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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Heyman | Red Sox And JD Martinez Remain In Stalemate

Six years at $30 million per? I’d rather see the Sox put that money toward getting another Manny.

Top free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox have been engaged in a staredown/stalemate for weeks. And judging by Martinez’s commitment to the cause, it may go on quite awhile longer.

Miami acquaintances of Martinez say he is willing to “hold out,” certainly into spring training, for what he believes should be his market value. The Red Sox have offered Martinez a five-year deal, and sources suggest at least one other has, too.

The Diamondbacks still have Martinez atop their list as well, and while a D-backs person suggested he didn’t believe an official five-year offer was extended, it’s hard to imagine them still being in it for less, and they are in it.

In any case, word coming out of Miami is that Martinez, 30, believes it appropriate that he get a six-year deal. It isn’t known what kind of total dollars the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and maybe others are offering (the Jays also have been showing interest and met with Martinez at the Winter Meetings), but sources suggest that Martinez is seeking $30 million-plus annually — $200 million if he can get it but at least $180 million, following his boffo season, first in Detroit and then Arizona.

The interested teams are believed offering somewhere in the $120 million to $150 million range (yes, that’s a big range, but the offers to this point are unknown). So it’s believed he’s in the neighborhood of around $50 million short of the asking price at present. That sounds like a lot.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 11, 2018 at 09:40 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agents, j.d. martinez

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   1. JRVJ Posted: January 11, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5604682)
Miami acquaintances of Martinez say he is willing to “hold out,” certainly into spring training, for what he believes should be his market value. The Red Sox have offered Martinez a five-year deal, and sources suggest at least one other has, too.


In any case, word coming out of Miami is that Martinez, 30, believes it appropriate that he get a six-year deal.


As stated in the "Collusion" thread, one big reason why the FA market is slow is because Boras is the agent for 5 of the top FAs (Martínez, plus Hosmer, Moustakas, Arrieta and G. Holland).
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: January 11, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5604690)
Miami acquaintances of Martinez say he is willing to “hold out,” certainly into spring training
Has any free agent as good as him, or even close, ever not signed a new contract by the start of spring training? Not counting aged Clemens-type situations.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 11, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5604696)
Martinez, 30, believes it appropriate that he get a six-year deal.

If there's anything we've learned in the past few months, it's that what wealthy, powerful men tend to have a somewhat different definition of "appropriate" than the broader society.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5604701)
If there's anything we've learned in the past few months, it's that what wealthy, powerful men tend to have a somewhat different definition of "appropriate" than the broader society.

Yeah. A normal person would think that if the offers were 5/150, and you got to chose a place you'd want to play, that would be preferable to holding out for 6/170 and potentially playing somewhere you don't want to. But, rich people are different, I guess.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: January 11, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5604705)
But, rich people are different, I guess.

Boras clients certainly are.
   6. BDC Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5604717)
What if Martinez just never plays more than 120 games per season again? I see why you'd call last season "boffo": he set a 60-HR pace. But I think a lot of the $30M/year thought has him becoming healthier than ever and actually hitting those 60 home runs every year. But then the offseason is full of optimism …
   7. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5604725)
Has any free agent as good as him, or even close, ever not signed a new contract by the start of spring training? Not counting aged Clemens-type situations.


The only example I can think of is the collusion years with Raines, Gedman and I think a couple of others (Lance Parrish?).
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5604732)
The only example I can think of is the collusion years with Raines, Gedman and I think a couple of others (Lance Parrish?).
I guess Nelson Cruz a few years ago is close enough to count.
   9. Rally Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5604733)
They weren't as good as JDM, but were good enough to be offered and turn down a qualifying offer. Kendrys Morales, Stephen Drew. Neither case worked out well.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5604736)
I remembered them, but I was thinking of guys who were line for real big contracts.
   11. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5604739)
The situation a few years back where both Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales were holding out was interesting. Everyone seemed to see them as functionally interchangeable. Finally they both signed $7-8 million 1-year contracts. And Morales spent six weeks with the Twins being useless before they dumped him, while Cruz led the league in home runs and finished 7th in the MVP race.

Then the next year, Morales was good again. What happened there?
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5604742)
What if Martinez just never plays more than 120 games per season again? I see why you'd call last season "boffo": he set a 60-HR pace. But I think a lot of the $30M/year thought has him becoming healthier than ever and actually hitting those 60 home runs every year. But then the offseason is full of optimism …

Well, he just put up 4.2 WAR in 119 games. In 2014 he put up 4.2 WAR in 123 games.
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:34 PM (#5604749)
Morales, Cruz and Stephen Drew all did it in 2014. That was kind of an anomalous year. Last year, the best player who was unsigned in spring training was probably David Freese. Usually it's someone worse than him.
   14. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5604751)
Then the next year, Morales was good again. What happened there?

I don't know, but if someone does could they let the Blue Jays know for this season?
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5604754)
I don't know, but if someone does could they let the Blue Jays know for this season?

That is still one of most inexplicable FA signings ever, to me.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5604757)
Martinez, 30, believes it appropriate that he get a six-year deal.

It seems to be a bit more than just a player drastically overvaluing his worth. MLB Trade Rumors had him projected for 6 years/$150M. Not sure what their track record is, but contracts through the age-35 season aren't that unusual. As long as Martinez's camp thinks the trains aren't all leaving the station, trying to get a 6th year, or even an option/buyout, is good strategy.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5604760)
That is still one of most inexplicable FA signings ever, to me.


The A's 3-year deal with Billy Butler was similarly, obviously awful. Apparently there's something eye-catching about declining Royals designated hitters.

   18. BDC Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5604768)
Well, he just put up 4.2 WAR in 119 games. In 2014 he put up 4.2 WAR in 123 games

I guess my question is whether 4.2 WAR alone is worth $30M (I reckon it might be, these days?), or whether the $30M idea is based on extrapolating that to 5.6 over a series of full seasons to come, or whether it's all just delusional :)
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: January 11, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5604771)
I guess my question is whether 4.2 WAR alone is worth $30M (I reckon it might be, these days?)
It is, but he's not signing a 1-year $30m deal.
   20. DanG Posted: January 11, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5604792)
Similar corner-OF to Martinez, ages 26-29:

Player        WAR/pos OPS+   PA Rfield From   To
Roger Maris      17.9  141 2320   12.3 1961 1964
Tim Salmon       17.8  141 2580  
-28.6 1995 1998
Kevin Mitchell   16.2  153 2218  
-23.8 1988 1991
Harmon Killebrew 16.0  146 2423  
-14.4 1962 1965
Cliff Floyd      15.4  140 2010    5.0 1999 2002
Juan Gonzalez    15.3  142 2469  
-27.4 1996 1999
'J.D. Martinez   15.2  149 2143  -24.0 2014 2017'
Jeff Heath       14.3  149 1935   -1.0 1941 1944
Chick Hafey      14.1  147 1862   
-2.0 1929 1932
Willie Stargell  14.0  149 2175  
-25.3 1966 1969
Jack Clark       12.9  142 2014  
-17.5 1982 1985 
   21. Darren Posted: January 11, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5604796)
I don't get the market for Martinez being in the 5/$150MM+ range. He's not an elite player. He's a 4-WAR player, 5 WAR if his health turns around. The most obvious comp is Cespedes, who was the same age and coming off a 6.7-WAR year. The best he could manage was a 3/$75MM with the opt-out, which he then turned into 4/$110MM. Justin Upton was 2 years younger and got 6/$132MM. He's now the same age and just signed an extension that brought his contract to 5/$106MM. And It seems like every year teams have moved further and further away from long contracts for guys in their 30s.

All of this points to his market being something like 4/$110MM or something. If the Sox sign him for anything like 5/$150MM or 6/$170MM, they are going way out of the norm.
   22. Cris E Posted: January 11, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5604867)
Give him 6 at $30m/162, but only pay for the 125 games he's managed to play lately and you come in near what most folks are recommending. Be optimistic and round up to 130 games to get him 80%, so 6 at $24m. Not sure how Boras would respond though.*


* He might laugh out loud but he might get mad, you just never know.
   23. ptodd Posted: January 11, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5604970)
JDM is basically Manny Ramirez Lite, perhaps a step down and 1yr older than at the same point in their careers.. Manny signed a 8/160 deal in 2000 which was basically 8/320 today adjusted for payroll inflation (40 million AAV). JDM had a slower career start than Manny but the last 3 years before FA comparable albeit in Mannys favor (100 vs 125 HR, 148 vs 168 OPS+)

The asking price (years and dollars) is not excessive but people dont realize salary for elite players have actually deflated relative to average salaries
   24. Walt Davis Posted: January 11, 2018 at 05:17 PM (#5604977)
#21 ... Cespedes' 3/$75 was really a 1/$28 with the opt-out which he then turned into another 4/$110. Essentially a 5/$138, add two years inflation and you're at 5/$150. It doesn't mean teams should do it but 5/$150 for JDM is right in line with Cespedes.

Somewhat similarly for Upton and Heyward. Younger players who did sign more cheaply but, again, got the early opt-outs at still young ages. Upton didn't have a good year in year 1 ... but was quite good in year 2 and it was a bit surprising he accepted the cheap extension. I guess he decided the chance at an extra $20 M wasn't worth the hassle and the fact that he'd be sharing the market with JDM and Hosmer, player of arguably similar value/risk/reward. I'm not sure that was the right decision. But given the age difference, the 2018 equivalent of Upton's 6/$132, adjusting for some age difference is going to be around 5/$125.

I'm not sure we know where $/WAR is for FA these days but we can't work under an assumption that it hasn't inflated over the last few years. I have a hard time seeing Martinez being worth $30 M a year (for 5+ years) ... but then I'm reasonably convinced he should just be a (near) full-time DH from now on. Given I recommended EE take the 4/$80 deal he was offered last year (and amazingly I got that one right), I'd recommend JDM jump all over 5/$125 much less 5/$150 or 6/$150 if they are on offer. The Red Sox in particular never want to see him in the OF, at least not after 2018. (Possibly he could be a decent 1B but I'm not going to assume that in order to pay him $30 M a year.)

While aside from collusion (add Dawson) and QO cases, I don't know if we've seen a major star hold out into spring training, we also haven't seen teams hold the line into spring training either. It's not like there are examples of unsigned stars caving in and signing below-market deals at the last minute either. The Red Sox won't want Martinez showing up in mid-March any more than Martinez wants to wait until then. It's a game of chicken where, worst-case for Martinez, he blinks at 5/$120.

As to the magic numbers ... Boras has a way of making these work out. JDM might get his 6/$180, it will just be structured something like 6/$90 with the other $90 M deferred over the next 6-10 years such that it has a (real) AAV around 6/$150. That's how he got Scherzer a 7/$210 contract -- it actually works out to (give or take) fourteen $15 M payments. By MLB accounting, that scores around $190 M ... by regular human accounting, even at just 5% return, it's less than 7/$150 M. At 8% return, it's under $125.

So JDM at 6/$180 spread out to 12/$180, at 5% return, comes in at 6/$133, basically exactly what Upton got a couple of years ago (I don't think there was much deferment in that deal) and less than what Ceespedes ended up getting over 5 years (again, I don't think there's much deferment). For lux tax purposes, MLB/MLBPA will probably put it around 6/$160 (god only knows how they come up with those numbers).

Of course we don't know how much deferment there already is in these 5/$125 offers supposedly on the table. 5/$125 can be turned into 5/$100 just as easily as 6/$180 can become 6/$133.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: January 11, 2018 at 10:53 PM (#5605196)
Addendum to my earlier note -- Heyward's contract was an interesting mix of deferment and front-loading, with opt-outs after years 3 (entering age 29) and 4 (age 30). The $20 M signing bonus was deferred but still he will be paid $78 M for the first 3 years. So if he'd been doing well, it would have been 3 years at $26 M AAV that he'd opt out of for, presumably, something like 5/$130 or higher/longer. Again, not necessarily that different than what JDM is looking for. Of course he hasn't done well but this also means the Cubs will only be on the hook for 5/$106 after this year -- still not good but better than being on the hook for 5/$130.

Anyway, the big difference between Upton/Heyward and JDM is age. They wanted opt-outs in case their market improved and, in Heyward's case, he was also being paid "fairly" in his pre-option years. JDM is too old to place much value on an opt-out and has even less reason to give them a break up front. This is his one and only chance for a big contract.
   26. Rally Posted: January 12, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5605347)
JDM is basically Manny Ramirez Lite, perhaps a step down and 1yr older than at the same point in their careers..


He's certainly the closest thing to Manny Ramirez in this market. He's not a historically great hitter like Manny, and while he's not a plus defender he's not going to provide "Manny being Manny" type comedy. There really isn't a player in baseball right now who can replicate what Manny Ramirez was in 2001.

But I think Jim's comment in the intro is about spending the money on a different type of superstar, who happens to be named Manny, instead of a Manny Ramirez type.
   27. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: January 12, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5605434)
I mean money heals all wounds I suppose. But after the ugliness between the Sox and Machado last season, you have to figure they aren't exactly front-runners to sign him when he hits FA.
   28. Rally Posted: January 12, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5605499)
I sure hope Machado doesn't end up with the Red Sox. But I don't think that incident will be an issue. Things like that flare up in the heat of battle. Once the moment has passed the players involved will put the incident in the past, and even fight on each other's side the next time an incident happens.

From MLBTR, the Astros are even among the finalists Yu Darvish is considering, even though Gurriel is still on the team.
   29. Scott Ross Posted: January 12, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5605536)
after the ugliness between the Sox and Machado


I never imagined David Price would be joining the team.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5605635)
I suspect Jim will be making similar comments next year once it becomes clear that the starting point for Machado is around 12/$360 (Stanton is his baseline). Then it will be a mistake for the Red Sox to go beyond 8 years.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5605687)
The main difference between ManRam and JDM is that Manny was an elite hitter the moment he stepped on a ML field while JDM didn't hit until he was 26. For no particularly good reason other than handedness and late-bloominess, the most promising comps that come to my mind are Encarnacion and Bautista. EE broke out even later at 29 and was a DH/1B rather than a poor corner OF. Bautista too didn't break out until 29 and was a solid OF until recently.

From 30-36, EE has put up 19 WAR with two years to go; Bautista put up 26 WAR but was done as a productive player at 34. If we do consider those as the (realistic) best-case scenarios, that's not overly promising -- $150-200 M for those outcomes would be fair but you don't pay based on best case. Maybe the fact that he broke out 3 years younger is suggestive his best-case is even better?

Have I done JDM comps yet? If so, I didn't have enough sense to save them. A hard guy to comp obviously due to the late break-out but I'll start with just a basic 26-29 ages comp which will likely be a bit too favorable to him.

Expansion era, 50% 1B/DH/LF/RF, 140-160 OPS+ (JDM 149), ages 26-29, min 1800 PA ...

Wow, that turned up 50 comps, I wasn't expecting that many. Sorted by dWAR he's #32, a bit worse then Boog and Mo (that doesn't sound good), a bit better than Thome and Ortiz (that does sound good). I'll take the group with dWAR between -2.5 (Cepdeda) and -5.5 (McGriff) -- JDM -4.4. By not going lower, I am missing Stargell but also a lot of early-faders like Epstein, Howard, Tartabull, Prince so I think I'm being kind more than cruel.

This gives 19 including JDM. In WAR terms, it's headed up by Delgado, Vlad and Holliday at 20. JDM is 15th with 15 WAR but that's largely playing time differences -- pro-rated to those top guys' PA, he'd be around 18-20. So possibly a healthy JDM will out-produce these comps. Plenty of HoFers here -- Vlad, Winfield, Thome, McCovey, Killebrew, (Ortiz) and Cepeda with JDM right in the middle WAR-wise of those last 3. Jose Abreu is the only other current player in the list, giving us 17 comps going forward.

Other than possibly Abreu, everybody here is at least HoVG. Of course many of them are HoVG because they were also very productive pre-26 and are not HoF because they faded early. The very worst player in this list is probably Kevin Mitchell (OK, maybe he's not HoVG) then Juan Gonzalez.

First let's see what these guys did through age 25 to identify some other late bloomers. That WAR list is headed up by Cepdea at 26 WAR. Many others had substantial WAR in those years, some with lots of PT but some without (McGriff 14 WAR in just 1664 PA). JDM is at the bottom with -1.5 WAR but Holliday, Mo, Delgado and Ortiz are between 1-3 WAR and Mitchell, Salmon and Berkman are under 9 -- all on similar sorts of PAs as JDM. So those are probably our main comp group.

Looking forward for 30-36 ... the median of the 17 is 20 WAR, a group of Holliday, Delgado, J Clark and Vlad. The list is headed by Killebrew (32), McCovey (30) and Thome (30). Then Winfield, Ortiz and Berkman are at 24-25 WAR. It's really as cleanly structured a list as you'll see ... give or take a WAR or two, other late bloomers bolded:

30 WAR -- Killebrew, McCovey, Thome
25 WAR -- Winfield, Ortiz, Berkman
20 WAR -- Holliday, Delgado<\b>, JClark, Vlad
15 WAR -- McGriff, <b>Salmon

10 WAR -- Cepeda, Boog, Juan, Mo
5 WAR -- Mitchell

(Jose Abreu is at 5 after 1 year)

So 20 WAR seems like a reasonable mean/median outcome based on those. It's a bit lower for the late bloomers (mean of 17). That suggests $150 M over 6-7 years should be fine. If we believe $/WAR has gone up and will continue to, then $180 comes into play. If we add back in those poorer fielders (Stargell et al), you add Stargell and Giambi to that top group and 3-4 guys to the bottom 3 groups so that won't change things very much.

As we might expect, if you could, you'd generally prefer to sign these guys just through age 33 or 34. From 34-36, only r guys managed to be true full-timers (Killebrew, Winfield, McGriff, Delgado) while 6 had fewer than 900 PA. Seven remained above-average and another three were reasonably durable and not hurting their teams. The others all went cliff-diving ... primarily due to durability and defensive problems as most of these guys at least maintained a 105-110 OPS+ when they did play (except Boog).

So sure, if the choice is 5/$125 or 6/$150, you want 5/$125 but I don't know that it's worth fighting that hard over plus 17-20 WAR for $125 would be a steal so I doubt Boras will go for it.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2018 at 05:19 PM (#5605711)
By the way, there are heaps and heaps and heaps of corner players whose careers started out as badly as JDM. Just for the 21st century, corner players with 600-1200 PA through age 25 (JDM 900) and negative WAR turns up 184 players.

Unsurprisingly, almost none of those players turned into JD Martinez. For ages 26-29, the top outcome is Travis Hafner at 17 WAR; ties with JDM is Chris Davis. Neither of those seem like particularly promising comps for him. The next group of players (6-10 WAR) includes three guys who were good enough to shift mainly to CF for these ages, fronted by the recent breakout of Charlie Blackmon (10.5 WAR at ages 29-30). Steven Souza is also tagged as maybe another guy who is starting to go EE on us but it's just one season so far. Another search based on WAA picks up Logan Morrison and Justin Smoak for the Souza group.

Anyway, this certain shows how rare a JDM transformation is to begin with. Maybe it's also an indicator of risk going forward in that even the two guys of recent vintage who did pull off a JDM didn't produce in their 30s (Davis still has a chance).

Note EE and Bautista miss these comp searches because they were 3B in their early years, not corner OF/1B. They had similar struggling starts and worse age 26-29 than JDM so they are positive comps for him. As noted for 30-36, they are at 19 WAR (and counting) and 26 WAR.

EDIT: bugger, I knew I should have previewed #31 then forgot. Figure out your own bolding. :-)

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