JD Martínez in DISJUNTIVA: Are you keeping what you HAVE, or are you looking for more?

By Dency Milan

Still without finishing the 2021 Major League season, the winter market begins to have rumors about important players, listed players, players who are finishing their careers and others who will try a stratospheric contract, as has been the fashion in the last free agencies.

The possible case that I want to share with you is that of the Cuban-American JD Martínez, who could be in the Free Agency market, if he does not agree to keep his contract.

After a year 2020 below its most usual numbers, it seemed that the Boston management would have no reason to move anything from the contract, and thus the entire agreement was kept, very calm and leisurely. Suddenly Martínez in 2021 has another regular season for him, with numbers that correspond to his quality. With this fact, the difficult game between management and player began again, in addition to all the cards on the table.

Now you can say, but the management is in advantage, but the reality is that it is not. The contract of JD Martinez has a card for the player. And this will be Martinez’s third and last chance to opt out of the anticipated five-year, $ 110 million contract he signed with Boston after the 2017 season.

He has one year and $ 19.375 million left on his deal and it’s essentially a lock on receiving a qualified offer (set at $ 18.4 million) should he choose to test the market. That is to say that if he goes to the market he receives less and leaves a considerable amount on the table, than what remains of his contract, so the player has a choice whether to stay safe with Boston until he reaches five years, or to take advantage of the situation. And expand his contract for more years, since he is 34 years old right now, and if he stays at Fenway when he finishes he would be 36 and could be saying goodbye to baseball, due to the trend of betting on young players and multi-year impact contracts.

For one thing, the 34-year-old Martinez has an enviable track record – his career .881 OPS ranks 10th among active players – and proved in 2021 that his bat still has enough power to strengthen any lineup. In fact, Martinez showed few significant signs of decline; maintained a strikeout and walk percentage (23.7% and 8.7%) roughly his career highs and averages of Major League Baseball-MLB and a hit rate (defined as the percentage of balls in play with a muzzle velocity of 95 mph or more) of 49.4% that falls just below his career mark of 50.8% and well above the average of 38.7% MLB. He also remained mostly healthy, playing in 148 regular-season and nine postseason games for the Red Sox, although a late-season ankle sprain kept him out of Boston’s AL wild-card showdown with the Los Angeles. Yankees.

On the other hand, Martínez is not an average defensive player, in fact he is below that line, which means that his offers are limited to being a designated hitter. With the apparent rumor that the designated hitter will be extended to the National League, it may be an option, but it is only a hypothesis. While he was solid in limited defensive action in 2021 (2 defensive runs saved in 36 games), his career numbers tell a different story (-38 DRS, though 35 of them came in right field), and he has seen no action. in the outfield more than 60 times in a season since a poor performance (-18 DRS) in 118 games on the right field for the Detroit Tigers in 2016.

With significant production but weak defense, Martinez’s decision is not the easiest. It could be said that if Martínez decides on Free Agency he would be among the listed ones, but that would be tempting luck, but he can also find a considerable multi-year offer. Also some team would give him several years but would ask him to lower his salary. So Martinez is in the middle and must seriously check with his pillow.

The question probably boils down to which Martinez values ​​more: his short-term salary or a longer-term guarantee. Will Martinez bet on himself to have another strong year and hit the market next offseason in a similar situation, or will he try to cash in on his strong 2021 and pursue a longer deal?

Will JD Martinez exercise the opt-out clause in his contract with the Red Sox? If you were in his case, what would you do? As the saying goes, a bird in hand is worth more than a hundred flying!

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JD Martínez in DISJUNTIVA: Are you keeping what you HAVE, or are you looking for more?