Saturday marked five days since the Boston Red Sox and free agent J.D. Martinez agreed to a five-year, $110 million contract.
It also marked five days that said contract has gone unsigned, which has led to a lot of questions and very few answers from both sides.
Some close to the Red Sox expected that to change on Saturday. Yet as their Grapefruit League game against the Tampa Bay Rays concluded, the Red Sox and Scott Boras, the agent who negotiated the contract for Martinez, remained silent. Meanwhile, speculation concerning the holdup continued to gain steam.
Here’s what we know based on reports that have come out this week. The holdout centers around a “medical issue” that appeared at some point during Martinez’s physical. The physical itself was reportedly held up due to logistical reasons, but at least the first phase is believed to have taken place on Wednesday.
On Friday, we learned that additional medicals experts had gotten involved. That information understandably heightened the senses of fans and prepared them for potential for a falling out.
According to NBC Boston’s Evan Drelich, the situation doesn’t seem to be that dire. In fact, he doesn’t think the issue would prevent Martinez from playing immediately. It could, however, impact Boston’s confidence that Martinez will stay healthy and productive over the long haul. With that in mind, a possible restructuring might be on the table.
FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman expanded on that Saturday afternoon, noting that both sides are being cautious about the contract’s language.
Though sources stressed to FanRag Sports that Martinez is currently healthy and ready to play, it appears some kind of issue has arisen in Martinez’s medical reports that is delaying the official completion of the deal. Right now, both sides are being cautious and expect a deal to be completed, with the delay mainly stemming from a desire to make sure the exact language of the contract is right in light of these potential red flags.
Again, it will be difficult to decipher the extent of either side’s concerns until one or both provide a few more answers. Based on everything we’ve heard though, this doesn’t appear to be headed down the same path as several recent Baltimore Orioles contract agreements that were ripped apart due to concerns about the physical.
Unfortunately, all Red Sox fans can do right now is continue to wait for this unexpectedly complicated process to play itself out.
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