Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez lived up to his 5-year, $110 million deal

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 5: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox reacts before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 5, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 5: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox reacts before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 5, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Was it the last game in a Boston Red Sox uniform for J.D. Martinez?

If it was, the Red Sox slugger will leave a lasting impression on the Fenway faithful as he belted two homers in the team’s season-finale against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.

A first at-bat three-run homer into the bullpen in right-center got the party started for the Red Sox.  Then Martinez followed that up with a 406-foot rocket into the Monster Seats.  In smashing homers No. 15 and No. 16 to end what could be his final game as a member of the Sox, Martinez ended a disappointing season by reminding the team and other teams what he is capable of.

Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez makes a case for himself with free agency pending

With MLB free agency pending, the Red Sox slugger wanted to go out with a bang and he absolutely did that in the team’s 6-3 victory over the Rays.

"“It was awesome.  It was fun.  I was kind of joking around before the game, like I need some [Albert] Pujols magic now,” Martinez said, via  “Last game of the year, try to end with a bag.  I guess the baseball goes heard me.”"

With the team finishing in last place, there will be some decisions made this offseason.  Martinez is just one of those key decisions the team will have to make.  Along with the veteran slugger, Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom will have to make decisions on Nathan Eovaldi, Xander Bogaerts and he is going to have to find out a way to lock up Rafael Devers to a long-term deal.

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Tough, but interesting decisions indeed and you better believe Red Sox Nation will be watching, especially when it comes to Bogaerts and Devers.  When it comes to Martinez, if is back fine, but the feel is it won’t shatter the promise of 2023 if he is not back.  That is no knock-on Martinez, but when he first signed his five-year, $110 million deal with the team back in 2018, there was always a feel that he would opt out after his second season and try his hand at free agency again.

J.D. Martinez was worth the money

In winning a World Series in his first season with the team, Martinez opted in the last couple of seasons and proved to be every bit worth the deal he signed.  Red Sox manager Alex Cora echoed those sentiments when talking about the man we call “Just Dingers” following the team’s season-ending victory.

"“He has been a horse.  A caballo, like we call it in Latin America,” Cora said, as transcribed by  “Since Day 1, he showed up and decided to change the culture in a sense.  The way we go about it offensively.  He changed this in ’18.  As soon as we signed him in ’18, I knew that the organization took the next step.  I think he earned every penny of that contract.  He was always here.  He worked so hard on his craft.  I’m glad he had a great day today.  We’ll see what the future holds.”"

Martinez went on a tear in that initial season with the Boston Red Sox.  In 150 games played, he batted .330 with 43 homers and 130 RBI.  While the production tailed off each year after, the value of Martinez became his veteran presence which is something the Red Sox clubhouse will still need no matter what direction Bloom takes the team.

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But will that earn Martinez another contract with the Red Sox?  Will the slugger get a better offer from another team?  Will the two sides graciously decide to part ways?  Interesting questions ahead indeed.  With $121.5 million coming off the books, the decision may be to let J.D. Martinez walk and do some spending on upgrading the team in other areas.

There will be no excuses for Bloom this offseason.  He should have an open checkbook even if he decides Martinez should be a part of the mix moving forward.