Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts and OF/DH J.D. Martinez are both likely to test free agency following the 2019 season. Bogaerts will naturally reach free agency while Martinez will likely choose to opt out what will be the remaining three years of his five-year, $110 million contract. Both are clients of Boras Corp.
As Drellich points out, Martinez and Bogaerts are likely to be joined in free agency by Rick Porcello and Chris Sale, so the Red Sox have some decisions to make. In fact, that’s exactly the phrase president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski used. He said, “You know you got Bogey in another year. Mookie, Jackie [Bradley, Jr.] in a couple years. So you got some big contracts. And we have great ownership, wherewithal. But still, everybody has some limitations too. So we have to make some tough decisions. But we’ll be prepared to keep a lot of our players, but I’m not sure which ones it’ll end up being as time goes on.”
Bogaerts, 26, is coming off of his best season, batting .288/.360/.522 with 23 home runs, 103 RBI, and 72 runs scored in 580 plate appearances. He also played terrific defense and ran the bases well.
Martinez, 31, is also coming off of a really strong season. He hit .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs and 111 runs scored while leading baseball with 130 RBI. He did not finish in the top-three in AL MVP Award voting, but many felt he should have been up there.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.