Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez is putting on a show
We’re less than two weeks away from Opening Day and the Red Sox have been holding intrasquad games to prepare for the new season. One man that’s been catching everyone’s attention is power-hitter J.D. Martinez. Boston’s DH isn’t known for his fast starts, but he sure looks ready to go based on his performance this weekend.
Over the course of the last few days since Boston began holding the intrasquad games, J.D. has absolutely been mashing the ball. The DH has crushed several homers in just a handful of days and it looks like his mojo is flowing. This is great news for the Red Sox since they’ll desperately need him to be on point right from the start.
We all know that this season is going to be weird and there are going to be plenty of asterisks next to stats and “records,” but the only record I care about is the win/loss totals. It’s also no secret that Boston’s pitching isn’t exactly lights out and could become a major hindrance as it did last season. But just like 2019, the team will likely have one of the best offenses in the entire league.
For J.D., this sprint of a campaign could also be seen as an audition of sorts. Despite the universal DH only being a guarantee for 2020, there are many who believe it’s a lock to be added for next season as well. This could open the door to the entire MLB for Martinez and his talents. If he can come out of the gates white-hot this year, then opt-out after the season, his options could be plentiful.
Ron Roenicke and Martinez have noticed his increased power so far in training camp and both are happy to see it. I don’t think there’d be as much excitement if this was just another round of batting practice but since it’s against live pitching, there’s a different feeling in the air. Roenicke spoke about Martinez’s hot start in camp and are loving what they’re seeing.
"“J.D.‘s not a traditional fast starter so he’s always telling me, ‘I need as many at-bats as I can get because in spring training, it just takes me a long time,‘” manager Ron Roenicke said during a Zoom call after Sunday’s game. “I’m not seeing that right now. He’s really good. He’s going the other way. The offspeed, he’s pulling. He’s hit a couple home runs on them.”"
Boston’s best chance at the postseason is going to be on the backs of their hitters. If guys like Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers can replicate what they did in 2019, few of the lone bright spots, then the Sox have a shot. So as long as the pitching doesn’t completely negate the positive runs scored, which we saw plenty in 2019.
The big fear among Red Sox Nation as they J.D. will walk at the end of the year, especially if the universal DH gets expanded to 2021. I won’t lie and say I’m totally confident that he’s going to stay, but I do see it as a strong possibility. He’s all for adding the universal DH beyond this year, and rightfully so, it’s his specialty and he’d like more chances to make a Brinks truck full of cash.
With Mookie Betts now gone, who seemed to be J.D.’s closest friend on the team, his odds of staying take a big hit. Considering Betts is a free agent this upcoming winter, I’m sure the two have spoken and maybe in cahoots, similar to what we’ve seen in the NBA recently. But I really do feel like Martinez will want to stay in Boston, especially if they win another ring in 2020. I know, a wild thought and the definition of a longshot.
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If you look at his career, Boston really feels like the first organization and city that’s embraced him. Houston, Detroit, and Arizona were all quick to pass him along without a second thought. He spent a couple of years with the Tigers and Astros but nothing worthy of his talent. If you’ve got a guy like Martinez on your roster with his chemistry building abilities and work ethic, you hold onto that player. Another reason why I’ll always be mad at Dave Dombrowski for how he wrote this contract.
The Red Sox have more than embraced Martinez though, not only is he being paid like a superstar but he’s being treated like one as well, not just another gear in the machine. Though you’d never know by J.D.’s demeanor. He’s also become like a second hitting coach as you can always see him by the cage watching and mentoring his teammates while they’re at the dish. I’m hoping Chaim Bloom can rectify Dombro’s mistake and Martinez will stay in Boston for the rest of his career.
This season is going to be beyond stressful for everyone involved, from the owners down to the fans. For Red Sox Nation, that’ll be even more so. Not only are we coming off of a nightmare of a season, but we have a handful of guys heading for free agency this winter if something is done beforehand. However, if these intrasquad games can be taken with any seriousness, then I think we may see some historic stuff from J.D. Martinez in 2020, and that could lead to some silverware this fall.