MLB Rumors: J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox DH, will forego free agency and not opt out of his contract with Boston, per multiple reports. Martinez just finished the second year of a 5 year, $110 million deal that includes opt out clauses after 2019 and 2020.
Martinez is scheduled to make $23.75 million in his age 32 season in 2020, and is guaranteed $62.5 million from 2020-22 under his current deal. Martinez, who turned 32 in August, would have been one of the top hitters on the market this offseason, but there has been a decline in demand for righthanded hitting bat-only guys, leading to speculation that he would choose to stay in Boston for the time being. Another quality year in 2020, however, likely would prompt Martinez to test the waters then, when he could potentially get $20+ million per year for at least two years.
With Boston having given indications that they want to pare back payroll under new baseball chief Chaim Bloom, Martinez deciding to stay could prompt them to be more willing to move outfielder Mookie Betts, who is a free agent after 2020. Betts is potentially looking at as much as $30 million in arbitration for 2020, and the Red Sox also have arbitration cases for Jackie Bradley Jr., Eduardo Rodriguez, and Andrew Benintendi, among others. With Boston currently just $56 million under the luxury tax threshhold based on just the seven players (including Martinez) under contract for 2020, the BoSox would be hard-pressed to stay below the luxury tax if they kept everyone under team control, even without adding any free agents.