JD Martinez has officially been introduced by the Red Sox so everyone can safely remove their finger from the panic button.
I fully admit I was starting to get a little nervous about the Red Sox shiny new toy, despite all the Boston sports writers rushing to their keyboards to defend the honor of the Sox and say this was totally normal.
Its definitely not out of the ordinary for any team to work in a clause in a contract to protect both sides. Think of when the Sox signed John Lackey and specifically put a clause in the deal saying if he missed any significant amount of time due to Tommy John Surgery, the Red Sox would automatically get an additional year added onto Lackey’s contract at the league minimum salary.
Now that ended poorly of course as Lackey blew his elbow out, activated the clause, and then bitched and moaned about said clause, and forced his way out of town via trade. So I honestly don’t know if those types of deals are still kosher in the MLB, but working language in that can activate opt outs is nothing new. However, announcing a deal is done and then not introducing the player for 7 full days is far from normal.
Whatever, either way the deal is done. It might not ever come out what the actual language was that caused the delay, but I think its safe to say, barring a very specific injury, JD Martinez is here for the long run.
Martinez does have an opt out clause of his own after the 2nd and 3rd year of the contract, but this is a guy thats already 30 years old and couldn’t find the deal he wanted after a 45 Home Run season. So you’re telling me that guy is going to opt out when he’s 32 or 33 in hopes of that mythical $200 Million deal? Sorry my friend, the days of guys on the wrong side of 30 getting that type of money are over. You can thank A-Rod, Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera for sucking that well dry.
Martinez is a good fit here though and more importantly he’s a veteran guy who’s completely reworked his game to get to where he is now. Seriously. He got cut by the Astros in 2013 and I mean the shit-bum Astros that lost 111 games that year, not the sexy 2017 World Series winning Astros. Then he signs with Detroit, reworks his entire swing and breaks out in 2015 with 38 Home Runs making his first All-Star team. Then in the midst of his career year, the Tigers ship him off to Arizona where he puts on a hitting clinic and finishes the year with 45 dingers.
So while he may not have that playoff/big market experience, he definitely has the adversity thing down pat. (Does that concern me in terms of consistency? 100%) My point is, a rough stretch should be no big deal to this guy. That could be very valuable in a club house that was filled with more dickhead diva types than blue collar types that willed their way to success. There were too many instances of guys like Mookie or Xander hitting a cold streak and instead of working it out, they went into the tank and had massive slumps en route to hugely disappointing years.
Hopefully another 9 figure contract walking into the clubhouse has the balls and really just the gravitas to tell some of these guys whats up rather than letting David Price run the joint all by himself. Think about it, theres not a lot of guys on that team that are 1.) good enough and 2.) paid enough to demand that immediate respect. Thats why this role has seemingly defaulted to David Price once David Ortiz was no longer around. Sure you could say Chris Sale, but I honestly think he’d rather be a lead by example type of guy. Pedroia threw his teammates under the bus last year with the whole Adam Jones scenario. Hanley Ramirez isn’t engaged enough to be a leader. Bogaerts seems to want no part of it and the rest of the team is full of young guys or part-timers. Your best bet is either Mookie taking on the role like he’s said he wants to or JD Martinez coming in and being THE guy. Only time will tell, but I am fired up to see this team on the field together.