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J.D. Martinez’s free-agent market is reportedly heating up as Mets, Angels eye veteran slugger

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Photo credit:John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Hall
3 months ago
It’s a great time to be J.D. Martinez right now.
The 36-year-old slugger is coming off an electrifying season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and remains one of the top hitters available amongst a thin free-agent class for position players. As such, he’s expected to surpass the one-year, $10-million contract he signed last winter.
According to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, the New York Mets and Angels are “eying” Martinez in free agency, with the Arizona Diamondbacks also considered a potential fit due to their opening at DH. It’s unclear if the six-time All-Star – represented by super agent Scott Boras – is close to making a decision.
Heyman added that all three clubs could also make sense for fellow free agent Justin Turner, who enjoyed a strong performance with the Boston Red Sox in 2023.
The Toronto Blue Jays are also believed to be a potential suitor for Martinez, who’d supply a significant boost to the club’s lineup next season. He blasted 33 home runs and drove in 103 runs over 113 games a season ago, hitting .271/.321/.572 with a 135 wRC+, worth 2.2 fWAR.
Martinez’s Baseball Savant page was covered in bright red, as he placed in the 96th percentile or higher in xSLG (.553), average exit velocity (93.4 m.p.h.), barrel rate (17.1 per cent), hard-hit rate (55.1 per cent) and sweet-spot percentage (41.1 per cent). He also finished 91st in xwOBA (.369).
Given his all-or-nothing approach, swing and miss became a much larger concern for the hard-hitting righty, leading to a career-high 31.1 per cent strikeout rate, which ranked in the ninth percentile. Additionally, his 34.4 per cent whiff rate and 32.1 per cent chase rate sunk to the seventh and 28th percentiles, respectively.
But with the amount of power that Martinez generates, poor plate discipline will likely be an acceptable trade-off for most organizations.
Toronto’s front office remains in the market for an impact hitter or two, especially after signing defensive specialists Kevin Kiermaier and Isiah Kiner-Falefa earlier this week. And who better to pursue than someone who terrorized their pitching staff as a Red Sox from 2018-22?
The 6-foot-3 DH would provide much-needed support behind the superstar duo of Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. while also addressing the vacancy left by free agent Brandon Belt.
Across 13 career big-league seasons, Martinez owns 1,639 hits, 315 home runs, 1,002 RBIs and a .287/.350/.524 slash line over 1,522 games split between the Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Dodgers.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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