NEW YORK — The Red Sox were lacking a key offensive cog heading into the 2018 season. So, the former president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, emptied the coffers and signed free agency slugger J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract.
On Wednesday, the 2022 regular season came to a conclusion, marking the end of the contract. Two home runs from Martinez helped Boston beat the Rays, 6-3, in their final game of the season.
Throughout the contract, he hit 130 home runs in 637 games, was named to the All-Star team four times, and won two Silver Slugger awards and a World Series title. The 35-year-old was a wonderful match for Boston in many respects and was a consistent presence in the center of the Sox’s lineup. Martinez’s time in Boston has been a huge success, in contrast to that of players like Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and others.
That’s why on Wednesday, Alex Cora, who has managed Martinez for four of the five years of the contract, wanted to give the designated hitter a farewell at Fenway Park. Cora held back Martinez after his introduction in the eighth inning so he could wave to the home crowd one last time before he became a free agent.
"This is where everything came together for me."
— NESN (@NESN) October 6, 2022
In other words, he’s a horse and always will be. Caballo, as we say in Latin America,” Cora explained. Since his first day on the job, he’s been working to implement some sort of cultural shift. Because of the aggressive approach we take.
During the year 2018, he made the adjustment. When we signed him in 2018, I realized we had taken a major step forward as a company. He merited every cent of the deal, in my opinion. He never left; he was a permanent fixture. He put a lot of effort into developing his skills. I hope today was a wonderful one for him. What is ahead, we can only guess.
Despite his disappointing season and the fact that he won’t be signing a huge contract in free agency, Martinez has expressed a desire to continue playing for at least another two seasons.
To my knowledge, he will not be continuing his career at this institution. In 2023, the Red Sox won’t have a clear replacement for David Ortiz at designated hitter, but it seems likely that Chaim Bloom would use a rotation of players to maximize roster flexibility. Even if Martinez’s market drops, it’s probable he’ll still sign with another team.
There are no lingering grudges on Martinez’s part as a result. After deciding against using opt-out clauses in his contract in each of the last three off-seasons, he is looking forward to finally becoming a true free agent in 2018. Martinez would welcome the opportunity to move back to Boston, but he recognizes that it may never come up.
“It’s a commercial enterprise. Okay, now I see it. “I seem to be the first person who gets it,” Martinez remarked. It’s impossible to predict the future, therefore whatever occurs, happens. My choices during the opt-out periods were based on what I believed to be optimal. I guess I’ll just have to go where life leads me.
Martinez has not ruled out reuniting with the Red Sox. However, he plans to spend a lot of time fishing off the coast of Florida in Islamorada before he hits free agency.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) October 5, 2022
Every obstacle has a solution. To Chaim, I direct your inquiry. My catchphrase,” he said with a chuckle. That’s a question for Chaim; I suggest you go and ask him. There’s always a way forward. I’m currently functioning as a freelancer. I guess I’ll just have to go where life leads me.
If this is indeed Martinez’s final season in Boston, he leaves behind a body of work that will be difficult for any future star free agent to top. In his opinion, the past five years have been nothing but positive.
As Martinez put it, “five years go by quickly.” Great times were spent here, and I’m glad to be back. There were no letdowns in Boston. When I first started working here five years ago, I knew it was a great company, but it has since far surpassed my wildest dreams. I’ve experienced nothing except first-rate service during my time here. Unbelievable support from the supporters.
In Boston, he said, “my passion meets Boston.” At the beginning of my professional career, during the Major League Baseball draft, the Houston Astros wrote me off as a hopeless case. I’ve always said that if a team gives me a shot and has faith in me, I’ll offer everything I’ve got. Every last bit of strength I possess will be utilized. I do that every day.