J.D. Martinez held his introductory press conference with the Red Sox on Monday. And like most other free-agent signings, he’s expressing excitement to play for perhaps the most passionate fanbase in baseball.
Curiously, he mentioned that teammate David Price told him nothing but good things about the fans. That’s despite Price being on record telling USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that Martinez will get booed at some point. But clearly, that won’t happen if Martinez hits home runs at the rate he’s been doing it in recent seasons.
When asked about what Price told him about Boston, Martinez denied that the two discussed anything about the intensity and scrutiny associated with playing in the market.
“We never really talked about that, exactly,” said Martinez. “We just talked about the fans and how exciting it is to play [in Boston]. David has always spoken highly of the Red Sox and the fanbase, and how fun it is to play there every day.”
Someone’s not being honest about whatever conversations took place between Price and Martinez. But that’s no big deal, as long as they both produce like they’re capable of producing.
The real concern with Martinez is whether he can stay healthy for a full season. Especially after the week-long holdup in the Red Sox finalizing his contract, which happened in order for the team to add language to protect themselves. When asked about the delay, Red Sox president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski didn’t get into details. But he explained a bit of why the signing took so long to complete.
“Any time you do something like this, you’re very thorough with all your conversations,” said Dombrowski. “Some of it, at this time of year, you’re in a spot where everybody’s not in one place with your physical. So J.D. did fly to Boston one time to be checked out there … and then it was a matter of us being able to be there to add some language to the contract.
Dombrowski added that the new language in the contract “was to protect all sides and come up with the right language, which isn’t always easily done.”
There’s still not much of an answer as to what exactly held up the physical, besides Martinez having to fly to Boston. That didn’t take a full week. But Nightengale reported on Monday that the holdup was over Martinez’s right foot, which he sprained before the start of the 2017 season. That certainly makes sense.
What we do know is that the contract now includes three potential opt-outs for Martinez, agent Scott Boras confirmed. Martinez can now opt out after any of years 2-4 of the contract. The Red Sox also have injury protections after the fourth and fifth years, if Martinez gets there.
Despite the injury concerns, Martinez said he’s healthy now and ready to go for the season.
If Martinez can indeed stay on the field, he should be a potent power source in the middle of the Red Sox lineup, where he will hit third or fourth. He should also be able to hit plenty of home runs at Fenway Park. We’ll see how it goes once he finally, mercifully, takes the field.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.