J.D. Martinez Rumors: Dodgers Interested As Fallback To Shohei Ohtani

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

As the Los Angeles Dodgers navigate the offseason, one of their key focuses will be to sign a designated hitter with J.D. Martinez back on the free agent market after signing a one-year contract for the 2023 season.

Shohei Ohtani figures to be the Dodgers’ primary focus for that position as president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is said to be “obsessed” with the two-way star. If Ohtani is signed, he would fill the DH role for the next decade while also providing an ace for the Dodgers starting rotation beginning in 2025.

If the team fails to sign Ohtani, one other option to fill their DH spot is Max Muncy, who just signed a two-year extension. Muncy was a defensive liability at third base and would thrive as a DH with his offensive production, but that would create an opening at the hot corner.

One other fallback option for the Dodgers is possibly re-signing Martinez if they fall short in their pursuit of Ohtani, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post:

Ohtani’s status as a free agent at least factored into the Dodgers’ decision not to extend to JD Martinez the $20.325M qualifying offer. LA is interested in bringing back the NL All-Star DH but must first try to see what their Ohtani chances are.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 7, 2023

Martinez had a productive season for the Dodgers this year but it did not amount to being extended a qualifying offer for 2024.

The qualifying offer is worth $20.35 million, which would have signed Martinez to that value for one year had it been extended and he accepted. If he declined, the Dodgers would have set themselves up to receive draft pick compensation if Martinez signs elsewhere.

Martinez signed for just $10 million last offseason, so the qualifying offer would have more than doubled his salary for 2024. However, the veteran set himself up for a multi-year deal after his productive season.

Martinez was named the starting DH for the National League in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game and finished the year hitting .271/.321/.572 with 33 home runs, 103 RBI, 61 runs scored and a 135 wRC+.

While waiting for Ohtani makes sense, it’s not without some risk. The Dodgers could also end up missing out on signing the 36-year-old if Ohtani goes elsewhere and another team jumps the market to add Martinez.

J.D. Martinez named Silver Slugger finalist

The Dodgers had Will Smith, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Muncy and Martinez named among the 2023 Silver Slugger Award finalists in the NL.

Only Betts won a Silver Slugger, taking home the sixth of his career.

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