Will JD Martinez opt out of his final year with the Boston Red Sox?
The Boston Red Sox may have to add one very big item to their offseason agenda.
On Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal speculated that JD Martinez would opt out of the final year on his contract:
"“I expect him to opt out. He’s got one year, over $19 million left on that deal. Could he beat that guaranteed (money) on the open market? Yes. Absolutely, he could.”"
Martinez signed a five-year deal during 2018 Spring Training which included opt-outs after the 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons.
After tying for the MLB lead in doubles and hitting 28 home runs in 2021, Martinez can almost certainly command more on the open market than the $19.35 million he will receive if he opts in.
If Martinez does opt out, the Red Sox will have big shoes to fill. After all, Martinez’s predecessor at DH was David Ortiz, and the successes of the franchise over the last two decades are due in large part to them.
Here are three DH options who could replace Martinez if he opts out:
The Red Sox could move Rafael Devers to DH
Offensively, Devers is a pitcher’s nightmare. In 2019, he led the AL with 54 doubles and led all of MLB with 359 total bases. He was only 22 years old at the time.
This season, Devers slashed .279/.352/.538 with a .890 OPS, 37 doubles, 101 runs scored, and 113 driven in. He also hit a new career-high 38 home runs. In 11 postseason games, he hit five home runs, scored 11, and drove in 12.
While Devers has shown flashes of brilliance at third base, he’s also made far too many errors for a player who just completed their fifth year in the big leagues. He’s made at least 22 errors in each of the last three full seasons, and 14 errors in only 57 games in 2020. He has almost as many career errors (96) as he does home runs (112).
Top prospect Triston Casas is raking in the Arizona Fall League and was elevated to Triple-A late in the minor league season. With his expected arrival in the big leagues next year, Bobby Dalbec could move to third base, and Devers could inherit the DH position. He only turned 25 last month and isn’t a free agent until 2024, so the Sox would be sitting pretty for a long time if they choose to give him the massive contract he deserves.