MLB Hot Stove season has moved at a snail's pace when you compare it to previous years. With pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training in a matter of days, there are still a variety of big names left on the open market. One of them is former Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez.
A return to the Dodgers was ruled out for Martinez after the team handed two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani a 10-year, $700 million contract. With Ohtani primarily playing designated hitter when he's not pitching, Martinez's spot was gone. Even so, Martinez was linked to a variety of teams, such as the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Toronto Blue Jays. But now, there's one destination that's been deemed a "perfect fit."
General managers tell USA Today's Bob Nightengale that the Cleveland Guardians are the "perfect fit" for Martinez.
Guardians named 'perfect fit' for J.D. Martinez
Nightengale notes that the Guardians haven't been one of the big spenders in free agency this offseason. Specifically, the team only spent a total of $1.1 million.
Last season, the Guardians finished 12 games outside of a postseason berth, finishing the year with a 76-86 record. In fact, the Guardians finished behind the AL Central-winning Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers in the divisional standings.
The Guardians are not exactly surefire contenders on paper, considering they are a team that has been listening to offers for ace pitcher Shane Bieber, who is set to become a free agent next winter. And, they have yet to agree to terms with slugger Josh Naylor on a contract extension. Adding Martinez would signal that the team is looking to compete in 2024. But with the New York Post's Jon Heyman noting that Bieber is unlikely to be traded with the chance to compete for the AL Central cited as a reason, Martinez seems to be a fit now.
This past season for the Dodgers, Martinez recorded a .271 batting average, a .321 on-base percentage, a .572 slugging percentage, 33 home runs, 61 runs, 103 RBI, 117 hits, 149 strikeouts, and 34 walks in 432 at-bats (113 games).
While Martinez is viewed to be a "perfect fit" in Cleveland, it will be up to the player and team to reach an agreement if there is mutual interest.