Red Sox

Source: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

Source: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

UPDATE: J.D. Martinez has signed with the Red Sox, as first reported by ESPN's Pedro Gomez and confirmed by an NBC Sports Boston source.

More details as they come available...

ORIGINAL STORY: FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox and J.D. Martinez were nearing a deal on Monday evening, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston.

Multiple sources earlier Monday said the Sox and Martinez were in active negotiation. The industry belief has long been that the Sox are Martinez's most logical landing spot.

MORE - John Henry: We've made a lot of changes

“Other than to say we remain interested, do not have anything else to add,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said by email Monday afternoon.

The Red Sox braintrust was together Monday morning and midday at JetBlue Park, with both principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner on hand.

Werner in January confirmed the Sox were in active negotiations with Martinez. On Monday, he deferred questions to Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. 

“I think you should talk to Dave about that,” Werner said. “Obviously there’s no news, but I think you should ask Dave that question."

Werner and Henry both said they were bullish on the Sox if they do not sign Martinez. Werner was asked whether the Sox have an obligation to improve last year’s team with outside help. Without Martinez, the team is virtually identical.

“We have an obligation to try to win the World Series every year,” Werner said. “Sometimes you go in one direction, sometimes you go in another direction. We’re not ceding first place to anybody. Obviously, we have to be better in the playoffs. As John said, we think our approach is better this year and we think we’re going to have if not the highest payroll in baseball, one of the two or three highest payrolls in baseball. We have a great general manager and a great team to figure out how to deploy it and we certainly feel like we’re moving forward.”

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Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez draws huge praise from Alex Cora, Pedro Martinez

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez draws huge praise from Alex Cora, Pedro Martinez

Boston Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez played well in 2018 and helped his team win the World Series, but could a breakout 2019 campaign be on the horizon? 

Rodriguez pitched a live bullpen Tuesday at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., and the session drew rave reviews from Red Sox manager Alex Cora and instructor Pedro Martinez. 

"That was one of the most impressive BPs that you could see," Martinez said, per MLB.com's Ian Browne. "No hesitation, no stopping. It was beautiful to watch."

What could be the difference for Rodriguez this year? Martinez sees a few areas where the 25-year-old starter has shown improvement.

"Eddie, I think, physically is more mature now," Martinez said, per Browne. "He understands his body better. He's understanding where he needs to improve. He's not really worried about his position physically, because this is his first time in Spring Training the last few years that he comes over and there's no worries. He can just pitch."

Cora came away quite impressed with Rodriguez after his live batting practice, and he gave a breakdown Tuesday of why he's optimistic the young lefty will have an excellent season.

"Eddie looks great, man," Cora said. "Eddie's working a slider now. He understands who he is a little more. The work he put in the offseason is paying off -- repeating his delivery. You ask any of those guys, and everybody was watching -- I think he's kinda like the favorite pitcher of the whole camp. When he throws live BPs everybody is out there watching.

"Stuff-wise, he's unbelievable. It's just a matter of him putting a whole season (together). We do feel it's going to happen this year. For the first time in a while he was able to just get ready for the season. There was no rehab. We know about the ankle -- he's a full go."

Rodriguez went 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP and 143 strikeouts over 129 2/3 innings last year. He set career highs in several statistical categories, and given how he's looked early in spring training, it wouldn't be surprising if E-Rod had his best season in 2019.

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