The five-year contract that the Red Sox signed with J.D. Martinez is now just a few months away from completion, as the slugger will be heading into free agency at the end of this season. He recently spoke with Rob Bradford of WEEI about the possibility of signing an extension and essentially said that it’s not something he thinks about much.
“That’s a Scott question. I trust Scott,” Martinez said, in reference to his agent, Scott Boras. “If Scott came to me and said, ‘Hey, this is a good deal, I think you should do it.’ I would say, ‘Let’s do it.’ If Scott says, ‘No, I think you should wait until free agency,’ then I will wait until free agency.”
Martinez is on pace to have the best season of his career at the age of 34, as he is currently hitting .380/.430/.599 (coming into tonight’s game). That production amounts to a wRC+ of 197, or 97% better than league average, easily eclipsing his career high 170 from 2018, his first year in Boston. That also places him third among qualified hitters in all of baseball going into tonight’s action, trailing only Mike Trout and Aaron Judge.
With that incredible level of production, it would be understandable for his eyes to turn into dollar signs, but that’s not where his head is at. “I don’t know if I’m the only person but I never think about any of this crap,” Martinez said. “I only think about what I have to do. I hired the best people to advise me in that situation. That’s it. You’ve known me for five years now and it’s the same answers after a good game or a bad game. It never changes. I’m the most boring interview. That’s just how my mind works.”
More notes from Beantown…
- Another key member of the Red Sox lineup is Rafael Devers. Unlike Martinez, he’s just 25 years old and is still a year and a half away from free agency. Reportedly, he and the team were far apart in Spring Training extension talks, though that door doesn’t appear to be closed. “Growing up as a kid, this was my favorite team. To be able to sign with this club, it meant a lot,” Devers tells Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. “We had those [contract] talks during spring training and they didn’t work out. But when the time is right, we’ll have those discussions after the season and see where it goes from there, because obviously I love this place. I want to be here and it’s just a matter of just finding the right formula.” Like Martinez, Devers is also on pace to have his best season yet, as he’s hitting .335/.366/.600 for a wRC+ of 176. He also might have improved on the other side of the ball, as the advanced defensive metrics aren’t quite as pessimistic on his work this year as last year. It’s been suggested that Devers might have to move off third base eventually due to poor glovework, with Outs Above Average giving him a -13 last year, while Defensive Runs Saved also gave him -13 and Ultimate Zone Rating landed at -5.5. This year, those numbers are currently at -1, -1 and +1, with over a quarter of the season in the books.
- A big wildcard for the remainder of Boston’s season is what they will get from Chris Sale moving forward. The lefty has been out of action all year due to a stress fracture in his rib cage. Speier reports that the team still expects Sale to return as a starter, with the club hoping he can ramp up relatively quickly because his injuries aren’t related to his arm. Manager Alex Cora told reporters, including Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic, that Sale threw a 25-pitch bullpen today. The next steps will be to throw a few more times before going out on a rehab assignment and building back up to game shape. Pitchers are allowed to rehab for 30 days, so it seems like Sale has a shot at returning by July, though that will depend on how things progress between now and then.