Alternative ways to trim payroll
J.D. Martinez could make the decision easier if he exercises the opt-out clause in his contract, freeing $24.75 million from the payroll. They can shave several million more if they non-tender arbitration-eligible players who provide replacement level value such as Sandy Leon, Steven Wright, and Heath Hembree while replacing them with cheaper options.
More from Red Sox Rumors
- Is Jean Segura the solution to Red Sox’ Trevor Story concerns?
- Red Sox news: Orioles eyeing former Boston arms, Dansby Swanson to Cubs, JD Martinez to Dodgers
- Did Alex Cora just drop a huge hint about Red Sox free-agent target?
- MLB insider hints Red Sox teardown may continue with two trades
- Division rival targeting Red Sox 2022 standout Michael Wacha
Letting Martinez walk would certainly hurt but if the choice is between him or Betts, it’s not even close. You keep the younger player with comparable upside at the plate who also provides Gold Glove-caliber defense over the aging designated hitter. His presence in the middle of the lineup will be missed but the emergence of Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will prevent the drastic decline this offense suffered in the wake of David Ortiz‘s retirement that created the need to splurge on Martinez.
Even if Martinez doesn’t opt-out, the Red Sox should consider trading him before they take any calls on Betts. It isn’t feasible to keep both with so much money tied up in unmovable contracts in their starting rotation unless they sacrifice significant depth from their roster.