For as long as it took J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox to come to an agreement after a winter spent negotiating, it was only right that it's took ages for the deal to become official. . On Monday, the Red Sox finally introduced Martinez to Boston.
The biggest revelation from the press conference was that Martinez's deal includes three opt-outs instead of the previously reported two:
Boras said Martinez’s deal has three opt outs; following second, third and fourth year.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 26, 2018
The expectation is that Martinez will exercise one of those opt-outs. Which one? It mostly depends on if he suffers through a poor or injury-ravaged second season. If he doesn't. then it would make sense for him to dip his toes back into the free-agent market, provided it's more lively than it was this winter. That Martinez has three options on the table all but guarantees he's not going to spend the full five years in Boston.
The other big news to come from the presser concerned the contract's hold-up. As it turned out, the Red Sox did indeed have some concerns about Martinez's foot, and inserted some language into the contract that protected them against it becoming a problem ... but only very, very late in the contract's life:
Scott Boras on J.D. Martinez: "Obviously the X-Rays and things showed he had this condition called the Lisfranc condition. It’s healed, back to noromal, the question is what if that has any impact in the long term? And kind of agreed that it’s not much of an issue … 1/2— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 26, 2018
Further clarity: protection for Red Sox in J.D. Martinez’s contract applies to 60 days on DL in one season or 120 days cumulative— only in 4th or 5th year of deal. DL trip would have to be b/c of ligament injury to specific joint.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 26, 2018
Martinez may opt out before language ever applies
So, there you have it. All the hubbub was for -- not much. The odds are Martinez will opt-out at some point over the first three seasons, leaving Boston no chance to worry about their very-specific clauses in case his foot becomes a problem.
To recap: the opt-outs do matter; the injury protection stuff does not -- not unless something weird happens.
Martinez, 30, split last season between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. He .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs. He's undoubtedly one of the better hitters in the game. Yet he found a limited market due in part to his well-below-average defense. That shouldn't be a problem for the Red Sox, who can slot Martinez in as their everyday DH.