Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests that free agents Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew, and Kendrys Morales could all sit out until after the draft in June, when draft pick compensation would disappear. We learned yesterday that Santana was considering waiting until June, but it is no surprise that Drew and Morales may join him.
Rosenthal adds that even if the trio doesn’t make it to June, simply sitting out until after Opening Day would have a benefit because it would render their teams unable to make a qualifying offer. Thus, when they become free agents again after the season, there won’t be any draft pick compensation tied to them.
The draft pick compensation system has drawn a lot of criticism recently, including from Drew, but changes are unlikely to be made until after the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2016 season.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.