How Can the Mets Best Use J.D. Martinez?

Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Well it happened. The New York Mets FINALLY got their DH. This move was rumored to be true for a good 5-6 years. Last night six-time All-Star DH JD Martinez signed a 1 year $12 million deal with the Amazins' to be the every day designated hitter and putting this Mets lineup over the top. There was a slew of reports that came out saying President of Baseball Operations (POBO) David Stearns was satisfied with his lineup and that there wouldn't be another move. However, sometimes deceiving leads to believing.

Most people might be thinking that this move is a few years too late and those fans do have a strong case for this take. But on the other side, most baseball fans have a good counter argument too. Despite being in his 13th MLB Season, Martinez had a .271/.321/.572 slash line. The Mets landed a DH that hit .270 at age 35. This is big for the Mets because the only true power bat they have that is a superstar is Pete Alonso. The polar bear is coming off a .217/.318/.504 slash line but he hammered 46 homers with 118 RBIs. The signing of Martinez is crucial for first year manager Carlos Mendoza as he now has TWO top tier power bats in his lineup.

How Does JD Martinez Give the Mets More Depth?

This signing creates a surefire DH situation, improves the Mets offensive prowess and starts to create a bit of a logjam in terms of defensive positioning. Regardless, this has a few different options for Carlos Mendoza who might get a little creative with this move.

Option 1: JD Martinez becomes the everyday DH

This is the easiest option for the Mets, as JD isn't much of a top fielder anymore due to him being 36 years old. But his presence at the dish cannot be denied. We already discussed his slash line, but what needs to be discussed is his incredible amount of power.

JD ranks in the 98th percentile for THREE different stats: average exit velocity (93.4 MPH), hard hit rate (55.1%) and barrel rate (17.1%). What this means is the Mets landed one of the best power bats in baseball.

For those who aren't sold on advanced stats, he had 33 homers, a .893 OPS, 103 RBIs and 62 extra base hits. (XBH) My only concern with Martinez is he has a 31% K rate, which is a bit worrisome but probably won't be a major factor.

Option 2: JD faces RHP, Bench vs LHP.

Last year JD hammered a solid 24 homers against right handed pitching, which mad eup 72% of his home runs. But what needs to be taken into account is that the Mets have 4-5 potential DHs going into this year. RF Starling Marte, former Tampa Bay Ray Ji-Man Choi, former Yankee and Cardinal Harrison Bader, and the dilemma of our time Mark Vientos.

The struggling highly sought-out prospect was the main reason that the Mets weren't aggressive in the first place to land JD, but it now seems like he will be battling Brett Baty for the third base spot which I really like.

As for Marte, to me he should be considered a potential DH due to him being lackluster in the field. Marte showed flashes 2 years ago and I think fully healthy he can get it done at the DH.

Option 3: JD vs Marte

This might be the most outlandish option but I do think there is potential for this to happen. JD has proven he can hit against both left handed and right handed pitching, but one person that MASHES left handed pitching is 2022 All-Star OF Starling Marte. 9 out of 11 times in his career has Starling Marte hit over .250 against left hand pitching. 4 times he has hit over .300 against LHPs and for a contact hitter that is pretty good. But what's concerning is Marte might be out of his prime and he needs a major bounce back year in 2024.

Overall, for a one year contract the Mets have landed a massive DH that will bolster the lineup and will bring some serious power. Time will tell but I think Mets fans have gained a bit of optimism from this move.

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