A scenario in which the D-backs bring back J.D. Martinez
When the D-backs’ season came to a close in October with their elimination from the postseason, many assumed that a slugger who helped get them there, J.D. Martinez, would not be back.
With a report that the 30-year-old would command a contract north of $200 million, Martinez staying with the Diamondbacks simply seemed unrealistic. But as he’s still a free agent on Jan. 5, perhaps there could be a scenario in which he stays in Sedona Red.
“What if J.D. Martinez was willing to come back on a one-year deal?” 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro said on Burns & Gambo on Friday, intimating that it was a “possibility.”
A Friday article from Sports Illustrated analyzed Martinez’s value and came up with a minimum figure of $84.4 million over the next five years (an average salary of $16.88 million per year). Conversely, a high-end number would be $120 million over five years.
Both of those numbers are certainly well below what Martinez’s agent reportedly wanted. Other big free agents, like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Jake Arrieta, have still yet to get a contract this offseason.
“He can’t get anywhere near the money he wants,” Gambadoro said. “Can’t get anything near $150-200 million. Nobody wants to pay him that. Nobody wants to give him $30 million a year.”
With the market not being what Martinez’s camp had hoped, could he come back to the D-backs for one season and become a free agent again next offseason?
The arrangement is similar to one between the Toronto Blue Jays and slugger Jose Bautista that the two sides agreed on last winter, when Bautista was still a free agent after the new year. He and his club signed a one-year deal worth $18 million with options for the next two seasons.
There is believed to be mutual interest between Martinez and the D-backs, and perhaps it would benefit both sides to go the short-term-deal route.
On paper, Martinez’s return would presumably big for the D-backs, who are looking to return to the postseason after reaching the NLDS in 2017. In 62 games with Arizona last year, Martinez hit a whopping 29 home runs, drove in 65 runs and posted a .302 batting average.