Will Smith May Receive Fewer Starts Due To J.D. Martinez Being Dodgers’ DH

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Among the new additions to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup this season is J.D. Martinez, who has been one of the league’s most productive hitters in recent years.

Martinez is coming off somewhat of a down season with the Boston Red Sox that saw him bat .274/.341/.448 with 43 doubles, 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 139 games. He nevertheless earned a second consecutive All-Star Game selection and continued to crush left-handed pitching.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently revealed that Martinez will serve as the team’s primary DH this season, which is a shift in strategy as they previously used the spot in the lineup to rotate players.

Martinez being the Dodgers’ full-time DH will also likely mean fewer starts for Will Smith, but Roberts noted that could change at any time, per Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“The one thing I don’t want Will to hear right now is he’s gonna get less at bats,” Roberts said. “We’re gonna manage it, monitor it and see how it goes. I can say things and expect things, but they change quite often. And also, depending on how guys are swinging, certain guys might need a day here or there.”

Smith received most of his playing time at catcher last season, but got extra opportunities at DH on days when Austin Barnes was behind the plate. With Martinez now in the picture, Smith is in line to take more full days off this year.

Smith enjoyed a career year in 2022, batting .260/.343/.465 with 26 doubles, 24 home runs and 87 RBI across 137 games while accumulating 4.2 WAR. His 132 WRC+ is the highest among all catchers since the start of the 2020 season (minimum 600 plate appearances).

J.D. Martinez signed with Dodgers for opportunity to win World Series.

Martinez revealed that he joined the Dodgers for a chance to win the World Series. “I didn’t want to be on a team that was going to be rebuilding, or be on a team that was going to see where we were going, we don’t know how we’re going to be or we think we’re going to be good,” he said at Mookie Betts’ charity bowling tournament.

“I want to be on a team that’s going to be in the running for it and that’s going to be right there come October. That was my main thing. That was literally my main focus. When I talked to Andrew on the phone, I said, ‘I’m doing this because I believe in you guys and I believe in you and the team you put on the field every year.’”

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