MLB Rumour Roundup: Martinez, Bruce seeking massive deals

As the baseball world continues to mourn the loss of Roy Halladay, yet another passing stuns as Red Sox prospect Daniel Flores passes away.

Free-agent outfielder Jay Bruce is seeking a five-year contract worth around $80 to $90 million, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

The 30-year-old Bruce made $13 million in 2017 and is coming off a six-year, $51-million deal. He began 2017 with the New York Mets but was traded to the Cleveland Indians in August, hitting .254/.324/.508 with 36 home runs and 101 RBI in 146 total games.

Bruce’s asking price is steep and it’ll be interesting to see if he manages to get a deal north of $80 million. Last winter’s free-agent market left several aging sluggers in unfavourable contractual positions, with many forced to accept deals at lower value and term than they were seeking.

The Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams that are reportedly expected to pursue Bruce.

Martinez looks to fetch $200M

Speaking of sluggers entering their 30s, J.D. Martinez appears to be looking for a deal in the neighbourhood of $200 million, reports Crasnick.

Martinez is undoubtedly the top hitter on the free-agent market. He hit .303/.376/.690 with 45 homers and 104 RBI with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017 and recently hired super agent Scott Boras to represent him.

Boras has already begun to publicly promote his client, telling azcentral.com that Martinez is better than other recent, free-agent outfielders Justin Upton (five-year, $106-million contract finalized this off-season) and Yoenis Cespedes (four-year, $110 million deal last off-season).

“Do any of them hit 40-something home runs and hit .300?” Boras said. “You have to look at performance and say, ‘Where is the performer who is comparable?’ And you go from there. I don’t believe any of those performers are in that place.

“It’s a very rare place. It’s a unique place. It’s something that we normally don’t get in the free-agent market. I’ve represented a lot of 30-year-old free agents. Jayson Werth, (Shin-Soo) Choo, (Jacoby) Ellsbury, Holliday, (Carlos) Beltran — all of these guys that are at this level, they’re really good players. None of them were in the 45 and .300 category.”

Marlins getting plenty of interest

The Miami Marlins are looking to shed payroll and as a result, have no shortage of league-wide interest in their players.

The latest speculation links the St. Louis Cardinals to Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, with Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports suggesting the two clubs fit well as trade partners. The Cardinals have several top pitching prospects that could entice teams.

Stanton, who hit 59 homers during a resurgent 2017 campaign, is owed $295 million over the next 10 years.

Fellow Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich are also said to be drawing interest from the Oakland Athletics, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The A’s are looking for an outfielder with several years of team control. Yelich, 25, is guaranteed $46.5 million over the next four years, while Ozuna, 26, made $3.5 million this past season and will be eligible for arbitration in 2018 and ’19, before becoming a free agent in 2020.