Dave Dombrowski Is Up To His Old Tricks With Scott Boras, Says He's Comfortable Going Into Spring Training With The Team As It's Currently Assembled

Texas Rangers v Boston Red Sox

Dave, you ol’ dog, you! In case you missed it, the last update on JD Martinez is that he’s willing to wait until spring training for a team to guarantee him a sixth year. The Red Sox have made him a five-year offer that’s somewhere between $120 and $150 million. One would easily be able to speculate that Boston’s offer is closer to the $150 million end of the spectrum, given that Martinez wants to be an outfielder and the Red Sox won’t have a full-time outfield position to offer him. As a result, he’ll get paid extra in order to entice him to come to a less preferable situation.

Regardless, I’d say it’s safe to assume that Boston’s five-year offer is the most lucrative of the five-year offers that Martinez has in hand. If no team is willing to go six years, then I think it’s also fair to assume that Boston’s offer will stand as the best one, at least in terms of guaranteed years and dollars. Again, let me be perfectly clear that this is all just an educated guess.

But with all of that logic in mind, it would seem as though Dave Dombrowski is thinking the same way, as in, “We made you the best offer. I know we made you the best offer, and we’re not going to bid against ourselves, so we’ll just be over here until you’re ready to accept our offer, which, again, is the best one that you have.” As I’ve written before, it’s always possible that some random team could swoop in with a six-year offer and sign Martinez out from under the Red Sox. But in that scenario, I’d be fine with it. Draw the line at five years — take it or leave it.

And for all the Red Sox fans who are bugging out because Dombrowski said that he’d be comfortable with going into spring training with the roster as it’s currently assembled — you know, the same roster that managed just one win in the postseason last October — this interview is all just a cat and mouse game with Scott Boras. The intention here is to make Boras feel like the best offer that he has in hand could come off the table at any moment, because Dombrowski is content with his current setup. It could also put an element of pressure on Martinez to hurry up and make a decision. But obviously if Dombrowski were truly happy with the Red Sox as they are currently assembled, then he wouldn’t be trying to sign Martinez right now. Advantage: Boras.

I do agree with Dombrowski’s reasoning, though. There are plenty of guys who are in a position to have better seasons in 2018 than they did in 2017 — Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi (not that Devers and Benintendi had bad years, but I think they’ll continue to get better), and David Price to name a few.

I also just think that it doesn’t send the best message to your fan base to trot out the same exact roster as the year before when that group was so disappointing in the playoffs. You, as the president of baseball operations, can believe in this group all you want. But if the fans don’t believe in them, then you’re going to run into some problems with the owners, who care greatly about ticket sales, attendance and TV ratings.

The Red Sox need a big bat in the middle of their order, and while they’d love for that bat to be JD Martinez, they have also made it abundantly clear that they’re not going to let Boras bully them into spending more dollars or committing more years than they actually have to. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good that they’re refusing to outbid themselves, but it’ll very much be a bad thing if the Red Sox go into 2018 with the same exact roster as last year, expecting different results from what they achieved in 2017.