Signing J.D. Martinez to a long-term deal is on the Detroit Tigers' to-do list this offseason. However, it's not their No. 1 priority right now.
Tigers assistant general manager John Westhoff said Monday that the team plans to discuss a long-term deal with Martinez, but the club has yet to initiate talks.
“We are open to it, for sure,” Westhoff told MLive in the club's suite at the Gaylord Opryland hotel. “But our focus now is on helping the club through free agency.”
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Westhoff's comments echo the sentiments of Tigers GM Al Avila, who previously expressed interest in extending Martinez beyond 2017. Avila reiterated that point on Monday, saying “We'd like to do that.”
Martinez is entering his second season of arbitration, and is projected to earn $7.4 million in his next year according to MLBTradeRumors.com. That's a $4.4 million raise over his 2014 salary of $3 million.
While Martinez is under team control through 2017, the Tigers would be smart to lock him up this offseason so he doesn't leave for a big free-agent contract when he current deal expires.
“There will be time for (talks),” Westhoff told reporters. “Let's get through the winter meetings and get the club set before we tackle our arbitration-eligible players.”