J.D. Martinez: Current state of free agency is 'embarrassing'
Martinez, who signed with the Red Sox last year on Feb. 26, is unsettled by what the free-agent market has become and believes the business side of baseball is broken.
"One-hundred percent," Martinez told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com when asked if he knew this offseason would turn out similarly to last year. "I knew it was. Why wouldn't it? They got away with it last year, why wouldn't they do it again? What's going to happen? Nothing. It's embarrassing for baseball, it really is."
"They say, 'The market is down, the market is changing.' The market is higher than it's ever been. People are making more money than ever, and they're trying to suppress it. It's more of a race towards the bottom now than a race towards the top. You can go right now through everyone's lineup and you already know who's going to be in the playoffs. What's the fun in that? We might as well just fast-forward to the end of the season."
As was the case in 2018 when Martinez was one of the countless players available, there are still a number of high-profile names waiting to be signed. Among them are All-Stars Bryce Harper, Craig Kimbrel, and Dallas Keuchel.
"There aren't too many Mookie Betts, Mike Trouts, or Bryce Harpers out there to be grabbed. Those players only come around once every 10 years," he said.
Martinez said he began to notice faults in the free-agent process when former teammate Justin Upton didn't sign with the Detroit Tigers until mid-January 2016.
The 31-year-old added that losing in baseball is "incentivized now" and that players can't do anything but get their "ducks aligned for 2021" when the players' association can discuss a new collective bargaining agreement with the league.
"We have to switch it up and incentivize these teams to win because now you don't know. Now you have teams going out there and making a run for it because if they win a certain amount of games, they might get an extra pick, you know? Switch it up on them. It's something we're going to have to do," he said.
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