FORT MYERS, Fla. — It has been obvious for months that free agent slugger J.D. Martinez made sense for the Red Sox, a team desperate for power. The wait finally ended Monday when the sides agreed on a five-year contract worth $110 million.
Before the Red Sox had their first full-squad workout Monday morning, a major league source told the Globe the team was eager to come to a resolution with Martinez one way or another after four months of dickering. An agreement was reached later in the day, according to that same source.
Martinez, 30, who lives in Miami, is expected to arrive at JetBlue Park as soon as Tuesday for a physical that would complete the deal.
The contract would pay Martinez $50 million over the first two seasons with an opt-out after the 2019 season, or $72 million over three years with an opt-out after 2020. The final two seasons would be worth $19 million annually.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, an aggressive deal-maker in previous seasons, was patient this time, letting the market develop all the way into spring training.
For the Red Sox, who hit the fewest home runs in the American League last season, Martinez is a welcome addition. He hit .303 with 45 home runs, 104 RBIs, and a 1.066 OPS for the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks last season.
Martinez has been a corner outfielder in his career but projects to be the designated hitter for the Red Sox as it stands.
Where that leaves Hanley Ramirez is uncertain.
The righthanded-hitting Ramirez could platoon at first base with Mitch Moreland and get occasional starts at DH on days Martinez plays the outfield. The other alternative would be to trade Ramirez.
If Ramirez remains on the roster, his playing time could become a thorny issue for rookie manager Alex Cora. Ramirez needs 497 plate appearances to trigger a $22 million option for 2019.
Of far greater importance is that the Red Sox now have a legitimate power hitter in their lineup for the first time since the retirement of David Ortiz after the 2016 season. Martinez should fit neatly into the cleanup spot.
The Sox won 93 games and the American League East last season but hit only 168 home runs, 73 fewer than the Yankees. In Martinez, they add a late-blooming slugger coming off the best season of his career.
Martinez broke into the majors with the Houston Astros in 2011 and was an easily overlooked player, hitting .251 with a .687 OPS over three seasons. There were flashes of power but little consistency.
Martinez changed his swing after the 2013 season, working with private coaches in California on hitting the ball in the air. The Astros weren’t impressed and released Martinez out of spring training in 2014.
Dombrowski, then president of the Tigers, signed Martinez to a minor league contract and sent him to Triple A Toledo. Martinez hit 10 home runs in 17 games and was called up on April 21.
He has not stopped hitting since.
Martinez has 128 home runs, 124 doubles, and 350 RBIs over the last four seasons while batting .300 with a .936 OPS.
Since 2014, Martinez is second in the majors with a .574 slugging percentage (minimum 1,000 plate appearances) and seventh in OPS. Only nine players have more home runs.
The rebuilding Tigers traded Martinez to the Diamondbacks on July 18. He helped launch Arizona into the playoffs, hitting .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBIs in 62 games.
Video: J.D. Martinez hits four home runs against the Dodgers
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, the ex-Sox bench coach, believes Martinez has the mentality to succeed in Boston.
“He has a very strict routine before the game and keeps the outside noise to a minimum,” Lovullo said at the Winter Meetings. “He’s not the kind of person who will get distracted. For me, he was a great teammate.”
Still, every contract of this size brings considerable risk. The Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval to a five-year, $95 million deal before the 2015 season. He was released last season after playing terribly for three years.
Ramirez’s four-year, $88 million deal has so far been a regrettable one given his drop in production from career norms.
David Price landed a seven-year, $217 million contract before the 2016 season and is 23-12 with a 3.84 ERA since. He missed three months last season with an elbow injury.
Martinez’s contract should allow the Sox to remain below the top luxury-tax threshold of $237 million. That will keep the team from paying a 62.5 percent tax on the overage and having their top draft pick drop 10 spots.
Still, their payroll will be the highest in team history and seems sure to be the highest in the majors this season.