So here we are, Spring Training already underway and the Boston Red Sox were ready to return their 93-win American League East Championship team for the 2018 season. The only difference is a younger manager with much more upside and a better relationship with his players in Alex Cora.
The rotation is still stacked with three horses at the front, a former All-Star in Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez who still has a ton of potential especially as a No. 5. You’re in business. Eduardo Nunez just re-signed last week to fill a utility role and sub for the recovering Dustin Pedroia. Dave Dombrowski hasn’t mortgaged the future in a hyper-reaction to Yankees loading up, and you’ll still field a playoff worthy roster.
Would it be nice to add a power bat to the middle of the order? Sure, but Martinez and Boras never really seemed to play ball with their lofty contract aspirations so you’ll go forward with what ya got. Then, on Presidents Day, it all comes together. Martinez and Boras finally realize they’re not going to get paid by anyone other than the Red Sox and the offer on the table is more than fair. Lets settle up the details, strike a deal and go play for a championship contender and be a force at Fenway Park for years to come. And you know what? That’s exactly what happened and boy is it freaking glorious.
The reported terms of the deal are that its a 5-year deal worth $110 million that is front-loaded for Martinez ($50M in ’18 & ’19) and includes an opt-out in 2020. If Martinez opts in, then the final three-years of the deal he will make $60M total. A fair, sound business move by both parties involved. Should this have been agreed to months ago? Sure, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk now, Martinez has been getting ready to play on his own accord and hasn’t missed any real workouts of substance to this point in time. Works out perfectly.
I’m not sure everyone realizes just how freaking good J.D. Martinez is. He’s one of only four players in all of baseball to have a .900 OPS with over a .300 batting average over the last four years. Oh yeah, and he hit 128 bombs over that span as well including a whopping 45 in 2017 so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, haters. Martinez isn’t a pure pull-hitter either so he will utilize the hitter-friendly dimensions of Fenway and spray the ball all over the yard. Short porch homer in right here, double to the gap there, smoked ball off the monster, home run in the bullpen… you get the picture.
This also allows Cora to go with more of a pure-platoon at first base between Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland to gain the upper hand in certain macthups while keeping Ramirez 2019 option from vesting keeping him under 497 plate appearance. Signing Martinez allows Boston to have flexibility in ’19 if they want to walk away from Hanley. Boston has their everyday DH, and now a loaded bench with guys that can come off of it and contribute in key spots.
J.D. Martinez just made the already legitimate playoff contender Boston Red Sox that much better and gives them a chance to stack up with the likes of Houston, New York and Cleveland in the American League. Game on, we’re in for one hell of a baseball season.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank