After months of back and forth, speculation, and seemingly-endless waiting, the Red Sox and JD Martinez have finally reached a deal.
Martinez had a strong 2017, playing for both the Tigers and Diamondbacks. He batted .303 and hit 45 homers in 119 games, 29 of them in just 62 games with Arizona. His production will ideally drastically improve a lackluster young Red Sox lineup that saw Mookie Betts leading the team with just 24 home runs last season. The Red Sox finished dead last in the American League in that category, and were eliminated from the ALDS for the second straight year.
The Red Sox were looking at Martinez and Eric Hosmer to fill the big bat void left by David Ortiz, but decided to pass on Hosmer in favor of a much-cheaper Mitch Moreland. Hosmer signed a ludicrous 8-year contract with the Padres this weekend. As recently as last week, Martinez could be heard voicing his frustrations about the ‘inflexibility’ of the Red Sox in their negotiations, and was open about being willing to hold out for more money through the start of Spring Training. It seems as though Martinez’s bravado finally wore off, and he didn’t want to be one of the dozens of free agents still unemployed, watching Spring Training from the sidelines.
Martinez and super-agent Scott Boras originally sought a 7-year deal valued in the $210 million range and it took them a while to realize that not only would that never happen for the slugger, but that the Red Sox were the only team offering anywhere near the $100+ million range.
Martinez will make $110 million over the next five years, $22 million per year. It’s not the $30M/year he was hoping for, but it’s still probably a lot more than he deserves. The Red Sox’s willingness to wait out JD Martinez’s stalemate shows a patience that’s unexpected from a franchise known for giving out luxurious and ridiculous long-term contracts to free agents. I figured that they’d cave to his demands sooner or later and up their bid by at least a couple million, but slow and steady appears to have won the race for Boston. Now, of course, all that’s left to do is see how Martinez actually performs, lest anyone forget after this exhausting off-season that we do have a full season of actual baseball games ahead of us.