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.