Even though there is still one game remaining in this year’s installent of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros on Wednesday night, a former Astro in J.D. Martinez is on the clock.
Yes, the 32-year-old now has until 5 PM eastern time next Monday to decide whether or not he will opt out of the remaining three years and $62.5 million of his contract and become a free agent.
Martinez originally inked a five-year, $110 million deal with Boston back in February 2018. A deal that included built in opt-outs after the 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons.
In the two seasons he has spent with the Sox to this point, the Florida native ranks second among qualified American League hitters in home runs (79), first in RBI (235), sixth in runs scored (209), and second in slugging percentage (.593).
While introducing new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom on Monday, Red Sox principal owner John Henry said that he does not know what Martinez’s decision will be and that, “We’ll find out very soon.”
A client of super agent Scott Boras, Martinez may be enticed to enter free agency once again, as at 32, he may only have one last chance to earn a sizable contract in terms of both length and dollar figures.
In the following days leading into Monday evening, the Red Sox will have exclusive negotiating rights with their two-time All-Star slugger, as well as their other free agents. Martinez could reach a decision as early as 9 AM on Thursday, per MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.
If Martinez were to opt out of his contract, the Sox would owe him a buyout in the form of $2.5 million. They would also more than likely extend him a qualifying offer in this scenario, which will be worth $17.8 million this offseason. That way, any club that signed Martinez would also owe Boston a compensatory draft pick, one that would fall after the fourth round of the 2020 amateur draft.
Given how Henry and chairman Tom Werner have essentially made it clear that they would like to cut down on payroll this winter, it should be interesting to see how serious the club is about bringing Martinez back if he does indeed opt out.