J.D. Martinez Decides Not to Opt out of Contract With Red Sox

Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez has decided NOT to opt out of the remaining three years and $62.5 million of his contract, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

The 32-year-old had until midnight eastern time Monday to make his decision, and is now locked in for at least one more year, as he also has two more opt outs remaining in his contract following the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

In his second season with Boston, Martinez slashed .304/.383/.557 to go along with 36 home runs and 105 RBI across 146 games played in 2019.

Back in September, Sox ownership came out and said that it is a goal, not a mandate, to cut down on payroll ahead of the 2020 campaign. Following Monday’s events, Martinez is expected to earn $23.75 million next year. Combine that with Mookie Betts’ projected salary of $27.7 million, and that seemingly puts Boston’s new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom in a difficult spot.

Of course, there are plenty of options available here. For starters, Martinez’s deal could be restructured to presumably do away with the opt-outs and lock in one of the best hitters in the game for the next three years. Another avenue worth exploring could be looking into trading both Betts and Martinez.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Martinez can block trades to three teams, and no adjustments to his current deal have been made to this point.

During his introductory presser last week, Bloom emphasized being both “sustainable and competitive over the long term.” If the Sox really want to avoid paying those luxury tax penalties once more next year, then they’re going to have to get really creative to do so.

With that said, it would not be much of a surprise if Bloom and Co. listen to trade offers on any player besides Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers.

There was already that report out of Arlington last week that the Texas Rangers had begun having preliminary, internal conversations about acquiring a Sox starter like Nathan Eovaldi, David Price, or even Chris Sale, so that is definitely an avenue to explore as well.

As Opt-Out Decision Looms, J.D. Martinez Is Officially on the Clock

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.

#RedSox and Xander Bogaerts Finalizing Seven-Year, $132 Million Contract Extension

Eight days after locking up ace left-hander Chris Sale for the next five seasons, it appears that the Red Sox have locked up another key piece who was set to hit free agency later this year in shortstop Xander Bogaerts, per WEEI’s Evan Drellich.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that Bogaerts’ potential contract extension with Boston will be worth $132 million over seven seasons. That averages out to approximately $18.6 million per year.

Passan also notes that the extension starts this season, presumably meaning that Bogaerts’ initial $12 million pact for 2019 will be ripped up. The deal will also include an opt-out.

A client os super agent Scott Boras, Bogaerts, 26, was set to become a free agent for the first time later this winter, but now appears to be a key member of the Red Sox infield for years to come.

Making his big league debut in 2013, the Aruba native has appeared in 762 games with Boston, tallying 75 home runs and 387 RBI over that time to go along with a career .283/.342/.429 slash line, one All-Star appearance, and two World Series titles.

Given that Opening Day was this past Thursday, I must say that I am honestly shocked this sort of deal got done at the time it did.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said at himself during the Chris Sale press conference last week.

“I think as far as negotiations are concerned I think it’s usually wise to stop on Opening Day because you don’t want to be a distraction,” Dombrowski said. “You want them focused and putting up the best numbers they can and win a championship.”

And less than two full weeks after that statement was made, the Red Sox are finalizing an extension with Xander Bogaerts as we speak.

This deal is not official yet, so I will provide more details as they come sometime tomorrow.

Per Jon Heyman, The #RedSox Are “Closing In” On a Deal for JD Martinez.

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FINALLY, something concrete! It’s just not speculation, folks, we have some legit news from the Boras Corp. spokesman himself, Mr. Jon Heyman. Both sides appear to be moving towards a deal, according to Heyman. Nothing has been finalized YET, but it looks like an agreement will be coming into fruition soon. The stare down between Dave Dombrowksi and Scott Boras lasted the entire offseason, and now it seems it is coming to a close. Just the other night, Eric Hosmer, a Boras client, inked an eight-year deal with the San Diego Padres worth approximately $144 million dollars. I pray this potential deal for JD Martinez does not look like that, hopefully we’re talking about a five-year/$100-$125 million dollar contract. I will have more on this if the signing happens tonight.

JD Martinez is Reportedly ‘Fed Up’ with the #RedSox.

Per Ken Rosenthal, free agent outfielder JD Martinez ‘has become “fed up” with the lack of flexibility on Boston’s part and may prefer playing elsewhere.’ This all came out last night, and it is not a good look on Martinez’s part. Whatever sense of entitlement he’s earned in his playing career, the 30 year-old is using all of it this offseason. Since free agency started, there were rumors that Martinez was looking for a seven-year offer worth around $200 million dollars in total. Last time I checked, the only offer Martinez has available to him right now is a five-year, $125 million dollar offer from the Red Sox.

Right before the World Series ended in November, Martinez left his old agency, RMG Baseball, for super-agent Scott Boras. If you were to look at the top free agents in baseball who have yet to sign with a club, you will notice that a majority of them are indeed Boras clients. The man is known for getting the largest and longest contracts for his clients and he is really putting that to the test this winter.

From the perspective of Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox, I do not take this as bad news. If there are no favorable offers on the table for Martinez now, why would that change as Spring Training begins? I’m not an insider, but I can’t imagine a team who plans on contending in 2018 would sign Martinez to a huge deal in March if they could have done so in January or February. Realistically, the Red Sox have been the most persistent team pursuing Martinez. There have been rumors about the Giants or Blue Jays trying to lure him, but those rumors carry less weight than the Red Sox ones do.

Evaluating the market for Martinez is not even that much of a challenge. There are not many teams out there willing to sign a 30 year-old outfielder with one of the worst gloves in baseball to a deal worth more than $200 million dollars. The fact that there’s still an offer on the table worth more than $120 million dollars is crazy. Why does it matter if there’s an extra two years on it or not? Just take it and show you are worth that deal.

Martinez may be fed up with the Red Sox, but Red Sox fans are beginning to get fed up with him.

JD Martinez Reportedly Has a Five-Year, $125 Million Dollar Offer on the Table from the #RedSox.

As Winter Weekend kicks off tonight, Michael Silverman broke this little bit of news at around 3:00 earlier today:

The Josh Hamilton reminder wasn’t necessary, but it is relevant news nonetheless. When Buster Olney tweeted on Wednesday that Martinez had a 5 year/$100 million dollar offer on the table from the Red Sox, there was much speculation about that not being enough. Well, two days later, this is where things stand. $125 million over five years would put Martinez’s AAV right at $25 million per season. I’m sure any contract Martinez signs will be backloaded, meaning he will make more in the last two to three seasons then he would in the first two or three.

Truthfully, I think this type of deal would be overpaying for Martinez’s services, but I don’t have a problem with it. Time and time again the Red Sox overpay for players. They reached for Pablo Sandoval after the 2014 season and gave David Price the richest contract in Red Sox history after the 2015 season to become their bona fide ace, which hasn’t happened and probably won’t happen.

There is plenty of risk in this deal, especially when you take into consideration how much time Martinez has had to miss because of injuries throughout his seven-year career. Despite that risk, the Red Sox have the chance to sign the best power hitter and maybe the best hitter in general left on the market. There doesn’t appear to be any other teams prepared to make him an offer so the time is now. This waiting game is getting kind of ridiculous, and I would hate to go into spring training with Martinez still unsigned. Like I have been saying though, we’ll just have to wait and see. See you at WInter Weekend tomorrow.

The Hot Stove is Far From Hot.

For the first time in weeks, I thought the MLB hot stove was about to heat up. Pirates ace Gerrit Cole has been traded to the Houston Astros, or so I thought. It turns out that this was just a ‘false rumor’ or something along those lines.

This was a bummer. This move would have surpassed Wade Davis to the Rockies as the biggest move of the offseason. Sure, Gerrit Cole will more than likely get traded within the next few days, but it’s still all speculation. We can’t avoid the fact that the MLB offseason is progressing at a snail’s pace. JD Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Jake Arrieta are just some of the top free agents still on the market. I thought for sure the Giancarlo Stanton trade would loosen things up back in December, but clearly I was wrong. If I had to guess what is causing this free agency back-up, I would say committment is the biggest issue. Big league clubs aren’t as willing as they used to to hand out large deals over an extended period of times. Gone are the days of ten-year deals, in my opinion. Josh Hamilton, Pablo Sandoval, and even Albert Pujols come to mind. I know that they did not sign ten-year deals, but the clubs they signed with certainly did not get a positive return on investment.

Although the clubs are leaning more towards short-term deals, it remains to be seen if players and their agents will ever accept it. As an agent, I’m fairly certain you want to get the most value out of your client, and that’s what Scott Boras specializes in. Because of this, you have guys like JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer who remain unsigned. There have been rumors that both are seeking deals where their AAV would exceed $20 million dollars, that’s not the problem. The problem is the length of the contract. Given the fact Martinez is already 30 years old, I’m certain there’s a consensus around Major League Baseball that he is not worth a seven or eight year deal, which appears to be what Boras, his agent, wants.

There are several factors that go into a player and his agent wanting a long deal, but baseball may be ushering in a new era where that is a rare occasion. You have your once in a generation talent like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado who are going to get deals that last 10+ years, but what about the rest? Is it worth it for the Red Sox to pay JD Martinez north of $20 million dollars a year into his age 37 season? Probably not. If Martinez and Boras were accepting of a three or four-year deal, then he would have been signed weeks ago, the same with Eric Hosmer. All I know is, the market is messed up and this may be the start of something new in baseball.