One of the biggest free agents on the market coming into the 2018 season was outfielder J.D. Martinez who put himself on the map on after his second half surge in 2017 when he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Martinez hit 29 homeruns in just 62 games with them, being a crucial role in their postseason push. Martinez finished the season with 45 homeruns and an OPS of 1.066 just in time for him to hit the free agent market.
Martinez ended up scoring a $109.95 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, a team that many believed that he would end up signing with. So far in 2018, Martinez has lived up to the contract and then some. He currently leads the league in homeruns (23), RBIs (6) and total bases (181) which at this guarantees him a spot on the American League All-Star for the second time in his career.
There has been some doubt on the ability on Martinez, as many were concerned he is not actually the superstar hitter he was just last year. The fact of the matter is he has always been a good hitter with power but fell under the radar while playing for the Detroit Tigers. Martinez was one homerun shy of 100 with the Detroit Tigers in three and a half seasons to go with a .300 batting average. Martinez even won a silver slugger in 2015 to go with his first career All-Star selection. So, it really is not that surprising that Martinez is doing as well as he is.
It is worth keeping in mind a couple of things before determining if Martinez is worth the contract. For starters, he is under contract until 2023 and this season is essentially only half way over. Also, Martinez is in his age 30 season. It is quite common for a player to peak in their late 20’s/early 30’s, but what the Red Sox are going to have to keep on an eye out for those last couple of seasons.
Will he still be a superstar caliber player at age 34/35? Possibly, but I would not exactly keep my hopes up as most players deteriorate by then. The Red Sox do typically spend a lot of money and this is not exactly a monster contract by their standards and they have made some poor deals in recent years, but they will be happy if he is still productive and healthy by the backend. Plus, he could always be a designated hitter if his defense is too much of a liability.
Right now, he is obviously living up to the contract. He is a big part of their team right now and overall a major reason they are neck and neck with the New York Yankees on top of the American League East. If they continue to get value out of him, this contract will have been a success.