Mets may not enjoy star slugger beyond 2024 MLB season

May 21, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Mets designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) tosses his bat after striking out in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets were happy to bring J.D. Martinez into the fold for the 2024 MLB season but might be even happier to move off of him before the campaign’s upcoming trade deadline.

Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller had this to say about the Mets’ situation with Martinez in the midst of their underwhelming season so far (h/t Patrick McAvoy of Fan Nation’s Inside the Mets):

“The home run prowess isn’t nearly what it was last year (33), let alone what it was back in 2017 when he was averaging one trot around the bases for every 11 trips to the plate,” Miller said. “Still, Martinez remains a darn good hitter with a 136 OPS+ on par with those of Adley Rutschman and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. There’s no room to be found at (designated hitter) for several of this season’s top contenders, but there should be quite a few offers for Martinez’s services next month.”

J.D. Martinez has not been able to help the Mets improve in the standings in 2024

May 18, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA;  New York Mets designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) singles in a run against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
May 18, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Mets designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) singles in a run against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets currently sit at 27-36, good for No. 4 in the NL East. They are four games back from the Cincinnati Reds (32-33) for the sixth and final Wild Card spot in the National League despite being the third-worst team in the league. Their struggles this season have turned them into a team many are expecting to be sellers at the July 30 trade deadline.

Martinez is still hitting for average with a .281/.331/.467 slash line. Nevertheless, the Mets are 13-23 in the games that the righty slugger has played since the Florida native entered the lineup on April 26 from a lower-back injury. Before his return, New York was 13-11. That’s not to say that Martinez’s insertion into the lineup worked to the team’s detriment, but his efficient work at the plate has not had the effect that was expected.

The Mets could get a good return on Martinez before he becomes a free agent this winter

May 15, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Mets designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) hits a home run during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
May 15, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Mets designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) hits a home run during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Plus, his 0.6 WAR also shows that the Mets could move off of his one-year, $12 million contract before he hits unrestricted free agency this winter if they can get a favorable return in the trade market.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the 14-year veteran could erupt for power at the plate as the season nears its halfway mark. However, should the tide not rise higher than it is at present, Martinez could find himself on the trade block soon.

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