The wait is finally over. Free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez has agreed to terms with the Red Sox on a five-year deal worth $110 million. The contract is front-loaded with an opt-out clause after the second year of the contract.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 19, 2018
First off, this is a great move for the Boston Red Sox, who have been looking for a big power bat to plop in the middle of the lineup since David Ortiz retired following the 2016 season. Now, they have that bat. This lineup was already looking good before this signing, with the likes of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and the recently signed Eduardo Nunez in the fold. However, since Hanley Ramirez can’t seem to figure it out, the Sox were missing a right-handed power bat like Martinez.
It’s likely that Martinez slots in at cleanup between lefties Benintendi and Devers, which gives the Red Sox one of the best 3-4-5 combinations in the Major Leagues. It might not be as good as the Yankees, but it’s still pretty damn good.
For a fantasy perspective, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better landing spot for Martinez. Leave Colorado out of this. Fenway Park has always played favorably to right-handed power, and that shouldn’t be any different with Martinez. His swing generates good loft and very hard contact, demonstrated by his 43.2 FB% and 49.0% hard contact rate, the latter of which led the Major Leagues last season. Don’t be surprised if Martinez comes close to the 45 homers he clubbed last season.
The biggest loser from this signing as it stands now is Ramirez, who goes from starting DH to platooning at first base with Mitch Moreland. A platooning Hanley isn’t worth drafting in standard leagues. There’s also a chance that Dave Dombrowski could move Jackie Bradley Jr., thus opening a corner outfield spot for Martinez, but that remains to be seen.
Current Fantrax ADP data has Martinez’s ADP at 26.36 as the eighth outfielder off the board. In my 2018 rankings, I had him ninth, but this signing moves him up ahead of George Springer into eight, right behind Cody Bellinger.
I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question that I didn’t cover here? Then follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there.
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