At this point in October, we’re finally less than two weeks away from the official start of free agency. Five days after the final out is recorded in the World Series, upwards of 18 Dodgers on the 40 man roster will enter the open market including star slugger J.D. Martinez.
The Martinez experiment was an overwhelming success for LA in 2023. Signed to a one-year, $10 million deal last December, the now 36-year-old DH firmly reestablished himself as one of the top power hitters in baseball, when healthy. Despite playing in just 113 games, Martinez slugged 62 extra base hits while driving in 103 runs for the 100 win Dodgers.
That kind of production is certain to be a hot commodity on the free agent market this winter and, according to MLB insider Mark Feinsand, at least two other teams could be in on arguably the second best DH option on the hot stove.
From Feinsand: Martinez has been an All-Star in each of the past five full seasons since 2018, posting another stellar season at age 35 in 2023. … For teams in the race for Shohei Ohtani, Martinez could be a wise pivot if they fail to land the presumptive AL Most Valuable Player to fill their DH role.
Potential fits: Angels, Dodgers, Mets
Feinsand summed up Martinez’s market perfectly. For the teams who figure to be in on Shohei Ohtani this offseason, J.D. would be a great — and much less expensive — consolation prize. As far as the potential fits, however, it may be harder to see the Angels exploring signing Martinez if they’re unable to re-sign Ohtani. In that scenario, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Halos shift to a full blown sell off and rebuild.
Which could include a possible Mike Trout trade.
Will the Dodgers Try to Re-Sign JD Martinez?
J.D. Martinez had a great season for the Dodgers in 2023. But, his presence created some roster issues at times for Dave Roberts. Max Muncy would probably be better suited to seeing some time at the DH position. Mookie Betts broke down in September after playing 152 games — the third most in a season in his career. Roberts could have kept his bat in the lineup while giving him some time off his feet.
So, for as great as Martinez was in LA this past season, he’ll likely be signing elsewhere for 2024.
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