Will This Be J.D. Martinez’s Final Season In Boston?

For the past four years, J.D. Martinez has been a staple of the Boston Red Sox. His impact has been felt both on and off the field, leading to Martinez quickly becoming a fan favorite. It didn’t take long at all for Boston to fall in love with him either. In his debut season in 2018, his MVP-level play helped lead Boston to a World Series title. There’s no better way to win over Sox Nation than helping to win a championship in your first year here.

Since then, Martinez has continued to rake and help keep Boston’s title window open. During his four year tenure with the Sox, Martinez has amassed 114 homeruns, 361 RBI’s, 571 hits, and a .297 batting average.

His run with the Red Sox has been memorable and incredible, however it could be coming to an end. Martinez is now entering the final year of his deal with Boston. This very well could end up being his final season with the Red Sox.

The good news for Boston is that Martinez seems to be quite happy here. He has even clearly stated he wants to stay. Having J.D. want to finish his career in Boston is obviously a good sign for the team’s chances of keeping him around.

Photo by AP Photo/Julio Cortez

It makes sense why he’d want to stay too. Beloved by the fans, a champion with this city, and a chance to further contend for championships in the coming years. Playing for the Red Sox is something that J.D. did dream about growing up as a fellow member of Sox Nation. He has a deep connection with the organization that has kept him around thus far. Martinez actually has had three chances to opt out of his deal.

All three times he opted back in, which I’ll be honest surprised even me. Especially after the dismal 2020 season, I thought Martinez was gone for sure. He has already proven his loyalty on multiple occasions.

However, there are a lot of reasons why Martinez could leave Boston as well. There are always two sides to every coin. As much as J.D. loves Boston, baseball is still a business at the end of the day. By the time this season ends, Martinez will be 35 years old. Not exactly a spring chicken. This will be his last chance to score one final big contract.

There’s legitimate doubt if Boston wants to be the team to give him that big contract. Under Chaim Bloom, the Sox have been hesitant to hand out big contracts so easily. Bloom has taken the opposite approach of former team architect Dave Dombrowski, looking to build from within and not spend so big. That’s not to say Boston doesn’t spend, just look at what Trevor Story got this month. They have been more careful however, and this could be an instance where Bloom opts to be careful.

Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Martinez isn’t getting younger, and spending big on an aging DH may not be the best move in Bloom’s eyes. Early reports indicate that there hasn’t been too much movement on a new deal for Martinez. This could very well come down to the asking price.

You can’t blame Martinez for potentially having a high asking price either. His market has never been better thanks to the universal DH rule that the MLB is putting in to place (which was long overdue). His options have literally doubled in size. If he is to enter free agency this upcoming offseason, he will have plenty of suitors. Some I’m sure who will be willing to break open the check books for a four time All-Star with a .290 career batting average.

It’s really going to be determined by how much does J.D. really love Boston. Does he love his current situation enough to leave money on the table? Odds are if he remains in Fenway Park, he’s not going to be making as much as he possibly could be. Boston also has a number of other mouths to feed, including Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Nathan Eovaldi.

I honestly don’t know what to make of the situation. One the one hand, I can’t really see Boston willingly letting Martinez walk. He’s been such a huge part of this team’s success of late, even if his play begins to decline he’s an important clubhouse piece as well. On the other hand, I don’t see Boston backing up Brinks trucks for him, not at his age and with how many other big deals they need to hand out. I think there is a legitimate chance he finishes his career elsewhere. I hope this isn’t the case, but I guess only time can truly tell.

Feature Photo by Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

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