Red Sox

Red Sox star J.D. Martinez won't opt out of contract in 2019

Red Sox star J.D. Martinez won't opt out of contract in 2019

The Boston Red Sox's offseason can now proceed.

The first major domino to fall for the Red Sox this winter was J.D. Martinez deciding whether to opt out of his contract. He had until 11:59 p.m. ET Monday night to opt out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent, but ESPN's Jeff Passan reports the veteran slugger will not opt out. NBC Sports Boston's John Tomase confirmed ESPN's report. 

Martinez signed a five-year contract worth $110 million with the Red Sox before the 2018 campaign -- one that includes several different opt-out years, including after the 2020 season.

He finished fourth in AL MVP voting in 2018 as a key member of a Red Sox team that won a club-record 108 games and the World Series. Martinez enjoyed plenty of success in 2019, too, batting .304 with 36 home runs ,105 RBI and a .383 on-base percentage in 145 games.

His return could have huge implications for the rest of the roster. The Red Sox want to cut payroll, and with Martinez's large salary remaining on the books, did a Mookie Betts trade just become more likely? The All-Star outfielder can become a free agent after the 2021 campaign, but if the Red Sox aren't able to work out an extension with him in the near future, trading him now and getting a bunch of quality prospects/MLB players in return would be ideal.

Five potential landing spots for Mookie Betts>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

David Wright empathizes with Dustin Pedroia: 'I'm rooting for him to come back'

David Wright empathizes with Dustin Pedroia: 'I'm rooting for him to come back'

If anyone can relate to what Dustin Pedroia is going through, it's David Wright.

The former New York Mets third baseman enjoyed a stellar 14-year career before it was derailed by chronic injuries, including one to his spine. Wright worked tirelessly to return to form, but his comeback attempt ended in 2018 with one final appearance to bid farewell to Mets fans.

Pedroia is heading down a similar path. On Tuesday, it was revealed the veteran Boston Red Sox second baseman suffered a significant setback with the same knee that has kept him out of commission for most of the last two-and-a-half seasons.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Wright, knowing the kind of competitor Pedroia is, empathizes with the 2008 American League MVP.

“I completely understand what he’s going through," Wright told Tara Sullivan of The Boston Globe. "I think as a competitor — and I’ve talked to Dustin about this particular subject because ultimately it’s got to be his decision — but I think everyone that’s competed, especially for us at the highest level of the game, everyone’s endgame and everyone’s goal is to go out on our own terms. We want to go out when we want to go out, and for me at least, that was the difficult part, where it was my body telling me I can’t do it anymore."

Pedroia has shown he won't go down without a fight, and that likely won't change even after his latest setback.

But if he does indeed decide to finally call it a career, Wright hopes he'll at least hang 'em up knowing he did everything he could to return to the field.

“I’m rooting for him to come back, and certainly if it doesn’t happen, I’m hoping he has peace of mind," Wright told Sullivan.

“I can’t speak on Dustin’s behalf, but for me, what happened with the injuries allowed me to know 1,000 percent that I just physically couldn’t do it, because if I had given up earlier, if I hadn’t exhausted the possibilities and those avenues I went down, I would sit here today and say, ‘Oh man, what if.’ ”

Pedroia's setback means his status for spring training is in doubt. Although the 36-year-old stated in November he isn't contemplating retirement, he may have to begrudgingly re-evaluate his situation if his nagging injury forces him to miss the 2020 campaign.

MLB rumors: Red Sox interested in this Padres prospect in Mookie Betts trade talks

MLB rumors: Red Sox interested in this Padres prospect in Mookie Betts trade talks

The San Diego Padres have one of Major League Baseball's best farm systems, which makes them an ideal trade partner for the Boston Red Sox in any potential deal involving All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts.

The Red Sox and Padres have discussed a Betts trade, The Athletic's Dennis Lin reported Thursday. Lin wrote "recent talks between the teams have focused on sending a significant amount of prospect talent and outfielder Wil Myers to Boston, according to sources."

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

The Padres have six players on Baseball America's latest ranking of MLB's top 100 prospects, and that's tied for the third-most of any team. One of those top 100 prospects the Red Sox have interest in acquiring from the Padres is catcher Luis Campusano, per Lin.

The Red Sox don't have a long-term solution at catcher, so it makes sense to covet a player of Campusano's caliber.

Campusano, 21, was a second-round draft pick by the Padres in 2017. He batted a California League-leading .325, along with 15 home runs and 81 RBI in 110 games during the 2019 season. Campusano also was ranked No. 4 on MLB.com's top 10 catching prospects list entering the 2020 season.

It's difficult to get equal value in return for a superstar like Betts, especially when he's able to become an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season. He's one of the five-best position players in the sport and already has a World Series title and an AL MVP on his résumé. The Red Sox absolutely should ask for elite prospects in return, and Campusano is a great option when it comes to the Padres. He would help replenish a Boston farm system that ranks among the weakest in baseball.

Tomase: Pros and cons of a Mookie Betts trade with Padres