GLENDALE, Arizona - The timing was no coincidence. That much is clear after talking with J.D. Martinez.
Wearing his new Dodger Blue in Los Angeles' spring training home clubhouse at Camelback Ranch, Martinez explained on the Bradfo Sho podcast why he jumped at the Dodgers' one-year, $10 million deal when he did.
Martinez agreed to the deal one day before Justin Turner's commitment to a two-year, $21.7 million agreement to become the Red Sox' new designated hitter.
"I had no idea," said Martinez when asked if he thought heading into the offseason if he was going to land back with the Red Sox. "The way they made it sound was that they were in on it. During the season we never talked. Just basic talk with Chaim, and stuff. It was one of those things where we never moved forward with it. (In the offseason) it was one of those things were we were kind of waiting. A situation occurred where at the time they had the offer out to JT ... Everybody talks ... This was an offer that came up seeing if it was something I was interested in doing. Obviously, it was a little bit of a pay cut, but if I held up maybe I could have gotten more. We were confident about that. But at the same time I wanted a team that was going to be in October, be in the swing of things all year and give me a chance to win. I didn't want to get stuck with the Red Sox getting the guy they wanted and me left (feeling) wondering where I was going to go.
"I'm excited. I'm ready. I feel great. See what happens."
The 35-year-old Martinez struggled in the second half of his fifth season with the Red Sox after initially making the American League All-Star team. He landed with a .274 batting average and .790 OPS with 16 homers for 2022.
As the season wound down, however, Martinez professed to have discovered what was ailing him. It was a change that manifested itself in the DH hitting .353 with a 1.183 OPS and four home runs (2 in the last game of hte season) over the final nine contests.
It's an alteration he is banking on carrying over to his new existence with the Dodgers, which includes reuniting with the likes of Mookie Betts and Martinez's longtime hitting instructor Robert Van Scoyoc.
"It's one of those things where I know what the issue is and it's continuing to grind on it and continue to fix it. It was evident last year the moment I tried fixing it, the last couple of weeks my numbers were a lot better. It was one of those things where I said, 'Oh, I'm an idiot. Why haven't I been doing this?' I feel like I made really good headway. I'm excited," Martinez said. "My body feels great. I'm looking forward to it. It's a new team. It's a freaking great lineup. I'm excited for it. I have played with a couple of these guys before on other teams, so it's something I'm looking forward to it."