The question is, can team owner Ken Kendrick afford to keep the slugger?
“He’s been a very competitive owner, a good owner in that way,” Boras, who recently began representing Martinez, told the Arizona Republic on Wednesday. “The great thing is it’s rare in free agency where you get a chance to see the player perform in your market and with your team. What a determined player. He’s diligent. He’s driven, no doubt.”
Martinez, 30, stands to cash in this offseason after having his most prolific season of his eight in the majors, and there are early indications Boras will seek a contract in the range of $200 million. Boras compared Martinez’s worth to Los Angeles Angels left fielder Justin Upton ($106 million over five years) and the New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes ($110 million over four).
“Do any of them hit 40-something home runs and hit .300?” Boras said. “Neither have hit 40 in a season. You have to look at performance and say, ‘Where is the performer who is comparable?’ And you go from there. I don’t believe any of those performers are in that place.”
Martinez, who was acquired from Detroit in mid-July, batted .302 with 29 home runs, 65 RBIs and a 1.107 OPS in 62 games for the D-backs. Add his numbers in his first 52 games of the season as a Tiger and he produced a season of .303 batting, 45 homers and 104 RBIs, with a WAR of 5.2.
“He’s a superstar talent,” Boras told the Republic. “He’s done things that few players have done.”
The Diamondbacks have a young core that fits nicely around a veteran like Martinez. His presence in the lineup alongside power-hitting first baseman and MVP finalist Paul Goldschmidt helped Arizona reach the postseason for the first time in six seasons.
Arizona also has a high earner in right-hander Zack Greinke, who was signed two offseasons ago to a six-year, $206.5 million deal. Greinke’s salary takes up more than a third of the team’s payroll.
Boras isn’t concerned with whether the D-backs can afford the likes of Martinez.
“You don’t sign Greinke and not sign this guy,” the agent said. “I mean, once you drop in the pool, you’re in the water. Once you’re in the water, it’s kind of hard to say you’re not wet. It sends a message to the fan base about being competitive — all the things we talk about as a player.
“Those are monumental decisions, I think appropriate decisions. The good news is everyone knows the investment. The talent is very worthy, and the personality and the leadership also goes with it, and they had a chance to review it up close and personal. You have all the information you need to make an informed decision, that’s for sure.”