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Are the Red Sox letting J.D. Martinez slip through their fingers?

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Signing one of the offseason’s top free agents should really not be this hard.

National League Wild Card Game Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images

The Red Sox had J.D. Martinez in their sights from the beginning of the offseason, and seemingly could have signed him before Winter Meetings if they had been willing to negotiate fairly or Martinez was asking less from the start.

But as the offseason has unfolded, it’s become apparent that things were never going to be that easy — no matter whose side is more at fault here. Last we checked in, the Red Sox were offering about $125 million to Martinez, but that is reportedly closer to $100 million now and regardless of what types of offers are being presented this offseason, that offer is dangerously close to “downright insulting” instead of just a team haggling to save a few bucks.

Even though Boston is the “favorite” from the public reports so far, their reluctance to just sign him already and the Diamondbacks continuing to make their case could change that in the flash. As Jon Heyman reports at FanRag, Arizona is getting “creative” in their methods to get Martinez, whatever that means.

On paper there are obvious things that they can use in their sales pitch like Martinez getting to play in the outfield and already being comfortable in their organization, but that’s not really getting creative — that’s just stating the obvious. So the “creativity” part isn’t entirely clear, but it does show that the Diamondbacks aren’t just sitting back and letting the Red Sox pay pennies on the dollar for Martinez and get him without some competition.

Alex Speier of The Boston Globe is indicating that the Sox are worried about bidding against themselves in the hunt for Martinez, which is why they are keeping their offers lower than expected and what Martinez is hoping for right now.

But you’re not really bidding against yourself if there are other competitors out there (and more joining the fray every day, like the Yankees) and you are already offering a number that appears to be below your ideal output from the start. Add to that the fact that Boston’s backup options aren’t on the same tier as Martinez, and they’re starting to look more stupid than savvy in this situation.

Which is fine from the Diamondbacks’ perspective, surely. And any other team who looks at the Red Sox undermining their own efforts to sign a top free agent and sees a great opportunity to capitalize off it.