The long wait is over, Sox fans.
The Red Sox approached the offseason with a plan that was merely delayed by Scott Boras. It took time, caused fans’ hair to grey, but the deal is done.
With just days remaining before the beginning of Spring Training, they accomplished their power injection, by inking J.D. Martinez.
The deal was reported by Pedro Gomez of ESPN as a 5 year deal, worth $110 million – a modest deal for a player that put up mammoth numbers in 2017. Included is an opt out after 2 years, which allows his deal to be heavily front-loaded.
Martinez went on a prolific power surge last season after being acquired by the Diamondbacks, blasting 29 home runs in just 232 at-bats in the desert. Since becoming a full time player in 2014, the former 20th round pick of the Houston Astros has decimated pitching wherever he’s been, to the tune of a .574 slugging percentage over that time; one percentage point higher than that of Giancarlo Stanton over the same time period.
Martinez, a 30 year old Florida native, has owned Yankee pitching throughout his career, hitting .337 against New York; and we no longer have to worry about him damaging Boston, as he’s been just as deadly against the Sox, posting a Herculean OPS of 1.222.
This is the move Dombrowski needed to make to address the lack of thump and danger in the Sox lineup last year. Given the slugging outfielder’s mediocre fielding and below average range, it’ll be interesting to see where the Sox go from here. If he’s put in the outfield, Jackie Bradley will surely be moved. If they decide to DH him full time, Alex Cora will have a the delight of getting Hanley to play first base on a regular basis. A third option would be to move J.D. to first himself, and perhaps Ramirez and Bryce Brentz could split DH duties. Regardless of how the situation shakes out, this is a powerful and necessary addition to the ball club.
Martinez, who bats exclusively from the right side, brings to Boston a career .285 average with 152 home runs and 476 runs driven in.