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Mets Offense Set To Welcome JD Martinez

JD Martinez will make his much-anticipated Mets debut tonight. What could this do for the hot and cold offense?

Coming into spring training, the Mets front office was intent on driving home the idea that the Mets were looking to balance two very different approaches: they were going to field a team that could compete for the postseason while also using this year to evaluate their highly valued prospects. For most of March it seemed that the franchise was putting a greater emphasis on the latter. The lack of moves made in the offseason, combined with the focus on Brett Baty, Mark Vientos, and a slew of top minor leaguers, suggested that they were going to go into the season with a similar offensive roster to what they had last year, and hope for the best.

Then, just as players were beginning to pack their things for their respective season-starting destinations, the Mets signed veteran slugger, JD Martinez, to a deferral-laden one-year contract to be their designated hitter. There were several interpretations of this move. Some thought it was an early sign that the team didn’t like what they saw out of their youngsters. Others thought it was an investment in a potentially tradeable commodity should the season look mostly lost as the trade deadline draws near. And, of course, there are those who took the move at face value, that the Mets signed Martinez to improve their 2024 offense. Historically, “face value” hasn’t been this franchise’s strong suit. Still, beginning last July, the Mets have been remarkably straightforward with their plans, and in the months since their actions have backed up their words.

With the signing of Martinez, the Mets added a 36 year-old (he’ll turn 37 in August) designated hitter who has been an All-Star in the last 5 seasons in which there was an All-Star Game. Just last season, Martinez had 33 home runs and 103 RBIs for the Los Angeles Dodgers in only 113 games. Every one of those stats is important to note. While most teams would be excited to add a home run hitter like Martinez, the Mets top-heavy Mets lineup is especially hungry for his power. After the team’s first 24 games, they have 26 home runs, 15 of which come from their 2-4 hitters (Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor, and Pete Alonso). Martinez will likely be batting in the fifth spot, right behind Alonso, which will some necessary punch to the middle of the lineup. Similarly, Martinez’s ability to drive in runs will no doubt be a welcomed addition to the Mets who seem to be missing “that one RBI guy” just about every season. Since 2018, JD Martinez has had three 100+ RBI seasons, and one with 99. Lastly though, there is the 113 games that he played last year. The Mets are no strangers to aging, injury-prone, slugging outfielders. From Cliff Floyd to Moises Alou to Yoenis Cespedes, just to name a few, they’ve seen some incredible talent spend about as much time on the injured list as on the roster. Martinez’s Mets debut has already been delayed due to back issues, and it’s reasonable to expect that he’ll miss some more time at some point this season, or at the very least that they’ll have to ramp him up somewhat slowly.

Still, as anyone who’s watched the Mets could verify, the team is in need of a reliable bat in the middle of the order, especially since the injury to Francisco Alvarez. This is not to diminish the jobs that DJ Stewart, Tyrone Taylor, Brett Baty, Harrison Bader, and others have done so far in 2024. However, any production the Mets get from those players is likely more than they’ve ever been able to provide with consistency in their careers. In the meantime, Martinez provides the potential of some offensive stability and regular production. For a team that through the first 4 weeks of the season has switched between timely hitting and virtually no hitting at all, JD Martinez should provide a shot of inspiration.

The Mets offense got off to an especially slow start this season with extended struggles from lineup mainstays Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor. More recently, there have been some signs of life from each of them, with Nimmo leading the Mets in RBIs (with 15), and Lindor with an .862 OPS over his last 16 games. It’s possible that JD Martinez will actually be an important, and previously missing, piece to the Mets batters. If so, it would appear that the Mets have found a way to content now and assess their future. Just like they said they would.

Shai Kushner
Shai Kushnerhttps://mlbreport.com/
Shai Kushner, is a seasoned sports journalist and versatile professional deeply embedded in the world of baseball. Since 2014, Shai has been a trusted voice covering the New York Mets for BaseballDigest.com and GothamBaseball.com. Before his journalism career, he served as a video engineer for the Mets Baseball Operations department.


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