The 2018 MLB season is just under a week away, and one of the cornerstones of this Red Sox team will be the newly acquired JD Martinez
Coming into the offseason, it was clear the Boston Red Sox needed to get the biggest bat possible.
Last season, the Red Sox placed 27th in home runs hit, a lackluster number especially when you put into mind that this team won the AL East for back-to-back seasons.
Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees combined for more home runs than the entire Red Sox team in 2017. This was a major cause for concern as an offense cannot be entirely reliant on men getting on base, which was evident in the Red Sox postseason run last year. The obvious choice in free agency was Diamondbacks slugger JD Martinez.
While the Sox have a history of taking out the checkbook and throwing down money on big name free agents, the MLB has clamped down and put harsher restrictions on the payroll luxury tax. With this in mind, Red Sox president of operations Dave Dombrowski was hesitant to pay up. One of the MLB´s most notorious agents, Scott Boras, called for nothing less than a 7-year contract with a $225 million payout for his client.
The Sox then entered Cold War mode as they held out and waited till they could get leverage and make a decent offer. That time came and eventually, JD Martinez found himself back home with the man who signed him in Dave Dombrowski. The contract spans five years and includes a potential $110 million payout, featuring an opt clause after year two.
For that money what are the Red Sox getting?
Since 2014, JD Martinez has proven himself as one of the MLB´s premier hitters. Despite limited team success, he’s compiled impressive hitting stats in the prime of his career. Martinez is 30 years old, but last season he finished third in the MLB in home runs with 45. Primarily playing right field, Martinez is gonna find himself in the first situation where he will almost solely DH.
The retirement of David Ortiz in 2016 left a gaping hole at Designated Hitter, Hanley Ramirez attempted to split time between First Base and DH, but he ended the season battered and injury-riddled.
It’ll be on very limited occasions that Martinez possibly plays right field, serving as the Boston Red Sox primary designated hitter. This will be new for Martinez, as he has only played the position 38 times over his 750-plus game career.
In 2017 Martinez lead the league in slugging percentage, a category where the Red Sox ranked 26th.
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What to expect in 2018
Martinez will likely be the everyday DH, and over time he’ll need some rest days, likely swapping with either Mitch Moreland or Hanley Ramirez. Most likely it’ll be matchup based. Rarely, and only if necessary will we see Martinez take the field. This would be to avoid injury, which they can do because the Red Sox also feature one of the most talented defensive outfields in the league.
As far as the lineup, JD will be the No. 4 hitter for the foreseeable future.
Last season, the Sox had trouble clearing the bases with multiple people on, and Martinez in the four spot will help solve this issue.
I predict Martinez will bat 302. with 42 home runs while knocking in 112 runs. Those are high prediction numbers, but I believe the kids in the 1-3 spot (Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi & Xander Bogaerts) of the lineup are gonna show up in a big way. Martinez is gonna love playing at Fenway Park and hit plenty of monster shots with tons of doubles off the wall mixed in.
JD Martinez is ready to meet a Red Sox team that is blossoming with young talent, and in his first year is ready to make the Boston Red Sox into major contenders.