Red Sox News: The universal DH spells the end of J.D. Martinez in Boston

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 6: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting a game winning walk-off single during the twelfth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 6, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 6: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting a game winning walk-off single during the twelfth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 6, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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J.D. Martinez may be in his final season with the Red Sox

Baseball fans finally got to nibble on a little bit of news today for the first time in what feels like forever. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke today amidst the current lockout and made it known that the owners had agreed to terms with the MLBPA on the universal DH. That’s right folks, once the new CBA is eventually put into place it’ll include the designated hitter in the National League, which means big things for the Red Sox.

On the surface, it means that sluggers now have a much bigger market to shop at once business opens back up. Kyle Schwarber is hanging out there and while the Red Sox seem like the favorite, he now has a lot more places to call home.

As it stands for current members of Boston’s roster, J.D. Martinez just got some of the best news of his life. He’s entering a contract year and will now have the entire league calling for his services once 2023 hits.

Had the owners not agreed to the universal DH I think the Red Sox would’ve made a solid effort at re-signing J.D. next winter but that task will be easier said than done now. They very well could still try to bring the Silver Slugger back to Fenway Park but they may easily get priced out when the time comes to meet at the negotiating table.

Obviously, none of us have any idea about what is going through Martinez’s head as this news broke today but as a Red Sox fan, it’s hard to not be pessimistic. While the last 20 years have been pretty good to us there’s more than enough history of heartbreak to make us feel like one of the biggest fan favorites could be walking in a few months. Granted, that was always a possibility but now he’ll have the pick of the litter.

In my eyes, he may as well be one foot out the door. The Florida native loves nothing more than smacking dingers and fishing in beautiful weather. Adding the DH to the NL is the perfect recipe for his return to the Sunshine State where he can hit homers and catch tarpon until retirement calls. As much as I love watching Julio Daniel do the damn thing in a Red Sox uniform I think our time with him is almost up.

I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox absolutely made out like bandits in regards to signing Martinez. Dave Dombrowski inked him to a deal worth a fraction of what Scott Boras and the slugger wanted and J.D. has been one the best hitters in the league since. While he showed faith back in Boston by never exercising any of his opt-outs, his good faith in the organization could be running on empty.

It’s hard to disagree with him if he did decide to go out in the world and forego any Red Sox advances either during the season or next winter. If you went from having only 50% of the market courting you to now the whole damn league wants you, yeah, you’re going to take some phone calls.

As much as I hate to say it, the universal DH pretty much means the end of J.D. Martinez with the Red Sox. I’ll always be thankful for what he did during his time with the club but I also can’t get mad at him for seeking out his value with an entirely new market ahead of him. I also know I may be putting a grim outlook on something that may not happen but as a multi-generational Red Sox fan, I always hope for the best but plan for the worst.

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