One free agent who isn’t getting a lot of mentions so far this offseason is J.D. Martinez, but until Ohtani and Santon figure out where they’re going, it’ll probably stay that way.
That doesn’t mean there’s no interest in Martinez. The 30-year old power hitter who finished last season playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks is picking up interest from the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. The Yankees and Rangers have also been mentioned, but it’s hard to believe they can afford his contract considering luxury tax restrictions and such.
Martinez is going to be costly. While he’s hoping for a $200 million contract, he’ll probably end up making around $120-130 million over 5 seasons, considering what Yoenis Cespedes signed last season. And it makes sense, considering Martinez has been one of the more productive hitters in major league baseball over the last few years.
He hit an incredible 45 home runs in just 119 games last season, while batting .303. He didn’t play enough games to win the batting title or the silver slugger award, which he did in 2015, his only All-Star season. Over the last four seasons, Martinez is batting .300 with a .362 OBP and .574 slugging. However, as with most power hitters these days, there are warning signs for any team interested in signing him.
One of them is durability. Martinez missed over 40 games in 2017, 42 games in 2016 and 39 games in 2014. He’s been eligible for the batting title just once during his career. This could mean we’ll see playing more at DH (if he joins an AL team), and not just to preserve him. Martinez is a bad defensive player – Fangraphs rates him as the 7th-worst defensive player in all of Baseball last season. His Ultimate Zone Rating was the worst among MLB outfielders.
But even when you add that to other weaknesses in his game, like his so-so patience at the plate, it’s hard to believe Martinez, who made $11.75 million last season, won’t land a big contract and will produce at the middle of any major league lineup. How long he stays productive and healthy is a different question.