J.D. Martinez wasn't worried.
It took almost a week longer than he expected, involved a trip to Boston and a few marathon negotiating sessions by agent Scott Boras, and even required shopping for extra clothes. But at no point did Martinez fear that his five-year, $110 million agreement with the Boston Red Sox -- the official signing was announced Monday -- would fall apart over concerns that a foot injury he suffered last year could have long-term ramifications.
"That thought never crossed my mind," Martinez said Monday during a news conference at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida. "I kind of knew that it was really being thorough, going through everything, crossing all the T's and dotting all the I's, that type of deal. I never once worried about it."
Martinez, 30, agreed to terms with the Red Sox last Monday and arrived in Fort Myers two days later to take a physical. As Wednesday and Thursday passed without the deal becoming official, team sources described challenging logistics of administering an exam in one place and relaying results to another for a review by doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital.
But it also was becoming clear that the Red Sox had concerns. In particular, an X-ray confirmed the presence of a condition involving the Lisfranc ligament in Martinez's right foot, according to Boras. Martinez sprained the ligament last year and missed the first six weeks of the season.
"It's healed, back to normal. The question is, what if that has any impact in the long term," Boras told reporters. "(Both sides) kind of agreed that it's not much of an issue (now), but what if it's an issue in the latter part of the contract?"
Martinez's contract is front-loaded, according to multiple sources, with a $23.75 million annual salary both this year and next. Boras also negotiated separate opt-out provisions that enable Martinez to re-enter the free-agent market after the second, third or fourth years of the deal.
But the Red Sox were seeking protections for the final years of the contract "in case there's a disabling injury." Boras traveled to Fort Myers from his offices in Newport Beach, California, and described the negotiating sessions as "18 hours a day of doctors, language, using our database historically to answer the needs of the team, the needs of the doctors."
In the end, Boras said the Red Sox will get salary relief in 2021 and 2022 if Martinez spends a considerable amount of time -- more than 60 days or 12 days in any season, according to the agent -- on the disabled list with a Lisfranc injury.
The Red Sox are familiar with the devastating toll a Lisfranc injury can have on a career. First baseman/outfielder Allen Craig suffered the injury in 2013 with the St. Louis Cardinals and batted .139 with two homers in 139 at-bats for the Red Sox after they acquired him in a 2014 trade.
Martinez insisted he's healthy, and he seemed to prove it last season. After returning from the injury, he hit 45 homers and slugged .690 in 119 games for the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. He got particularly hot after a midseason trade to Arizona, hitting 29 homers in only 62 games.
"I'm healthy," Martinez said. "I've been healthy since last, when was it, May that I got back from the D.L. I've been healthy. I've felt great. I've been ready to go since I've gotten back."
Martinez, an outfielder who is expected to be primarily a designated hitter in Boston, gives the Red Sox a much-needed jolt in the middle of the lineup after they hit the fewest homers of any team in the American League last season. He also serves as a counterpunch to the rival New York Yankees' offseason trade for slugger Giancarlo Stanton and turns the AL East into a virtual dead heat.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Martinez is likely to bat either third or fourth in an order that will be topped by leadoff man Mookie Betts and promising young left fielder Andrew Benintendi. Cora has said first baseman Hanley Ramirez also will factor into the middle-of-the-order mix.
"This is a guy who not only can hit homers, but he has the ability to hit for average, too," Cora said. "He's a complete hitter. We not only got better lineup-wise and on the field, what he brings in that clubhouse, the way he prepares, I'm looking forward to him connecting with players, help young players."
Known for his studiousness in the video room and keeping notebooks filled with scouting reports on pitchers, Martinez has been among the most productive hitters in the majors since he was released by the Houston Astros at the end of spring training in 2014. Over the past four years, only Martinez and Mike Trout have batted .300 with at least 125 homers and a .550 slugging percentage.
Martinez said he spoke with pitcher David Price before reaching an agreement with the Red Sox. Price has been a lightning rod in Boston since signing a seven-year, $217 million contract two years ago, but Martinez said the ace lefty spoke positively about the experience of playing in Boston.
"David has always spoken very highly of the Red Sox, especially the fan base, pitching in (Fenway Park), how fun it is to go out there and play every day," Martinez said. "Talking to Alex about going out there every day, it's almost like, football has Monday night. They say at Fenway that every night is like Monday Night Football, so I'm excited."