No homecoming for a Miami Marlins free agent target exposes a major problem

J.D. Martinez is not going to be signing with The Fish

J.D. Martinez
J.D. Martinez / Elsa/GettyImages

It may not be enough to warrant putting the Miami Marlins on this list, but I'm still stunned after hearing the latest news.. The New York Mets signed DH J.D. Martinez for 1 year/$12 million. I was writing quite a bit about The Fish needing to sign him and it was even reported that there was mutual interest. It's not happening now.

J.D. Martinez is not signing with the Miami Marlins this season.

I'm still trying to process this as the report hit me hard last night. J.D. Martinez is from Miami and is of Cuban descent. He's a local who was going to be a perfect fit to replace the departing Jorge Soler at DH. Soler was injured for most of his time with The Fish, and really only started producing in his contract year. He was injury-prone and streaky his whole career, so I was glad that it was the San Francisco Giants who made the laughable mistake of giving him a multi-year deal.

As J.D. Martinez remained on the free agent market into Spring Training, I couldn't help but see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The Miami Marlins were surely going to sign the hometown boy. Reports indicated that he wanted a multi-year deal, that Peter Bendix didn't want to give him. I was sure that his price would drop, and it did.

I don't know what happened here. Did Bruce Sherman not authorize spending the extra $12 million? Did Peter Bendix not have much interest in signing a DH-only 36 year old? Did Martinez simply prefer signing with the Mets? The latter seems hard to believe, as the Mets aren't really trying for the playoffs this season. So....what happened?

The optimist in me thinks that as some reports said, Bendix just didn't want to lock up the DH spot with a DH-only player. J.D. Martinez did bat a rather unimpressive .270/.333/.494 over the last four seasons (2020-2023). That's a far cry from his .305/.376/.586 batting line from 2015-2019. He's in decline and could get worse in 2024, a season in which he'll be 36 years old in the first half and 37 for most of the second.

The pessimist in me saw the Miami Marlins ignore cheap bats like J.D. Davis and starting pitchers like Michael Lorenzen, and I start to wonder if Bruce Sherman is simply not authorizing any more spending. I mean surely a higher spending team would've added Lorenzen with all of the pitching injuries right? It just seems a bit strange.

The Miami Marlins will now likely rotate players through the DH spot. It's not a bad strategy, as many teams utilize it. The Fish howeve did not replace Jorge Soler's production adequately at all. It would take multiple players taking steps forward, for the team's offense to improve. The only thing that would make this OK, is if J.D. Martinez struggles with the Mets. I don't like to wish bad things on players, but Peter Bendix predicting a decline correctly is the only possible good out of this.

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