Red Sox

Scott Boras explains why J.D. Martinez opted in to Red Sox contract

Scott Boras explains why J.D. Martinez opted in to Red Sox contract

An offseason filled with uncertainty for the Red Sox began on an encouraging note as J.D. Martinez chose not to opt out of his contract earlier this month.

Boston's prized DH decided to return for $23.75 million in 2020 rather than test the free-agent market. Wednesday at the GM Meetings in Arizona, his agent Scott Boras explained why.

“J.D. wanted assurance of competition at a high level and the fact that he played so well in Boston,” Boras said. “We looked at it and with those two things in mind, that was the focus. For that reason, he decided to opt in. The contract that we structured allowed him choices after each season. It was something that in this year, at this time, we felt like it was the best decision.”

Martinez enjoyed another stellar season at the plate for the Red Sox in 2019. The 32-year-old hit 36 home runs with 105 RBI and a .939 OPS in his second season in Boston.

“This is an elite bat,” Boras said. “This is very different than what DHs are, usually, to most teams. He’s a franchise bat so we always look at him that way.”

While Martinez's bat obviously will be welcomed back to the middle of the Red Sox lineup, his return casts even more doubt on Mookie Betts' future in Boston. Betts is set to become a free agent after the 2020 campaign and has repeatedly been the subject of trade rumors.

Martinez will get another chance to opt out following the 2020 season.

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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.