On Monday, the 2017 MLB GM meetings got underway at Orlando’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. While things are expected to pick up during the upcoming winter meetings in December, this week’s four-day event has led to its fair share of major moves. After all, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was traded from San Diego to Boston the day after the session concluded in 2015.
With countless baseball-operations executives and agents also in attendance, the trade chatter will certainly be buzzing. And Dave Dombrowski is anticipated to be right in the thick of it. Here’s a look at whom he and the Sox are reported to be after this year:
Conducted by ESPN, a recent poll of baseball insiders projects that the Red Sox are most likely to sign free agent J.D. Martinez this offseason. Boston received 23 out of the 40 eligible votes.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Martinez is seeking a deal in the $200-million range, but an anonymous GM predicts “he’ll likely end up in the $140-million range over six years.” Because the 30-year-old is not a qualified free agent, the Red Sox would be able to both sign the outfielder and maintain their draft picks and international signing bonus pool money.
Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras, is one of the dozens present at the GM meetings, which could give Dombrowksi a prime opportunity to lay the foundation for a potential deal. The addition of Martinez could certainly help solve the Red Sox’ lack of power, as the righty hit 45 homers and batted in 104 runs last season with the Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers.
Prior to the GM meetings, the Red Sox were reportedly one of four teams to have preliminary communication with the Marlins regarding their right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the conversation is expected to pick up in Orlando this week.
The Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer also reported on Saturday that the Marlins’ discussions with the Boston “may be heating up” and that the city is “definitely in play” as a potential destination.
As the regular-season home run leader, Stanton is likely to be a hot commodity this offseason. But the 28-year-old carries a hefty price tag, as he’s coming off just his third season in a 13-year, $325 million contract. Shelling out $25 million per year may sound steep, but Dombrowski has voiced that he wants to bring in a big bat.
“I didn’t supply the players that would give us enough runs [in 2017],” he said, via ESPN’s Scott Lauber. “I think we do need that. That’s part of our offseason goal.”
Should the Red Sox trade for Stanton, he will likely join the team as a designated hitter. According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Dombrowski plans to only add reserves to the outfield. Browne reports that Dombrowski expects his trio of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. to continue their “outstanding” defensive production as well as “hit enough” next season.
“We’re not actively looking to trade them because they’re our starting outfield, and we’re happy with them,” he said.
Through five seasons, Shohei Otani boasts not only a .286 career batting average but also a 2.52 ERA. A dual threat on the mound and in the outfield, the 23-year-old confirmed on Saturday that he is interested in leaving Japan to play in the MLB. He is currently a member of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League.
“I want to go to an environment where I can continue to get better,” he said during a news conference in Tokyo. “I felt the same way when I graduated from high school. And it is my strongest reason for wanting to go now.”
Although the Yankees have been scouting Otani since he was a teenager, the Red Sox are reportedly also in the mix. In September, the team even sent a scout to watch the multitalented player in action.
However, as is the case with Stanton, money once again becomes an issue when locking down Otani. In order to acquire the Japanese star, the Red Sox would first need to offer $20 million once his current club announces that he is up for posting. Boston is reportedly among one of the teams that are able to do so, but the team would still need to win a signing bonus bidding war to secure him.
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich, the Red Sox met with reps for free agent Logan Morrison on Monday. Morrison, who is coming off his eighth season in the league, most recently played first base for the Tampa Bay Rays.
He definitely has the ability to contribute offensively, having hit 38 homers and notched 85 RBI last season. As for fielding, Morrison’s history indicates consistency despite a career-high eight errors last season. Boston is one of several teams interested in scoping out a potential first baseman, per Heyman.
Angels, phillies and cardinals are 3 more teams considering 1B options. Also tex, colo, clev, bos, kc, sea.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 13, 2017
Another first baseman, Eric Hosmer is also reported to be on the Red Sox’ radar. Unlike Martinez, Hosmer is currently a qualified free agent — meaning that Boston would have to give up their second-highest draft pick and have their international signing bonus pool reduced by half a million dollars in order to sign him.
Like Martinez, however, Hosmer is one of Boras’s clients — meaning that Dombrowski will have the same opportunity to court the agent in bringing his player to Boston. Last season with the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer hit 25 homers and batted in 94 runs. His batting average of .318 was also a touch better than that of Martinez (.302) and Stanton (.281).