Dodgers sign J.D. Martinez
The Dodgers agreed to a one-year contract with JD MartinezReporting by Robert Murray from FanSided (Twitter link), waiting for the material. John Hyman of the New York Post Reports indicate that Martinez will earn $10 million. Martinez is represented by the Boras Company.
There hasn’t been much public fanfare about Martinez’s trip through free agency, as earlier today, another Heyman reported the Red Sox may be interested in re-signing the veteran player who represents the first team associated with Martinez since he hit the open market. While Martinez didn’t have many well-known suitors, the Dodgers have been quietly operating, as ESPN’s Jeff Bassan says. Tweets This is Los AngelesMartinez targeted early in free agency.” to me Fabien Ardaya the athleteThe Dodgers also had an interest in Martinez before the previous summer’s trade deadline.
Martinez will now end up in Los Angeles after all, and is reunited with some familiar faces. His former Red Sox teammate, Mookie Betts is now a regular fixture in Dodger outfield, of course, and Martinez has a long history with Dodgers coach Robert Van Scoyoc. It was Martinez’s work with Van Scoyoc in the 2013-2014 season that helped get his career on track, and Martinez has turned into one of baseball’s best catchers of the last decade.
Since those first fateful sessions with Van Scoyoc and Craig Wallenbrock, Martinez has hit .295/.362/.547 with 258 homers over 4,916 appearances with the Tigers, Diamondbacks and Red Sox. That production led to five All-Star appearances, three Silver Slugger Awards, a lead role on Boston’s 2018 World Series championship team, and one big free agent day payout in the form of Martinez’s five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox in 2017-18 offseason.
It was a distant 2020 season for Martinez, as he struggled badly in the shortened season and was open about how COVID-19 dugout protocols interrupted his normal routine. With that year perhaps only a write-off due to unusual circumstances, 2022 marked the first sign of Martinez’s production declining, even if his 119 wRC+ over 596 PA was still well above the league average. Martinez still hit .274/.341/.448, but his homers total (16), isolated power number (.174) and slugging percentage were all regulation-volume season lows since 2013. Additionally, Martinez’s hit was the hardest to drop His percentage fell sharply from his career standards, even if his 41.7% total was still in the 60th percentile for all batters.
On paper, moving from Fenway Park to Dodger Stadium isn’t ideal for a player looking to pick up steam. However, the change of scenery and reunion with Van Scuyuk makes Martinez an interesting candidate for running back for 2023. Even if he “just” has another season in the 119 wRC+ region, the Dodgers will happily counter this kind of offensive upgrade within an already lost lineup. Trea Turner and Cody Bellinger to free agency.
2022 marked the first season that Martinez played exclusively as a designated hitter, and this will certainly be his primary role in Los Angeles even if he picks up the gauntlet for the occasional appearance as a cornerback. Martinez doesn’t bring the defensive versatility the Dodgers usually favor, but the club has enough other versatile players that overall roster flexibility won’t be affected much by Martinez getting the bulk of his DH at-bats. Max Muncy will now mostly alternate between second and third base, with Chris Taylor also able to play either position and prospect Miguel Vargas in line for more playing time at third base. Meanwhile, Gavin Lux is slated to move from second base to replace Turner as the daily shortstop.
The addition of Martinez creates an obvious question as to whether free agent Justin Turner played his last game in a Dodger blue. Hey man Tweets That the Dodgers are still interested in Turner, who has also attracted interest from teams like the Marlins and Diamondbacks this winter. If Turner is re-signed, Los Angeles could field Turner at third base, moving Muncy to second base and keeping Taylor primarily as an outfielder. Vargas would be the odd man out in that scenario, though the Dodgers might prefer to either bring him in slowly, or rely on more experienced players as the club chases another World Series ring.
More is coming…
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