JD Martinez has been with the Boston Red Sox for the last four seasons. The only year he wasn’t named to the All-Star team was 2020 … which was when nobody was named to the All-Star team. He’s been an absolute steal for the New York Yankees‘ chief rivals ever since signing that bargain five-year, $110 million contract after a career campaign in 2017 that saw him hit 45 homers and drive in 104 RBI with an astounding 1.066 OPS.
And once again, the Sox got lucky when he was essentially forced to opt in ahead of the 2021 season because of a dreadful showing in the pandemic-shortened 54-game 2020 that saw him hit .213 with a .680 OPS because he didn’t have “video room access.”
Boston getting lucky on a momentous free-agency decision that changed the entire complexion of their lineup? Weird. Thought the Red Sox were a cursed franchise? Surely hasn’t been the case for the last 17 years!
But they finally may not get their way come the offseason. After the Yankees pummeled them into the dirt at Fenway over the weekend, they’ll still be battling for the top AL Wild Card spot and home-field advantage. Even if things do go their way, Martinez is no lock to return in 2022 based on his latest comments.
Here’s what the four-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger told Rob Bradford of WEEI on Tuesday:
"“I’m right in the middle,” Martinez said regarding the opt-out decision. “It’s a balancing line, and I’m right in the middle. I haven’t made a decision. I don’t worry about that stuff, but right now I’m right in the middle.”"
The Yankees could benefit by watching JD Martinez leave the Red Sox this offseason.
In case you didn’t hear, Martinez is “right in the middle” regarding his upcoming opt-out decision.
Just like he did after the 2020 season, Martinez has another opt-out clause following this year, and he could stand to cash out with one last sizable multi-year contract heading into his age-34 campaign. And he’d likely be smart to do so considering he’s hitting .285 with 88 runs scored, 27 homers, 96 RBI and an .865 OPS.
Any Red Sox subtraction would truly help the Yankees, especially with the up-and-coming Blue Jays readily eyeing AL East supremacy … and the fact the Rays will never go away.
But Martinez’s departure would perhaps be the most valuable. He’s killed the Yankees over his career.
Whoops … except there.
But seriously, he’s slashed .291/.346/.528 (.874 OPS) with 40 runs scored, 17 home runs and 49 RBI in 86 games — which are the most he’s played against any opponent in his career.
One might think getting his $19.35 million off the payroll is advantageous for general manager Chaim Bloom, who was imported from Tampa Bay to be cheap and make Rays-like acquisitions to be more cost-efficient for one of the three biggest sports markets in the United States of America, but there’s likely no replacing Martinez’s production, especially at that price.
Have fun using that money to sign five lesser players who will barely come close to matching his production.