They waited, and waited, and waited; and then they waited some more.
But in the end, it all worked out for the Boston Red Sox, as free agent slugger JD Martinez officially finalized his long-awaited contract with the team after months of negotiations. And he’s WICKED excited about it:
— J.D. Martinez (@JDMartinez14) February 27, 2018
Indeed, Martinez was- at long last- introduced as a Red Sock/Sox (who knows?) in a press conference on Monday morning, a full week after it was reported that the two sides had agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal; the finalization of the deal was delayed due to slight concerns regarding a recent foot injury.
“It’s healed back to normal,” said agent Scott Boras regarding Martinez’s foot. “The question is, what if that has any impact in the long term? And (the two sides) kind of agreed that it’s not much of an issue, but what if it’s an issue in the latter part of the contract?”
Martinez made his season debut on May 12 of last year as he recovered from his injury, and came back to hit 45 home runs in 432 at-bats split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, with a four-home run game mixed in. So rest assured, Martinez is fine.
According to multiple reports, Martinez can opt out of his deal after years two, three, and four, giving the Red Sox some financial leeway, putting perspective into Boras’s comments regarding the years to come if something does indeed come up with Martinez’s foot (or something else).
J.D. Martinez contract breakdown.
Year 1: $23.75 m
Year 2: $23.75 m
Buyout if he opts out after Year 2: $2.5 million, bringing total to $50 m if he leaves
Year 3: $23.75 m
(No buyout if opts out after Y3)
Year 4: $19.35 m
Year 5: $19.35 m
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 21, 2018
Make no mistake about it, Boston needed to sign Martinez. He’s the thunderous bat in the middle of the lineup that the Red Sox lacked all of last season, as they finished last in the American League in home runs for the first time since 1993, only powering 168 balls out of the yard in their first year without David Ortiz since 2002.
In a way, Martinez is the new Big Papi.
The Red Sox already have a great pitching staff. And before signing Martinez, their lineup wasn’t that bad, if you really think about it. Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all had down-years at the plate; but with Martinez inserted into the clean-up hole, he’s expected to make everyone around him better. Once again, he’s the new Ortiz, which should only produce a positive ripple effect to everyone throughout the lineup. And remember- Hanley wasn’t fully healthy last year. Now he is (he’s been following the TB12 method!), and he gets to hit in front of JD (most likely), so don’t be surprised if he puts up a monster year.
With the signing of Martinez, the Red Sox are right back in contention with the New York Yankees as the AL East favorites. After New York acquired Giancarlo Stanton back in December, everyone seemed to be writing Boston off; but Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski finally got it done, even though it took longer than anticipated.
“It’s been a time period where we’ve had a lot of discussions, a lot of talk,” said Dombrowski. “But it’s come to a fruitful end, and we’re absolutely thrilled.”
Martinez will wear #28 for the Red Sox this season, and he has his eyes set on a title.
“It’s been a long process and I’m happy to put it behind me and go play baseball,” said Martinez. “Winning is No. 1, and bringing a championship back to Boston is the ultimate goal. I’m happy to be a part of it.
“I’m expected to hopefully do a lot of damage.”
At Fenway Park, which is perfect for a right-handed slugger like you, JD? That’s what everyone expects!
(For further insight into Martinez’s deal and what it means for the Red Sox, check out Matthew Morris’s recent article on Home Run Daily, one of our partner sites!)