Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez can become a free agent after this season if he wants to. That does not seem likely based on his statements.
Back when J.D. Martinez signed his five year, $110 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, he had some interesting choices that would need to be made. That deal included opt outs after the 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons, where Martinez could forego the rest of his contract to enter free agency. He chose to remain in Boston after an excellent 2019 campaign, but still had those upcoming options.
Martinez has that same decision to make this offseason. Based on his comments, that decision appears likely to remain the same – that Martinez will choose against entering free agency.
That decision is understandable on multiple fronts. Martinez is in the midst of a mediocre campaign, producing a .233/.315/.403 batting line; his 91 OPS+ his worst mark since 2013. He has just three homers in his 146 plate appearances, hardly the pop that the Red Sox were hoping for.
His struggles could not have come at a worse time if he wanted to explore free agency. Due to the pandemic, teams are suffering major financial losses this season. Those losses may impact how teams approach free agency, as they may not be as willing to open the vaults for the top free agents available.
Martinez, meanwhile, is not the type of player that teams have been spending on recently. He is just past his hypothetical prime, having turned 33 years old during the season. While teams have been spending on free agents that are still in their prime, Martinez would be hard pressed to receive a deal that would be better than the two years and $38.7 million he has left.
That does not mean that Martinez will be out in the cold in the future. He still has the ability to opt-out after the 2021 season as well. If he produces a typical campaign, he could potentially parlay that season into a multi-year deal, either in free agency or as an extension to remain in Boston.
J.D. Martinez is likely to remain with the Boston Red Sox for next season. Considering the economic climate and his struggles this year, turning down free agency is the best option.