In this COVID-19 economy, J.D. Martinez isn’t taking any chances.
The Boston Red Sox slugger will not opt out of the final two years of his five-year, $110 million contract, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Martinez, 33, is set to make $19.35 million each of the next two seasons, and though he has another opt-out after next season, he at least for now will forgo MLB free agency in what’s shaping up to be an uncertain market.
Martinez struggled during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season in which the Red Sox went 24-36, finishing last in the AL East and fourth-worst in MLB. Martinez hit .213 with a .680 OPS, seven homers and 27 RBIs in 54 games.
That marked a huge drop-off for Martinez, who was an All-Star in each of his first two seasons with Boston. In 2018, he hit .330 with a 1.031 OPS, 43 homers and 130 RBIs, finishing fourth in the AL MVP voting. He followed that up last year with a .304 average, .939 OPS, 36 homers and 105 RBIs.
The Red Sox’s 2020 struggles came amid efforts to get under the luxury-tax threshold, which included trading 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, who signed Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract. Betts and the Dodgers won the 2020 World Series on Tuesday.