J.D. Martinez's new profile pic will sting Red Sox fans
J.D. Martinez has updated the profile picture on his Twitter account, and the new image serves as a painful reminder that the veteran designated hitter is no longer a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Martinez tweeted a photo of himself wearing a Dodgers tee-shirt with the LA logo stamped on his chest. He captioned the image with the hashtag "New Profile Pic."
During his five-year run in a Red Sox uniform, J.D. Martinez hit .292/.363/.526 with 130 home runs.
Boston signed him to a lucrative $110 million deal prior to the 2018 season, and that decision yielded immediate dividends. The addition of Martinez helped fuel a historic season that resulted in a franchise-record 108 regular season wins and a World Series title. J.D. hit .330 with 43 homers and a league-leading 143 RBI that season, finishing fourth on the AL MVP ballot and earning Silver Slugger awards at both DH and in the outfield.
While he earned his fifth career All-Star nod last year, Martinez faded in the second half to finish with a modest .274 average, .790 OPS, 16 home runs and 62 RBI. He was still a productive member of the lineup but it's clear that he's on the downside of his career.
The Red Sox never showed any inclination that they were interested in a contract extension with J.D. and he entered free agency without much buzz about a reunion. At his age, Martinez knew he would be settling for a short-term deal, which meant prioritizing a team ready to contend immediately. He ended up signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers, which at least on paper at the moment would appear to give him a better opportunity to compete for a championship compared to re-signing with a Red Sox team that finished last in their division in 2022.
Boston replaced Martinez's bat with former Dodger Justin Turner, essentially leading to a swap of veteran hitters. While Martinez was the bigger star at his peak, Turner has had a solid career in his own right with a pair of All-Star appearances and an NLCS MVP on his resume. Turner's 116 OPS+ was nearly identical to Martinez's 117 OPS+ last season. Their bats are fairly equally productive at this stage of their respective careers and Turner adds more defensive versatility. While he'll primarily serve as the DH for the Red Sox, Turner is capable of occasionally filling in for Rafael Devers at third base and he's expected to handle some time at first base this year.
Swapping Martinez for Turner should end up being a fairly even exchange on the field. However, Martinez was a fan-favorite who will certainly be missed. Seeing Martinez in Dodgers gear is reminiscent of when his former teammate in Boston, Mookie Betts, first appeared in camp following the trade that shipped him to Los Angeles. The image of Betts in Dodgers blue was more of a stabbing pain considering his departure came as part of a soul-crushing, salary-dump trade rather than the loss of an aging veteran to free agency, but J.D.'s new profile pic still stings for fans who had held out hope that he would find his way back to Boston.