J.D. Martinez has said he wants to be a Red Sox player for life. Can Dave Dombrowski make that happen? Should he make that happen?
It’s not often you get a player of J.D.’s caliber who loves a city as much as he loves Boston. It’s even less common for that player to openly say he wants to spend the rest of his career there. Especially seeing as he’s only played here for a year and a half.
Obviously the Red Sox have to be very cautious with how they spend their money. They’ve locked up Xander Bogaerts and Chris Sale, but Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. & Andrew Benintendi are all still players Boston would like to re-sign. So again, to be able to keep two of those three, they have to be extremely cautious with how much money they give to J.D.
From the moment he arrived in Boston, he was successful. We all knew he would. He’s too good a hitter, and too likeable a guy, to not succeed in this market. 235 games in, and he’s done just that.
Hitting .315 with 62 bombs, we truly can’t ask for a whole lot more from J.D. He’s as dedicated to his craft as anyone. Every single day you’ll find that guy in the cage, and every single night watching film. He is not only committed to sustaining his level of play at an older age, but determined to still improve in areas that are lacking, even this late in his career.
This is why you have to want J.D. He has the right kind of mentality, call it the Pedroia mentality, to persevere through whatever is necessary in order to win.
Both on and off the field, he’s a role model for younger players. He’s been a great mentor to guys like Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi. Guys who feel so close to him because of all the information they can absorb from him. Information he loves to share.
Both on and off the field J.D. has an impeccable reputation and unmatched desire to succeed. These are huge qualities I consider when giving someone this caliber of money.
What kind of money would be involved?
J.D. turns 32 in August. He’s almost guaranteed to opt out following this season. He’s hit a bit of a skid, but unless it’s extremely prolonged, he’ll still put up another season of .300 ball and 30 home runs. In that case, he’s definitely going to opt out. Even with the delay for some high profile free agents last year, the money is still out there.
So how much will it cost us?
Well, if J.D. wants to stay as bad as he claims he does, he has to understand the money situation for Boston. He also has to know that something relatively team-friendly has to be done for the greater good of the team.
He’s scheduled to make 23.7 million next year, and 19.3 the following two. He has opt outs after every year over the final three seasons of his contract.
This is definitely something that would intrigue him to stick with. It gives him the flexibility to go year by year to see if he wants to opt out and make more, but also the safety to know he has the control to opt in and make another $60+ million from Boston no matter what.
If he opts out but chooses to return, I see a similar deal being accepted in regards to options. However, the dollar value is going to be a little higher. Rightfully so as well, as J.D. has earned the right to be one of the higher paid players in the league.
What kind of money could be involved?
My guess for a potential J.D. extension if he opts out is four more years, with opt outs after the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years at $30 million for year one and two, and $26 million for the 3rd and 4th. This way J.D. has incentive to opt out of his current deal but stay with Boston, as he knows his next potential deal has similar player-friendly opt outs. It also pays him what he deserves, but doesn’t hurt the Red Sox drastically.
They only end up adding about another $10 million on the books per year, which doesn’t set Boston back almost at all. The Sandoval money is off the books next year, with Pedroia and Castillo to follow.
The Red Sox aren’t afraid to spend, nor should they be. We should be very thankful to be part of a fan-base who’s team tries to spend the money required to win. This is just one of the many money moves coming in the upcoming couple years that I believe will truly form a championship core for the next half decade or so.