David Price's pitch to J.D. Martinez: You will 'love the guys' in the clubhouse, but prepare to be booed

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- J.D. Martinez had no shortage of information to consider before agreeing Monday evening to sign with the Boston Red Sox.

But ace David Price tried to make the slugger's decision a little bit easier.

"I've talked to him a couple of times," Price said recently. "I told him we'd love to have him here."

Price, Martinez's teammate with the Detroit Tigers in 2014-15, elaborated in an interview with USA Today Sports that was published Tuesday.

"I told J.D. he will love the guys here in this clubhouse, but also told him he'll get booed," Price told the newspaper. "He's a quiet, soft-spoken guy, but he'll handle it. Besides, everyone gets booed. I heard Big Papi get booed many times in Fenway."

Martinez's five-year, $110 million contract won't be finalized until he passes a physical, likely Wednesday or Thursday. Until then, team officials, including manager Alex Cora, have declined to discuss the move or the impact that Martinez could make on an offense that finished with the fewest homers in the American League last season.

But Red Sox players were bullish about the new addition. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. described Martinez as a "difference-maker," while first baseman Mitch Moreland called him a "force." Even Hanley Ramirez, who could end up losing playing time -- and perhaps even $22 million -- as a result of Martinez's arrival, expressed his enthusiasm.

"It's a good bat -- at least 40 homers -- and we're trying to win this s---," said Ramirez, whose $22 million option for 2019 will vest if he reaches 497 plate appearances. "This is how we can do it, to get him. It's a good player."

Martinez, an outfielder, slots into Boston's lineup as the primary designated hitter, which in turn pushes Ramirez into a first-base timeshare with Moreland.

"It's one of those things that, once we get into the season, it's not about our at-bats. It's more about the wins and losses," Moreland said. "We're going to worry about that part of it. He's a force, obviously. To have him kind of anchored in the middle of our lineup is only going to help us."

Martinez is coming off a career-best season last year with 45 home runs and a .690 slugging percentage in 119 games. He hit 29 homers and slugged .741 in 62 games after a midseason trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Over the past four seasons, Martinez and Mike Trout are the only players in baseball to bat .300 with at least 125 homers and a .550 slugging percentage.

"He's proven himself," left fielder Andrew Benintendi said. "I'm just looking forward to getting to know him. I've heard he's helped out young guys throughout his years, so I'll be all ears when he comes in."

If anyone is qualified to inform Martinez on the ins and outs of being a big-ticket free-agent addition in sports-obsessed Boston, it's Price, a lightning rod since he signed a seven-year, $217 million contract in December 2015.

Boston isn't for everyone. Expectations for the four professional sports teams tend to be unreasonably high. The Red Sox, for example, have won 93 games and the American League East title in back-to-back seasons, yet most fans viewed last year, in particular, as a disappointment.

"You guys expect a lot," Price said of the Boston fishbowl. "You've had a lot of championship teams. The Patriots have won a lot, the Celtics in '07 or '08, the Bruins. You guys expect a lot, and guys coming into Boston know that."

Asked what advice he would give to a Red Sox-bound free agent such as Martinez, Price kept it simple.

"Go out there and win," he said. "Winning cures everything."