The Red Sox do not plan on extending a qualifying offer to designated hitter J.D. Martinez, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman.
Clubs will have until five days after the World Series ends to extend qualifying offers to eligible free agents. This winter, the qualifying offer — or the average salary of Major League Baseball’s 125 highest-paid players — will be valued at $19.65 million.
Martinez, who turned 35 in August, earned $19.375 million in the final year of the five-year, $110 million contract he originally signed with the Red Sox before the start of the 2018 season. This year, the veteran slugger batted .274/.341/.448 with 43 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 62 RBIs, 76 runs scored, 52 walks, and 145 strikeouts over 139 games and 596 plate appearances.
Though he earned his fourth trip to the All-Star Game in five seasons with Boston, Martinez’s production dropped off significantly during the second half. The right-handed hitter appeared in 58 of 69 possible games due to back issues and slashed just .233/.301/.400 from July 26 onward. His 16 homers — the final two of which came on the last day of the season — are the fewest he has hit in a 162-game campaign since 2012 when he was a member of the Astros.
While Martinez represents one of the best free-agent signings in franchise history, it appears as though the Red Sox would like to go in a different direction in terms of how they utilize the designated hitter spot in their lineup moving forward.
If the Sox were to extend a qualifying offer to Martinez and Martinez were to sign with another team before next year’s draft, they would be in line to receive a compensatory draft pick after the fourth round since they exceeded the exceeded the first luxury tax threshold level of $230 million in 2022.
Last November, the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer to just one player in Eduardo Rodriguez. The left-hander ultimately rejected it and signed a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers shortly thereafter. As a result, Boston was awarded the 79th overall pick in this summer’s draft. The club used it on high school outfielder Roman Anthony.
Besides Martinez, other soon-to-be qualified free agents Boston could tie to draft compensation include Xander Bogaerts (assuming he opts out of his contract), Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and Matt Strahm.
In light of Heyman’s reporting, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith on Saturday that the Red Sox have not yet made any final decisions on qualifying offers.
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)