Red Sox

Opt-out clauses, and outfield playing time, swayed Martinez

Opt-out clauses, and outfield playing time, swayed Martinez

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox were able to land J.D. Martinez because of more than just the dollars. The two opt-outs in the deal -- one after Year 2 and another after Year 3 -- are really what came out of the protracted negotiations.

The inclusion of the opt out after Year 2, in particular, was a tipping point, and something the Red Sox weren’t willing to do right off the bat. The dollars the Sox were willing to spend never greatly changed. Martinez's deal could be worth as much as $110 million and go for as long as five years.

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Another important element to Martinez, not to be overlooked: Martinez has also been told he will indeed get some outfield time, a baseball source said Wednesday. The Sox have a full regular outfield with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. But injuries happen, Bradley and Benintendi could occasionally sit against lefties and manager Alex Cora wants to keep guys as fresh as possible.

The high average annual value of Martinez’s deal, $50 million over the first two years if he opts out -- or $71.25 million over three years if he opts out after year three -- give Martinez a chance for even greater earning potential. A potentially short commitment can be good for the Sox as well.

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Report: Sandy Leon to return from paternity leave on Monday

Report: Sandy Leon to return from paternity leave on Monday

Sandy Leon was placed on paternity leave on Friday following the birth of his daughter. As expected, his absence isn't going to be very long.

According to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic, Leon is scheduled to return to the Red Sox on Monday, along with starting pitcher David Price, who will be activated off the Injured List.

Leon, 30, is hitting just .200 this year, but his defense and game-calling have both made a difference for the team. The Red Sox are 9-3 in games that he has played in this year (7-3 in starts).

It's unclear if Leon will be in the lineup right away, especially given how hot Christian Vazquez (.531 average in the last 10 games) has been, but Leon will certainly be back on the bench at the very least.

Leon's return also means that Oscar Hernandez will likely be sent back down to the minors. Hernandez was only hitting .111 combined between AA and AAA this season so he was just added to the roster as an emergency catcher with Leon out.

Swihart DFA challenged Vazquez, and he's delivering>>>

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Red Sox Lineup: Chavis leads off; Benintendi, Moreland sit vs. LHP

Red Sox Lineup: Chavis leads off; Benintendi, Moreland sit vs. LHP

The Boston Red Sox are taking on the Houston Astros in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon. And for the contest, the Red Sox lineup looks a bit different than normal.

Facing lefthanded pitcher, and former Red Sox, Wade Miley, Boston is giving Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland the day off. As a result, J.D. Martinez will play left field while Jackie Bradley Jr. gets a chance to play center, despite the unfavorable matchup against Miley. In Martinez's place at DH, Eduardo Nunez will once again start and bat eighth.

The biggest wrinkle in the lineup is that the Sox are batting Michael Chavis lead-off. Chavis has had a hot start to his major league career, batting .281 with 7 homers, and he will get a chance to get on base in front of Mookie Betts. It also means that the Red Sox will start off their day with six consecutive righthanded batters, clearly a strategic move against Miley, who has allowed a .248 batting average to righties compared to a .186 mark against lefties.

The other major note in the lineup is that hot-hitting catcher Christian Vazquez will bat fifth. Vazquez has already set a career-high in homers with six and has stepped up his game since Blake Swihart was DFA'd. If he keeps hitting well, he will continue to hold down a middle-of-the-order spot. 

On the mound for the Red Sox will be Chris Sale. After a rough start to the season, Sale is coming off a 17 strikeout game, and he will be looking to repeat his success against one of the league's best all-around lineups.

Here's a look at the lineups for both sides ahead of today's game. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

BOSTON RED SOX (23-22)
Michael Chavis 2B
Mookie Betts RF
J.D. Martinez LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Christian Vazquez C
Steve Pearce 1B
Rafael Devers 3B
Eduardo Nunez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
--
Chris Sale LHP (1-5, 4.24 ERA)

HOUSTON ASTROS (31-15)
George Springer RF
Alex Bregman 3B
Michael Brantley DH
Carlos Correa SS
Yuli Gurriel 2B
Tyler White 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
Josh Reddick LF
Jake Marisnick CF
--
Wade Miley LHP (4-2, 3.51 ERA)

Swihart DFA challenged Vazquez, and he's delivering>>>

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