The afterglow of the World Series win continues for Red Sox fans, but team management is already back to work, trying to gauge priorities for the coming year and beyond.
Several matters require the immediate attention of Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Important pieces from the championship roster like pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel have expired contracts, but Dombrowski is also keeping his eye on the future.
A year from now, both shortstop Xander Bogaerts and designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez could test the waters of free agency.
On top of that, others — like outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. — have expiring contracts coming down the line in a few years as well.
“We got a lot of decisions to make,” Dombrowski told NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich. “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.”
The 31-year-old Martinez has opt-outs in his five-year contract beginning after next season.
“He can choose to leave, it’s his opt out,” Dombrowski recently said at the general managers’ meetings. “But the reason we put them in there were medically oriented as we went through at the time.”
Dombrowski was referencing the Lisfranc ligament injury that Martinez encountered in years prior to signing with the Red Sox in February 2018. Boston inserted contractual protection into the deal in case the injury reoccurs.
“The medical hasn’t changed,” Dombrowski added.
One hurdle for the Red Sox will be the fact that both players with looming contract situations, Bogaerts and Martinez, are represented by agent Scott Boras. The high profile agent has a history of extracting lucrative and lengthy contracts for his clients, meaning that testing free agency appears likely.
Still, Dombrowski was optimistic.
“I have had Scott do some earlier deals,” Dombrowski told Drellich. “Not regularly, but he does do it once in a while, so we’ll find out as time goes on. You know, he’s got a lot of big guys out there at this time, so he has a tendency to focus on them. But Bogey’s only one year away, so that’s important for us.”