Opt-in with the Red Sox avoids labor uncertainty
Players are typically eager to reach free agency but this is a difficult year to test the market with the collective bargaining agreement expiring next month. The possibility of a lockout threatens to freeze the market until a new deal is put in place. That could leave players scrambling to find deals in a frenzy that begins once the lockout is lifted. A veteran who is limited to being a DH might get left out in the cold in that frantic climate.
We expect a new CBA to be put in place eventually but it’s unclear what the new terms will be. Steeper penalties for teams exceeding the luxury tax could make big budget teams more reluctant to spend. On the other hand, the implementation of a salary floor could force small-market teams to spend, leaving more money available for free agents to grab.
The new CBA might include the universal DH, which would open a path for Martinez to receive offers from a longer list of suitors. If Martinez opted-out under the assumption that National League teams would show interest in him, the plan could backfire if the universal DH doesn’t get added in the new deal.
There was the potential for Martinez to make more money under a new CBA but he had to make his decision before the current deal expires. Opting out would have carried some risk due to the uncertainty surrounding the terms of the CBA so Martinez played it safe by finishing out the remainder of his current deal.