BOSTON (CBS) — A bird in the hand is worth more than anything J.D. Martinez may be able to find in a strange and uncertain free-agent market. And so, the designated hitter is staying in Boston.

Martinez will not opt out of his contract, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Martinez’s contract allowed for player opt-outs after the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but Martinez is not exercising the option and thus will remain with the Red Sox through 2022.

Martinez initially signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2018 season. It was a five-year deal worth $110 million. He will make $19.375 million in each of his remaining two years.

Martinez had a notably down year in 2020. After hitting .317 with a .985 OPS in his first two seasons with Boston, Martinez batted just .213 with a .680 OPS in 2020. Playing in 54 of the team’s 60 games, Martinez hit seven home runs and 16 doubles with 27 RBIs, putting him on a pace for 19 homers and 73 RBIs in a 162-game season. He had averaged 40 homers and 118 RBIs in his first two years with Boston.

Given that production drop-off at age 33, the choice was likely easy for Martinez to avoid entering a free-agent market that is sure to be disrupted significantly by the business challenges facing baseball in the midst of continued COVID-19 issues throughout the country.


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