From one great Red Sox designated hitter to another, David Ortiz had some high praise for JD Martinez when speaking with reporters at JetBlue Park on Saturday.
“I’ve got to give it to J.D., man,” Ortiz said. “J.D. is like the center, the mother hen. He’s the one who everybody is like getting feedback from because he’s a psychopath. This dude is at another level of being good and wanting to be better. That’s one thing I enjoy the most when I’m around here: just watch the way he handles himself and the way he helps the rest of the squad. That’s what makes a difference year after year after year.”
In response to the Red Sox legend’s kind words, Martinez told reporters with a smile, “Sounds about right. I’ve been known to be that. So I don’t doubt it.”
Both Martinez and Ortiz fought their way to stardom in baseball. Nothing was handed to either of them.
When he was 26, Martinez was released by the Houston Astros prior to the start of the 2014 season.
The same essentially happened with Ortiz as well, who was cut loose by the Minnesota Twins at the age of 27 during the 2002 offseason.
The pair managed to find new teams fairly quickly after their release and both flourished seemingly as a result of it.
Ortiz signed with Boston in the early part of January in 2003 and in the 14 seasons he spent with the Red Sox, the future Hall of Famer accumulated the fifth most fWAR in the American League (50.1) from 2003 to 2016.
Martinez, on the other hand, latched on with the Detroit Tigers beginning in 2014 and has been one of, if not the best hitter in baseball since, slashing .307/.371/.568 with 171 home runs and 481 RBI over 670 total games between the Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and now the Red Sox.
According to FanGraphs, the Florida native has been worth 20.9 fWAR since the start of the 2014 season, the seventh highest fWAR among outfielders in all of baseball.
When talking about what Ortiz has meant for him since joining the Red Sox, Martinez said, “I feel like he kind of just gave me a feel of what to expect. I talked to him a lot about the DH role; and does and don’ts. And just kind of getting an idea of what his routine was while he was here. And certain things to kind of look out for and not get caught up in.”
Ortiz, who is currently serving as a special assistant for the Red Sox in a part-time capacity, will remain with the club in Florida through Sunday and return again later in March.