The 2017-2018 offseason is here for the Minnesota Twins. Who could the Twins be targeting in the free agent market to improve their lineup?
Now that the Minnesota Twins have entered the offseason, they are looking to improve the roster through trades and through free agent signings. In this series, we’re going to examine individual players that the Minnesota Twins could have interest in this offseason through free agency.
We will not have any specific order to which player we highlight in this series, but we will look at each player’s past history, why he would be a good fit for the Minnesota Twins, and, last, the sort of contract likely to be required to sign the player.
Next up in the series is likely the most coveted power-bat on the free agent market this offseason…
J.D. Martinez, OF
J.D. Martinez was originally drafted by the Twins in the 2006 draft but chose not to sign and was later drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2009 draft. Martinez hasn’t always performed as the slugger we know him as today and was released from the Astros allowing the Detroit Tigers to pick him up. Since 2014 when Martinez joined the Tigers he has slashed .300/.362/.574 with 124 doubles and 128 home runs. That is a 32 home runs a year average.
Martinez began 2017 missing time with a foot sprain. When he did get on the field he continued the hitting ways we have become accustomed to from him. Leading up to the trade deadline, Martinez hit .305/.388/.630 with 16 home runs and a 1.018 OPS. As the Tigers fell further out of contention and looked to kickstart their rebuild, Martinez became one of the most coveted bats on the trade market.
The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired the outfielder in exchange for three prospects and were not disappointed in their investment. Martinez finished out the season with the Diamondbacks slashing .302/.366/.741 with 29 home runs and a 1.107 OPS. That put his season totals at .303/.376/.690, 45 home runs, and a 1.066 OPS.
Those numbers adequately build the case for why Martinez is the most sought-after bat next to a potential trade of Giancarlo Stanton.
How he would fit
I dare you to call up a GM and say, “I have a guy who hits for average and power to the tune of 30-plus home runs every season and just turned in an OPS over 1.000. Can you find a spot for him on your team?” Of course, every team would find a spot for that sort of production on their roster.
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It became pretty clear this past season that the Twins really could really use a right-handed power bat to platoon with Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, and Joe Mauer against lefties. In a scenario where the Twins sign Martinez, he is not going to become the platoon to one of those three guys. He is a starter and will start in right field for someone.
If the Twins were to sign Martinez it would likely signal that Kepler or Rosario is heading out of town in some sort of trade. A scenario that isn’t too far fetched. If the Twins wanted to try and keep the two young outfielders they could try and convince Martinez that he is going to become a DH and play some days in the outfield. Allowing the Twins to continue to use Kepler and Rosario in what would be a better defensive outfield than one with Martinez in it. With Miguel Sano potentially needing the DH spot as he recovers from leg surgery it would create some interesting lineup gymnastics.
There is no question that Martinez is going to get paid this offseason. He has certainly earned himself some money after putting up numbers that are pretty similar to what former teammate Miguel Cabrera had for years.
After realizing that Martinez is really putting up numbers similar to Cabrera and Stanton, MLB Trade Rumors‘ projection of 6 years and $150 million sounds about right. Martinez has earned the right to demand a contract in the neighborhood of $25 million a year. Teams could always try and go for fewer years, but with a bat like his, Martinez will likely get what he asks for.
Should the Twins do it?
Ultimately this is the question we are wanting an answer to right? As we explored earlier, in a vacuum every team should try to acquire a player like Martinez. His bat transforms any teams lineup. Life, unfortunately, doesn’t operate in a vacuum. While Martinez would help fill a Twins hole, his price tag likely disqualifies him to be the one who fills that hole. Martinez type money is best spent by the Twins on pitching since they have two capable corner outfielders who really only need help when facing left-handers.