J.D. Martinez talks approach toward opt-out

Rob Bradford
July 08, 2019 - 6:59 pm

Within a 45-minute meeting with the media one day before this year's MLB All-Star Game, the topic made up approximately three minutes. Nonetheless, J.D. Martinez discussing how he is viewing his contract status at the conclusion of the 2019 season was one of the more noteworthy subjects the Red Sox designated hitter/outfielder touched on.

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Martinez has the ability to opt-out of his contract following this season or after 2020. If he chooses to decline the option after this year the 32-year-old will make $23.75 million in '20, with the number dropping to $19.375 million in the fourth and fifth years of the deal if no opt-outs are exercised.

"For me, I just listen to him. That's what I pay him for," Martinez said, referencing his agent Scott Boras. "He gives me his opinion, he gives me his advice and it's up to me after that to make my decision. We're really not there yet, where he's given me his opinion and his advice. So I think we have to see how it plays out."

Martinez and Boras both confirmed just prior to the start of the regular season that the Red Sox hadn't approached the slugger about any sort of re-working of the current contract. And while Martinez told WEEI.com in March that he might be open to talks during the season, he isn't obsessing over the team's approach thus far.

"I understand it. It's a business," he said. "I don't ever hold it against anybody or anything like that. I've been through it too many times. That's why if it did come out where I did opt-out it wouldn't be a personal thing It's a business thing. Same thing on their end. There's an understanding in that."

As for the impetus for the contract's unique language, there were multiple motivations.

For the team's perspective, both the 2021 and 2022 seasons can become mutual options if there are complications involving the Lisfranc injury or another ailment to his right foot. It is a clause that baffled Martinez at the time of its implementation and hasn't given him a second thought since signing the deal.

"That's their doctor. The team's doctor that is looking out for the team and stuff like that," he explained. "Obviously, we have a lot of other doctors that are saying it will never be a concern again and knock on wood it hasn't been. ... I was very confused because I was going to the top doctors around the league and they were all telling me the same thing I was going to be fine that it was in my past already."

And the opt-outs?

"I think that was more Scott's way of protecting me, getting me back in the open market to try and get the years we felt like we deserved," Martinez said. "I think that was more the strategic move on that part."

Through it all, Martinez makes it clear that his preference -- if his perceived market value is met -- will be to remain in Boston

"Boston has been my favorite team since I was a kid and I've always dreamt of being there," he noted. "I love the family side of it and the way they treat their parents and the way they act. It's just a first-class organization and obviously, I would like to be part of it for the rest of my career but that's not up to me really, in a sense."

Martinez is serving as the American League's starting designated hitter in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, hitting fifth.

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