LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Red Sox need a big bat. Dave Dombrowski is the president of baseball operations.
Naturally, they’re going to focus on the best and likely most expensive hitter in free agency.
The Red Sox are 90-10 in their pursuit of J.D. Martinez compared to other(s), a baseball source said Tuesday. That doesn’t mean a deal is 90 percent done, or that a deal is 90 percent likely to happen — it's a matter of whom they're pursuing.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Tuesday that the Red Sox were set to meet with Martinez face to face at the winter meetings. Dombrowski declined comment when asked whether Sox would meet with Martinez.
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Dombrowski said generally Tuesday that he knows who he wants at this point.
“Sure we know,” Dombrowski said. “I mean, there’s at least a pool of players that we want. I mean, I have the list in my pocket.”
“And there’s a variety of guys that would fit that description. But yeah, we know who we want. But you’re in touch with two things, the trade market and also the free agency market. You don’t control those by yourself. … There’s a lot of conversations that are taking place right now around the industry.”
The Sox boss also said he’s in a situation where the team wants to move faster than the (non-specific) player and agent.
“For sure. I mean, I’d rather be done right now,” Dombrowski said. “I’d be sitting here making a couple of announcements or an announcement or whatever it may be, and you know that you don’t unilaterally control that. And it’s not the first time nor will it be the last time in my career that that ends up taking place. Would much rather get things done quicker. But sometimes doesn’t happen.”
Martinez is represented by Scott Boras, who can wait out top-dollar deals with the best of them.
Overall, the market was slowed by Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton.
“I'm not sure [deals are] going to be closed as much here because I think some clubs are still weighing a lot of different options on what they're doing,” Dombrowski said. “Maybe they'll speed it up, because they know we're all together here for another day and a half. So maybe that will change. But right now there's a lot of exploration.”
Martinez, an outfielder, could theoretically move to DH. Dombrowski said he has “not really” gotten the sense that potential pursuits are opposed to going to DH.
One scenario if the Red Sox signed Martinez: play Martinez in left field, trade Jackie Bradley Jr., and put Rafael Devers at first base. That opens up third base for Michael Chavis down the line.
Dombrowski said any trade where the Sox subtract from the major league roster likely would not be done for the benefit of only the farm system.
“I don't think we would, but I wouldn't rule it out,” Dombrowski said. “We’re not planning on doing that because we're trying to win."
There’s added value in pursuing Martinez because he was traded midseason in 2017. That means it was impossible for his last team, the Diamondbacks, to give him a qualifying offer, so the Sox wouldn’t have to forfeit a draft pick to sign him.
It’s important to note that although Martinez will be expensive where ever he goes, there’s no way he gets a deal as large as Giancarlo Stanton’s.