ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Free agent J.D. Martinez linked to Arizona Diamondbacks in multiple reports

Dec 11, 2023, 8:59 AM

J.D. Martinez after a home run for the Dodgers against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS...

J.D. Martinez #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning in Game Two of the Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Shohei Ohtani’s agreement with the Dodgers likely closed the door on free agent designated hitter J.D. Martinez returning to Los Angeles. For Martinez, that means rejoining the Arizona Diamondbacks could be on the table.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman report the D-backs are interested in Martinez, with the former going as far as saying Arizona is “hopeful” of signing him.

The Diamondbacks have competition, according to Heyman, with the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners and New York Mets also interested in Martinez, who put together his sixth MLB All-Star campaign in 2023.

Arizona has also been linked to potential designated hitter Jorge Soler as they pursue more power in its lineup.

Remembering J.D. Martinez’s brief run with the Diamondbacks

Martinez appeared in 62 games with the D-backs in 2019 after a midseason trade with the Detroit Tigers. He put up 70 hits, 65 RBIs, 29 home runs and 69 walks over that span, posting a .741 slugging percentage and 1.107 OPS.

He put together the best month of Diamondbacks slugging in history that September.

Martinez hit 16 home runs that month, tying Ralph Kiner’s NL record for Pittsburgh in September 1949 and coming one shy of the record 17 homers for any month in MLB (Cleveland’s Albert Belle, 1995; New York’s Babe Ruth, 1927).

Last year with the Dodgers in his age 35 season, Martinez slashed .271/.321/.572 with a .893 OPS, 103 RBIs, 33 home runs and 27 doubles.

He played 109 games as a designated hitter with two games at left field.

While Martinez’s advanced metrics have relatively held up into his mid-30s, he did record a career-worst strikeout rate of 31.1% and a low walk rate of 7.1% that compares best to his 2014 season before he made his first MLB All-Star Game.

That said, Martinez’s home run rate (6.9%) from 2023 with the Dodgers rebounded compared to the prior four years of his run with the Boston Red Sox (2018-22), as did his hard-hit rate (54.9%).

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