negotiate against itself.
But that could be changing, as recent reports suggest that the Arizona Diamondbacks have stepped up their efforts to acquire the 30-year-old Martinez; presenting him with both a short-term and long-term deal. Jon Heyman of FanRag sports reports that the offers between the two clubs are very similar, so it’s up to Martinez -- assuming he considers either offer worthy of his signature -- to determine which club would be the better fit.
From a fantasy angle, either club would offer significant upside for a hitter that hit 45 homers and slugged .690. If he picks the Red Sox, he not only gets to barrage the Green Monster in Fenway Park with baseballs, he’ll also have a chance to knock in Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia at the top of the Boston lineup. The Diamondbacks don’t have a Betts near the top, but they do have a competent offense on paper, and they have one of the most power-friendly parks; a park that Martinez crushed in 2017 in his 62 games with Arizona.
If this truly does come down to Arizona and Boston, it’s a huge positive for either club, and in turn, it certainly won’t hurt Martinez’s fantasy upside for the 2018 campaign and beyond.
Darvish in the Twin Cities?
Like Martinez, Darvish is another elite player that has yet to find a home, but recent reports from multiple outlets suggest that Darvish now has multiple offers, and according to Darren Wolson of ESPN 1500 in Minneapolis, one of those offers comes from the Twins.
Wolfson reports that the offer is either for four-or-five years, with the Twins reluctant to offer any pitcher -- including Darvish -- a sixth year. There are also no word as to the financial aspect in the deal, but with Ken Rosenthal reporting that Darvish has “several” offers for $100 million, so it’s fair to assume that this is one of them.
A pitcher with Darvish’s ability would make any club better, but the boost he could give the Twins is tough to overstate. This was a playoff team last year; one that features several young players that should continue taking steps forward like Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario, just to name a few. Adding a legitimate ace like the 31-year-old right-hander not only could give them a chance to compete in the AL Central, it could make them among the best teams in the American League. The Twins also recently found out they’ll be without Ervin Santana -- their most consistent starter last season -- for up to three months, so there’s an obvious need to fill at the top of the rotation.
Darvish will be one of the best fantasy starters where he pitches because of his ability to miss bats, but going to a team like Minnesota should allow him to pick up wins on top of the strikeouts and what should be a solid ERA in the process.
Quick hits: Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports that Yasiel Puig is no longer represented by the Wasserman Group. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation hears it was the Wasserman Group's choice to terminate the relationship, and that the decision was "behavior-related." … Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs have "barely engaged" in contract talks with free agent starting pitcher Jake Arrieta … ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Yankees have acquired Russell Wilson from the Rangers for future considerations …The Royals signed RHP Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Zach Britton (Achilles) said Thursday that he thinks a return in May is realistic if his rehab goes exactly as planned … Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong said Thursday that he expects to steal "at least" 20 bases this season.