USA Today Sports

J.D. Martinez finally arrives with Red Sox: 'I'm expecting ... to do a lot of damage'

John Tomase
February 26, 2018 - 9:42 am

J.D. Martinez -- finally -- has arrived.

The Red Sox on Monday morning introduced their newest slugger at JetBlue Park. Martinez officially agreed to a five-year, $110 million contract that took months to complete and then another week to finalize while the sides discussed language that would reportedly protect the Red Sox in the event of an injury relating to a pre-existing condition in Martinez's right foot.

Injuries and the interminable length of the courtship were of little concern on Monday, though, as the Red Sox finally got their man.

"I'm expecting hopefully to do a lot of damage," Martinez said. "That's the game plan coming in, but as far as the Red Sox lineup goes, its' a strong lineup, it's a good lineup. I've been looking at them, checking them out, obviously playing against them in Detroit, they're guys with a lot of speed, guys who get on base, guys who really move around the bags and produce runs very quickly and I'm happy to be a part of that now."

Though neither side addressed the holdup in the deal, Martinez's agent, Scott Boras, said the new language was about protecting all sides.

"These negotiations are more of a cooperative venture as you're dealing with medical, legal," Boras said. "The goal is common, very mutual. We all wanted to execute an agreement that we all thought was in the best interests of both J.D. and the Red Sox. Dave and I have known one another a long time. We've gotten to know each other a lot better over the last five days and that says a lot. The idea of this really is clarity."

The Red Sox are getting a hitter coming off a monster season. Between Detroit and Arizona, Martinez slammed 45 homers and posted an MLB-best slugging percentage of .690. He'll slot into either the third or fourth spot in the lineup, per manager Alex Cora.

"Not only can he hit homers, but he has the ability to hit for average, too," Cora said. "The way he barrels the ball ... he's not only a home run hitter, he's a complete hitter. He's a guy you can put in the middle of the lineup."

Martinez spent the winter working out with Red Sox players Hanley Ramirez, Christian Vazquez, and Rusney Castillo in Miami. Ramirez liked to give him grief as the pages of the calendar turned.

"Hanley would always tease me, 'Spring training reporting date is Feb. 15, don't be late,'" Martinez said.

He missed it by 11 days, but the Red Sox aren't complaining, not after finally adding the centerpiece to their offseason.