Rumor Central: Blue Jays in the mix for J.D. Martinez?

J.D. Martinez hit 45 homers in just 119 games last season in Detroit and Arizona. Joe Mahoney/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays could emerge as "a dark horse candidate" for free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez, suggests Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Rumor Central

The Blue Jays are not expected to bring back outfielder Jose Bautista and have yet to effectively replace the offensive production lost when designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Indians last winter.

Martinez would solve that problem, but ESPN's Jerry Crasnick recently reported that agent Scott Boras is seeking a deal in the $200 million range, which could put the 30-year-old outfielder out of the Blue Jays' price range.

The Blue Jays also are believed to be interested in free-agent outfielder Jay Bruce, who would come at a less expensive price tag than Martinez.

Martinez slashed .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs for the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017. He was red-hot following the trade to Arizona, batting .302 with 29 homers, 65 RBIs and a 1.107 OPS in 62 games.

The Diamondbacks are expected to make an effort to retain Martinez, who also has been linked to, among others, the Giants and Cardinals.

-- Doug Mittler