Red Sox

Chaim Bloom: Red Sox will 'respect whatever decision' J.D. Martinez makes

Chaim Bloom: Red Sox will 'respect whatever decision' J.D. Martinez makes

UPDATE (5:07 p.m.): J.D. Martinez has decided not to exercise his opt-out clause, locking in a $23.75 million salary with the Red Sox for the 2020 season.

Is the clock ticking down on J.D. Martinez's Red Sox career?

The slugger has until 11:59 p.m. Monday night to decide whether to opt out of the remaining three years and $62.5 million on his Red Sox contract. If he decides to exercise his player option and remain in Boston, he'll make $23.75 million for the 2020 season.

Martinez's decision will have a huge ripple effect on the rest of the Red Sox offseason — as John Tomase detailed here. Whether or not Martinez remains could seal Mookie Betts' fate with the Sox right fielder entering his final arbitration-eligible season before hitting the free agent market. And losing a hitter of Martinez's caliber would create a giant hole in the middle of the Sox lineup.

For Boston's new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom, Martinez's situation is the first domino in what promises to be a very interesting offseason. And on Monday morning when Bloom appeared on MLB Network, he didn't tip his hand as to what Martinez might decide.

"He's one of the premier hitters in the game," Bloom told Ken Rosenthal. "For good reason, his contract gives him the ability to take control of it if he wants, and he's got a decision to make. We will certainly respect whatever decision he makes. We don't look at it as any kind of a personal thing. I think he has the right to do what he thinks is best for himself.

"I think we're pretty fortunate to have him in our uniform, and we're still going to feel the same way about him regardless of what decision he decides to make."

Until that decision becomes public, Red Sox Nation is stuck in a holding pattern.

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Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

For a position so essential to baseball — no player handles the ball more often — the catching ranks in Red Sox history are surprisingly shallow.

Multiple seasons belong to players like Johnny Peacock, Pinch Thomas, Hick Cady, Roxy Walters, and Muddy Ruel, names that sound like they should belong to bouncers before big leaguers.

The dearth of catching talent may partly explain why the Red Sox routinely featured lousy starting rotations, at least until Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Co. arrived to give the club perennial Cy Young contenders no matter who squatted behind the plate.

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Had this list extended to 10 instead of five, some of the names would surprise you. Wally Schang, anyone? How about Bill Carrigan? There'd definitely be room for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Anyway, the overall talent level may be thin, but the top five are legit, with three All-Stars and two Hall of Famers.

Click here for the top five catchers in Red Sox history.

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Are Dave Roberts' latest comments about Mookie Betts just wishful thinking or reality?

The Los Angeles Dodgers manager said some interesting things about his new right fielder on ESPN's "The Sedano Show" Monday, including that he knows how Betts feels about being in Dodger blue.

I think him being in spring training with us — the relationship I have with him personally, and I think some players too, and coaches — it feels like he’s already played a season with us, which is strange. … Mookie’s gotta do what’s best for him and his family once that time does present itself, but I know that he loves being a Dodger.

After just eight spring training games, Betts "loves" being a Dodger? It seems like a stretch, but maybe getting out of Boston was that much of a relief for the 27-year-old.

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With the 2020 season on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's possible we never see Betts play a regular-season game for the Dodgers. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association agreed on a settlement that would let all pending free agents hit the open market if the coming season is canceled.

Betts, the 2018 American League MVP and World Series champion, likely will test free agency come 2021, and the Dodgers will have to pay a hefty price to keep him in L.A. 

If Dodgers ownership and team president Andrew Friedman decide to shell out the cash, then Betts will probably "love" being a Dodger even more.