Insider Urges Mets to Pursue 6-Time All-Star: ‘They Have a Clear Need’

j.d. martinez

Getty The Mets could use another veteran bat. MLB insider Robert Murray thinks New York is the best fit for free agent J.D. Martinez.

The New York Mets did a bunch of work to supplement their lineup ahead of 2024. One area president of baseball operations David Stearns didn’t make a meaningful addition for was designated hitter. As the calendar flips to March, veteran slugger J.D. Martinez remains on the free-agent market. Could the Mets make a move to add some lineup protection for first baseman Pete Alonso?

FanSided’s Robert Murray shared thoughts on February 29 regarding best fits for the three top Scott Boras clients still available: Martinez, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. While he’s unsure whether New York will make a move, he sees a natural fit between what Martinez provides and what their lineup needs.

“There have been other teams involved this winter, but Martinez remains unsigned. The longer he sits on the market, the more likely it is that those teams circle back,” he said. “I could see the Mets checking back in and attempting to sign Martinez, as they have a clear need for a bat of his caliber. Team owner Steve Cohen also has a history of doing deals with Scott Boras, though it’s unclear how involved he’ll be with David Stearns now running the baseball operations department.”

What Will It Take for Mets to Pursue Martinez?

On November 6, MLB Trade Rumors predicted Martinez would earn a two-year, $40 million contract in free agency. While the veteran is entering his age-36 season, he produced excellent numbers in 2023 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He slugged 33 home runs with 103 RBI and a .893 OPS in just 479 plate appearances.

The San Francisco Giants pursued Martinez earlier in the offseason and offered a one-year, $14 million contract, per’s Mark Feinsand. Hoping for something closer to $20 million, Martinez and his camp rejected it. What exactly would it take for the Mets to seriously jump back in and go after Martinez, though?

Stearns has made additions to the roster without adding many financial commitments beyond 2024. Starting pitcher Sean Manaea ‘s two-year, $28 million contract is the only multi-year deal New York has handed out this winter.

On February 1, Will Sammon of The Athletic said prices for free-agent hitters would have to “dramatically drop” for the Mets to become “aggressive pursuers.” If Martinez’s price gets closer to the one-year, $10 million commitment he made to Los Angeles last year, maybe it would be enticing for Stearns to make a move.

New York Hoping Mark Vientos Takes Advantage of His Chance

Stearns and Co. have been adamant about giving the organization’s young talent a chance to play. This includes infielders Mark Vientos and Brett Baty.

Outfielders DJ Stewart and Starling Marte are also viewed as options at designated hitter. However, this is Vientos’ chance to show he can hit at the big-league level. FanGraphs’ ZiPS projections peg the right-handed hitter to slash .238/.300/.428 with 20 home runs and 67 RBI in 2024. This would be a huge improvement for New York at DH. Since the start of 2022, Mets designated hitters have produced a .682 OPS, which is the sixth-worst mark in baseball, per FanGraphs.

Stearns has already brought in reinforcements in case Vientos struggles this spring. The club signed both Ji-Man Choi and Luke Voit to minor-league deals with invites to big-league camp in February. So, if they were to meaningfully jump back into the ring for Martinez, his price would indeed have to drop dramatically.

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