If that was it for J.D. Martinez’s time with the Red Sox, he certainly ended his tenure in Boston on a high note.
Both Martinez and Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge were named co-American League Players of the Week for the week of October 4, Major League Baseball announced earlier Thursday afternoon.
Judge hit his 62nd home run of the year on Tuesday to set a new American League record. Martinez, meanwhile, ended his fifth and possibly final season with the Sox in vintage fashion en route to earning Player of the Week honors for the 10th time in his illustrious career.
The veteran slugger slashed .353/.389/.794 with three doubles, four home runs, seven RBIs, nine runs scored, two walks, and eight strikeouts over his last nine games (36 plate appearances) dating back to September 26. Two of those four homers came in Wednesday’s 6-3 victory over the Rays at Fenway Park.
On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Martinez slashed .274/.341/.448 to go along with 43 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 62 runs driven in, 76 runs scored, 52 walks, and 145 strikeouts across 139 games spanning 596 trips to the plate.
In some ways, it was a tail of two seasons for Martinez. The right-handed hitting designated hitter posted a respectable .849 OPS in 81 games leading up to the All-Star break. After representing the Red Sox in the Midsummer Classic for the fourth time in five years, Martinez’s second-half debut was delayed by four days due to back spasms.
The 35-year-old returned to Boston’s lineup on July 26. He limped to the finish line from that point forward by slashing just .233/.301/.400 in his final 58 games. Those numbers would look a lot worse had he not picked it up over the last two weeks of the season.
Regardless of how this season played out, though, it’s hard to argue with the overall body of work Martinez put up over the last five years. The five-year, $110 million contract he signed with the Sox in February 2018 will go down as one of the best free-agent deals in franchise history.
Dating back to the start of the 2018 season, when he was first brought in by then-president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to provide the Red Sox with a sizable boost, Martinez made four All-Star teams, won two Silver Slugger Awards, and won a World Series. His 130 home runs over the last five seasons are the 15th-most in all of baseball. His .889 OPS is the 12th-highest.
“I think he earned every penny of that contract,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Wednesday. “He was always here. He worked so hard on his craft. I’m glad he had a great day today. We’ll see what the future holds.”
It remains to be seen if Martinez, a pending free-agent, will be back with the Red Sox next season. The native Floridian is open to a reunion himself, though chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could elect to go in a different direction as far as the future of Boston’s designated hitter role is concerned.
“There’s always a pathway. That’s a Chaim question. My famous line,” Martinez said with a laugh. “That’s a Chaim question and you’ve got to go ask him. There’s always a path. Right now, I’m a free-agent. We’ll see where life takes me.”
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)