In today’s chapter of the cold war between free agent players and teams, J.D. Martinez has reportedly grown tired of waiting for the Red Sox to improve their offer. All offseason they’ve been linked as representing a perfect fit. While Martinez has drawn interest from other teams, the Red Sox’s need for an elite power hitter, and the threat now posed by the Yankees, has led just about everyone to conclude that Martinez will sign there eventually.
The current deal on the table is reportedly for five years, $125 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. According to CBS Sports, Martinez is willing to hold out for his price, and isn’t impressed with the Red Sox inflexibility. On the other hand, that’s a very fair deal for a hitter who isn’t likely to be a viable defensive outfielder much longer. He may be fed up, but it isn’t as though there are a host of other suitors available. Only the Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly considering making Martinez a long-term offer of their own.
Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports reports that the players’ union has its preparations underway to host a spring camp for over 100 free agents. The last time something like this happened was during the strike of 1994-1995, as Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer, reports. Of course, no strike is coming this time.
There won’t be a new collective bargaining agreement until 2021, and so the current contract isn’t going anywhere. But the players appear committed to resisting the urge to panic and sign cheaper contracts than they believe they’re worth. The dam could break anytime with one major signing, but it’s another blow in the growing acrimony between the players, the league, and ownership.
Predictions are dire
With the major prospect rankings released, it’s time for prediction season to get underway. Baseball Prospectus released PECOTA projections for all major league teams were released yesterday. The Tigers, shockingly, did not fare well. Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs took stock of how much projection systems like PECOTA and ZIPS can really tell us.
USA Today also weighed in, projecting the Tigers to win just 63 games, finishing last in the American League, though not worst in baseball. Bob Nightengale at USA Today also took another swing at where the top free agents will land. He places J.D. Martinez with the Red Sox in the end, with a 2019 opt out to allow Martinez to pursue another contract as the final tipping point that brings a deal together. Seems like a good bet.
Around the horn
Jason Beck has a piece on the Tigers’ 2017 first round pick, Alex Faedo, for MLB.com. Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs continued their prospect rankings series with a look beyond the top 100 list. Catcher Jake Rogers and center fielder Derek Hill both make an appearance. You can also check out Baseball Prospectus’ recently released top 101 prospects rankings.
Noah Syndergaard has revamped his conditioning work to try and stay healthy in 2018. Pray to your gods, Mets fans. Brian McTaggart previews the Houston Astros’ pitching staff and the ongoing impact Justin Verlander is having on the group. Our friends at Crawfish Boxes were...somewhat less restrained in their enthusiasm. The Tampa Bay Rays are bringing back their Devil Rays jerseys in 2018 to celebrate the franchise’s 20th birthday. And SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee took a deep dive into his baseball card collection.
Baseball is awesome
Unless you’re facing Noah Syndergaard.