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.
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