• What if Martinez doesn't flourish as a DH?

    By: Nate Rollins

    Updated:

    DEDHAM - The signing of J.D. Martinez prompts the question: Are the Red Sox done? 

    Martinez previously stated he wants to play outfield, but the Red Sox don’t have room in theirs. In his introductory press conference, Martinez seemed a little less adamant about that desire. 

    When asked if he would likely watch more video between innings if he plays designated hitter, Martinez responded, "Yeah. I mean, honestly, I kind of did that when I played right field, too. It never really stopped me. I'm always hungry for information and stuff like that, so yeah, it might be a positive to it, I think. I'd say the challenge of DH-ing is going to be learning the routine and to stay loose and stay warm and kind of be ready for it. It definitely could be a positive thing."

    It’s certainly a challenge that Hanley Ramirez didn’t respond to effectively. Ramirez hit a career-low .242 with 23 home runs and 62 runs batted in last season after succeeding David Ortiz as the Red Sox DH. That drop came a year after posting a .286 average with 30 home runs and 111 runs batted in, while making 108 starts at first base. 

    Martinez has played a handful of games (38) at DH dating back to his time with the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers, but a bulk of his time (712 games) has come in the outfield. 

    So if Martinez, who hit at a .296 clip and averaged 35 home runs and 91 runs batted in since 2015 primarily as an outfielder, gets off to a slow start at the plate, it may force the Red Sox’ hand to deal one of their outfielders.

    Jackie Bradley Jr. seems to be the likely candidate if the need for a trade were to arise. 

    Nate Rollins is an intern in the Boston 25 Sports Department. 

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