J.D. back (source); Pérez out; no QO for JBJ

November 1st, 2020

BOSTON -- The Red Sox will have back for at least one more season, as the slugger declined to use an opt-out clause in his contract for the second straight offseason, MLB.com confirmed through a source.

However, it looks as if Boston’s 2021 team will not include Martín Pérez. The Red Sox declined their $6.25 million option on the lefty starter just prior to Sunday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline.

In yet another decision that was due on Sunday, the Red Sox didn’t extend an $18.9 million qualifying offer to center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is now eligible to sign with all 30 teams.

If Bradley signs elsewhere, the Red Sox will not get a compensatory Draft selection due to the fact that they didn’t extend him a qualifying offer. Only six free agents in MLB received a qualifying offer on Sunday.

As for Martinez, it was hardly surprising that he didn’t opt out. Not only is Martinez coming off his worst season (.213/.291/.389 slash line) since 2013, but the free-agent market is uncertain, to say the least, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Martinez hinted in multiple interviews late in the season that he didn’t plan on opting out. He is owed a total of $38.75 million over the final two seasons of the five-year deal he signed with the Red Sox in February 2018. Martinez will have another chance to opt out at the conclusion of the '21 season.

The Red Sox hope that a resurgent Martinez can be part of a dangerous offense that should also include Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo.

While Pérez was hardly spectacular in 2020, he was the only Red Sox starter to make every turn through the rotation, going 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. There was some school of thought that the Sox would pick up Pérez’s option, given the team’s uncertainty in the rotation heading into next season.

Ace Chris Sale is unlikely to pitch until at least June as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t pitch in 2020 due to myocarditis (inflammation of the heart). While the Red Sox hope that Rodriguez is ready for the start of ’21, that is hardly a given.

Righties Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta and Tanner Houck are likely to be part of the rotation.