Free Agent J.D. Martinez Seen as ‘Potential Fit’ for AL West Team: Insider

Plenty of digital ink has been spilled on the “Boras Four” remaining unsigned as spring training gets underway. This includes pitchers Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, along with outfielder Cody Bellinger and third baseman Matt Chapman. Right behind those four, though, is veteran designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who is also a Scott Boras client.

Could the defending World Champion Texas Rangers be a potential fit for the right-handed slugger? That’s what Jon Heyman of the New York Post is saying, according to a February 22 report.

Following a 2022 performance where Martinez struggled to show his typical power with the Boston Red Sox, he settled for a one-year, $10 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The three-time Silver Slugger Award winner re-established himself in 2023 as one of baseball’s premier power bats in his age-35 season.

It took Martinez just 479 plate appearances to accumulate 33 home runs and 103 RBI with a .893 OPS.

Martinez Didn’t Want to Play for the Giants

In addition to linking Martinez to the World Series champs, Heyman added another interesting wrinkle to this report. He said the San Francisco Giants were pursuing the right-handed slugger and made an offer. The stipulations of that offer aren’t known, but Heyman simply said it was rejected because he “didn’t want to go there.”

The Giants then pivoted to Jorge Soler, who they signed to a three-year, $42 million deal. One would have to imagine there’s more to this story. However, it’s just another example of the Giants getting burned by the Dodgers this winter.

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San Francisco tried reeling in two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Not only were they unsuccessful in those pursuits, but both players landed with the Giants’ longstanding rival for more than $1 billion combined. After just one year with Los Angeles, Martinez apparently had no interest in playing on the other side of the rivalry.

How Could He Fit in With the Rangers?

After winning the organization’s first-ever World Series, the Rangers are heading into 2024 with a loaded lineup. It features the likes of second baseman Marcus Semien, shortstop Corey Seager and outfielder Adolis Garcia.

One potential unknown, though, is at designated hitter. FanGraphs’ Roster Resource currently has non-roster invitee Wyatt Langford penciled in as the DH. The 22-year-old was selected by Texas with the fourth overall pick of the 2023 MLB Draft.

He spent 44 games in the minors after getting drafted and went from Rookie Ball to Triple-A. He tore up opposing pitchers at all levels across 200 plate appearances. The right-handed hitter slashed .360/.480/.677 with 10 home runs, 17 doubles, 30 RBI and 36 runs scored.

It could be intriguing to promote him to the majors in time for Opening Day. But the Rangers could take advantage of a slow-moving free-agent market by adding a proven power threat like Martinez to the mix.

Issues with their television deal have seemingly taken them out of the running to re-sign Montgomery, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Seeing Martinez in the Rangers’ lineup is a tantalizing thought. It will only happen if Texas changes course, though. While chatting with reporters on February 14, including Grant, general manager Chris Young plainly stated, “I don’t think there are any additions coming at this point.”

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