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Friday, May 27, 2022

It’s getting difficult to envision the Red Sox without J.D. Martinez

So, why aren’t we knocking down Chaim Bloom’s door when it comes to keeping Martinez around past 2022?

Perhaps it’s because there was an assumption in some corners when Martinez signed his deal that either he wouldn’t see the end of his five-year, $110 million, surely taking one of the three opt-outs. Or if he was around, at the age of almost-34 years old the DH would be limping to the finish line.

Well, here he is. Arguably better than ever, and, arguably, more important than ever.

“I’ve always felt like I was different,” Martinez said. “I’ve always felt … I have an unorthodox way of doing things in the sense of nobody ever recorded BP swings. No one ever brought toy bags to the cage. I was one of the first people to do that. I used to get destroyed in Detroit by all the veterans. They used to make fun of me about it all the time. But I just knew I had a recipe that was going to bring success. That’s one thing I follow all the time. Just follow my routine. I’m a more process-oriented player than most people are, so I just focus on that.

“I just think the industry doesn’t know how to value the designated hitter rule. They don’t know how to judge it. They don’t know how to read it. … I mean, David Ortiz had one of the best years of his career at 40. So I think the industry needs to re-evaluate. There is more and more evidence coming out that it is different for those (older players).”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2022 at 09:54 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: j.d. martinez, red sox

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   1. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 10:12 AM (#6078647)
I love JDM but he's pretty far down my priority list if I'm the Sox. Bogaerts and Devers are way ahead of him right now. It won't shock me in the slightest if he ages like Ortiz and if you can sign him you do it but I also wouldn't be eager to give a mid-30s DH big money and/or years.

Watching him hit is a treat though. I use him as an example for my youth players all the time on the idea of staying back and trying to go the other way.
   2. BDC Posted: May 27, 2022 at 11:01 AM (#6078653)
It's still hard for me to envision the Red Sox without Rico Petrocelli. A couple of years from now, I will have to be reminded that JD Martinez was ever on the Red Sox :-D
   3. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2022 at 11:13 AM (#6078656)
I love JDM but he's pretty far down my priority list if I'm the Sox. Bogaerts and Devers are way ahead of him right now. It won't shock me in the slightest if he ages like Ortiz and if you can sign him you do it but I also wouldn't be eager to give a mid-30s DH big money and/or years.
They didn't really ever give Ortiz big money and/or years, did they? I mean, it was big money for a late-30s DH, but it wasn't a budget-busting contract at any point.
   4. Textbook Editor Posted: May 27, 2022 at 11:15 AM (#6078657)
As with any player, it all depends on the price point and # of years. I would not go (as an example) 4/$80 for JD's next 4 years, but I'm sure someone else out there will. And maybe he will glide to 40 with a still-productive bat. Good for him. I'd much rather have Xander/Devers/Both than JD at 4/$80.
   5. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 11:16 AM (#6078658)
Yeah and if JDM is willing to do what Ortiz did you sign him without a second thought. My guess is JD is going to want to max out and while I don't blame him I'd be wary of that.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 27, 2022 at 03:13 PM (#6078700)
Martinez is having a fantastic season - 192 OPS+ currently. If he finishes the season anywhere close to that neighborhood, he’s likely to get offers for a 3-4 year deal at top DH dollars. Re-signing Martinez has some age-related risk, but given Boston’s light hitters at other positions, possible opt-outs, and the lack of comparable DH options, letting him go would appear to considerably weaken them in 2023, and possibly beyond.
   7. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: May 27, 2022 at 03:21 PM (#6078701)
Shedding the guy with the 192 OPS+ could potentially hurt the lineup. Bold analysis.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2022 at 03:39 PM (#6078704)
An interesting spot for the Red Sox. For sure you don't pay JDM if that means losing one of X or Devers and, if he ever starts hitting again, Verdugo. But they're rich, they can afford all three, especially since they're not exactly spending huge bucks on the rotation.

DHs don't get long-term contracts, 35-yo players don't get long contracts. OK, Cruz got 4/$57 for ages 34-37. Red Sox can probably sign JDM for somewhere between 3/$66 and 4/$85.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 27, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6078705)
Martinez' price tag probably went up some with the adoption of the universal DH. Lots more teams can use him now.
   10. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 04:10 PM (#6078707)
Shedding the guy with the 192 OPS+ could potentially hurt the lineup. Bold analysis.


Long term, it won't, though (depending of how they spend money, of course).
   11. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 04:12 PM (#6078708)
My guess is JD is going to want to max out and while I don't blame him I'd be wary of that.


I wouldn't pay him any more than he's making now and I think it's hard for him to argue that he deserves more, at his age.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 27, 2022 at 04:39 PM (#6078710)
I wouldn't pay him any more than he's making now and I think it's hard for him to argue that he deserves more, at his age.
Well, it’s also hard to say Martinez should take a pay cut. His current deal had an AAV of $22M, so something in that neighborhood would be in the range of Walt’s speculation in #8. Maybe with some adjustment for inflation. The Red Sox could afford that, without having to scrimp in other areas, but there seems to be some uncertainty as to whether they are willing to do so, although we may not really know until the off-season.
   13. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 05:03 PM (#6078714)
I'd offer him the same AAV of 22M, and look to see where else that money might be spent if he declined.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2022 at 05:17 PM (#6078715)
Implied in my brilliant analysis is that if X opts out or they can't get Devers signed, then they surely should bring back JDM.

DH demand will be an interesting issue over the next few years. The demand for a full-time DH has never been high -- that's part of the reason they don't get long-term, big money contracts. For pretty much the entire history of the DH, teams have opted for the rotating DH rather than a full-timer. Or put another way, to be worth carrying a full-time DH, the guy's gotta put up about a 125 OPS+ (or be a future HoFer like Baines!). Meanwhile NL teams haven't particularly shied away from old, not very mobile players who are bad defenders but ccould hit ... even to the point of the Mets signing 40-yo Gary Sheffield back in the day.

Of course the question for JDM is demand for JDM. Until this year, he's still been getting 30-40 starts in the OF. Certainly at the time of the contract, I don't think NL teams would have shied away from him. But that also puts him in the Schwarber, Castellanos, Hoskins (I sense a theme) pool although he's a better hitter than almost anybody else in that pool. But for how long? Still, without question, with the universal DH and the 26th roster spot (if MLB ever enforces the 13 pitcher limit), pretty much every team would benefit from JDM. But that was true last time he signed even though there was no NL DH.

So far, almost all of the teams getting good DH production are in the AL ... although that's mostly because AL teams already had JDM, Stanton, Ohtani and Alvarez under team control before the rule change. The worst 3 are also in the AL but then there's a big chunk of NL teams getting blah out of their DH slot. I didn't see any particular evidence of either league doing better in LF and RF but the NL does seem to take the top spots at 1B (5 of the top 6, 7 of the top 9 by WAA). But for the most part those NL 1B are solid fielders not DH types.
   15. pikepredator Posted: May 27, 2022 at 05:23 PM (#6078716)
The fact that he was getting made fun of for working smarter (and perhaps harder) leads me to believe he might also be on the forefront of diet/exercise science and thus have a better chance of keeping his body in shape as he ages.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: May 27, 2022 at 06:09 PM (#6078723)
The relevance of the topic is minimal at the moment.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2022 at 08:25 PM (#6078733)
have a better chance of keeping his body in shape as he ages.

Just like Nelson Cruz and David Ortiz! :-)
   18. The Honorable Ardo Posted: May 27, 2022 at 09:36 PM (#6078741)
Tigers fan here. JDM has always reveled in "I told you so!". I can assure you that if Boston discards him, he will get 4/$90 elsewhere and put up big numbers in his new home, cueing the inevitable gnashing of teeth from Red Sox Nation.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: May 27, 2022 at 09:41 PM (#6078743)
If he's good enough the rest of the way to get 4/$90 in the offseason, I think everyone's happy.
   20. The Duke Posted: May 28, 2022 at 11:12 AM (#6078798)
Having followed the NL mostly, I've never watched DH style daily. A few things jump out at me that are obvious of course but I've never noticed

1. Pinch hitting is gone. It's very rare now
2. Double-switches are gone. Duh.
3. At least for my team, the managers inability to take a starter out is exacerbated. In the old days, if the pitcher was batting in the 5th or 6th it was easy to pinch hit. Now my guy leaves the starter in way too long and waits to replace him until the reliever has no chance to put out the fire
4. It seems the need for a full time DH isn't there. If you don't use the DH to get your bench guys some at bats (by either making them DH or plying them in the field and giving that guy the DH role), they atrophy. For the Cardinals, while Pujols is a nice nostalgia play, it's kept our bench guys from getting at bats.


It also has helped me understand why TLR was a great manager for the Cards. Having lived with the DH he was quite attuned to getting his bench guys at bats
   21. Walt Davis Posted: May 28, 2022 at 07:10 PM (#6078887)
Pinch-hitting for position players has been pretty much gone in the NL for a long time, benches just aren't deep enough especially if you're PHing twice or even three times for your pitcher removed after 4-5 innings. At that point, you've got nobody to pinch-hit with but your backup C and SS. If anything, we should now see a bit more in-game platooning in the NL -- i.e. more PHing for position players. But sure, less PHing overall.

The _need_ for a full-time DH has never been there. It's always been the case that there are just a handful of qualified DH seasons with a reasonable number of those coming from guys like Molitor or JDM who were still taking 20+ starts in the field. Those full-timers are either the excellent hitters or old guys nearing the end. I looked at it once but don't remember the specifics ... but the median age of a full-time DH season was something like 35. What did stick is that to hold the spot for multiple years, the min OPS+ is around 125. With the universal DH, presumably that drops a bit. If the 13-pitcher rule is ever enforced so that teams are carrying 13 position players, we might see a couple of extra full-time DHs.

The Pirates are a good example. You might as well (literally) roll Vogelbach out there every day. He started 31 of their 37 games before getting hurt. He's hit pretty well for them (121 OPS+) but he probably won't keep it up. But some HRs from a fat guy always entertains the fans. At season's start, he was only taking potential PAs away from Tsutsugo (30), Chavis (26), Marisnick (31). With some injuries, it looks like the Pirates are starting to mix in some of their genuinely young prospects and I suspect Vogelbach's days are numbered.

Or any number of players. On a real team, Castellanos shouldn't be in the OF; or Schwarber. But most of Philly's DH starts are going to Harper who probably also shouldn't be in the OF. Fortunately Hoskins is almost wrestling 1B to a draw. What possessed the Phils to sign 4 guys who should be full-time (or at least "full-time") DHs? (None of those guys really kill you on defense but they are all guys I'd be perfectly comfy saying "just let 'em hit.")

So what I thought we'd see the the NL, at least in this first year, was a large number of LFs who didn't hit very well but played defense better than the guy who was now mostly at DH. So a bunch of 95 OPS+ LFs and 105 OPS+ DHs. I don't think we've seen that though.

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