Well, part one of the offseason is in the books. Today was the first big day on the winter schedule for the Red Sox, with J.D. Martinez having until midnight to decide whether or not he was going to opt out of the last three years of his contract with Boston to become a free agent. As first reported by Jon Heyman, the slugger has decided not to exercise said opt out and will remain with the Red Sox for the 2020 season.
JD is not opting out of Boston deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 4, 2019
There was some question as to whether or not this would happen, including from me. I can only speak for myself and my own reasoning, but I certainly was overthinking it on this one. Martinez, as we talked about earlier in the week, just didn’t have a clear market in free agency given his lack of defensive value. The offense is elite to be sure — even with a relative down year in 2019 — but teams just don’t value players like that anymore, fairly or not.
So, now the Red Sox have one of their best hitters back on the roster, but they also have a self-imposed payroll crunch. As a result, Martinez’ contract for 2020 puts them in something of a bind. It’s entirely on them for this happening, both for giving out questionable deals and limiting their own payroll in the first place, but it’s where we are. Unless they have a change of heart this winter, Martinez, Mookie Betts, David Price, or some combination of them three plus more could all be out the door in trades this winter. It’s not great, but nothing is done yet.
We’ll have more on all of this tomorrow, but for right now we can at least celebrate the likelihood of another year of watching Martinez smash dingers at Fenway.