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ESPN: Anonymous GMs pick Red Sox to land J.D. Martinez in free agency

Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder J.D. Martinez smiles a he answers a question during a news conference at Chase Field, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Phoenix, as the team gets ready for a National League wild card playoff baseball game. The Diamondbacks host the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

With large contract demands expected to be on the way, free agent slugger J.D. Martinez looks like a longshot to remain with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

One big-market club is making the most sense to shell out for the outfielder.

Conducting to an anonymous poll of 40 baseball operations people ranging from general managers to scouts, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick revealed that those in MLB circles believe the Boston Red Sox are the favorites to sign Martinez.

Twenty-three of those polled picked Boston as Martinez’s landing spot this offseason, while Arizona and the San Francisco Giants tied for the second-most votes at five. The Cardinals, Phillies, Cubs and Orioles also received votes, while two voters didn’t know.

RELATED: D-backs’ free agency situation could make for an expensive road ahead

The connections are clear.

Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski, then leading the Detroit Tigers’ front office, signed Martinez as a free agent in 2014 before the slugger re-designed his offensive game to become one of the most deadly fly-ball hitters in baseball. Boston needs a big bat, Crasnick points out, and it’s unlikely the D-backs can offer Martinez a contract that the players’ agent, Scott Boras, is reportedly pushing into the $200 million range.

A few observers predicted Martinez will sign a contract similar to Justin Upton’s five-year, $106 million deal with the Angels. But most respondents expect him to come away with the haul in the $120 million-$160 million range.

“I think Boras will try to position him with past elite free-agent bat deals — like Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols,” one general manager said. “But he’ll likely end up in the $140 million range over six years.”

Martinez slashed .303/.376/.690 between the Diamondbacks and Tigers last year, closing the regular season with one of the best Septembers ever when it came to hitting the ball out of the park.

“This is, obviously, some of the best times I had in my life since playing professional baseball,” Martinez said after the season ended with an NLDS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Going down the stretch and being apart of this, especially with this group of guys, it’s awesome. Obviously, I would love to come back, but I don’t know what the future holds or wherever God wants me to go. But, I hope it’s here.

“But if it’s not, I mean, Arizona will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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