The Red Sox begin a three-game set vs. the Diamondbacks on Friday, and it’ll mark J.D. Martinez’s first game back at Chase Field since the slugger’s brief stint with Arizona in 2017.
Martinez was traded from Detroit to Arizona in July of that year and promptly went on one of the most impressive tears in recent MLB history. In 62 games, he hit 29 home runs with 65 RBIs and a 1.107 OPS. Then, he hit the free-agent market.
We know where the story goes from there. The Red Sox sign Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract and their newly-acquired slugger becomes a key contributor to their 2018 World Series title. But according to Martinez, that story could have been written a lot differently. The 31-year-old says the Diamondbacks “easily” could have re-signed him.
“I don’t want really get into that (details of the negotiations),” Martinez said per AZ Central. “But it could have got done. I think so. Easily.
“I was willing to be flexible with them because I really did want to go back,” he added. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for both sides, just to go in there another year where I could demonstrate a full season [of elite production] while also give them what they need with their flexibility of a short-term deal where they’re not locked down forever.”
That offseason, the Diamondbacks were rumored to be the Red Sox’ only real competition in signing Martinez, who surprisingly stayed on the market until late February. Arizona reportedly offered Martinez a deal in the range of two years and $50 million.
Of course, things turned out OK for Martinez after inking his contract with Boston. He bashed 43 homers with a 1.031 OPS en route to a fourth-place MVP finish and a World Series trophy.