The wait is over.
After weeks that were seemingly devoid of news about this offseason’s biggest free agent slugger, the public found out on Monday that J.D. Martinez had signed with the odds-on favorite to land him, the Boston Red Sox. Martinez reportedly received a whopping five-year, $110 million deal that features an opt-out after the second and third years.
Martinez put up massive numbers in 2017 by batting .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs (third-best in baseball) between Detroit and Arizona. His league-leading .690 slugging percentage and his 1.066 OPS were major factors in the Diamondbacks’ first postseason birth since 2011.
Martinez will be a key presence in the Boston’s lineup next year, which helped guide the team to an AL-East title but struggled to produce power throughout the season. Although he is not a perennial All-Star and doesn’t quite boast the high-profile status of many of the free-agents of next winter, including Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, he has averaged 32 home runs from 2014-17 and has batted over .300 in three out of those four seasons.
By finalizing the move that everyone has been waiting for, the Red Sox have essentially wrapped up what appears to be an extremely effective offseason. The team also managed to re-sign Mitch Moreland, who provides decent hitting and solid defensive production at first base, as well as last year’s trade deadline acquisition Eduardo Nunez, who went on a tear during his 38 regular season games in Boston last year by batting .321/.353/.539 with eight home runs and 27 runs batted in.
Martinez’s injection of power into the lineup will hopefully also serve as a spark that inspires outfielder Mookie Betts to improve upon his somewhat disappointing 2017 season. While Betts played his usual Gold Glove defense throughout the year, his average dropped from .318 in 2016 to .264 in 2017 and he only hit 24 home runs compared to 31 the year before. Betts should be ready to take his game to a whole new level next year to match the high standards that Martinez will most likely set.
Interestingly enough, the initial offer that was reported between Martinez and his new ball club weeks ago was five years, $100 million — just $10 million shy of the current contract that was settled on. It seems as though Martinez’s attempts to negotiate for more money only helped him get a slight increase in his contract.
Regardless of this fact, Martinez is a powerful presence who will certainly help a Red Sox team that has been overshadowed by their rivals, the New York Yankees, over the past couple months.