J.D. Martinez declines option to opt out of Red Sox contract

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9002/" data-ylk="slk:J.D. Martinez">J.D. Martinez</a> will remain with the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/boston/" data-ylk="slk:Red Sox">Red Sox</a>. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
J.D. Martinez will remain with the Red Sox. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez has declined the option to opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports.

Martinez will have another option to opt out after the 2020 season. He’s scheduled to earn $62.5 million over the next three years.

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report Martinez’s decision.

Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown has since confirmed Martinez’s decision to remain in Boston through at least 2020.

Martinez returns as team looks to cut payroll

Martinez’s decision arrives in the shadow of team owner John Henry announcing his intention to shed payroll to get the team under MLB’s expected luxury tax threshold of $208 million next season.

The Red Sox fired team president Dave Dombrowski in September as Boston faced missing the playoffs a year after winning the World Series. Boston had the highest payroll in baseball in 2019.

Henry told reporters that the decision to part ways with Dombrowski stemmed from a difference in philosophy on how to build the roster moving forward.

What about Mookie Betts?

The return of Martinez leaves the Red Sox with a significant decision over what to do with four-time All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts. Betts is expected to command more than $30 million in arbitration, leading to speculation that the Red Sox would look trade the 2018 AL MVP to reach their salary goals.

Martinez, 32, plays outfield and designated hitter and has made the All-Star team in each of the last two seasons. He slashed .304/.383./.557 last season while logging 36 home runs and 105 RBI.

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