A massive offseason for the Boston Red Sox officially is underway, and one of the biggest storylines now rests on the shoulders of slugger J.D. Martinez.
The clock started for Martinez when the Washington Nationals putting the final touches on a World Series win last Wednesday night in Houston. Now, the 32-year-old has until midnight ET on Monday night to decide and inform the Red Sox whether he intends to opt out of his current contract.
The Red Sox signed Martinez to a “five-year” contract prior to the 2018 season, but Martinez and his agent, Scott Boras, made sure to give the designated hitter plenty of leverage. That came in the form of multiple opt-outs, the first being this one following the 2019 season.
Here are the reported terms left on Martinez’s contract:
2020 (assuming no opt-out): $23.75 million
2021 (assuming no opt-out): $19.375 million
2022 (assuming no opt-out): $19.375 million
So, that’s technically three years and $62.5 million left on the deal, which is damn good money for a player who turns 33 toward the end of next season. There is a lot of security in that contract considering the economic uncertainty facing free agents in recent years, particularly a player like Martinez, who has limited defensive capabilities. (Martinez is a designated hitter, thus cutting his market in half, and teams typically aren’t doling out big money for DHs these days.)
However, Martinez still could benefit from opting out. Would some team be willing to give Martinez three years and $75 million if he opts out? Four years, $80 million? And where do the Red Sox stand on this whole thing? If Martinez opts out, that would help Boston’s publicly stated desire to get under the luxury tax and reset in 2020, but it also would be doing so at the expense of the team’s production.
Regardless, it’s a fascinating decision for Martinez and his camp to make, and it’s one new Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will have his eye on as he attacks his first offseason in Boston.