BOSTON (CBS) — J.D. Martinez’s long wait is finally over, and the slugger can get back to doing what he does best.
Martinez was officially introduced by the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Florida on Monday morning, ending a week-long wait for both sides as they ironed out the details of his five-year, $110 million contract. It was an offseason of waiting for Martinez, so he’s pretty amped to join his new team on the field on Monday.
“It’s been a long process and I’m happy to put everything behind me and be here today, to just go and play baseball,” Martinez told reporters shortly after donning his new No. 28 jersey.
Martinez likened every night at Fenway Park to a Monday Night Football game. The 30-year-old brings some much-needed power to the Boston lineup, and manager Alex Cora said he’ll bat his new slugger third or fourth in the lineup. Martinez said he’ll play the outfield and DH for his new team, and he’s open and eager to learn the ways of a designated hitter.
“To me, it’s baseball. Just take it every game,” he said. “I’ve been playing since I was a kid and continue to do the same routine I’ve been doing, whether I’m playing DH or the outfield. Part of the deal coming in was knowing I’d play the outfield while DHing at times.”
“He’s versatile enough that we can make this work. I know we’re going to use him the right way and he’s going to contribute,” said Cora. “He’s not only a home run hitter, he’s a complete hitter.”
“I’m expecting, hopefully, to do a lot of damage,” Martinez added. “That’s the game plan coming in. As far as the Red Sox lineup goes, it’s a strong lineup, it’s a good lineup. I’ve been looking at them, checking them out, obviously playing against them in Detroit, there are guys with a lot of speed, guys who get on base, guys who really move around the bags and produce runs very quickly. I’m happy to be a part of that now.”
As for the delay over the last week, Red Sox president of baseball ops. Dave Dombrowski said Martinez traveled to Boston for part of his physical. A worrisome foot injury was reportedly the holdup, and Martinez’s contract includes three opt-out years — following the second, third and fourth years of the deal. There’s also protection for Boston if the foot causes Martinez to land on the disabled list later in the contract.
But Martinez sounded confident that his foot won’t cause him to miss time, saying he’s been healthy since May. He was never worried that the deal with Boston wouldn’t get done and his agent, Scott Boras, said the last week was simply working out clarity for both sides.
“We all wanted to execute an agreement that we all thought was in the best interest for J.D. and the Red Sox. Dave and I have known each other for a long time, and have gotten to know each other a lot better over the last five days. That says a lot. The idea, really, is clarity,” said Boras. “You have to go through every step and be very clear, so each of the parties understand the dynamics of what is clear medically and legally, and that process took its course. It wasn’t an adversarial process, it was a process of understanding.”
Now that everything has been signed on the dotted line, both the Red Sox and Martinez can focus on the 2018 season. He’ll take the field with his new teammates for some workouts later Monday morning, and Cora said we could see Martinez in a spring training lineup in the next few days.