J.D. Martinez's decision to opt in to the final year of his contract with the Boston Red Sox team seems to have caught some by surprise.
His agent, Scott Boras, provided some insight into Martinez's choice Wednesday, explaining that after a disruptive 2020, the 34-year-old designated hitter has his swing back.
"He's comfortable in Boston," Boras said. "He wanted to be the best version of himself when hitting free agency."
Martinez will earn $19.35 million with the Red Sox in 2022, the last season of a five-year, $110 million pact he signed with the club prior to the 2018 season.
"The ownership there supported this decision and told him they're going to make every effort to make the team even more competitive, so he decided to return," Boras said.
In the abbreviated 2020 campaign, Martinez hit seven home runs and drove in 27 over 54 games -- a 162-game pace of 21 homers and 84 RBIs -- while hitting just .213.
He bounced back to lead the major leagues in doubles in 2021, with 42, while swatting 28 home runs and 99 RBIs with a .286 batting average and .867 OPS. Martinez was an All-Star for the fourth time in his career and third time with the Red Sox in 2021, though his average and OPS were his lowest since 2015 with the Detroit Tigers.
By opting in to the final year of his deal, Martinez also protected himself from potentially making less money on a qualifying offer from Boston.
Despite the return of Martinez, Boston remains "engaged" with Kyle Schwarber, who would also seem to fit best as a designated hitter.