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Nightengale: J.D. Martinez still of D-backs’ interest as Red Sox hold out

Arizona Diamondbacks' J.D. Martinez looks and points to the sky after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 4-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Unless things take a drastic turn, J.D. Martinez won’t be with the Arizona Diamondbacks come the start of the 2018 season.

Still, Arizona is holding out hope and remains in the mix to retain the free agent outfielder. A lot of things just have to happen for that patience to pay off.

“I still think he’s destined for Boston,” said USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who joined Doug & Wolf of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday. “I know Arizona’s talked to him about a short-term contract, a one-year deal, and they say there’s still talk about long-term.”

The Red Sox have offered Martinez a contract for five years and around $120 million, according to multiple reports. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman even reported Thursday that some believe the D-backs’ offer to Martinez is at “very similar levels” while pointing out Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras, refuted that Arizona had only offered a one-year deal.

That might be a stretch, but the Diamondbacks remain in the mix.

As 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro reported on Wednesday, Arizona’s remaining interest shows in the team holding out on adding another outfielder.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal recently reported sources telling him that Martinez is “telling people he is fed up with the Red Sox’s inflexibility and would rather sign with another club.”

Those rumors could simply be a sign of the push and pull between agent and team.

As it stands, Nightengale said the Red Sox are holding out to simply avoid bidding against themselves with few other teams showing interest in Martinez, the 30-year-old who hit .303 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI with the D-backs and Detroit Tigers last season.

It’s a cool market for the outfielder’s services.

“I think everyone is scared to death of his defense, his age,” Nightengale said. “And let’s be honest, when Justin Upton got traded to the Los Angeles Angels, he’s two years younger. He’s a better all-around player than Martinez. Martinez is a better hitter, but Upton is certainly a better all-around player.”

Arizona, meanwhile, can only hope the Red Sox are the ones fed up with Martinez and his agent’s demands, lowering the asking price.

Nightengale proposed the possibility that Boston moves on from Martinez in his latest column.

The Red Sox had trade discussions during the winter with the Cleveland Indians for Edwin Encarnacion, according to club officials with direct knowledge of the talks, but didn’t want to part with outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Maybe those talks are re-visited. Maybe GM Dave Dombrowski calls the Detroit Tigers and lets them know they are willing to take on at least half of the remaining $192 million in Miguel Cabrera’s contract.

The D-backs, like the Red Sox, don’t need to be desperate about the situation.

“They were going to win a Wild Card spot last year with or without him,” Nightengale added on Doug & Wolf. “Is Martinez going to make them a World Series team? Probably not. Hey, he had a fabulous, fabulous two months there with the Diamondbacks, but what are the odds he’s going to do that again.”

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