The first domino in a long and complicated offseason fell for the Red Sox on Monday, as slugger J.D. Martinez decided not to test free agency, meaning Boston's biggest run producer in recent years will be back for at least one more season -- presuming he isn't traded first.
Questions about the designated hitter's future loomed for months dating back to the summer, and they heated up when Boston began falling out of playoff contention. Martinez, 32, has three years and $62.5 million left on his contract, putting Chaim Bloom, Boston's new chief baseball officer, in position to make the first major decisions of his tenure, with the ramifications of Martinez's decision generating ripple effects throughout the organization.
A major theme of Boston's offseason is owner John Henry's publicly stated desire to reduce the team's payroll under next year's luxury tax threshold of $208 million. The Red Sox led the majors in payroll the past two seasons, which includes their World Series title run in 2018.
Here are a few questions Martinez's opt-in raises:
What did Martinez decide and why?
Martinez negotiated the ability to opt out of his contract before each of the last three seasons of the five-year, $110 million deal he signed before the 2018 season. With Martinez opting in, at least for one more season, Boston retains one of the elite sluggers in baseball, one who has hit .317/.392/.593 with 79 homers, 70 doubles and 235 RBIs in 296 games the past two seasons.