The Boston Red Sox have had about as busy an offseason as they have in recent history, and things have gotten even more interesting. While many believed J.D. Martinez would opt out of his deal and test the market, he made the decision to remain with the Red Sox and opt in. Martinez has had two of the best seasons of his career in his two years in Boston, so most people expected him to see how much he was worth.
Although he has shown how great of a hitter he is, he is primarily a designated hitter. Therefore, teams were simply not going to pay him the money he probably deserves if he actual played in the outfield. Regardless, this is a he development for the Red Sox. They will now retain a guy who has batted over .300, hit 30+ home runs, and hit 100+ RBI in both of his years in town. Not only does his success have a big impact on the team individually, he also makes his teammates better. Many, including Xander Bogaerts, have been quoted explaining their love for Martinez and what he means to the lineup. Having him in the four spot makes it so much easier for Rafael Devers and Bogaerts to see pitches that they like and allow them to have spectacular at bats.
With all of this said, Martinez opting in could be somewhat problematic. $20+ million will now be on the books for at least the 2020 season, and it has the potential to go through 2022. Mookie Betts has been the talk of the offseason, as he will be a free agent after the year is over. He is looking for a contract in the Mike Trout range, meaning $400 million over the course of the next 10 years. While he absolutely deserves a lot of money, it is questionable whether or not the Red Sox will make an offer. Many credible sources think that Betts does not really want to play in Boston and that he would be happier elsewhere. It is not clear whether this is true or not, but he definitely has not ever expressed his desire to stay here. Chaim Bloom is known as a guy who makes a lot of trades, so I truly believe that we should expect Betts to be traded this offseason.
Dave Dombrowski absolutely depleted Boston’s farm system. Of course they won a World Series out of it, but there is no denying that they have minimal up and coming players. That is exactly what could be the return on a Mookie Betts trade. In fact, the Red Sox most likely could even get a couple of proven players as well as prospects. The trade is almost inevitable, especially after this decision by Martinez to stay in Boston. John Henry has made it clear that he does not want to pay a luxury tax in 2020, so with this $20 million now on the books, Bloom’s job just got a lot harder. He is going to have to do some serious finagling to find a way to present a competitive team while also not over spending. Sure, this is a tough task, but with his experience in Tampa Bay, Bloom will be ready to step in and make franchise-altering decisions. Boston’s front office put their trust in Bloom, so fans really should as well. Either way, J.D. Martinez is returning for a third year, and hopefully he can keep things going in the future.