Red Sox: 3 reasons why J.D. Martinez didn’t opt-out to test free agency
J.D. Martinez is staying with the Red Sox for another season
When J.D. Martinez signed with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2018 season, the common perception was that he wasn’t going to stick around for all five years. At least not under the same $110 million contract. The terms of the deal included language to protect the team from concerns of a previous Lisfranc injury while providing Martinez with the option to opt-out of any of the final three years of the contract.
Martinez proved he was healthy through two All-Star campaigns to begin his tenure in Boston but didn’t find enough incentive to trigger the first opt-out with three more years potentially locked in and his salary still a year away from declining. Martinez earned $23.75 million in each of the first three years but his salary would dip to $19.35 for the final two seasons if he didn’t opt-out.
A brutal slump in 2020 wiped away any chance of Martinez opting out when given the opportunity for a second time. He bounced back with a strong 2021 season, hitting .286 with a .867 OPS, 28 home runs and a league-leading 42 doubles.
His productive season set the 34-year-old up to cash in on a multi-year deal. Even if he was unlikely to find offers that would pay north of $19 million next season, he could secure more guaranteed money with a new contract.
Many expected the veteran designated hitter to hit the market this winter but when the deadline came for him to exercise his final opt-out opportunity, Martinez declined.
It’s hardly unusual for players to bet on themselves but considering his age and the fact that he was already coming off an All-Star season, it’s hard to imagine Martinez expecting his value to go up from here. So why is he staying?