The Red Sox have the roster to repeat as champions right now, but the hardest part of turning this into a dynasty isn't going to be maintaining the intensity for this second season. It's going to be everything beyond that.
Boston has a ton of talent on this team, for now. They have a ton of players looking for new contracts, though, including Xander Bogarts, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Chris Sale. That's a lot of potential stars who could play elsewhere, and Boston is already showing they have their priorities in order when it comes to bringing back these players.
Per reports, the Red Sox have begun talking about a contract extension with Chris Sale, but have yet to speak with J.D. Martinez, who could opt out for a bigger deal following 2019.
You begin to see which items on the agenda are more important than others around this time of year.
It makes total sense for Boston to try to extend Sale. He's the ace of the rotation and one of the better pitchers in baseball who is also heading into the last year of his contract. Boston didn't give up an arm and a leg for the seven-time All-Star just to use him as a rental.
Sale is due to make $15 million this season before hitting free agency in 2020.
Chris Sale story updated with comment this morning from #RedSox chairman Tom Werner on WEEI. “We’ve had private conversations . . . In a perfect world, we’d love to have him back.” https://t.co/fWId3g1d5c $— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 18, 2019
J.D. Martinez is something entirely different. It may confuse some fans to hear Martinez is already interested in restructuring his contract, but that has to do with the ridiculous deal he signed last offseason. The MVP candidate signed a five-year deal with Boston, which includes an insane three opt-outs which begin following his second season with the club.
Essentially, Martinez could be a free agent after this year if the Red Sox don't change his contract, but that doesn't seem to be towards the top of their to-do list.
JD Martinez just met with the media for over 15 minutes. Takeaways: Harper/Machado won't impact his opt-out decision at the end of the year, knew he wasn't going to be in MVP running due to analytics, dealt with oblique strain late in year.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 17, 2019
If he doesn't let Harper and Machado impact his decision, it sounds like Martinez could look for the deal he originally wanted when he hit free agency last offseason.
Boston is still focused on another championship, but there are a lot of dominos that could fall within this roster.