© Reuters. MLB: Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves
© Reuters. MLB: Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves

Designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez will return to the Boston Red Sox in 2021, electing to not become a free agent, as expected, MLB Network reported Sunday.

He signed a five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox in February 2018, which included a player opt-out for each of the final two seasons.

He told reporters in September that he was leaning toward returning to Boston, saying, “I would not want to be a free agent during this time.”

Major League Baseball is headed into an uncertain offseason, facing the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Martinez had back-to-back All-Star seasons in 2018 and ’19, but his productivity plummeted in 2020. He hit just .213 — he’s a career .290 hitter — with seven home runs and 27 RBIs in 54 games. His on-base percentage (.291) and slugging percentage (.389) were his lowest since 2013.

He is owed $19.35 million for each of the next two seasons. He could choose to opt out after 2021, as well.

Martinez, 33, is entering his 11th MLB season. He also played for the Houston Astros (2011-13), Detroit Tigers (2014-17) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2017) before signing with the Red Sox.

His best season came in 2018 with the Red Sox, batting .330 in 150 games. He hit 43 homers and led the majors in both RBIs (130) and total bases (358).

He has 238 home runs and 738 RBIs in 1,122 career games.

–Field Level Media

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