Remember back in September when we heard that the Red Sox offered Victor Martinez a two-year contract extension?
Even then we knew it wouldn’t get the job done, but now Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the specifics. He reports that the BoSox offered him $21 million over the two years. It’s unclear if they expanded their offer since then.
Martinez is one of the most coveted free agents available this winter, so they’ll almost certainly need to do so if they hope to have any chance of keeping him. Cafardo writes that the Tigers and Rangers “have been the most interested,” but that the Mariners and Orioles are also in the mix.
All hypothetical, of course, but if given the choice to keep either Adrian Beltre or Martinez, I’d go with Beltre. Martinez turns 32 years old in December and has never been particularly good behind the plate. His offensive production looks great for a catcher, but less so as a DH or first baseman, where he’ll likely spend more time as he reaches his mid-30s. I would be very nervous if Jarrod Saltalamacchia opened the season as the team’s primary catcher, but the Red Sox could add an inexpensive veteran in the free agent market and still have the option to upgrade during the season.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.