BOSTON (CBS) — J.D. Martinez hasn’t been in Boston for too long, but he’s been a major hit with his new team.
More importantly, he’s open to staying with the Red Sox for the long haul. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Wait a darn minute; didn’t the Red Sox sign Martinez to a long-term deal in the offseason?” The answers is yes, a five-year deal worth $110 million, a deal that looks like a bargain with Martinez and MVP candidate in his first season with the Sox.
But it’s because he’s tearing the cover off the ball that the five-year deal likely won’t end up being an actual five-year deal.
Along with that $110 million, Martinez and super agent Scott Boras also worked in a pair of opt-out clauses into the contract, giving Martinez to ability to become a free agent after the second and third years of the deal. Martinez’s first chance to opt out and find a bigger payday in free agency will come following the 2019 season. In all likelihood, Martinez will do just that, and not just because he is destroying baseballs. His annual salary dips from nearly $24 million to just over $19 million in the final two years of his current deal, and if Martinez is still mashing the way he is today, then he could certainly eclipse those paychecks on the open market.
Of course, Martinez would love to get a bigger payday in a few years, but he’s also hoping those bigger paydays come from the Red Sox. Shortly after learning he would be batting cleanup for the American League All-Star squad, Martinez told reporters on Monday that he would be open to re-working his current deal with Boston to assure he doesn’t go anywhere in the near future.
“Absolutely,” Martinez said when asked if he would consider a new, long-term deal with Boston without those opt-out clauses. “It obviously would have to be discussed later. I’ve liked my time there. It’s been fun so far, so I don’t see why not.”
Martinez said he likes “everything” about playing in Boston, from the front office to manager Alex Cora. He hasn’t been fazed by the intense media scrutiny that comes with playing for the Red Sox, and said he has actually found it to be less aggressive than he was expecting.
The same cannot be said for the fans though, but that passion is part of what Martinez likes most about playing in Boston.
“The fans, the passion, the environment you get to play every day in,” he said. “They love their baseball and love their team. They’ll die with them and they’ll live with them.”
Fans have loved watching Martinez launch homers this season, and from the the sound of it, Martinez would like to keep that show going for the long haul.