Red Sox: J.D. Martinez fails to impress scouts ahead of trade deadline
Trade suitors are watching Boston Red Sox star J.D. Martinez
With the playoff hopes for the Boston Red Sox slowly slipping away, speculation has increased that J.D. Martinez could be dealt at the trade deadline next week. There are at least a handful of contenders who could use the services of the veteran designated hitter, including the New York Mets.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Mets sent a scout to Friday night’s game between the Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers to get a look at Martinez.
If Martinez was auditioning for another team, either for the trade deadline or for when he hits free agency after the season, he did nothing to impress any potential suitors in an 0-for-4 performance.
After getting ahead in the count 3-0, Martinez ended up striking out in his first plate appearance against the Brewers. Plate discipline wasn’t an issue since he patiently took the first three pitches outside of the zone, then took a called strike when he didn’t have the green light on 3-0. He wasn’t chasing pitches since the two he swung and missed at were both in the zone, but Martinez wasn’t able to catch up to the 95-97 mph fastball from Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff.
Martinez grounded out in each of his next two plate appearances. His final opportunity came in the 8th inning with two on and two out while the Red Sox trailed by one. Martinez hit into a forceout on a weak ground ball to the shortstop to end the inning.
Martinez missed the first four games following the All-Star break due to back spasms. Since his return, he’s fallen into an 0-for-14 slump.
Getting nothing out of their star DH is partially to blame for the Red Sox losing six of their eight games to begin the unofficial second half of the season. While their slide in the standings might force Boston to sell at the deadline, Martinez’s slump is tanking his trade value. Contenders might be hesitant to trade for a struggling player, especially one who recently returned from recurring back spasms that might linger down the stretch.
He’s still having a solid season overall, hitting .289 with an .818 OPS. His nine home runs indicate a surprising decline in power but he’s racking up doubles while spraying the ball to all fields. Martinez is still capable of boosting a contender’s lineup and his strong track record in the postseason is certainly appealing.
Teams aren’t going to offer up their best prospects for a rental DH but the Red Sox could get a couple of decent assets if Martinez shows signs of life at the plate before the deadline. It’s hard to imagine that the scout sent by the Mets walked away from last night’s game thinking that this is a bat his team needs to acquire though.
Martinez is struggling at an inopportune time, regardless of if the Red Sox are shopping him or trying to climb back into the playoff race. He’s running out of time to help his team stay alive or convince another contender to add him for their postseason run.