Connect with us


Mets Sign J. D. Martinez in Major Offseason Shift

JD Martinez celebrates hitting a home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers during a road game.

The Mets made their biggest splash of the offseason less than a week before Opening Day by signing Martinez.

The Mets officially signed DH J. D. Martinez on March 23 to a one-year, $12 million contract for the upcoming 2024 season a few days from Opening Day on March 28 after reports of the deal emerged Thursday. The move comes as a part of a wider strategy of the Mets front office to sign quality players to cost-effective contracts instead of going for hot big-ticket market items worth multi-million dollar long-term contracts. The team has lacked outfield depth for many years and Martinez will be what the team needs to solidify an often-underdeveloped section of the organization.

The contract includes deferrals from 2034-2038 which will bring the present-day value of the deal to around $9 million. Since the Mets have already crossed the highest tear of the competitive balance tax, the deferrals mean they won’t pay quite as high of a tax.

Big Impact

To say Martinez is a big player is an understatement. Martinez may not be a Hall of Famer, but he will certainly end up for consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America after he retires.

A six-time All-Star for the 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2021–2023 seasons, Martinez’s best season came in 2018 with the Boston Red Sox. Along with making the All-Star game and winning his first World Series ring, Martinez collected major awards. Martinez won two Silver Slugger awards for both outfield and DH, becoming the first player in baseball history to do so, along with winning the AL Hank Aaron Award and being the AL leader in RBIs with 130, total bases with 358, and he posted a career-high average of .330.

Martinez has always put up good numbers throughout his career. His average never reached below .241 except for the 2020 season, where he had a career-low .213 average. He made the most of his one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers by swatting 33 home runs. Martinez has been an underrated player throughout his career with very few problems on and off the field. And it’s usually the underrated players that play the game well and make the biggest impact. And his impact will be felt.

Roster Adjustments

Despite being signed, Martinez will not be joining the team at the start of the season. Instead, he will be in the minor leagues for ten games to get some reps in to start the year. Disappointing and odd as it is that a big player like him won’t be with the team from day one, the Mets have to make room for him on the roster.

And the first person according to reports that may get short shrift to make room for Martinez is 3B Mark Vientos. Vientos is a solid twenty-four-year-old player with a bright future with the Mets ahead of him. The Mets won’t get rid of him, and nor should they. Both men know that this is how things work in the major leagues and they have nothing but respect for each other. At training camp during batting practice, Martinez spoke with Vientos with his arm around him. Martinez has praised him and Vientos likewise.

Whether or not Vientos gets cut to the minor leagues for J. D. is not an issue and not a big sensationalist deal to make a mountain out of a molehill. Both players are solid and do their job. If they’re both on the roster, then the team is in a better position than with just one of them.

But as the signing became official Saturday, RP Phil Bickford was the one to be designated for assignment to make room for Martinez. Ironic considering there is no focus on this move as the Mets have plenty of pitching, it’s clear there is more unnecessary focus on position players.

The Future

Another lingering factor is 1B Pete Alonso. Alonso is going to be a free agent after 2024 and the Mets need to lock him up long term. Alonso is the big hitter who reminds many of C Mike Piazza with his large build and big power stroke. Letting Alonso walk will be devasting for the team down the road. While both the Mets and Alonso want to wait and Alonso will likely explore his options as to who will take him, Alonso is part of the Mets’ future. While currently signed to a one-year deal for $20.5 million, Alonso was a major factor for the Mets to get Martinez along with Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo. Alonso is not only part of the future, but he is also helping to create it.

Given how short and cheap the contract is, it’s possible the Mets may trade Martinez for minor leaguers, cash considerations, or for a couple of players who may have a couple of cups of coffee with the team and become free agents after the season. The Mets will always have to address the next season or two in the midst of the current one. But they need to do it better than the fire sale of 2023. At the very least, their March is an improvement on their December.

Regardless of how things have gone this offseason at the start for the Mets, the moves they have made after losing top free agent targets by signing quality players at shorter and cheaper deals like Martinez has capped off the winter before the first pitch has been thrown. Every single player on the team is excited and happy that Martinez is on the team.

The future is bright for the Mets. They need to be just as focused and determined on the field as they do when signing top free agents like Martinez.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Articles

Featured Writers

More in Features