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J.D. Martinez may hold out into spring training to sign

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Yesterday a lot of people said that Jay Bruce was wise to sign now, even if his three-year, $39 million deal represents a discount of his projected value, because the longer a free agents waits in this cold market, the lower their deals will be. That’s could definitely be the case. The best free agent hitter on the market, however, appears willing to take that chance.

Jon Heyman reports that J.D. Martinez is willing to “hold out certainly into spring training” rather than sign a deal he doesn’t think is a good one. Martinez and his agent Scott Boras are reported to be after a seven-year contract worth between $180 million and $210 million, but the best offers right now are reportedly for five years and between $120-150 million. He’s betting that those offers rise as we get into February and, eventually, by the time pitchers and catchers report.

Martinez, 30, batted .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 119 games between the Tigers and Diamondbacks in 2017. Given that he’s a defensively-limited outfielder who will likely best serve as a DH for the bulk of his upcoming deal, he and Boras may be overly-optimistic as to his value, but you can’t fault the guy for trying.

Whether the hold out scenario comes to pass and, if it does, whether it serves him well is another story. Only time will tell the wisdom of that.

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.