Detroit Tigers: J.D. Martinez Negotiations Update
Is there anything not to like about J.D. Martinez? The 28-year-old right fielder spoke to the press about his future with the team and his feelings about Justin Upton. He made it crystal clear that he only wants to play for the Detroit Tigers. During the interview, it is easy to see that Martinez is dedicated to his team and his craft. He is also extremely grateful that the Tigers gave him the chance they did in 2014.
The soft-spoken power hitter is currently in arbitration with the Tigers. The team has offered a $6 million contract, but Martinez wants $8 million. He should sign for about $7.5 million. He is under team control for two more years, but his success in 2014 and 2015 could make him a hot commodity when he reaches free agency status in two years. The Tigers know this and the recognize that he is an asset to the team.
It sounds like the Tigers could lock him into a long-term contract with ease. In the interview, Martinez said: “This team gave me an opportunity, and I would love to stay here as long as I can — hopefully, finish my career next to Miggy.”
While Martinez and the Tigers were comparing figures, his new teammate Justin Upton received an immense deal worth $22 million annually for six years. When asked if he had any problems with the deal, Martinez commented on how excited he was to have Upton on the team and that he has no hard feelings towards the left fielder. Martinez even spoke about how he enjoyed watching Upton play in previous seasons.
It is easy to see why Martinez is such a favorite with fans and with his teammates. His easy-going, friendly demeanor is so genuine. It is apparent in every interview, in the dugout, and when he interacts with fans.
The Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan began Thursday and runs through TigerFest on Saturday. It is highly unlikely that Martinez and the Tigers will come to any agreements during this barnburner of an event. If Martinez and the Tigers do not come to an agreement before the season starts, Martinez commented that he would prefer to focus on the season rather than contract negotiations. In true team-player fashion, Martinez was able to turn the conversation to Mike Ilitch. Martinez commented winning a championship for Mr. Ilitch rather than focusing on contracts and negotiations.
Of course, professional baseball players are taught how to interact with the media. But, there is something about J.D. Martinez that is so much nicer than the average player. Yes, he is in contract negotiations so he is not going to create controversy; but, he does not seem like the guy who would do that at any point of his career. He seems like the kind of baseball player that any team would be honored to have, for his abilities and his attitude. He is a face that the Tigers could easily rely on to bring fans to Comerica Park.
Since this is Martinez’s first time negotiating a contract, he has asked for advice from teammates like Miguel Cabrera. Martinez did not comment on the advice he received, but he decided to leave the negotiations to his agent so he can focus on his baseball skills. Al Avila commented on Martinez and the contract situation: “I hope for the best. We love J.D. As you know, I have a good history with him and his family. I think he is an important part of the team.
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If the Tigers and Martinez cannot come to an agreement by February, they go into negotiations with an arbitrator. Hopefully, they can fulfill his wishes to play with Miggy for a long time.