In an offseason where the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger in free agency, they signed J.D. Martinez to help boost their offense.
Scott Boras, the agent who represents Martinez, said the veteran slugger took roughly $6 million to $7 million less than he could have made elsewhere by signing the one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers. Entering his age-35 season, Martinez placed an emphasis on winning a World Series, which is the main reason he decided to sign with the Dodgers
“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,” Martinez 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.’”
While Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and Betts were instrumental in Martinez untimely joining the club as well, his relationship with Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc helped the five-time All-Star make his decision.
“Rob’s been my best friend since 2013 or ’14,” Martinez said. “So him and Mookie were definitely in the high recruiting phase of me. It’s cool. I’m always tight with them, and fortunately enough for me, I’m in a part of my career where I just want to win.
“That was one of my main decisions coming out here. They put a great team on the field every year, and I want to win. I’m getting to the backend of my career, and I know this is a really good chance and I know I can have fun my last two or three years in baseball and try to win another World Series.”
Martinez won his first and only World Series in 2018 as a member of the Boston Red Sox against the Dodgers.
The three-time Silver Slugger projects to be the Dodgers’ primary designated hitter this season while batting in the middle of the lineup. Martinez is coming off a season where he hit .274/.341/.448 with 43 doubles, 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 139 games.
The Dodgers previously tried to trade for him multiple times in the past, which was something that Martinez considered could happen.
“It was always in the back of my head that I could end up here,” he said. “I’m happy and this is where I wanted to be.”
J.D. Martinez expected to take on leadership role for Dodgers
When Martinez was in Boston, he was credited for helping Betts and their other young hitters improve their offensive ability. Now that he is in L.A., he is already working out with Miguel Vargas.
“That was one of the main things Andrew talked to me about,” Martinez said about mentoring younger hitters and taking on a leadership role. “That’s something that’s always come naturally to me on every team that I’ve been on.
“I’ve helped a lot of younger guys and a lot of guys kind of gravitate to me, especially on the offensive side of things. That part is something I don’t even think about. I just be me and it kind of happens.”
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