As expected, J.D. Martinez will not enact the opt-out clause in his contract with the Red Sox, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Martinez’s five-year, $110MM deal signed in February 2018 contained opt-outs after both last season and this season, and with Martinez staying put, he is slated to earn $19.375MM in each of the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Martinez already suggested near the end of the season that he wouldn’t be leaving his deal, so today’s news is no surprise. After six years as one of the sport’s better batters, Martinez struggled badly in 2020, hitting only .213/.291/.389 with seven home runs over 237 plate appearances. In an offseason with limited dollars to be spent anywhere around baseball, teams would have been far more focused on Martinez’s 2020 performance, his age (33), and his mostly DH-only status than his past track record, so it’s hard to imagine Martinez would have topped two years and $38.75MM in free agency.
For now, the question might be what the Red Sox can expect from Martinez going forward. The slugger has been vocal about how his regular routine (everything from offseason work to in-game preparations such as watching video) was altered by the pandemic and COVID-19 protocols. Since the 2021 season certainly looks like normal operations won’t revert back to a pre-2020 state, it will be up to Martinez to figure out new adjustments to get himself back on track at the plate.