Baltimore Orioles: Dark horse in J.D. Martinez Hot Stove market?
Free agent signings have been quiet for the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of the MLB, but the rumors are out there.
While the focus seems to be on Giancarlo Stanton, there is another right fielder who would be a perfect fit for the Baltimore Orioles.
J.D. Martinez has the tools that the Orioles could use to make a dent in the post-season. Although his $200-million-plus asking price is steep, the Orioles should make a run for him.
The free agent matrices
The MLB bloggers at Cut4 put together a collection of matrices about the likely landings for the hottest free agents. Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman believe that the Orioles are a dark horse candidate for the hot hitter affectionate called “Just Dingers” by his fans. The matrix tracks teams based on their likelihood of spending and positional necessity. The Orioles need a right fielder and they have some money to spend.
The matrix does have teams that are more likely to spend, like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, but their right field spots are filled with talent already. The other dark horse candidate on the Martinez Matrix is his former home team the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In the blog, the writers said about Martinez in Birdland:
"“Sure the O’s should probably focus on adding an arm or two or four, but they need someone to play either right field or DH because Mark Trumbo can’t do both at the same time.”"
Big price for a big hitter
Could Martinez land in Baltimore? Possibly. But there is one big reason why he wouldn’t: his agent Scott Boras. The uber-agent seems dead set on Martinez getting a contract that could reach $210 million over seven years. Yup…that breaks down to $30 million annually.
Of course, Martinez’s agent has to have a starting figure. So, Martinez may not get that exact amount, but he will get something close. And, he deserves it.
The guy can rake
His 2017 season was no fluke. According to the MLB.com article:
"“Only five players have a higher OPS over the last four seasons than Martinez. Their names? Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper. Not bad!”"
Martinez is good. Really good. And, his good has been consistent, ever since he left the Houston Astros and made his way to Detroit. There, he spent time with Miguel Cabrera and modeled his swing after the Triple Crown winner.
Two minor injuries
His only hiccups have been two injuries in the last two seasons. In 2017, he had a sprained ligament in his foot. In 2016, he broke his elbow after crashing into the right-field wall at Kauffman Field. Had he not had the ligament injury in the beginning of the 2017 season, it is safe to say he would have given Aaron Judge and Stanton a real run for top home run numbers.
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His comeback from the 2016 injury was an epic moment in the history of the Detroit Tigers and it was classic Martinez. He entered the game as a pinch hitter against Chris Sale and launched a massive home run on the first pitch. In 2017, he hit two home runs in his second game back and two days later, he did it again. The second two-home-run game was against the Orioles – one dinger was off of Wade Miley and the other was off of Brad Brach.
Martinez does not have the same pizzazz as players like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. His outfield work is not as impressive as his batting, but he’s no slouch. He managed the massive outfield in Comerica Park quite well and he would be able to manage the smaller right field in Baltimore with ease.
Next: Should the O's go after pitcher Peter Moylan?
What would be truly impressive would be watching him mash home runs to the short right-field fence if he were able to play half of his games in Camden Yards. Records would certain be broken. Hopefully, his name is being discussed in the front offices. If it hasn’t been, it should be.