The Red Sox front office is bracing for changes to the team's roster ahead of the offseason, and one marquee player could be gone from Boston before first pitch in April 2020.
Boston president Sam Kennedy said on Monday it will be "difficult" to retain both outfielder Mookie Betts and designated hitter J.D. Martinez next season. Betts enters 2020 in the final year of his contract, while Martinez could opt out of his five-year, $110 million deal after the 2019 World Series.
"There is a way, but obviously it will be difficult given the nature of the agreements and the contracts we have in place," Kennedy said Monday at Fenway Park. "It is going to be a challenging offseason, but we're ready to attack it head-on and do everything we can to put a competitive team out there not just for next year but 2021, 2022."
The Red Sox could receive a haul of talent if they deal Betts before the 2020 trade deadline. Betts won the American League MVP in 2018, and he led the AL in runs scored this season. The four-time All-Star slashed .295/.391/.524 in 2019 with 29 homers and 40 doubles.
Martinez combined for 79 homers in 2018 and 2019. He's hit .317 in two seasons with the Red Sox, posting a .985 OPS. Martinez can opt out of his contract in November, or opt in for $62.5 million over the next three years.
Boston will pay five players outside of Betts and Martinez $13 million or more in 2020. Starting pitchers Chris Sale and David Price will earn $30 and $32 million, respectively.
The Red Sox finished 2019 third in the AL East at 84–78.