Both J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts are likely to test free agency a year from now, writes Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Martinez has an opt-out provision in his five-year, $110MM contract with the Red Sox, and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski gave no indication of interest in restructuring that deal, per Drellich. “He can choose to leave, it’s his opt out,” said Dombrowski. “But the reason we put ‘em in there were medically oriented as we went through at the time. That medical hasn’t changed.” Dombrowski is referring to medical provisions that were worked into the contract, allowing the Red Sox to convert the final two seasons of the deal into mutual options in the event that Martinez misses enough time due to a preexisting Lisfranc injury in his foot. As for Bogaerts, Dombrowski called his contract situation “important” for the team. Agent Scott Boras, meanwhile, told Drellich he’s “open to any thoughts [the Red Sox] have on the subject.” Asked about a recent extension for fellow client Jose Altuve, Boras pointed out that Bogaerts is two and a half years younger and also plays shortstop.
More from Boston…
- Boston’s interest in Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, who is expected to be posted for MLB teams later this month, can be described as “lukewarm,” reports WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Dombrowski declined to comment on Kikuchi at the GM Meetings, beyond indicating that as one of Japan’s top arms, he’s a pitcher the Sox have scouted frequently in the past (as have many MLB clubs). “Yes, we have a pulse on him,” said Dombrowski. Boston could theoretically look to add some arms behind its top trio of Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello — especially considering Sale’s presence on next year’s free-agent market — but it doesn’t sound as though Kikuchi will be a prime target.
- In a pair of columns for the Boston Globe, Alex Speier looks at Boston’s payroll/luxury tax situation as well as the team’s poorly regarded farm system. There’s virtually no scenario in which the Sox will avoid another season of luxury tax penalization, Speier observes, making the question not one of if they’ll incur penalty but rather one of how steep a penalty they’re willing to accept. Boston went into the highest luxury bracket this season and will be taxed at the maximum rate while also seeing its top draft pick dropped by 10 spots. Principal owner John Henry tells Speier, “You can’t do that all the time,” but Speier notes that it’s not clear if the organization is willing to do so once more in 2019. From a distance, it’s worth noting that this is the final season of club control over Sale, Martinez and Bogaerts, so there’s a good case to be made for maintaining aggression (though that’s just my own two cents). As for the farm system, Speier notes that a survey of rival evaluators left no real consensus as to the team’s top prospect — a fact that serves to highlight the general uncertainty that permeates the farm. But, the Sox surely have the pieces to once again be active on next summer’s rental market, Speier notes while highlighting a particular concentration of interesting third base prospects.