Reports are circulating that J.D. Martinez will opt out of the final year of his contract, thus becoming a free agent. While this might seem like bad news for the Sox, as they’d be losing their DH and main run-producer, there are many solid ways Boston’s front office can play this.
Option 1: Re-Sign Martinez
It’s understandable for Martinez to want to opt out. He’ll probably make more than the 19.3 million dollars he’s owed next season if he hits the open market, and at 34 coming off a solid season, it’s reasonable to think he can still get a multi-year deal from some team. This is aided by the fact that the NL will likely be adding the DH spot beginning next season. That’s 15 more teams who could potentially be interested in him.
Nevertheless, he could still be a member of the Boston Red Sox in 2022.
He loves playing for the Sox and the Sox are a contending team that loves having him in their lineup. Boston has the means to make that happen for a few more seasons. Is a three-year, 60-million-dollar deal out of the question? With a player option for a fourth year? Something like that makes a lot of sense for a player like Martinez who seems to still have tread on the tires.
Option 2: Let Him Walk
There’s no salary cap in baseball, but you do have to pay a little extra if your payroll goes over the $210 million threshold. The Sox are currently $35 million below that mark. If he signs elsewhere, though, it opens up a lot of possibilities with around $54 million of room to operate.
It’s a loaded free agent class at practically every position. There are several good options for them to consider for the DH spot. Do they run it back with Kyle Schwarber, who hit 32 bombs in 399 ABs in 2021? Do they go for Nick Castellanos? Maybe Nelson Cruz for a season? There’s plenty of options to replace Martinez’s production.
There’s also a solid chance the Red Sox get draft pick compensation if/when Martinez signs with another team after rejecting their qualifying offer. Yet another potential incentive to parting with their DH. J.D. Martinez is one of the premier sluggers in baseball, but there are certainly forces working against him being being a Red Sox player in 2022.
Tough decision for Chaim Bloom in that both are good options (assuming they nab a worthy replacement in free agency). Buuuuut I’m gonna say…see ya, J.D. Thanks for the memories.
The Red Sox probably need to sign a starting pitcher and back-end reliever if they want to keep pace with the Rays, Yankees, and rapidly-ascending Blue Jays. I think it would behoove them to spread their money around evenly as they try to fill their positions of need this offseason. Re-signing J.D., although not a bad choice, makes that almost impossible without going over the tax threshold. If ownership is willing to do that, great. But that’s not a guarantee.
Let’s see how it plays out.