The Boston Red Sox swung for the fences in free agency last winter, and their high-profile move has paid off and then some.
Boston made a big splash on the open market last season with the acquisition of J.D. Martinez. The veteran slugger exceeded expectations in the 2018 campaign, breaking the home run record for a player in their first season with the Red Sox while setting career highs in RBIs and total bases. Martinez earned two Silver Slugger Awards for his efforts and, you know, helped Boston win the World Series.
Speaking with the media Sunday, Alex Cora was asked by a reporter to describe what Martinez meant to the Red Sox last season. Given the 31-year-old’s monumental impact, Cora’s initial response was both comical and legitimate.
“Do we have time?” Cora said.
Cora, a true student of the game, clearly has the utmost respect for Martinez’s playing style and approach, which the Red Sox skipper believes is a product of his star player’s humble beginnings.
“Forget what he did on the field,” Cora said. “What he did in the clubhouse — the communication factor and actually being the third voice of that hitting group of (hitting coach) Tim (Hyers) and (assistant hitting coach) Andy (Barkett) was amazing. He’s a great teammate. He shows up every day. He doesn’t give at-bats away. He goes to first base hard, regardless if it’s 1-0 or 10-0. He doesn’t take it for granted and there’s a reason for that. He got released by the Astros and had to redo his swing, work on his craft. Now he’s one of the best hitters in the big leagues, if not the best. So yeah, he was amazing.”
The Red Sox will look for Martinez to be amazing yet again in the 2019 season as they vie to repeat as World Series champions.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports Images