Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez not sweating opt-out

J.D. Martinez finished fourth in voting for American League MVP last season.
J.D. Martinez finished fourth in voting for American League MVP last season.(FILE/JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF)

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the arrival of J.D. Martinez at JetBlue Park on Sunday, every Red Sox player is now in big league camp. Though Martinez fit seamlessly into the Red Sox upon signing his five-year, $110 million deal late last February, he welcomed the chance to go through an offseason in which he knew where he’d report to spring training rather than the uncertainty he endured while on the open market last winter.

“It’s a lot more comforting knowing where you’re going to spend the year,” he said.


Still, Martinez said that such uncertainty — both his own in 2017-18, and that of the current elite free agents who are waiting to find new homes — would not affect his decision about whether to exercise an opt-out clause in his contract at the end of 2019.

“At the end of the day, I know my value and I know what I bring to the table and I really don’t kind of look at that,” said Martinez, who hit .330/.402/.629 with 43 homers and a league-leading 130 RBIs last year. “I really judge me on me.”

Martinez did make clear that he feels a kinship not just with his Red Sox teammates but also the fans of the team.

“I love Boston. I love the passion. It kind of matches my personality,” said Martinez. “The fans, I almost feel like they’re just as passionate as me. Obviously I’d love to stay here, but that’s not something I’m worrying about right now.”

Instead, the 31-year-old is focused on maintaining his place as a middle-of-the-order force. While he played in 150 games last season, Martinez said he hopes to better maintain his health over the entirety of 2019. He suggested that an oblique injury hindered his production for part of September — a development that may have cost him a shot at the Triple Crown and, with it, greater consideration for American League MVP.


Martinez finished fourth in the voting, claiming one of the two first-place votes that did not go to teammate and award winner Mookie Betts. Martinez was unsurprised that he didn’t finish higher.

“For a DH to win an MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water. That will never happen. It became the talk in the clubhouse last year and everyone was like, the only way you’re going to win is if you win the Triple Crown or whatever. I was like, 100 percent,” said Martinez. “I know how my peers think of me and I know how my peers thought of me with the text messages I got and the congratulations I got, and last year I won the Players Choice MVP of the season and that to me was huge to be voted by my peers.”

Alex Speier can be reached at Follow him on twitter at @alexspeier.