Red Sox options for handling J.D. Martinez opt-out situation
By Sean Penney
The decision is ultimately up to Martinez, who holds all the cards with a clause that is essentially a player option. How the Red Sox front office reacts to that decision will dictate the path they take to fill out their roster for next season but they may have the ability to sway Martinez.
It’s been well documented that the Red Sox intend to cut payroll this offseason. They are currently projected for somewhere in the neighborhood of $220 million if Martinez opts-in and they seem adamant about dipping below the $208 million luxury tax threshold.
Martinez could put the Red Sox comfortably below that line if he opts-out but that would leave a gaping hole in the middle of the lineup. Mookie Betts has been rumored to be on the trading block and potentially could be moved if Martinez stays. It’s not impossible to afford both but it would be very difficult to pay Betts the $30 million he’s estimated to earn in his final year of arbitration and keep Martinez at $23.75 million.
I have previously written about why trading Betts would be an unforgivable mistake. While we can’t rule anything out, I’m focusing more on what to do with Martinez under the assumption that Betts stays.
Here are three options that are on the table, dependent upon Martinez’s decision.