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Red Sox agree to contract with J.D. Martinez

It has finally happened

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long, painful offseason as the Red Sox have been playing chicken with their top target for the duration of the winter. Frankly, we’ve all been having the exact same conversation and debate for the last few months and it has been exhausting for everyone. Well, the wait is finally over and the inevitable has finally happened. The Red Sox have agreed to terms with J.D. Martinez.

This has seemed like the match made in heaven since the Red Sox were eliminated from postseason play last October. This is a team that, while very good in 2017, clearly lacked an impact bat in the middle of the lineup and just some power in general. It was, and still is, fair to expect bounce-back performances from almost the entire lineup of returning players, but Martinez adds a totally new element to this group. Basically, this team would have been fine and a playoff contender without Martinez, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have added him.

To say Martinez is a good hitter for the middle of the order would be an understatement. After starting his career as a no-name backup in Houston, he made his way to Detroit and pushed into the starting lineup during the 2014 season. Since that point, he has been one of the very best hitters in baseball. Since the start of that 2014 season, Martinez has hit .300/.362/.574 for a 148 wRC+, tied with Bryce Harper for the fourth-highest mark over that time. Only Mike Trout, Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton have been better by wRC+.

Entering his age-30 season, Martinez almost surely will come to Boston as primarily a designated hitter. He’ll likely get some playing time in left field when other outfielders need rest, but his defense is subpar to say the least. His presence will also have an effect on Hanley Ramirez, who suddenly becomes essentially a platoon player with Mitch Moreland. There are tons of ripple effects from this bombshell of a move in terms of roster, playing time and payroll implications, and we’ll get to those in the coming days.

Of course, we’ll also update you on the details of the contact when that information becomes available. For now, though, the Red Sox signed one of the very best hitters in all of baseball and in this writer’s opinion have surpassed the Yankees as favorites in the American League East. Our long nightmare is over, and J.D. Martinez is a member of the Boston Red Sox. Let’s celebrate.

Update: Martinez will get $110 million over five years. He also has an opt-out after the second year, and the contract is front-loaded. I have the Red Sox currently sitting with a payroll of $236 million in terms of luxury tax calculations.