At the time of this article, JD Martinez has not opted out of his contract or stated that he will be back with the Sox in 2020. He has five days to make a decision and while there is a very real chance he stays put, there is equally as much chance he tests free agency for the second time around. For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume Martinez opts out.
The Red Sox, who are looking to cut salary, will likely let Martinez walk and replace him through a cheaper free agent or with internal options. Either way, if Martinez opts out, I feel pretty confident we will not see him in a Red Sox jersey again.
Martinez was excellent in 2019. Not quite as good as 2018, but still a very strong hitter, smacking .304/36/105. Martinez will likely be limited to an American League team due to his lack of defensive skills.
Because half the market is taken off the board and most contending teams already have their designated hitters going into 2020, Martinez has a very small market. There are two teams I see as possible suitors to pay for Martinez: the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians.
The White Sox have been rumored to be in on Martinez and for good reason. Chicago has a lot of good, young hitters coming up, such as Eloy Jimenez and Martinez is a hitting guru and could help mentor this young core that Chicago is building.
The Indians are an interesting team because they seem to have a desire to contend, but traded Trevor Bauer at the deadline. If the Indians feel they can still contend with a fully healthy Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, then signing Martinez may make sense. However, if the Indians trade Fransisco Lindor, which has been rumored over the past few days, scrap the idea of a Martinez-Indians pairing.