Red Sox

After foot injury held things up, JD Martinez finally introduced by Red Sox

After foot injury held things up, JD Martinez finally introduced by Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A sole medical issue that probably won’t ever impact J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox held up the slugger’s introductory press conference, which went off smoothly Monday morning at JetBlue Park.

Martinez never thought his contract was in any trouble.

“No, not really, that thought never crossed my mind,” Martinez said when asked if he thought the deal may fell apart. “I kind of knew that it was really, like they said, being thorough, going through everything. Crossing-all-the-t’s and dotting-all-the-i’s-type deal. I never once worried about it.”

At the beginning of the 2017 season, Martinez had a sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot.

“And so it healed, went on his way and played,” Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras, said Monday. “Obviously, the X-rays and things showed he had this condition called the Lisfranc condition. It’s healed, back to normal. The question is, what if that has any impact in the long term? And [we] kind of agreed that it’s not much of an issue, but what if it’s an issue in the latter part of the contract?

“From our standpoint, we have opt-outs in the second year, the third year, the fourth year, and we can, we have flexibility. And they have some protection at the back end, that’s all. In case there’s a disabling injury.”

Some revision to Martinez’s originally agreed upon five-year, $110 million deal was made. The dollars have not changed. Martinez has a limited no-trade clause. But, Martinez now has a third opt out — after the fourth year as well. In the original agreement, he could opt out after Year 2 or Year 3. Now, he has the choice after Year 4 in addition.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are protected if Martinez spends a certain amount of time on the disabled list because of a matter related to the prior Lisfranc joint injury. After Year 3 or Year 4, the deal can be converted to a mutual option, rather than just an opt out for Martinez. In essence, the Sox can back out of the deal after Year 3 or 4, based on these conditions, per a source:

A mutual option for Year 4 is triggered if:

1. Martinez suffers a Lisfranc injury related to his prior Lisfranc injury. A three-doctor system will define if the injury is related to prior Lisfranc injury.
2.  Because of that old injury, he has spent 60 days on DL in Year 3 — or 10 days or more in Year 3, plus a total of 120 DL days in Year 2 and Year 3.

A mutual option for Year 5 is triggered if:

J.D. Martinez suffers a Lisfranc injury related to his prior Lisfranc injury. A three-doctor system will define if the injury is related to prior Lisfranc injury.
2.  Because of that old injury, he has spent 60 days on DL in Year 4 — or 10 days or more in Year 4, plus a total of 120 DL days in Year 3 and Year 4.

 

The reality, then, is that these contingencies probably won’t ever come into play. With so many opt-outs, if Martinez performs well with the Red Sox, he’ll likely re-enter the free-agent market. But both sides were smart to make sure they’re protected. And it took a lot of energy to put the protections in place. Martinez went to Boston on Thursday for a doctor’s visit.

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that his assistant general manager, Brian O’Halloran, put in endless hours, as did Red Sox doctors, to get the deal finalized.

“Dave and I have known one another a long time and we’ve gotten to know each other a lot better over the last five days,” Scott Boras says.

“And that says a lot,” Dombrowski adds in.

Boras was at a hotel in a shopping center not far from JetBlue Park.

"It’s kind of like I had to set up my law office here in Fort Myers,” Boras said. “Literally, it’s like 18 hours a day of doctors, language. Using our database historically to answer the needs of the team, the needs of the doctors. You’re going through a process of getting the evaluations, listing everybody addressing the evaluations. And again evaluations medically are subjective. And so, you’ve got to really discuss it both with the experts that you have, and the experts that they have, so that you can really define what the concern is. And that definition for what the concern is, is a difficult one medically. Because you’re talking about a healthy athlete. You’re not talking about an injury. You’re talking about something that may or may not happen. 

“You first have to take the attitude that, that’s reasonable. The second attitude you have to take is that you don’t want to be excessive about how this athlete is treated to protect his interests, and also understand the team’s interest. Being a lawyer, you’re doing dealing with the lawyers. In Dave’s case, a baseball executive, you’re outside the medical community. You’re just hearing what the medical community has to say. And then he’s hearing what our medical community has to say, and then you back and forth. 

“I’m dealing with the Boston owners, I’m dealing with Dave, I’m dealing with doctors and then you, once you have the medical part addressed, then you’re able to contractually define it and go through a process that allows for you know what, how to address their concerns in a fair manner.”

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Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Whether he’s playing various positions, boosting morale in the clubhouse, or hitting for the cycle in the playoffs, Brock Holt is a jack of all trades.

Holt has carved out an invaluable role with the Red Sox since joining Boston in 2013. A role he still embraces six years later.

“I love it here,” Holt told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “You know, this has become home to me. I’ve said many times that I would like to play every day if possible, but if that were the case I wouldn’t be a part of this. This team calls for me to move around and play different positions. That’s what’s gotten me to be in the big leagues, stay in the big leagues and be a part of this team, and I’m very thankful for that.”

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While Holt would love the opportunity to contribute on the field day in and day out, the 30-year-old remains willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

“I feel like everyone in this clubhouse is here to win, and that’s all we want to do and that’s all I want to do,” he said. “So whatever we have to do to make that happen, that’s what we’re going to do. I think that’s kind of why I fit the way I do. We have a lot of really good players in here, but I feel like I’m a really good player as well and I can back those guys up when they need a day off, or an injury or something like that.”

Holt’s plentiful contributions to the team both on and off the field haven’t gone unnoticed. Red Sox manager Alex Cora praised his utility man on Sunday.

“He’s great in the clubhouse, he’s one of the leaders, he’s always willing to do whatever,” Cora said.

“He’s a good a player. A productive player. The last two months of the season and the playoffs he was driving the ball out of the ballpark. He was slugging and he played good defense at second. So I’m very happy to have him back. Him around us makes us better, and he’s a guy that’s gonna be important for us all through the season. We’ll find at-bats for him, he’ll play different positions, and he’s going to be productive.”

After talking about teammate Mookie Betts winning the 2018 American League MVP award, Holt was asked if he believes he’d have a shot at the award if he were an everyday player in another city.

“Chances would probably be a little better. More at-bats, obviously,” said Holt. “But no, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but right here doing what I’m doing. Getting to put on this uniform every day and play for this organization is something you can only dream about and I’m getting to live it every day. So I’m very thankful.”

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J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Many were surprised last year when J.D. Martinez finished outside of the top three in MVP voting, but Martinez saw it coming.

Martinez’s numbers jumped off the page in 2018. In his first season with the Red Sox, the 31-year-old mashed his way to a .330 batting average, 43 home runs and 130 RBI. Still, he finished fourth behind teammate Mookie Betts, Angels superstar Mike Trout, and Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

While his teammates were stunned to see him fail to crack the top three after being arguably the best pure hitter in baseball, Martinez knew all along that being a designated hitter would cost him votes.

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“I was like, ‘Guys, there’s no way the analytic guys are going to ever let that happen,’” Martinez told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “For a DH to win MVP they’re going to have to walk on water.”

He might be right. Red Sox great David Ortiz finished in the top five in MVP voting five times, but never won the award. Another one of the best designated hitters of all time, Edgar Martinez, placed in the top five only once.

“It became the talk in the clubhouse last year,” Martinez said. “Everybody’s like, ‘The only way you’re going to win it is to win the Triple Crown.’ I was like, ’100 percent. That’s the only chance.' So when it came out, I kind of expected it.”

Martinez’s production at the plate spoke for itself, but it was his presence off the field that likely earned him more MVP votes than he otherwise would have gotten. Betts, manager Alex Cora, and many more of Martinez’s Red Sox teammates have spoken at length about his invaluable contributions in the clubhouse.

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