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#pounditSunday, January 29, 2023

Articles tagged: JD Martinez

JD Martinez signs with Dodgers in steal of a deal

JD Martinez smiles

Jul 12, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, United States; Boston Red Sox left fielder J.D. Martinez (28) watches batting practice during summer practice at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers are watching their payroll this offseason, but they still managed to improve their team with a nice signing.

The Dodgers have agreed to a 1-year, $10 million deal with JD Martinez. The deal is pending a physical.

Now 35, Martinez may no longer be the same slugger he was when he landed a 5-year, $110 million contract with the Boston Red Sox before the 2018 season. But he’s still a threat at the plate.

Martinez batted .274 with a .790 OPS in 139 games for the Red Sox last season. The year before, he batted .286 with 42 doubles, 28 home runs and an .867 OPS.

The addition of Martinez, who served as a designated hitter last season but can also play the outfield, likely means Max Muncy will see more time in the field. The Dodgers could move Gavin Lux over to shortstop, play Muncy at second, and have Martinez DH.

Either way, Martinez has a pretty high floor and a high ceiling, making him a very good value for $10 million.

Report: Red Sox interested in bringing back notable free agent

Alex Cora speaking at the MLB Winter Meetings

Dec 11, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora talks to the media during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Clark-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox are apparently looking into a somewhat surprising reunion with a former player.

The Red Sox have shown interest in bringing back J.D. Martinez, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman suggests that they are not the only team interested, however.

Martinez profiles as more of a DH at this point in his career. That makes any pursuit of him somewhat curious from Boston’s perspective as the team just signed Masataka Yoshida, another iffy defensive player, to a big contract. One would think Martinez would prefer a landing spot where he will be guaranteed regular playing time.

The 35-year-old Martinez was an All-Star again in 2021, but his power production fell to 16 home runs and he hit just .233 in a miserable second half. Teams will be intrigued by him as a potential bounceback candidate, but probably on a short-term deal.

Dodgers linked to 5-time All-Star slugger in free agency

Dave Roberts looking on

Oct 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) reacts during game one of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Padres 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After non-tendering multi-time All-Star Cody Bellinger this offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be turning around and adding another one.

Sports Illustrated’s Pat Ragazzo reports Saturday that the Dodgers are showing interest in free agent slugger JD Martinez. Ragazzo notes that Martinez worked with Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc before.

Martinez, 35, spent the last five seasons on the Boston Red Sox. A five-time All-Star, he hit .274 with 16 homers and 62 RBIs in 2022. Martinez was also part of the Red Sox team that beat the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series.

Of course, Martinez, formerly an everyday outfielder, is now a permanent designated hitter, which is not the best for versatility purposes. Max Muncy figures to get a good amount of time at DH for the Dodgers next season, and they still need to find at-bats for young guys like Miguel Vargas and Gavin Lux. That is not even counting the possibility of the Dodgers bringing back Justin Turner, who made 61 starts at DH for them in 2022, in free agency.

Nevertheless, the righty-hitting Martinez could be a decent enough pivot for the Dodgers if they miss out on their top free agent targets this offseason.

Tigers owner throws former GM under the bus

Chris Ilitch looking away.

Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch speaks at a press conference at Comerica Park in Detroit after the firing of general manager Al Avila Wednesday, August 10, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Tigers owner Chris Ilitch blamed recently-fired Tigers GM Al Avila for trading away two veteran players who went on to enjoy career resurgences with other teams.

The Tigers announced on Wednesday that they had fired Avila after seven years. Ilitch said he would lead the new GM search, and that assistant GM Sam Menzin would take over as interim GM.

Detroit had made some questionable moves during Avila’s tenure, including trading away Justin Verlander and JD Martinez.

While addressing reporters after Avila’s firing was announced, Ilitch was asked if he had any regrets about trading away Verlander and Martinez. Ilitch responded by placing the blame on Avila for dealing away the two franchise cornerstone players.

“I didn’t trade those players away,” Ilitch said. “Our general manager did. Al [Avila] did. That’s his role.”

Regardless of who had the final say in signing off on the two trades, both moves did not work out too well for the Tigers.

Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros in 2017 for Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron and Jake Rogers. Perez was released in 2021, while Verlander played a key role in Houston’s World Series championship in 2017. Verlander won his second Cy Young Award in 2019 with a 21-6 record, 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts to 42 walks in 223 innings. Entering Wednesday, the 39-year-old was 15-3 with a 1.73 ERA in 130 innings.

Martinez was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017 for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. He hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBI in just 62 games with Arizona. Martinez then signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, and proceeded to lead the league in both RBI (130) and total bases (358) while winning two Silver Slugger Awards and a World Series title that season.

Report: Red Sox willing to trade top players ahead of deadline

JD Martinez smiles

Jul 12, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, United States; Boston Red Sox left fielder J.D. Martinez (28) watches batting practice during summer practice at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox’s season has not gone as well as they hoped, so they seem to be ready to be sellers at the trade deadline.

The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported on Saturday that Boston is now listening to trade calls about some of their players. Heyman says that J.D. Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi and Christian Vazquez are players they are willing to trade.

We recently learned that Xander Bogaerts was told by the team he won’t be traded. Bogaerts can opt out of his contract after the season.

Martinez, Eovaldi and Vazquez all have the same thing in common: they are set to become free agents after the season.

Vazquez is batting .280 this season and is a good option at catcher. Martinez only has nine home runs this season, but he is batting .289 and has the ability to carry a team when he gets hot. Eovaldi is 4-3 with a 4.43 ERA this season. But he is a proven postseason pitcher and could be desirable for a team in the hunt.

Boston entered Saturday 50-52 on the season. They have gone 2-7 since the All-Star break.

Rival slugger has bold prediction about Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani in the dugout

Aug 21, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani in the dugout against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani has taught us to expect the unexpected, but one rival thinks that we should expect the really unexpected with Ohtani.

Speaking at an All-Star media session this week, Boston Red Sox slugger JD Martinez delivered a bold prediction about the Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Ohtani. Martinez said that he believes Ohtani will win MVP not just this year but for the next five straight years.

“I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Martinez about Ohtani’s AL MVP chances this season, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. “How are you going to compete with Ohtani? He’s gonna win it for the next five years. As long as he pitches and he hits, you’re not going to beat him.

“Look at [Vladimir Guerrero Jr.] last year,” Martinez continued. “If Vladdy didn’t win it, nobody’s going to win it. It’s too much. If you look at the WAR numbers, the value numbers, who else can affect the game both sides? Just change the name of it to The Ohtani Award.”

The five-time All-Star Martinez might not be too far off. Ohtani, 28, was already a unanimous AL MVP winner last season. While he has regressed slightly as a batter this year, Ohtani has more than made up for it with his improvement as a starting pitcher, posting a sub-2.50 ERA with a sublime 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Simply put, no one in the league (or in this lifetime for that matter) can even dream of putting up the kind of elite all-cylinders production that has become the norm for Ohtani.

But even if Ohtani has multiple MVP awards still ahead of him, the more pertinent question might be what team he wins them with. Ohtani’s contract with the Angels expires after the 2023 season, and there is some cloudiness right now over if he will actually stay with them.

Red Sox make history with grand slams in ALCS Game 2

Rafael Devers watches his ball

The Boston Red Sox made history on Saturday with their huge hits in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox got a grand slam from JD Martinez in the first inning of the game to take a 4-0 lead.

Then in the top of the second, Rafael Devers slugged a grand slam to make it 8-0.

The dingers came off different pitchers — Luis Garcia and Jake Odorizzi.

The Red Sox became the first team in postseason history to hit multiple grand slams in the same postseason game. Amazingly, they did it in just two innings and left plenty of room for more.

Boston lost Game 1 of the series 5-4 and is looking for a split before heading to Boston for Games 3-5.

JD Martinez hosed by umpire David Rackley in Game 1 at-bat

JD Martinez called strike

Home plate umpire David Rackley heard plenty of complaints about his strike zone during Game 1 of the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. There were several pitches that were well off the plate but called strikes, and three of them came in the same at-bat for J.D. Martinez.

Martinez was called out on strikes in the top of the fifth inning with the Red Sox trailing 3-1. The slugger took the first pitch for a ball before looking at a slider and two fastballs that were called strikes. All three strikes missed the outside corner, as you can see below:

Here’s the video of the called third strike:

Rackley appeared to be doing his best Angel Hernandez impersonation throughout much of the game, which the Astros won 5-4.

There were also several pitches that missed the strike zone high but were called strikes by Rackley. Typically, umpires won’t hear as many complains if their strike zone is consistent. However, there were a few pitches from Chris Sale in the first inning that appeared to catch the corner, but Rackley called them balls.

Overall, it was not a good night for Rackley. You won’t see him roasted as badly as Gabe Morales was for his controversial check swing call in the NLDS, but both teams had every right to be frustrated.

JD Martinez has monster game despite ankle injury

JD Martinez

JD Martinez is supposed to have an ankle injury that made him questionable to even be on the Boston Red Sox’s ALDS roster. But he sure didn’t look like he was dealing with much of an injury issue on Friday.

Martinez did not play in Game 1 of the series on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays. He was in the lineup as the designated hitter and batting in Game 2. And he made a huge impact.

Martinez went 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a run scored in Friday’s 14-6 win. He hit a double and a home run as part of Boston’s 20-hit attack. Enrique Hernandez had five hits, while Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez all added three hits.

After the game, Martinez credited the Red Sox’s training staff for helping to get him well enough to play in the game. Martinez also told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal that he could feel his ankle being a problem on the bases, but it was fine while he was batting at the plate.

If this were the regular season, Martinez would be on the injured list. But he’s pushing because it’s the playoffs.

His efforts paid off in a big way. Game 3 is on Sunday in Boston.

Video emerges of how JD Martinez suffered ankle injury

JD Martinez

JD Martinez was unavailable for Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game due to an ankle injury. His status for the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays is not known at this moment.

So, how did Martinez hurt his ankle? We have video of the situation.

Martinez suffered his ankle injury when he twisted it while stepping on second base during the Boston Red Sox’s regular season finale against the Washington Nationals.

Martinez superstitiously steps on second base while heading out to his position. That’s not an unusual superstition for a player; many also jump over the first and/or third base lines.

Martinez had immediate swelling in his ankle and was unable to play on Tuesday. Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday that Martinez’s ankle does not look good.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi shared video of Martinez testing his ankle at Tropicana Field on Wednesday ahead of Game of the ALDS.

Martinez also played coy regarding his status for the series.

The Red Sox have a difficult decision to make regarding Martinez. They need to finalize their roster for the ALDS against the Rays. They won’t want Martinez to use up one of the spots that could go to another player if he won’t be able to play. But if they get the sense that he will be available sometime soon, they will probably want him on the roster.

Martinez batted .286 with an .867 OPS this season. He slugged 42 doubles and 28 home runs for Boston.