Are You Worried This Could Be J.D. Martinez Final Season in Boston?

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If baseball adds the universal designated hitter in 2020 and keeps it for good, will we be saying adios to J.D. Martinez?  As Major League Baseball tries to figure out what proposal makes sense for the sport, Joel Sherman of The New York Post wrote an article in early May talking about how the NL could adopt the DH.  If the NL adopts the DH in 2020 and possibly beyond, this could open the door for Martinez to move on from Boston at the end of the potential upcoming shortened season. 

Photo courtesy of abc13.com

Since coming to Boston before the 2018 season, Martinez has helped fill a void in the middle of the Red Sox lineup after slugger David Ortiz retired.  In his two years in Boston, Martinez has gone to two All-Star games and earned a Top-5 MVP vote.  In addition, he has hit 79 home runs, driven in 235 RBI while hitting .317 during his time with the Sox.  The Red Sox have a legit middle of the order bat and if the NL adds the DH moving forward the possibility he could leave Boston grows. 

Martinez has the option to opt out of his five-year, $110 million contract once again at the end of this season.  His market will be doubled with the addition of the DH in the NL, and based off the Red Sox not wanting to commit the years to Mookie Betts prior to his trade to the Dodgers, one has to wonder if Chaim Bloom and company will look to make it rain to keep Martinez at Fenway. 

This past offseason, Martinez had the option to opt out of his contract and pursue a better deal in free agency.  The only team that needed a DH this offseason was the White Sox, who locked up Edwin Encarnacion.  He could have potentially had a suitor in the Texas Rangers as well, but the Red Sox at the time seemingly were a better win-now option than Texas.  The Twins, Angels and Astros have players penciled in at DH this year and beyond 2020.  If Martinez decides to opt out he can add teams like the Dodgers, Braves, Nationals and Phillies to his list of teams that would love his bat in the middle of their respective lineups. 

The one thing going against Martinez is his age.  He will be 33 heading into a potentially free agent year.  If all he needs to do is mash in the middle of a lineup, then he could go the way of Ortiz, Encarnacion or even Twins Nelson Cruz.  If he were to walk, it would be another tough pill for Red Sox fans to swallow after losing Betts in a trade with the Dodgers. 

Due to the coronavirus epidemic and the lack of revenue in baseball this year, Martinez could exercise his option and stay in Boston due to the uncertain climate that free agency could present this fall.  There will be no doubt be teams interested in players, but what will contracts and year commitments look like for the foreseeable future?  Martinez is easily a $20 million a year player in a climate where no revenue might come into the sport. 

If he leaves in free agency, the Red Sox lineup will take a hit and they would have lost two huge bats in two seasons.  The Red Sox have Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers to build around moving forward.  Bloom and his front office will need to figure out who they’ll bring in to fill the void left by Betts/Martinez. 

Martinez likes Boston and this team, but will that be enough for him to stay beyond this year?  He did say to Boston Globe reporter Pete Abraham that, “I don’t mind moving around, I kind of like it.”  While it’s up to you to read into the comments of Martinez regarding staying or leaving, but with Scott Boras as his agent, the likelihood of an opt out is strong. 

Whatever happens following the season, Martinez has been someone who has come in, put his head down, has been a great teammate and has raked in the middle of the Red Sox lineup.  I’d like to see the Red Sox keep Martinez in Boston for the remainder of his career and continue to mentor the young players on the roster. 



Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Are You Worried This Could Be J.D. Martinez Final Season in Boston?
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