The Dodgers have been lurking round J.D. Martinez‘s marketplace for some time now and have not too long ago pulled the set off on a one-year, $10 million deal.
Martinez was as soon as among the finest hitters in baseball, placing up a 152 OPS+ from 2014-19. Nonetheless, he’s now coming into his age-35 season and has been in decline principally in 4 straight seasons — OPS+ of 173 in 2018, 139 in 2019, 79 in 2020, 128 in 2021, 117 in 2022. That positive looks as if a pure getting older curve, and he put up a .274/.341/.448/.790 line final 12 months with lower than 20 homers for the primary time in a full season since 2013 when he was an Astro. The chance right here is much less in regards to the cash and years and extra that he could continues his decline and turns into a mediocre DH that clogs the flexibility machine that’s the Dodgers.
That mentioned, the place Martinez might are available notably helpful is towards lefties, whom he had a .319/.419/.597/1.016 line towards in 2022, and he’s nonetheless an above-average hitter and initiatives higher than most they might’ve hit to pencil within the lineup with out him, so he does present a baseline enhance for a lineup that most likely wanted it.
The transfer is a little bit of a shock since Martinez didn’t begin a sport within the discipline, which seems to principally lock in a DH for the Dodgers, an oddity for a workforce that values the spot to make use of for relaxation days and what not. Thus, one has to imagine they’re hoping to reverse the development of his profession by reuniting him with hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc, who helped him attain his lofty popularity within the field to start with. As has already been talked about, Martinez has additionally labored with Mookie Betts to assist him get essentially the most out of his expertise, in order that could possibly be one other profit to the younger hitters the Dodgers plan on using this 12 months.
Whereas this hasn’t been essentially the most glowing abstract of the Martinez signing, it’s primarily as a result of there isn’t a ton of proof that he’s a greater hitter than he seems on the floor in recent times, as most of his metrics are in decline. Thus, it actually comes down as to whether the Dodgers might help him discover one other gear for a late-career surge, and for the dedication it’s laborious to complain about including an possibility, depth, and apparent upside that Martinez has beforehand proven. I imply if they may get Albert Pujols again on monitor after his Angels stint, it’s not precisely a stretch to assume Martinez might discover one thing as effectively.