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J.D. Martinez Could Be The Guardians Answer In The Middle Of The Lineup

Cleveland needs a power hitter in their lineup and free agent, J.D. Martinez, could fill that void.
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One glaring hole in Cleveland's lineup all of last season was the need for a pure power bat that can be plugged in behind Jose Ramirez and bridge the gap to the second half of the order. Josh Naylor provided that at times, but he also struggled a lot against left-handed pitching. 

Acquiring a power bat should be at the top of the list for the Guardians' list of moves this off-season. Luckily, there are a few available bats on the market that the Guardians could turn to. 

One of those is former Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez.

Martinez had a solid season in 2022 and had a batting average of .274 with a .448 slugging percentage. He only had 16 home runs, but this would've ranked fourth most on the Guardians.

Even though the home run numbers may seem low, Martinez still ranked in the 78th percentile in max exit velocity, 60th percentile of HardHit%, and 87th percentile of xSLG according to Baseball Savant.

There are a few concerns that will be brought up if the Guardians were to go after Martinez. One is that he was 34 last season and will turn 35 during next season. He's certainly in the closing stage of his career and one of the first things that veterans start to lose is their power. 

The Guardians could definitely run the risk of Martinez losing this power and taking a massive step backward, but the gamble could also pay off and Cleveland gets one more solid year out of him.

Another concern is that Martinez would be primarily a designated hitter. He was once a solid outfielder for the Tigers and Diamondbacks, but in the last few years, he's been Boston's DH. In fact, he didn't see the field once as a defender last year.

After letting Franmil Reyes go last season, the Guardians used the designated hitter slot as a utility for the rest of the season and it worked out very well. It allowed players such as Jose Ramirez, Amed Rosario, and even Steven Kwan to get a day off in the field but still have their bat in the lineup.

Martinez is a power-hitting free agent who admittedly has some question marks, but could make a big impact on this Guardians lineup in a positive way if they were to sign him.

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