Red Sox offseason begins with decisions looming within next 5 days
Player options determine Red Sox offseason plans
Not every option will be determined by the team. Two key members of the lineup have player options that will be pivotal in determining how the offseason unfolds.
It’s fair to assume that Kyle Schwarber will decline his modest $11.5 million option. He made his first All-Star team this year and was one of the best bats to change teams at the trade deadline. Schwarber hit .291/.435/.522 in 41 games with the Red Sox while establishing himself as an instant fan-favorite. There may be riots in the streets of Waltham if Kyle isn’t re-signed.
The fate of Schwarber is partially tied to the decision of J.D. Martinez. The veteran designated hitter appears likely to decline his $19.35 million player option to test free agency. Assuming he does, Boston will need to decide whether they should try to re-sign him or Schwarber. While it’s possible they could keep both, retaining two bats who should slot into the DH role does no favors to the defense, which should be a priority for the Red Sox to upgrade.
If Martinez does opt-out, the Red Sox will extend a qualifying offer. Obviously, Martinez would decline since the offer pays less than his player option but at least Boston would get a draft pick if he leaves. Schwarber isn’t eligible for a qualifying offer since he was traded mid-season.
Martinez is the first domino to fall. His decision regarding his player option will dictate which direction the Red Sox offseason plan goes. We’ll know a lot more about where this team is heading within five days with several important deadlines looming.