As free agency looms, J.D. Martinez hires Scott Boras

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Outfielder J.D. Martinez has hired agent Scott Boras just ahead of his impending venture into free agency, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports.

This should come as no surprise. Coming off of a career year, Martinez is the top free agent bat on the market and he stands to negotiate a lucrative contract wherever he goes. Between the Tigers and Diamondbacks this season, he hit a composite .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances.

The D-Backs acquired him on July 18 from the Tigers and Martinez’s bat really started to heat up. In 62 games in Arizona, he smacked 29 home runs and helped lead the D-Backs to a 39-30 finish, ultimately snagging home field advantage in the Wild Card game against the Rockies, which they won.

Other hitters on the free agent market include Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Justin Upton, and Zack Cozart.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.