J.D. Martinez will not opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox.
By remaining with the Red Sox, Martinez can earn $62.5 million over the next three years: $23.75 million for 2020 and $19,375,000 for both 2021 and 2022. He also has the option to opt out after each of the next two seasons, as long as he does not spend a lengthy period on the injured list.
“J.D. has advised me that his decision is about assuring that he plays for a competitive team and wanting to continue to play in a place where he knows that he can be highly productive,” his agent, Scott Boras, told The Boston Globe.
Over the past three seasons, Martinez leads the league in home runs with 124, and is second in RBIs with 339, batting average at .313, slugging percentage at .619 and OPS at 1.007 over that span.
The Red Sox, who had the highest payroll in baseball last season, are looking to get below the luxury tax threshold. It remains to be seen how this will affect newly hired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s ability to also retain Mookie Betts, the 2018 MVP who will become a free agent after next season. Betts made $27.7 million last season and is likely to get more in arbitration this season.
Martinez, 32, led the Red Sox in home runs, RBIs and hits in 2018, on the way to winning his first World Series title. His numbers in 2019 fell off as he battled back spasms, but in his two years in Boston he hit 79 homers and drove in 235 runs. He was an All-Star both of his years in Boston.
While he played 38 games in the outfield this year, Martinez is primarily a designated hitter.
Martinez takes a meticulous approach to hitting, analyzing at-bats and opposing pitchers, and several Red Sox players credited him with helping them improve their approach.
Martinez broke in with the Houston Astros in 2011 and was released by the team in 2014. Martinez decided that he had to change his swing, and worked with Robert Van Scoyoc, now the Dodgers hitting coach, and Craig Wallenbrock.
He signed a free agent deal with the Detroit Tigers in 2014, then was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in July 2017. In 62 games with Arizona, Martinez hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBIs. That landed him the deal with the Red Sox.
In other roster moves on Monday, the Red Sox reinstated Dustin Pedroia and Chris Sale from the 60-day injured list. Catcher Juan Centeno, who played in seven games for Boston in 2019, elected to hit free agency and has been outrighted from the roster.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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