Cora 'not concerned' Red Sox deal with Martinez not yet done

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

By DAVE CAMPBELL

AP Sports Writer

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) The Boston Red Sox have still yet to finalize their contract with prized free agent J.D. Martinez.

Manager Alex Cora said after Boston's Grapefruit League exhibition opener against Minnesota on Friday that he's not bothered by the delay and is simply focused on preparing the players he already has in camp.

"We're still working and getting ready, you know? That's all we can do," Cora said after the Red Sox beat the Twins 4-3 at JetBlue Park.

Martinez agreed to terms on Monday to a deal that's as long as five years and worth as much as $110 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract is subject to a successful physical exam and has not been announced by the club.

Nine-figure deals like this one need due diligence, and teams usually take out insurance policies on fully guaranteed big-money contracts in case a player is injured and unable to play out the balance of the deal. Once spring training starts and a club's operations have relocated to Florida, there can be logistical complications that wouldn't be the case at home during the regular season.

Just another reminder of how the business side of the sport can often supersede the actual baseball part. The Minnesota Twins, for example, agreed to terms on a contract with pitcher Anibal Sanchez last week and announced the deal four days later.

"I'm not concerned. I'm not concerned," the first-year manager Cora said, repeating for emphasis. "The only thing I can do is do my thing, and my job is to show up every day and get them ready."

Martinez hit 45 homers in 119 combined games in 2017 with Detroit and Arizona. The Tigers traded him to the Diamondbacks on July 18. He was long linked to the Red Sox, who have a lineup full of young, productive players but lacked power last season while finishing with the fewest home runs in the American League.

With All-Star Mookie Betts entrenched in right field, Martinez's primary position, the 30-year-old will likely become the primary designated hitter. Hanley Ramirez, then, would platoon at first base with Mitch Moreland. The Red Sox were more than eager to welcome an accomplished, potent bat like Martinez's to the lineup after an offseason when the rival New York Yankees flexed their muscle by adding slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

"To be able to combat those moves with a guy like J.D., that was a good move," Red Sox pitcher David Price said.

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Updated February 23, 2018

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