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Report: Red Sox need J.D. Martinez to finalize 2018 plans

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Free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez hasn’t decided where he wants to land in 2018, and his lingering indecision appears to be causing the Red Sox no shortage of anxiety. Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports that the club expects to make a serious run at the outfielder this offseason, to the point where they’re actively holding off on addressing other needs in order to ensure they have enough room to accommodate him on their payroll.

On one hand, they’re wise to wait. A previous report from USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale suggests that Martinez is seeking a seven-year, $210 million contract this winter, which doesn’t seem to have scared away the four or so teams who have already inquired about him over the last month. The 30-year-old slugger can justify his hefty asking price with some pretty impressive numbers, too: he batted .303/.376/.690 in 489 plate appearances for the Tigers and Diamondbacks last year and collected a career-best 45 home runs to boot.

While there’s no denying Martinez’s appeal, at least at the plate, the Red Sox’ wait-and-see attitude might also cost them depth at other positions. Mastrodonato points out that the club has yet to address their need for left-handed relief options with Tyler Thornburg’s status still up in the air, and should they miss out on Martinez altogether, their spending power could be limited to the few choice relievers still left on the market.

Blake Snell becomes client of Boras Corporation

Blake Snell
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Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.

Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”

Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.