FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A four-month process that included twists, turns and patience ended just the way the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez always hoped it would.There was a sense of satisfaction on Monday morning, as Boston's new slugger tried on his No. 28 home white jersey at a news
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A four-month process that included twists, turns and patience ended just the way the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez always hoped it would.
There was a sense of satisfaction on Monday morning, as Boston's new slugger tried on his No. 28 home white jersey at a news conference to announce his five-year, $110 million contract.
The Red Sox have their new bopper in the middle of the order -- Martinez will bat third or fourth in the lineup, according to manager Alex Cora.
Martinez, who will split time at designated hitter and the outfield for the Red Sox, has his new team.
"It's been a long process, and I'm happy to put everything behind me and be here today and finally go out and just play baseball," said Martinez. "I'm excited for the task at hand. I know this is a historic franchise and for this organization, winning is No. 1 and bringing a championship back to Boston is the ultimate goal. And I'm happy to now be part of it."
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For president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, acquiring Martinez was the centerpiece of his offseason plan from the start. And even as negotiations stalled, the persistent executive never moved off his mark.
"All of our offseason work is done, as far as preparing people for our ballclub," said Dombrowski. "It's been a little bit different of a spring, where we have been dominated by conversations to bring people on board, first Eduardo [Nunez] and now J.D., so I'm absolutely thrilled to be in this spot."
The deal became official one week after the sides agreed to terms.
The official announcement was delayed by medical follow-ups related to Martinez's right foot, and there wound up being some adjusted contract language. One of the tweaks was that Martinez now has a third opt-out clause in the deal after the 2021 season. The original terms included two opt-outs.
In addition, according to agent Scott Boras, the Red Sox will receive financial relief over the last two years of the contract if Martinez spends at least 60 days on the disabled list in any one season due to his right foot or 120 days cumulatively.
Martinez flew to Boston last week to see one of the Red Sox's doctors. By all accounts, he is fully healthy. But with such a lucrative investment, no stone was left unturned.
The language that was added to the contact was to provide protection for both sides in the event of an injury later in the deal.
"I'm healthy," Martinez said. "I've been healthy since last -- when was it? -- May that I got back from the disabled list. I've been healthy. I've felt great. I've been ready to go since I've gotten back."
And the Red Sox know that Martinez is also ready to mash.
"I'm expecting, hopefully, to do a lot of damage," Martinez said. "That's the game plan coming in. But as far as the Red Sox's lineup goes, it's a strong lineup, it's a good lineup; I've been looking at them, checking them out, studying them, obviously playing against them with Detroit. They've got guys with a lot of speed, guys who get on base, guys that can really move around the bags and produce runs very quickly, and I'm happy to be part of that now."
Red Sox ace Chris Sale, who was taken deep by his new teammate three times in 38 at-bats, is one of many Boston pitchers pleased to no longer have to face Martinez.
"He hits for power and average," said Sale. "Usually one is compromised for the other, but he's got good hands, he can get to the pitch inside, shoot you the other way and he's strong. That's a tough combination to face. Well, I think he's going to wear out that wall, as most players do."
Martinez, 30, set career highs with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs in 119 games split between the Tigers and D-backs last season. He batted .303/.376/.690 over 489 plate appearances in what was the best offensive season of his career.
Due to those monster numbers, Boras never had a doubt Martinez would get a substantial contract, even if it took longer than everyone hoped.
"When you have a .690 slugging. … We made jokes about J.D. Kong and the Monster are going to be great friends," said Boras. "You're talking about 50 points higher than the game's greatest sluggers. So when you see that kind of statistical measurement that's so outside the norm, and you have a hitter who is hitting .300.
Martinez's .574 slugging percentage since the start of 2014 ranks second in MLB behind only Trout (.579).
"This is a kid who's passionate about the game," Cora said. "He really cares about baseball, he enjoys it. … I think it's a great fit, obviously. We got another great athlete in our ballclub -- versatile, too -- and he's going to help us win ballgames."
Selected in the 20th round in 2009 by the Astros, Martinez has hit .285/.342/.514 with 152 home runs and 476 RBIs across seven Major League seasons.
It was Dombrowski who signed Martinez with the Tigers, a couple of days after the Astros released him.
The reunion is one that both men hope will result in a championship.
After getting knocked out in the American League Division Series the past two postseasons, the Red Sox figure to have some swagger with their new weapon in tow.
"It is the big leagues and anybody can beat you," said Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez. "We have to go out on the field and step on everybody's neck."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.