Xander Bogaerts left the field at the start of the seventh inning Wednesday. He was embraced by his teammates. Fans in the stands honored him with a standing ovation. He tipped his cap, showing his appreciation for them, too.
Then, an inning later, J.D. Martinez got his ovation, too, when he was removed from the contest. The Sox won, 6-3, in their final game of the season.
With Martinez set to be a free agent and Bogaerts presumably to opt out, it could have been their final game as Red Sox.
“I mean, you would hope not,” Bogaerts said when asked if he’s toiled with playing his final game in a Red Sox uniform. “This is all I know. I’m very thankful for everyone that has helped me be the player I am today. The Red Sox, obviously, for giving me the opportunity to make my big league debut, giving me the extension. I’m blessed with really good teammates throughout my years. But just the business part of it, I’ve never been in this situation before. We’ll see what happens.”
Bogaerts said he hasn’t talked to the front office in recent weeks about a new contract. The Sox have said repeatedly that they want Bogaerts back. Before any potential negotiations, however, Bogaerts said he needs a mental break which includes going back to his home in Aruba.
For Martinez, there was a bit more finality to Wednesday’s game. The slugger is entering his age 35 season and the Red Sox and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom haven’t had any real conversations with him about the future.
But if you look back at Martinez’s Red Sox career, it’s one for Sox fans to celebrate. He hit 130 homers in his five years with the Sox, capped by his two-homer game Wednesday. He entered his final contest with the Sox with a career batting line of .291/.363/.524.
“My passion beats for Boston,” Martinez said. “I was the guy that was written off early on in my career with the MLB draft with the Astros and I’ve always said like whatever team gives me a chance I’m going to give my all.”
“He changed this team in 2018,” Cora said of Martinez. “As soon as we signed him in ‘18 I knew that the organization took the next step. I think he earned every penny of that contract.”
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