Free Agency: Positive Takeaways to not signing J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez had one of the most electrifying performances we had ever seen in the second half of the 2017 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

J.D. Martinez, who was a rental for the D-Backs 2017 postseason run, was eligible for free agency this offseason. Martinez signed with the Boston Red Sox for a 5-year contract for $110 million. If you are a disappointed D-Backs fan, here are a few potential positive takeaways to J.D. Martinez leaving.

Age

The newest Red Sox slugger turned 30 years old on August 21st of 2017. Martinez is in the prime of his career right now and hit .303/.376/.690 with 45 homers and 104 RBI’s in the 2017 season.

But one question to ask is, could Martinez have peaked in his short time at Chase Field? One way to estimate this is to look at other sluggers’ stats from the age of 30 and on.

Typically after the age of 30, an MLB position player’s WAR will steadily decrease for the remainder of their career.

Why does this matter? Martinez, in theory, can only get worse after signing with the Red Sox. With Martinez being valued at $110 million by the Boston Red Sox, that high-level investment could be very risky for a team such as the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Of course, you can’t take the numbers too literally. We have seen plenty of sluggers put up big time number past the age of 30. Examples include Albert Pujols, Jim Thome, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and many others, but even Albert Pujols has hit a wall in the recent years.

Money

As previously mentioned, Martinez signed with Boston for $110 million dollars, which is no big deal for a club like Boston. But for the Arizona Diamondbacks, it is a lot riskier to dish out that kind of money.

Diamondbacks fans need to know what would have had to happen for the D-Backs to have kept J.D. Martinez. Keep in mind they still owe Zack Greinke $135.5 million, Yasmany Tomas $46 million, and will need to renew Paul Goldschmidt’s contract in 2020 (assuming the Diamondbacks pick his $14.5 million team option for the 2019 season).

These are a few scenarios that would have needed to happen for the Diamondbacks to afford J.D. Martinez:

Trade Greinke, Trade Tomas

The snakes trade away their Ace, Zack Greinke, and try to trade an unwanted Tomas to a team who is willing to eat up his horrible contract. This way they would have had a combined $181.5 million to dish out to Goldschmidt and Martinez. The D-Backs could’ve gotten away with just trading Greinke, but getting rid of Tomas too would’ve almost guaranteed the signing.

Keep Greinke, Goldy, and Martinez for Two Years

They could have signed Martinez and kept all three critical pieces until 2020 when it is time to resign Goldschmidt. The D-Backs would then need to trade either 33-year-old Martinez or 36-year-old Greinke in the year 2020 to be able to afford Goldschmidt.

But by this time, the Diamondbacks would have had a handful of other players who need new contracts too (A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings, and Jake Lamb).

Keep Greinke, Sign Martinez, Let Goldy Go

This is unthinkable for Diamondbacks fans. Goldy is the most prominent face of the Arizona franchise has had since Luis Gonzalez and just letting him leave in free agency would be heartbreaking.

Conclusion

The Arizona Diamondbacks would have had to give up a few significant players to be able to obtain Martinez long-term. With AJ Pollock and Patrick Corbin coming to free agency this upcoming winter, it made sense to go another direction in the outfield.

If you can remember, the Diamondbacks were a playoff caliber team before the acquisition of J.D. Martinez. They had a lot of breakout stars in their rotation with Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, and Zack Godley. They still have plenty of pop in the lineup with Goldschmidt, Lamb, Pollock, Peralta, and the newly acquired slugger Steven Souza Jr.

It was heartbreaking for Diamondbacks fans to lose J.D. Martinez, but it’s not the end of the world. The Dbacks still have a nice mix of experienced veterans and young, exciting talent on the roster.

 

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