BOSTON -- Rather than opting out of his contract by Monday’s deadline, J.D. Martinez has positioned himself to be back in the middle of the Red Sox’s batting order next season.
A source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand more than seven hours before the midnight deadline that Martinez decided not to exercise his opt-out clause.
It remains to be seen if Martinez’s decision to stick with the Red Sox for at least another season will increase the chances of Boston trading Mookie Betts.
In late September, Red Sox owner John Henry expressed a preference for the Red Sox to get the payroll below the first luxury-tax threshold of $208 million in 2020. In 2019, Boston’s payroll was roughly $240 million.
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy acknowledged the day after the regular season ended that it would be possible but “difficult” to have a 2020 roster that includes Martinez and Betts.
Martinez has three years and $62.5 million left on the five-year pact he signed with Boston in Spring Training 2018. However, Martinez can also opt out following the ’20 and ’21 seasons.
In Martinez, the Red Sox have one of the best middle-of-the-order bats in the game. Over two seasons with Boston, the DH/OF has a line of .317/.392/.593 with 79 homers and 235 RBIs in 296 games.
As for Betts, he is entering his walk year. The Red Sox have tried to sign him to a long-term contract in the past, but Betts has been steadfast in his desire to test the market once he reaches free agency.
New chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was keeping all options open last week when asked how the club will move forward with Betts.
There’s also a chance the Sox could trade Martinez instead, but it could be risky to do so without a long-term commitment from Betts.
Monday was also the deadline for teams to present $17.8 million qualifying offers to free agents, but the Red Sox didn’t extend any.
The team’s free-agent list includes righty Rick Porcello, first baseman Mitch Moreland, infielder/outfielder Brock Holt, righty Andrew Cashner and righty Jhoulys Chacin.
By not giving qualifying offers, it means the Red Sox won’t receive Draft compensation should those players sign elsewhere.
Red Sox take Sale, Pedroia off 60-day IL
In moves that were more procedural than anything else, the Red Sox removed lefty Chris Sale and second baseman Dustin Pedroia from the 60-day injured list and put them back on the 40-man roster.
Sale’s season ended in August due to left elbow inflammation. Pedroia has played just nine games for the Red Sox over the last two seasons due to recurring left knee woes. There’s no word yet on whether he will be able to attempt a comeback in 2020. Pedroia has two years left on his contract.
Catcher Juan Centeno was outrighted from the Major League roster and became a free agent.
With the moves, Boston’s 40-man roster is at 34.