About Time: J.D. Martinez is Officially a Member of the Boston Red Sox

Well, just like everyone was expecting before the offseason began, J.D. Martinez is officially a member of the Boston Red Sox as he was introduced at the Red Sox Spring training facility (Jet Blue Park) this morning.

Martinez, or “The King Kong of Slug” according to his agent Scott Boras, had to wait almost the entirety of the MLB offseason to strike a deal. The deal he reached with Boston was for 5 years $110 million with opt-outs after years two and three. The contract is also front- loaded, meaning Martinez is going to make a little more in the first two seasons of the deal.

The Red Sox could not have done a better job with this signing. Credit is due to Dave Dombrowski. Entering the offseason, Boras was reportedly looking to get his client a 7 year $200+ million dollar contract but Dombrowski played the waiting game and almost cut Boras’s expectation in half.

To top it all off, the deal will probably end up only being 2 years because you have to expect Martinez will opt-out. I mean Edwin Encarnacion got a 3 year $60 million contract when he was entering his age 34 season, where as if Martinez opts-out he will only be 32. At 32 years old Martinez would still make a ton of dough on the open market especially if he goes off in Boston for those two seasons and if the free agency period isn’t as slow as molasses like this year.

Now, contract talk aside Martinez is a huge addition for the Red Sox. After finishing 27th in the MLB in home runs Boston needed a power bat and got one. The urgency to add a slugger like Martinez was also multiplied by a billion once the Yankees (who finished first in the MLB in homers) added a guy in Giancarlo Stanton who can hit the ball 600 feet.

Martinez does add 45 home runs to the team but I think there is something even more important about his signing than that. Martinez is a threat. Last year in their first season without David Ortiz, the Red sox lineup did not have anyone scared. The guy who was supposed to step in the box and mash for them, Hanley Ramirez, would just end up swinging through fastballs until he looked like an idiot knocking his helmet off. But, with Martinez in the lineup, pitchers are going to have to try and pitch around him. That means to get outs, they are going to have to throw decent pitches to guys like Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and even Ramirez. Martinez is indirectly going to be giving most of the lineup better pitches to hit because no one on the mound wants to see J.D. take his trot around the bases.

I have no idea how you can be mad at this deal unless you are a fan of another American League team. The signing doesn’t put them over the top because the Houston Astros is so ridiculously talented but, it makes them a much better team. The only argument you can have against it is the potential issue with playing time but just like every year someone will get hurt for a little bit and everyone will get their at-bats. The Astros did a similar thing last year and would rotate Marwin Gonzalez, Evan Gattis, Yuri Gurriel, Jake Marisnick, and Brian McCann all between three spots; looks like it turned out well for them.

Overall, Martinez coming to Boston was well over due and it will be fun to see how much damage he can do to the Green Monster at Fenway Park this upcoming season.

-Jarrod Ribaudo

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